Saturday, April 14, 2012


(includes San Felipe del Agua)

Café Brujula – 409-D Calle Garcia Vigil; 011-52-951-516-7255;; house-roasted coffee and surprisingly authentic bagels.
Museo de Nieves Manolo – 706 Alcala; 011-52-951-143-9253; ice cream; flavors include pistachio, cheese with basil, and mezcal.

La Biznaga – 512 Calle García Vigil; 011-52-951-516-1800;; hippest Oaxacan eatery; extensive wine-by-glass list; dodgy and slow service.
Cafe Central – 302 Hidalgo; 011-52-951-516-8505;; late-night spot for dancing; Havana aesthetic.
Cuish – 712 Diaz Ordaz; 011-52-951-516-8791;; mezcal bar.
La Mezcaloteca – 506 Reforma; 011-52-951-514-0082;; run by mezcal-obsessed pair from Mexico City; speak-easy-ish, library-ish, pelanque (mezcal distillery); ask for “flight” that includes tobala (rare, wild agave).

Casa Conzatti – 218 Gómez Farias (Centro Historico); 011-52-951-513-8500;
Casa de Sierra Azul – 1002 Hidalgo; 011-52-951-514-7171;; restored colonial style house with modern art work; 2 blocks from Zocolo.
Casa Inspiracion – Puerto Escondido; 011-52-954-119-3834;; parota wood, coconut fiber, cotton, onyx & natural stone characterize 5 bungalows; all boast panoramic ocean view, private terrace, indoor-outdoor “chill-out” area, 2 double beds & interior patio that gives total privacy to bathroom; each “chill-out” area has own personality, whether hanging, above water, under pergolas or palapas, with panoramic views, indoors or outdoors; lounge-library, completely fitted as home cinema with air-conditioning & large couches, enjoying views over interior gardens; pool, bordered by loose river stone, is elegant composition embracing horizon over sea; spa is set in independent palapa, amidst tropical garden to rear of house, open to Sierra views.
Casa Oaxaca – 407 Calle Garcia Vigil; 011-52-951-514-4173;; “art hotel” known for exhibits; swimming pool and modern restaurant.
Diablo y La Sandia – 205 Libres; 011-52-951-514-4095;; roof deck rimmed by potted plants.
Ex-Convento San Pablo – 102 Fiallo; 011-52-951-516-4914;; restored 16th Century convent.
Hotel Azul – 313 Abasolo; 011-52-951-501-0016;; 21 elegant, modern rooms surrounding cactus & stone courtyard and fountain; designed Fracisco Toledo.
Hotel Casa La Cantaros – 127 Alzada Porfirio Diaz; 011-52-951-513-9297;; 8 rooms and 2 suites decorated with Oaxacan textiles and pottery; courtyard; near city center.
Hotel Hacienda Los Laureles – 21 Hidalgo (San Felipe del Agua); 011-52-01-95-1501-5300;; upscale, hacienda-style hotel 6 km from both Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca & Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán; Spanish Colonial–style decor, refined rooms & suites come with free Wi-Fi, TVs & minibars; upgraded quarters include patios, Jacuzzis &/or sitting areas with sofas; hotel has restaurant with terrace dining & other amenities include spa, heated outdoor pool & hot tub; fitness center; parking is complimentary.

La Biznaga – 512 García Vigil; 011-52-951-516-1800;; hippest Oaxacan eatery; bold fusion dishes in atmospheric courtyard; nouveau-Oaxacan dishes in inventive preparations, such as tortilla horns stuffed with seasoned hibiscus, mushroom soup with chilies and bacon, and/or mole with goat cheese; uses local ingredients; dodgy and slow service.
Casa Oaxaca Cafe – 518 Jazmines (Reforma); 011-52-951-502-6017;; luxurious; recently renovated and reopened; go-to brunch spot for city elite; courtyard restaurant has wooden furniture; trees strung with vines and bamboo canopy.
Pitiona – 311 5 de Mayo; 011-52-951-514-4707;; well-made, regionally-inspired dishes.
La Teca – 200a Violetas Street (Colonia Reforma); 011-52-954-515-0563; recommended by Calvin Trillin as city’s best restaurant; specializes in Tehuantepec foods; make sure to order estafado (beef brisket) and anything with mole negro.
La Zandunga – corner Calle Garcia Vigil & Jesus Carranza; 011-52-951-516-2265; shabby-chic handful wooden tables dressed in bright paisley cloths; quintessential corner café; fills up with local families who come to sample simple and hearty dishes from istmo (state’s southeastern part around Tehuantepec); estofado, savory beef stew, recommended; start off with typical regional snack sampler plate, which comes with totopos (crunchy tortillas that originate on isthmus); daily specials may include mole; tangy tea made from hibiscus blossoms.

Casa Crespo – 107 Allende; 011-52-951-516-0918;; 4-hour cooking course in converted, colonial home; can learn to cook mole.
Fundacion en Via – 909 Avenida Juarez (Instituto Cultural Oaxaca); 011-52-951-515-2424;; local, “micro-finance” organization that helps rural women develop small-scale businesses; will arrange countryside, craft tours.

Amate Books – 507-A Alcala; 011-52-951-516-6960;; English-language bookstore.
Arte de Oaxaca – 105 Murguia; 011-52-951-514-0910;; local handicrafts.
Galeria Fe y Lola – 408 Calle 5 de Mayo; 011-52-951-524-4078;; family-run textile shop; organic-dyed, wool rugs.
Galeria Grafica Soruco – 104 Plazuela Labastida; 011-52-951-43-938;; local handicrafts.
Galeria Quetzali – 104 Constitucion; 011-52-951-514-2606;; local handicrafts.
Mercado de Abastos – 10 blocks west of zócalo (between Calle Mercaderes & periférico); local handicrafts available at sidewalk booths.
Mercado 20 de Noviembre – city block south of Aldama (between 20 de Noviembre & Cabrera Calles); family-run fondas (food stalls) sell Oaxacan staples.

ARIPO (Instituto Oaxaqueno de las Artesanias – 809 Calle Garcia Vigil; 011-52-951-514-0992;; craft emporium at hill top (near defunct aqueduct); black pottery, filigreed silver jewelry, and leather bags.
Basilica de la Soledad – 107 El Calvario (Centro Historico); 011-52-951-516-5076;; baroque basilica housing Virgin of Solitude statue (Oaxaca’s patron saint); according to legend, mule mysteriously joined mule train bound for Guatemala, and then perished at church’s site; thereafter, statue discovered in mule’s pack and event construed as miracle; commemorated by this church, built in 1682; many Oaxaqueños are devoted to Virgin, believed to have more than usual facility for healing and miracle working; in 1980s, thieves removed her jewel-studded crown; she now has replica and stands in glass-covered shrine; chandeliers inside held aloft by angels.
Casa Wabi – Carretera Federal Salina Cruz-Santiago Pinotepa Nacional, km 113 (Puerto Escondido);; (on road from Puerto Escondido, as it veers northwest toward Acapulco); art gallery; Casa Wabi is structure series governed by utopian principles of its owner, Mexican-born, Brooklyn-based artist Bosco Sodi; by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who designed everything from furniture to swimming pool.
Centro Fotografico – 116 Manuel Alvarez Bravo; 011-52-951-516-9800;; photo exhibitions and screenings in high-ceiling rooms clustered around courtyard pool.
Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán & Cultural Museum – Macedonio Alcalá (Centro Historico); 011-52-951-516-2991;; of Oaxaca’s 27 churches, none equals this one’s splendid interior; started in 1550s by Dominican friars and finished 1 century later; contains best period artists’ work; ornate plaster flowers and statue cover extravagantly gilded ceiling and walls; when sun shines through yellow stained-glass window, casts golden glow over interior, like baroque heaven vision; look at ceiling formed by choir loft to examine elaborate organizational Dominican order tree, which starts with Don Domingo de Guzmán, Saint Dominic himself; rooms that formerly constituted monastery now house Oaxaca Cultural Centre (founded with Oaxacan-born artist Francisco Toledo’s help); important pre-Columban artefact collection, including contents of Tomb 7 from nearby Zapotec site of Monte Albán.
Church Santo Tomas Xochimilco – Calle Gilberto Bolaños Cacho (Colonia Xochimilco); 011-52-951-518-5493; according to some, built over indigenous temple in 16th Century.
La Destileria Los Danzantes – Calle Pino Suarez (Santiago Matatlan, Tlacolula); 011-52-951-501-1184;; pelanque (mezcal distillery) open to public for tours.
Espacio Zapata – 509 Porfirio Diaz;; modern, "street art" prints.
Ethnobotanical Garden of Oaxaca – Reforma Esquina Constitucion (Centro, in former Santo Domingo Monastery); 011-52-951-516-5325;; not “European” - looks untamed.
Institute of Graphic Arts of Oaxaca – 507 Alcala (opposite Santo Domingo church); 011-52-951-516-6980 or 011-52-951-516-2045;; houses permanent collection of 5K works.
Jardín Conzatti – bounded by Avenida Independencia, Calle de Reforma, Calle Jacobo Dalevuelta & Calle Gómez Farias (in historic city center); peaceful area; fountain surrounded by bay trees; once estate of famous botanist and naturalist Don Cassiano Conzatti.
Mercado de Abastos – 10 blocks west of zócalo (between Calle Mercaderes & periférico); local handicrafts available at sidewalk booths.
Mercado 20 de Noviembre – city block south of Aldama (between 20 de Noviembre & Cabrera Calles); family-run fondas (food stalls) sell Oaxacan staples.
Mitla Ruins – San Pablo Villa de Mitla; 011-52-951-568-0316;; structure complext started by Zapotec and later taken over by Mixtec; striking architecture, which dates as late as 1500s, notable for exquisite greca workmanship on fine local volcanic stone; 1st structure you enter is Grupo del Norte, where Spanish settlers built Mitla’s Catholic cathedral literally on Zapotec structure’s top.
Museo de Filatelia de Oaxaca – 504 Reforma; 011-52-951-516-8028;; stamp museum.
Museo Textil de Oaxaca – 917 Hidalgo; 011-52-951-501-1104;; brilliant weavings from Teotitlan del Valle; excellent store and in-house, preservation workshop.
Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca – 202 Alcala; 011-52-951-514-2818;
Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Columbian Art – 503 Morelos; 011-52-951-516-4750;; founded by Rufino Tamayo; beautifully displayed, pre-Hispanic pottery and sculpture collection in carefully restored colonial mansion; courtyard, dominated by fountain guarded by stone lion quartet, is shaded with pink and white oleanders; especially interesting are tiny women figurines (with children) from Guerrero, some perhaps dating from more than 3K years ago, and smiling ceramic figures from Veracruz.
Palacio del Gobierno – Plaza de la Constitución (Centro Histórico); 011-52-951-501-8100;; on Zocalo’s south side; marble and murals wonder that houses lovely, modern Museo del Palacio; stairway mural by Arturo García Bustos depicts famous Oaxacans and Oaxaca history, including Benito Juárez and his wife, Margarita Maza, and José María Morelos, Porfirio Díaz, Vicente Guerrero (being shot at Cuilapan), and Juana Inés de la Cruz, 17th Century nun; exhibitions upstairs are stunningly modern and high tech, looking at Oaxacan (and indeed world) history with lots of hands-on displays for kids; also houses world’s largest tortilla.
San Antonio Arrazola – Zaacchila Road (southwest of Oaxaca, near airport);; village known as alebrijes’ birthplace; ask to see works by Don Manuel Jimenez, this style’s godfather.
San Bartolo Coyotepec – Carreterra Federal 175 (12 kms south of Oaxaca); village known for highly polished black pottery; look for signs saying Alfareria (pottery).
Tenochtitlan del Valle – 29 kms from Oaxaca, just north of Carreterra Federal 190 (near Mitla ruins); village known for tapetes.

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