Tag Archives: Freda Moon

The New York Times 36 Hours: Oaxaca, Mexico Back-story

Freda Moon, travel writer for The New York Times, contacted me on July 29, 2011 to say she was working on a feature about Oaxaca.  Travel information about the city hadn’t been updated at the NY Times since 2007 and Freda thought it was about time.  Her editor agreed!  Freda was leaving for Oaxaca the next week, found this website/blog during her research, liked our in depth coverage, and asked me to offer suggestions for new favorite places on the city scene.

During her time in Oaxaca, Freda discovered spots I hadn’t even heard about (including those mescal venues that become lively long after my bedtime).  At my suggestion, she connected with Brown University linguistic anthropologist Liza Bakewell, author of Madre: Perilous Journey with a Spanish Noun and they talked about city life.

Now, it’s nearly impossible, as many of the commenters to the article have said, to cover all that is wonderful in Oaxaca and village environs in 36 hours.  The two Puertos on the coast (Escondido, Angel), Juchitan, the Sierra Mixteca (and more) all offer unique and extraordinary experiences.  Three weeks would be more like it.  Or even 36 weeks!  Freda could not have included everything in her short article — either all my suggestions or those made by others!

So in a series of posts to come, I’m going to share with you what I shared with Freda Moon, starting with my favorite restaurants.

Disfruta!  Enjoy!

And, if you love Oaxaca, please share The New York Times 36 Hours: Oaxaca, Mexico on your Facebook page and via email.  The indigenous people and artisans of Oaxaca will love and appreciate you for it!  They depend upon tourism for their major source of income.

Oaxaca Safety: It’s also important to read the COMMENTS section on Freda’s article to hear first hand about how Oaxaca is SAFE and inviting — heard from visitors who have come back here many times and those of us who live here.

In The New York Times: Oaxaca Cultural Navigator

Que milagro!  The New York Times features Oaxaca Cultural Navigator in its 36 Hours: Oaxaca, Mexico article written by travel writer Freda Moon.  The Travel section story on Oaxaca, the first to be published about the city since 2007, appeared in today’s online New York Times.  It will appear in print this Sunday, January 15, 2012.

Forgive me if I have to pinch myself — again and once more.  When I showed the article this afternoon to Federico (Fe) Chavez Sosa, who with his wife Dolores Santiago Arrellanas (Lola) and family, run Galeria Fe y Lola, also noted in Freda’s story, he could hardly believe it. He was beaming!

Needless to say, we are trying to keep our composure.  It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime event for a little-known Zapotec weaving family from a pueblo outside the city to be recognized for their work in this way.  Never mind that their work is extraordinary.  Many people go through life creating something exceptional and rarely get this kind of attention.

So, a big thank you, un beso y abrazo fuerte to Freda for loving Oaxaca and wanting to bring this lovely city back into the limelight after it was tarnished so badly in the APPO wars of 2006.  The city thanks you and so do we.

I’ve written this blog for over four years now.  During this time, I have faithfully tried to write something meaningful at least weekly, so there is a huge compendium of information and photos here for you to sift through, if you are interested.  I don’t propose to know everything about Oaxaca.  In relative terms, I’m a newcomer.  I’ve traveled here regularly during the past seven years, coming three or four times a year for a couple of weeks at a time while I was employed full-time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Now, at this moment, I get to call this home and stay a while!

Many expatriates have lived here longer and know much more than I do.  We are all here because we love this place, want to support the culture, and find solace in the beauty of the natural world, insight through the artistic endeavors, and connection through the generosity of the people.  Each of us has something valuable to give and each of us wants to offer support in whatever way we are able to bring our varied talents to bear, individually or collectively.

And, there’s always room for more people to come, explore, and discover the creative energy that makes Oaxaca vibrant, satisfying, and stimulating.   Perhaps you will decide to come, then return, and then return again, as I did.  All of us hope that you do.  You won’t be sorry.

In gratitude,

Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC, January 12, 2012



Chiles En Nogada: Tasteful Symbol of Mexican Revolution

Read travel/food writer Freda Moon’s sensuous tribute to the sublime red, white and green Chiles en Nogada and you will understand the heart and soul of a nation.  Food is a commentary about culture and in this case, gender.

Freda describes the role of the descendants of indigenous noble women who converted to Christianity, took to the life of the convent, and created the perfect blend of indigenous and native ingredients to give birth to Chiles en Nogada — a fitting tribute to the birth of a nation.  The seasonal dish, served in August and September, is the symbol of Mexico and her revolutionary cry of freedom.  It is the El Grito of pure Mexican soul food.

Chiles en Nogada was born and bred in Puebla, Mexico where it has many variations.  It is replicated in every city and town throughout the country.  One of my favorite restaurants in Puebla for everything autor (authentic) is El Mural de los Poblanos where Chef Lisette Galicia creates magic in the kitchen.  Her chiles en nogada, in my opinion, are near perfection.

Freda Moon has promised a recipe that she will convert from Spanish to English.  As soon as I hear word of it, you’ll see it here!  Buen provecho!

You also might want to check out Jim Johnson’s recommendations on his blog: Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide for restaurants that prepare excellent Chiles en Nogada.

In Oaxaca, the restaurante La Casa del Tio Guero serves a good chiles en nogada.  The owner/chef is from Puebla.

And, stay tuned to up-to-the-minute news, and other Oaxaca insights: LIKE my Facebook Page: Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC