The former sous chef at foodie-mecca Noma in Copenhagen, Rosio Sanchez can’t get enough of the rich culinary traditions and superb ingredients in Oaxaca, Mexico. Travels here inspired her to open a new taco stand, Hija de Sanchez, in Copenhagen. “In markets like Tlacolula, you can pick what you want and have it grilled right there,” she says. “I like to buy a big steak and then a tortilla, which I tear apart by hand.”

Reason to Celebrate
“I was so glad my trip overlapped with Oaxaca’s Día de los Muertos (Oct. 31–Nov. 2), a festive holiday that honors family members and loved ones who have died. In addition to the parades, the singing, and the celebrating, I got to taste pan de muertos, or bread of the dead, a sweetened roll that’s made with a dense dough and dipped in hot chocolate.”

Eat List
“The dish I like most at the rustic Itanoní Tortillería y Antojería is a simple quesadilla with cheese and hoja santa, an aromatic Mexican herb. The married couple who owns the restaurant uses heirloom corn from local sources. For the best mole, I head to the 100- seat Quince Letras, where Celia Florián makes it both in the traditional style and in new ways. Her Spanish-style mole with almonds and olives is delicious.”

Sweet Retreat
Casa Oaxaca has just nine guest rooms and feels very intimate, like you’re staying at a friend’s house rather than a hotel. The courtyard is so inviting—you’ll want to hang out there and drink mezcal all night (my favorite: Pierde Almas). Try the hotel’s restaurant, too: Chef Alejandro Ruiz presents Oaxacan cuisine in such a simple yet sophisticated way.”

Want more tacos? Check out our picks for the three most inventive new taquerias in the United States. 

Mole-mania, or, our favorite places to get mole that’ll blow your mind in Oaxaca. 

This story appeared in the August/September 2015 issue.