I love breakfast. My boyfriend is not a big fan. Anytime I ask him if a certain place is good for breakfast he says, “I don’t know, it’s breakfast,” with a shrug that indicates I might as well be asking him about the differences between the orange and red packets of top ramen.
But breakfast has the potential to make or break my morning, and when I only have a few mornings in a certain place, I’m looking for something that gets more than a shrug. Here are a few places to start your day in Oaxaca.
Jugos La Huerta (on the corner of Armenta y Lopez and Rayon)
Never has paying $10 and up for a juice in L.A. hurt so bad after coming here. This was my spot. Not only because it was one of the only morning beverage places in Oaxaca open before 8 a.m. but because all the juices were so well balanced. The minute you walk in a team of young guys and a woman in orange polos will ask you what you’d like, and if you want a half or whole liter. Sometimes if you get a half they’ll have extra in the blender and encourage you to drink some there so they can top you off. There’s a jumpin little before-work crowd, most people hang in the doorway and take juices to go but there are a few bar stools to sit.
It looks like they blend the fruit so that there’s some pulp, which actually makes the juices healthier. My favorites:
- Anemia: pineapple, alfalfa, apple, amaranth, spirulina.
- Verde: orange or grapefruit, celery, parsley, cucumber, nopal, chard, aloe, spirulina.
- Vampiro (this is a classic combo in Mexico): orange, carrot, pineapple, beet, apple. You can get extras too, like bee pollen for a few pesos.
Open at 6:30 a.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. on weekends.
This family-owned food stall in the La Merced market is no secret to the blogosphere, but I thought I’d join the chorus. This market is a relief from the crowded markets in the centro— you see where the produce and goods section ends and begins, and can easily wander through to the food stalls. Fonda Florecita is recognizable from the white wall signed by visitors and the bright pink piggy banks marked para los cocineros (for the cooks). I actually mostly went for lunch, but I know breakfast is their busy time. With a huitlacoche quesadilla and anything in their coloradito, you’ll be well on your way to a beautiful day.
I almost didn’t take my friend here because why go to a French bakery in Mexico when you have an abundance of them at home in California? Because this bakery is very good. A few cats from northern Mexico opened this spot up and it’s no wonder there’s a crowd of people cradling their red clay coffee mugs every morning. I got in the habit of grabbing a quick pastry, the caramel-colored rolls and fruit-topped pastries always hard to choose from. But you can also sit here, order some breakfast and coffee and watch the bakery at work from the wood bar. The bread loaves are rustic and beautiful, scored with leafy flourishes, and the baguettes— fluffy, airy, with a crumbly crust— are great road snacks with some lengua from Gourmand just up the street.
I’ll admit I was confused by Pan:am at first. I walked in one early morning and there was no bread on the shelves. A bakery not overflowing with bread and pastries first thing in the morning is usually a bad sign. However, my confusion turned to satisfaction while sitting in the colorful patio. I didn’t care where the bread was as long as some of it would make it to me. It was one of my last days in Oaxaca and to be honest, the heavy moles, meat and quesadillas were getting a little tired. So while avocado toast with salad and a garden omelette might not sound like anything special, believe me it was.
Itanoni specializes in heirloom corn varieties. In a time when it’s increasingly hard to find a good tortilla in Oaxaca, their menu couldn’t be more relevant. It’s an open patio restaurant, with the comal right in the middle, so you can watch the women work as they press and pat down a menu full of masa creations. The food here is simple, with a priority on letting the main ingredient shine: corn. The breakfast packages include juice and a hot beverage but don’t leave without trying the tascalate, a cold drink from Chiapas made of ground toasted corn, cacao, achiote, pine nuts, and cinnamon with milk or water.
It’s with some reservations that I recommend this place due to the abysmal service I had one time. There was this gringa we made fun of because at one point she was getting up and following around the waiter with a complaint, but then after 30 minutes and not even a cup of coffee I too was that annoying gringa. Damn. The other few times I’ve been the service was fine. So… go on a weekday?
Read my other post about this place here.