R was feeling wiped and wanted to stay in so C and I decided an unplanned and random Dynamic Duo evening was in order.
We started by discovering the best taco stand, by far, so far…. most of the way through our trip of course.
C discovered a lovely rooftop bar above the taco stand, we let our empanadas settle a bit and watched the city for a while. An extremely unusual icy breeze came up and our waitress brought us heavy ponchos, which we needed, poor Canadians can’t handle the cold.
After 20 minutes the weird temp drop ended and the night returned to it’s normal 26c. We headed out again and accidentally ended up in a mezcaleria. I’ve avoided them to now as mezcal is not to my taste, basically anything with smoke it in tastes like dying to me. I’ve tried a lot of mezcal based cocktails both in Mexico City and here in Oaxaca City this trip and all have been rough, I do not understand smoky stuff. I asked Google if non-smoky mezcal is a thing and was assured by multiple articles that this is not a thing and that all mezcal is smoky.
This kinda seemed like bullshit though… non-smoky scotch is certainly a thing, and non-smoky cheese…. bacon…. anything with smoke seems logically to likely have a smokeless option. The world said no though.
Yup, total bullshit. We tasted 8 different local artisanal mezcals…. AND NONE OF THEM WERE SMOKY! Like, you could sorta get a hint of smoke from a few of them, barely. The bartender explained that the heavily smoked mezcals are really more of a thing with the industrial distilling process, and that the small producers do it much less often.
The flavours were amazing, we liked every single one, you can tell it’s a cousin to tequila for sure but there is a consistent difference too. Almost like comparing bourbon to Japanese whisky.
Our mezcal hostess poured some pretty generous tasters so we paced ourselves as best we could and stumbled back into the street a couple hours later. After a long walk in the cooling air to sober up a bit we came across a group of students graduating…. something, around midnight. C let them all know how proud we are of them, lol. Was a wonderful interaction, no idea what they were students of but they were so very proud to have their robes and mortars.
After ensuring the future intellectual wellbeing of Mexico is in good hands we headed off again and ended up at our favourite local bar, Los Coco, the bartender there, Rene, has kind of adopted us this trip and most nights we try to swing by to say hello at least once and pass pieces of life stories through the language barrier. He has invented a cocktail for R and we had a round of them in honour of our missing third member tonight.
We left Rene’s and popped into one of the oldest places in town, Mesa del Mezcal, C hadn’t been before so I enthralled her with the tale of how R impressed all the old guys at the bar last week, I’ll post that one later, hopefully I remember to mention the urinal in the middle of the room everyone can see you peeing at too. Our eyes were crossing a bit by this point and we headed back into the night, counting on the crisp night air to straighten our gait yet again.
We ended up further south, away from the tourist areas, in a local bar I don’t know the name of. I’ve definitely noticed at places like these that our presence results in a frosty reception but every single time that frost vanishes pretty quickly after some respectful behaviour, our best attempts at Spanish and just not being shitheads.
This time the frost stuck around a bit longer so I popped out the door to the woman selling candy on the corner and got a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates to share with the bar, it worked, really well, lol. Maybe too well.
To my memory C was the only woman in the bar that night, pretty quickly the saloon became a dance club with C taking turns with some extremely charmed local guys. Always interesting how much more English locals here speak after a couple beers. My Spanish gets better too.
The bar got a couple notches wilder and we decided it might be prudent to make our exit. You know that thing where you both assume the other has cash? Yeah… we had nothing.
I threw C back to the wolves and hustled out to find an ATM, I’ve had pretty shit luck with ATMs this trip, it’ll be a post of it’s own later. A few blocks away I found a working ATM and got cash, on the way back I walked past a lonely hamburger stand and had a flash of genius.
I figured if Ferrero Rocher was our in maybe burgers could be our out.
I ordered half a dozen burgers “todo”, meaning with EVERYTHING. Seriously, everything, lol beef, hot dog, corn, fried egg, grilled pineapple, onions, peppers, lime mayo, about 4 sauces, amazing.
As the chefs wrapped up the massive burgers to go I received a text from C “HUUUURRRRRAAAAAAAYUPPP!” and I trotted back to the bar. I gave the bouncer a burger to let me in and passed the rest out to the guys overactively admiring C on the dancefloor. We settled up and ran out while the quizzical looks were still firmly on the burger recipients faces.
We came across the burger chefs again and confused them further by plopping down on the curb and ordering two more todos.
A night can’t go better than this so we pulled the plug and headed back home as I have work in a few hours.