Monday, March 9, 2009

El Asador Vasco--Peoples Watching

Whether it is night or day in Oaxaca, you will find the most action in the Zucolo. The Zucolo is a common feature in most Mexican cities and is simply a park in the middle of the city—which is lined on two sides by a church and government center and on the other by restaurants. Never has there been such a fine pairing between religion, politics and good food.   

On one of those dry desert evenings, just about around twilight, the Palateers decided to sit under the shadow of the great old church, at the El Asador Vasco, and soak up the scene.  Sitting street level, we observed the full spectrum of Oaxacan life unfold in almost a synchronized ballet.  First a quintet of cowboys came strolling by and played a set of fine Banda music. While they were mid-way through a half-decent rendition of De Rodillas Te Pido, old Zapotec women, their faces etched with deep sun wrinkles, peddled local handicrafts.    

The sun was getting low, and the park was soon filled with lovers strolling hand in hand. In one corner, a full orchestra band had started to play.  Old couples arose from park benches and began a slow waltz. For the past hour, we had barely finished our Micheladas, a mixture of beer, lime juice, salt, hot sauce and clam juice, but had managed to put pack two tequilas which had helped to cut the cold air.    

For dinner, we ordered the Oaxaca carne asada and a hamburger.  The carne asada was a salty piece of grilled meet with a nice medley of typical sides including mole, cheese in a spicy sauce, avocado and rice. The burger was decent.   The meal was good, but the scene was what was truly memorable.  Sit down and absorb the flavor of mexico, for simply the price of a beer.     

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