We recently traveled to Puerto Escondido for a much needed vacation. We booked the trip back at the end of the summer when I was deep in wedding season and when Josh was in talks of switching jobs. It was something to look forward to as we worked through daily work challenges. As our trip approached we decided that we should do some research for what to do while in Puerto Escondido. I had been before but that was back in 2008 so I was excited to see what had changed. While we booked an all-inclusive vacation for this trip, we aren’t really those people. We cannot stay still for too long and we are always wanting to discover new places and real, authentic culture.
When doing research for travel, social media is an awesome tool. It’s great because you get personal responses to your questions which makes it seem more authentic (at least to me). Josh sent out a tweet asking what we should do while in PE and not long after, we had an answer from @GoPuerto saying that we should check out a salsa demo with The Mexykan.
Of course my brain immediately went to the dancing kind of salsa and it made me laugh since I am probably one of the least graceful people (ask me about the time I tripped while walking and managed to skin all of my knuckles). Upon further research I realised that this was the food type of salsa and I knew that we had to do it. We love cooking at home and we often make Mexican food but we have never before tackled making our own salsa. I loved the idea of learning how to make the real thing.
Tony, the man behind The Mexykan, has a number of options for his classes. There is a simple demo one where he makes the salsa and you watch, there is a hands-on class where you participate in the making of the salsa and there is a hands-on class with a market tour. We opted for the middle option as we had already been to the market in Puerto Escondido and since I have been to a number of them throughout my travels in Mexico. We were there from 10:30am until nearly 4pm and it was wonderful.
The cost for the class was $69 USD or 1142 pesos each and we would make six salsas. It felt like a steal. The class takes place in Tony’s home and it happened to be a ten minute walk from our hotel which was very convenient. We paid cash for the class a couple of days earlier to secure our spot. Tony wasn’t there that day but the homeowner, Steve was. He took our cash for us and offered up some mezcal. We were pumped.
When we arrived a couple of days later for the class, Tony was already at it. He had everything organised and ready for us and was already cooking our first course of the day. On the big island in the kitchen, he had plates with peppers and other produce laid out – each containing the ingredients for each of the salsas that we would be making. He offered us a coffee right away as we settled in as well, there was a bottle of Mezcal out should we want any (this was Oaxaca after all!).
Throughout the course of the next few hours, we ate, shared stories and learned about making salsa. We learned how to work with different peppers and we learned what to do with them. I think that we had about five courses of food that day. Tony also gave us a tour of their back garden where they grow some pretty awesome plants and have chickens. They also have a pool, should you need it after all of that sitting and eating (and maybe a little too much mezcal).
Besides the delicious food, what made the day so awesome, was meeting Tony and really experiencing his passion for what he does. It’s such a magical thing when you meet someone who is doing exactly what they are meant to do in life. That energy is felt in his cooking and in the way that he talks about it and that energy has since been passed onto us as we prepare the food at our own home (in much colder Toronto!). (Yes, Tony later emails you all of his recipes!)
P.S. Did you know that you shouldn’t put lime or garlic in your guacamole? We learned to make guac the right way that day and now my life is forever changed. 🙂