Casa de El Refugio

May 1st, 2006

Ole Mole

May 2nd, 2006

Sorry. I think I can do better about the title but the chiles have taken hold and I am a little giddy. After two trips to Oaxaca, a total of five weeks there so far and the prospect of another sixty days, starting today, I am more then a little giddy. Pasillas, guajillo, costeno, pulla, arbol, dance around my head as I lay in bed, like little fever dreams, hot and daring me, challenging me. Really it’s that intense.

Mia Chiles

May 3rd, 2006

So today in this new journal I will record from some favorite sources the chiles I love and seek to love.


May 4th, 2006

Because we have eaten fruit our whole life, and more importantly have grown up in a city where commercially grown fruit predominated the selections available, we settle back in the illusion we know everything there is to know about fruit. Yes this could be said about food in general but something like fruit….

Recipe Dreams

May 5th, 2006

If…someone dared to throw a bottle of black chocolate stout at me, could I deftly catch it, snap it open and blend it into the frioles borrachas of my dreams?

Green Sauce

May 6th, 2006

Just as I have run across dozens of mole recipes (and heard of hundreds more) I seemed to stumbled into a whole world of green salsas, all made from tomatillos or sometimes in the market called tomates. The sauces are all intended to be table sauces, although a few cooks have hinted at cooked versions […]

Cafe Frio

May 7th, 2006

In the town of San Andreas Huyapaum, where the lovely El Refugio is situated, there is a coffee merchant, really a coffee family. We sat with them and discussed their wonderful product and Bonnie promised to bring them her wonderful Ice Coffee and the method and we could sit one afternoon and talk beans and […]

Salad con Camarones de Anochecher

May 8th, 2006

As the sun set last night, we came home with fresh camorones from the market…

The Road To Chochoyotes

May 9th, 2006

Today we spent most of the morning with our cook and companion Lourdes at her favorite market in Colonia Reforma. She showed us the places where on our previous visits to Oaxaca she had brought home the most marvelous quesos and the most flavorful pollo and camerones. She walked through the indoor market, held everyday […]

Pasilla de Oaxaca

May 10th, 2006

Maybe the price was too high but I belive I really did buy high quality Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca in the Comsatti outdoor market. Our young yawning merchant had a friendly manner and did not seem to be a thief. And I have read in more then a few places that passilla de Oaxaca is […]

The Price Of Pollo

May 11th, 2006

We spent the morning about 20 miles south of Oaxaca in a town called Zaachila. Thursday is market day there.

Salsa de Tomitillo con Pasilla de Oaxaca

May 12th, 2006

Taking the chile paste we made the other day, now it’s time to make a salsa.

Food as Work

May 13th, 2006

There is a heritage of labor that many great cusines share. It is completely possible to appreciate and aspire to great effort when great result are to be achieved. I once had a coisant stuffed with chocalate on the Isle St. Loius that sent my mind spinning. It all at once possesed the qualities of […]

The Ghosts Of El Refugio

May 14th, 2006

You could see the chairs swaying. And if you shut your ears and opened your eyes, you knew something was there, something that haunted the place and really just wanted to sit and relax and take in the wonderful stormy view

Mutant Poblanos

May 15th, 2006

Nowhere have I ever read or heard that poblano chiles get spicier and hotter after you cook them. But on two occasions now, both involving chile rejanos (one classical and the other detailed later involving a chayote and chicken stuffing) we have had the occasion to be starstle by the aggresive heat of the cooked […]

Las Floras

May 16th, 2006

To alleviate the efforts of some overly enthusiatic gardeners, we took a little trip to a local garden center on the road to Tlalacalula. It had the flavor of any western garden center except for again the value and there was a lushness and variety that belongs to places south of where we are from.

Pozole Rojo

May 17th, 2006

The Etla mercado was a real treat. It snaked through the hilly streets and would it’s way to the Zocallo and the indoor mercado and the absoulutely wonderful church round back.


May 18th, 2006

There is an Italian spirit stalking this land. I mean it. The freshness, the tv, the string cheese, it’s not Spanish, it’s Italian. Okay maybe it’s Mexican but I am reminded again and again of Italy and of things I experienced with my Italian-American parents and grandparents. In the Etla market, Lourdes, our guide and […]

The Grace Of Teotilan del Valle

May 19th, 2006

We spent a graceful day in Teotitlan del Valle


May 20th, 2006

In the Etla Wednesday market, just round back of the zocalo, we stumble across 3 women vending agua miel and pulque.

The Hats of El Refugio

May 21st, 2006

The sun is always there, except when it rains. This is a place where you want a hat sometimes. Luckily th landscape is littered with them.


May 22nd, 2006

Why I fell for a Mexican Supermarket is a difficult thing to explain.


May 23rd, 2006

We explained to the very helpful salesman that ‘no we were not going to Huatulco’. In these semi arid parts, where water collectted was very rare, He had every right to wonder what we were up to.

Frijoles Negros

May 24th, 2006

Lourdes took one look at the beans and even before she saw the critters she said, “Vejaya y feo!!!”, which means old and ugly. We had old and ugly beans.


May 25th, 2006

It turns out there is a system. Enchilades, enfrijoles, enmolades, entomates, are you getting en to it?

Mango Sorbet

May 26th, 2006

Lovely Manila Mangos 1) The Syrup 2/3 cups of superfine sugar 1 cup of water Stir the sugar into the water over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely 2) The Fruit Puree 2 pounds […]

Main Squeeze

May 27th, 2006

The simple limone squeezer has had a long and storied place in Mexican history. The Zapotecs were known to honor the invention. And with the arrival of the Spanish, the squeezer went on to find a sacred place in the cultural and spiritual life of the Mexican population.

The Fruits Of El Refugio

May 28th, 2006

The fruit grows everywhere. In your garden you are blessed. You pick.

A Kilo of Anchos

May 29th, 2006

Okay, even though I don’t speak Spanish, a guy in a hat “talked” me into buying a kilo of ancho chiles. Willing victim, I slightly misunderstood the amount I was buying but then I thought what I could do with a world of chiles. Well it all starts now!


May 30th, 2006


May 31st, 2006

Call me a collectivo To anywhere you may want to go

DevilMen at Zaacilla

June 1st, 2006

The Church At Zaacillla

June 2nd, 2006

Tealimone, Romero, and a little Orange

June 3rd, 2006

Within the ritual of taemescal, I saw the prettiest of metaphors, how after bathing in steam infused with romero and orange, while drinking tea made from the same with taelimone the high flavor note I was made to feel as if I was being prepared to be served up as the main course in a […]

The Church At Tlacochahuaya

June 4th, 2006

Huachinango At Juarez

June 5th, 2006

At the southest corner of the Mercado Benito Juarez, are the fish stalls. Fish in Oaxaca is largely driven or flown in from the Pacific coast. On my very first trip to the Juarez market we were struck by a particular family cutting up the day’s stock. “Resturant Quality” turned out to be the only […]

Huachinango at El Refugio

June 6th, 2006

No Soap Nopales

June 7th, 2006

Okay it’s okra all over again. Or maybe another remake of the Blob. It any case we were both eaten alive by the clean bright green defanged cactus paddles, that everyone encouraged us to try.

Jose Zorilla Trapaga

June 8th, 2006

When we first arrived in San Augustine Etla, I was surprised to see that the new museum Hector had spoken of was still under construction. Obviously I’d missed something during our discussion! Teams of architects and designers clutching 3′ rolls of plans and drawings mingled with work crews and scaffolding. Unlike litigious America, they kindly […]

Expo – Venta

June 9th, 2006

A delightful organic market exists at Garcia-Vigil on Friday Saturday

Los Laurelles

June 10th, 2006

Sunday Mercado At Tlacolula

June 11th, 2006

So many things, so little time – no one needs Sam’s Club!

The Church at Tlacolula

June 12th, 2006

Tlacolula has been a big market town for nearly 2,000 years. The 17th century church bespeaks a properous community. There is less of the humble, more of the gilt, and every drop of martyr’s blood looks fresh. Most of the gilt is in a chapel of the left side of the church.

Chocolate vs. Chocolate

June 13th, 2006

It with total satisfication I contemplate the fact that both vanila and chocolate come from Mexico. But when children leave the nest, they become, well different.

We’ve Been Told…..

June 14th, 2006

For weeks now, ever since we arrived in Oaxaca, there has been a teacher’s strike going on. We were told this was an annual event in May. They camp in the Zoccola, march through the streets, sent up tents everywhere to clog traffic and display banners and slogans. They hold classes and discussions and in […]

Las Licuadoras

June 15th, 2006

Well you see them just about everywhere. And there is an obvious history that folds back to food as work and how we can actually all work a little less. I mean never mind the washing machine. Let’s talk about the history of the metate and mano and the secret celebration on the kitchens when […]

Turn Left After The Blind Potter

June 16th, 2006

Hometown Tehate

June 17th, 2006

The Church At Huyapaun

June 18th, 2006

Inglesia de los Pobres

June 19th, 2006

While waiting to shop with Lourdes, I thought to take a few pictures of our meeting spot. She had suggested the Inglesia de los Pobres as a shady central and comfortable spot to meet up in Colonia Reforma. In a city full of 16th century churches, the simplcity and comfort of this people’s church is […]

Queseria “Arce”

June 20th, 2006

Tlacolula has very nice queso. Etla has great queso. But we found we liked the queso from a particular shop in Colonia Reformia Lourdes had steered us to. The quesillo is ultra bueno but they have a queso con chille that is perfecto!!! We want to buy some cheese!!!!!!

The Tortilla Woman Rings Twice

June 21st, 2006

6 Churches Of Oaxaca

June 22nd, 2006

Relojeria Cronos

June 23rd, 2006

The neediest transactions are best informed by simple courtesy and plain understanding. When the battery in your watch quits, it’s unsettling, mildly so , but time stops for you on a personal level and you need to get it fixed. We had passed by this place a few times in the evening when it was […]