Postcards from Oaxaca, Mexico: Restaurants from the letter A through Las

Above: Zandunga chicken at La Biznaga

We’ve been visiting Oaxaca off and on for several decades, yet never tire of the food. For some arbitrary reason, or maybe so as not to appear arbitrary, I’m going to offer up a menu of restaurants in alphabetical order spread over two volumes.

Our first rental on this trip was next door to a new rooftop restaurant and bar that packed people in at night. We went up for lunch though and found Agavero Cocina y Bebidas a rather peaceful outdoor space.

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Postcard from Mexico City: Yes, they’ve got it for sale

Opportunities to buy things large and small present themselves almost every few steps you take in Mexico City.

The city is famed for its street food and inventive ways to sell it, such as the motorized empanaderia. We stumbled across one food truck that sported a second story with stools and a counter for rooftop dining (sorry, no photo). It’s amazing how one can start with a healthy mango and add layers of psychedelic toppings to completely disguise the fruit at its base. Vibrant colored chips and doodles fail to convince they are high in beneficial beta carotene.

Never tempted to hire a clever all-weather pedicab, but did keep envisioning mounting the trio of horses in Chapultepec Park corralled by a vendor for photos for a fee, the perfect souvenir to share on facebook for holiday greetings. But, alas, the Mister and nuestra hija declined. Bet they are sorry now that Christmas is almost here.

Chocolates and Proyecto 125 wines were about our only purchases outside of restaurants. Kind of wondering if we should have succumbed to the numerous offerings of loteria tickets. Potential winnings look so impressive when promoted in pesos.

Postcard from Parma, Italy: Festivals fill the streets with art and regional flavors

Beginning in early April, for 45 days contemporary art popped up in public spaces and unexpected places throughout the city as part of Parma 360. Although the event map listed 40 venues, we tended to stumble upon them rather randomly.

Man cannot live on art alone. In the midst of the art events, Parma hosted its three-day Street Food Festival with approximately two dozen food trucks and portable booths in Piazzale della Pilotta in the shadow of the Farnese Palace. Street food in Parma covers a broad sweep of flavors. In addition to burgers and brews, vendors offered some of the region’s finest hams, cheeses and wines.

Am still unsure whether the clever plays on the “do not enter” signs we encountered in our immediate neighborhood were part of Parma 360 or vigilante street art, but hope they remain past yesterday’s closing of the festival.