No Pulque.. Today

Pulqueria MIKTLAN

Jim’s idea of planning consists of making sure he has his phone, wallet, keys (nod to Mr. Sandler) and nowadays a mask (PWKM), because it's mandatory in Oaxaca. Beyond that, there’s really no telling where we may end up. Regardless of what country we’re in, we do find some really cool places and meet some amazing people by aimlessly walking around. 

However I’m a planner, so every once in a while I need to fulfill this urge. So I planned an “Alisa day.” This is where Jim gets a day to relax from his usual unplanned agenda of walking around the city; where I make fun of him practicing his Spanish and follow his impromptu decisions that often leave us in the middle of nowhere hungry and thirsty! His reply when I told him was, “Great, you can practice your Spanish.” So, needless to say, the previous day I took extra time planning (checking menus, finding music and brushing up on my Spanish) in hopes of proving to him that planning has a purpose. 

We were to spend the afternoon at Miktlan Pulqieria where they serve Pulque, an ancient, alcoholic drink from the fermented sap of certain types of maguey (agave) plants. We would listen to live music and try different pulques and snacks. After that we would head to Guns and Beers and have pizza and beer on the rooftop while listening to live music. Then possibly visiting the Zocalo to grab a pastry for a late night goodie. 


We walked to the pulque bar only to be greeted with a white sign posted on the door, it was written in crayon and said, “Servicios Mañana.” The place was closed for the day. SHIT! I planned to spend two hours here, what now? Looking around, I suggest we cross the street to Los Michoacanos, they have birria’s. 

We are always in search of birria’s that are better than or close to the ones in Puerto Vallartas, these were not. I recomposed and went to the next stop on the list, Guns and Beers for some rooftop afternoon beer drinking and pizza. Plan still intact, just a little ahead of schedule.

I hail a taxi, say the customary cuanto cuesta? (How much) The driver replies, “Ochenta pesos.” I look at Jim because I am still not good with numbers and he gives me a look that says “Haggle.” NOPE, not going to haggle. Our rule is not to take a taxi over 100 pesos and I may not know numbers but I do know that number is under 100, cien. The taxi stops in front of the La Patrona. I look at Jim in a way that says this is not the place and he says, “Tell him that.” NOPE, out we go. 

In my defense, this place was once called Guns and Beers, now it’s La Patrona. I swear the reviews I read were recent and the building looked different, oh well, they had cold drinks and a rooftop. I ordered, in my best Spanish, two shots of tequila, a mojito and a beer. We were brought two pink drinks and a mojito that neither of us could stomach. Oh and also the wrong type of beer. While we sat there sharing the quickly warming beer I saw an Irish bar across the street and spontaneously decided that this is where we will go. Jim immediately says he already read the reviews, no bueno on food and no Guinness, still.. off we go.

McCarthy's Irish Pub had a pool, but it was right in the middle of the tv screens where everyone was watching futbol, holding their breath as some unknown goalie stood guard. There was also an unpleasant smell that I really can’t or maybe don’t want to remember. Let’s call it a “stank”. Plan is not going well. I thought we were deserving of two shots each, Jim picked one and I picked one. Jim goes first with a wonderful choice of a “Baby Guinness”. 

Not bad. Jim says, “ So where ya thinking of eating?” Oh shit, I haven't even planned that. My shots come next, a red fiery tomato juice concoction with a nasty taste, yuck!!! 

They had free WI-FI so we sat outside sucking in the fumes of the buses as I remember Jim saying he wanted to hit a local bar called Fitos. It looked fun. A quick search for Fitos, back across town, says they have food, music and drinks. Great, then we can just walk home. I suggested not eating at McCarthy's with overpriced crappy drinks. The food can’t be much better, but they did have Guinness. We both agreed. We were hungry. 

I told the taxi driver “Fitos” and asked how much. He tells me cincuenta (50), I look at Jim and I get a thumbs up. We slide in and are both happy to be heading to get a bite to eat. Half way through the ride Jim nudges me and says, “I don’t think we are going the right way.” I lean into the taxi driver and say “Fitos” again and he nods and says “Fitos.” I thumbs up Jim and see him just shake his head and roll his eyes. The driver stops and says “aqui.” Jim looks at me and points to a big sign on the building outside. I tell the driver “Fitos” not “Titos”. I think Jim intervened because I was hungry. 

Finally found Fitos, a small bar nearly empty, but they had a dart board. But no darts... We ordered drinks, vodka and lemonade. Got vodka, lime and mineral water. I asked about food. The kid went to the backroom to wake up someone. He came out and said no, but ended up bringing out a hot dog taco for each of us. They taste just like they sound. At that point we decided to get home and get some food. 

As Jim pulled out the phone to search he laughed and handed me the phone. WTF! Guns and Beers was right around the block...after further research there were two in town. The hot dog tacos held us over as we walked to end the night where I originally planned...whew a win for the day, still on track. 

 As we sat on the rooftop watching the band set up and waiting for our drinks, I shared with Jim my well thought out plans and we laughed. I thanked him for not laughing at me and having my back when I really needed it. 

As soon as our drinks came we did a “Cheers to Wednesday” in our broken Spanish. Not a minute later, lightning flashed across the sky and the entire group of people on the terrace went running downstairs, taking cover from the rain. We sat inside, listened to 90’s rock music and ate burnt chicken wings and waited out the rain. 

Once the rain stopped, we headed to the Zocalo to find some pastries and people-watch in the plaza. Not a pastry in sight, so we settled on a place to listen to live music and have a drink. They had roasted garlic! I love the places that serve roasted garlic as a is a definite must for garlic lovers… Two beers later we headed out of the main square to catch a cab. It was Wednesday after all and it was getting late. 

I gave the taxi driver the directions home and Jim says, “I have a surprise when we get home.” I so admire this man and I am humbled with a new appreciation for his spontaneous days. As I see a familiar building I tell the driver aqui (here) and I get out, Jim doesn’t move. I look inside and he says, “Here?”, I say, “aqui!” He pays the driver and gets out and we start walking to our door…..suddenly our door is a different door….wait...I look at Jim and we start laughing as I realize I got out on the wrong street. 

After walking a couple of blocks home, Jim surprised me with a wonderful peanut butter, chocolate chip, cupcake, pudding thing. 

It was delicious and was the perfect ending to the day of failed plans, closed bars, torrential downpours and hot dog tacos. There just might be something to this not planning thing. Still can't tell you what pulque taste like either. 


  1. Alisa-- I will extend your conclusion about Jim's lack of planning by pointing out the obvious:
    There isn't much difference in starting an adventure with NO PLAN, and having to scramble and think on-the-fly when your well-crafted PLAN goes off the rails! The only distinction might be the disappointment of one method versus the wonder/surprise of the other method. Love ya, Kiddo. Continue to have lots of fun (and adventures).


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