Lunch with the Locals

We stepped from the blazing sun through a shaded doorway, our eyes slowly adjusting to the scene around us. Warm introductions followed and our bellies rumbled. We were here to EAT.

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Sometimes, when randomly surfing the web, you come across something of such interest that it simply speaks to you. You ask WHY have I not heard of this before? Traveling Spoon is one such company.

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The joint brainchild of Aashi and Steph, Traveling Spoon grew out of their disappointment at traveling around the world, and feeling as though they were unable to experience a true, home cook type of experience. They began small and have since recruited home cooks in 18 countries around the world, locals willing to allow travelers into their home to share their recipes, and their love of cuisine and culture.

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After contacting the company, we were delighted to be asked to act as ambassadors for them in vetting a new, potential, home cooking experience in Oaxaca. Thus began one of our most enjoyable afternoons in all of our time in Oaxaca.

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We arrived at El Barbario and were warmly greeted by Ricardo and Antonio. These lovely men are a bit unusual in that El Barbario actually operates as a small restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights, so they go a bit above and beyond merely being home cooks.

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The Traveling Spoon experience can vary by home cook. Sometimes, such as in our case, this may include a bit of cooking by all participants, but can often just be a meal and conversation. Other experiences are run more as a cooking class, and some even include a market visit to start.

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It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. We learned about eachother, sharing tales of travel and cooking. Jim crimped memelita edges, and I pressed tortillas. Lunch was delicious, and lengthy, with multiple courses and a variety of dishes such as salsa de huevo, a tomato based dish served with black beans and an omelet. We snacked on chapulines (fried grasshoppers, a local favorite) and locally made cheese in between courses of empanadas (what we call quesadillas) and the previously mentioned memelitas, a type of open face quesadilla.

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The delightful afternoon ended with rose ice cream, a miracle I had never before encountered. Imagine, if you will, closing your eyes and burying your face in the most fragrant bunch of roses you have ever encountered. Now imagine that you can literally TASTE that smell and you have rose ice cream. It was transformative, to say the least.

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We eagerly await new adventures with this inspiring company. Truly, most travelers are looking for a real connection, and Traveling Spoon manages to create just that.

As Traveling Spoon Ambassadors we did not pay for our experience, but all opinions are our own.

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4 thoughts on “Lunch with the Locals

  1. That’s a really interesting concept – a meal with the locals around the world. I’ll check out the Traveling Spoon. We had a similar ice cream in Iran, made with Rose Water, but you completely lost me with munching on grasshoppers. I am “not” that adventurous when it comes to eating. 🙂

    • You should. I really wish we’d known about them earlier because we would have signed up for some of their experiences as we traveled. LOL, we have had ants before, and ate some ginormous slug things in a tomato sauce in Africa so really, the grasshoppers were no biggie. And, if you didn’t know what they were, you’d think it was some sort of odd, salted nut. You might need to check them out!

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