Tag Archives: Criollo

Belated Happy New Year From Oaxaca + Eating

Welcome 2024. On New Year’s Eve, I traveled from Albuquerque to Oaxaca, arriving just in time for a birthday dinner at Quince Letras with my friend Carol. We sat on the rooftop terrace and enjoyed a delicious tomato salad and tlayuda with chapulines (yes, grasshoppers).

Left to right: Santi the Snowman, sculpture in front of Santo Domingo Church, tomato salad at Quince Letras.

Then, the celebration continued on New Year’s Day with brunch at Criollo with Kay and Dean. The ambiance is terrific and the brunch is way more economical than the dinner. It is served on Saturdays and Sundays only. We sat alfresco in a gravel paved open patio sheltered by mature trees. I like the food here and it is very relaxing. Reservations required.

Left to right: potato enchiladas with mole coloradito, roast pork sandwich, French toast at Criollo

This was followed by a late afternoon dinner at Casa Taviche with Eric, Elsa and Santiago. The limited New Year menu was filled with hearty entrees — a roast pork with adobo sauce, baked fish with cream sauce, and a filet mignon. I recommend the pork, tender and flavorful. Pork roast adobo shown at right.

Life is good. I’ve managed to gain more pounds. Not good.

Back up: Jacob and Shelley took me out to pre-birthday dinner on December 30 at High Noon Restaurant and Saloon at Old Town Albququerque before flying the next day. I highly recommend this restaurant. Locals love it here. Truly the start of a spectacular welcome to 2024. Photos of High Noon Saloon below. Margs are terrific.

It’s good to be back. I’m now settled into my casita in Teotitlan del Valle. We have tours starting in a week, first to the Oaxaca Coast, then on to Michoacan, Chiapas (we still have a couple of spaces open), and finally to the Mixteca Alta.

It’s a balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit here in Oaxaca. Such a difference from the high of 21 in Taos yesterday. While I love it there, I’m happy to be where my bones are warm.

Wishing you all a very healthy, content, and satisfying New Year.

Live long and prosper! –Leonard Nimoy, The Vulcan Salute

Sunday Brunch in Oaxaca: Criollo

Looking for a spectacular brunch spot in Oaxaca with gourmet taste at a moderate price? Look no further. Criollo restaurant offers it all! Note: Be sure to make a reservation! Doors open at 10 a.m.

There is a reason that this Top Chef Enrique Olvera (of Pujol fame) dining spot is packed with locals and a few foreign visitors on Sunday morning! The outdoor dining alfresco under the shade trees and palapas is a real treat. It’s casual. It’s beautiful. It’s delicious. Okay. Now I’m repeating myself.

Set in proximity to a cocina de humo — an outdoor smoke and grill kitchen — the picnic tables are adorned with huge vases of fresh flowers on a patio of crushed gravel. Waiters offer a choice of barrista made coffees or café de olla— the sweet, cinnamon and vanilla infused coffee that native Oaxacans love to dunk their breakfast bread into.

Now for the bread! The choices are conchas—bigger and more delicious than you find anywhere, sweet bread stuffed with vanilla cream, and a nutty fruit bread flavored with ashes—my particular favorite. One little bite was not enough to satisfy. I had to eat the whole thing. Estoy gordita.

Dean, Kay and I shared a plate of grilled meats. It comes with grilled veggies and pineapple, guacamole, beef, pork ribs and chorizo. It isn’t on the menu — so be sure to ask for this. We also had a fresh fruit platter. They added granola and yogurt to the meal.

As founders of Oaxaca Eats, they know the best eating and grazing joints in town. I trust their taste explicitly. We’ve known each other since North Carolina days, before they moved to Oaxaca over six years ago.

After breakfast, Kay says, wanna go to the symphony? Sure, I say. So we hop in a taxi and get to Teatro Macedonio Alcalá JIT.

Seems the symphony is auditioning for a new conductor. Today was a special treat. Maestro William Harvey was on the podium and not only dazzled us with Bach and Beethoven, showing off his own violin virtuoso, but performed his own composition paying homage to indigenous peoples and featuring a vocalist from the Spokane tribe of Washington state, of whom only 25 native speakers remain.

It was an amazing day, a cultural treat all the way around.