Secret Item at South L.A.’s Oaxacalifornia: Bread Dipped in Pickling Juice

Pucker up and taste the sour pleasures of piedrazos

It was the last day, and one of the last bites, of my quick Mexican trip that had me hopping on flights from Guadalajara to Acapulco to Oaxaca with a pair of drives to the towns of San Juana de Los Lagos, Jalisco, Chilpancingo, Guerrero and Tlacolula, Oaxaca. I’d been dying to try piedrazos or hard stones, which are hard pieces of bread dipped in pickling juice and served with the pickled vegetables from the same jar and some hot sauce. Sometimes quesillo (oaxacan cheese) and other Oaxacan delights are added, and the pieces of bread are used to sop up all that strong, dark pickling liquid.

In my several recent trips to Oaxaca, I’d either ran out of time or had not budgeted my caloric intake accordingly—hazards of trying out lots of food for a living. I wasn’t about to make that mistake again—this time it was in the budget, and at the famous Sunday market in Tlacolula, at Neveria Rosita. After quickly devouring this interesting dish Rosa said, “ you can get this in Los Angeles, you know? —At the Mercado La Paloma.” “Really? Oh, Oaxacalifornia,” I  yelled. “Yes, that’s my brother’s place.”

Oaxacalifornia is a Oaxacan fresh juice and sandwich stand in the center of the Mercado La Paloma, always flashing a rainbow of aguas frescas to customers as they enter the complex. In addition to a variety of Oaxacan tortas and some American classics like the club sandwich, piedrazos are an off-menu item he serves to those in the know—Oaxacans, during piedrazo season, from this August through September. Chefs in L.A. were pickling everything in recent years, so add this fun dish to your list of all things pickled and another bold taste of Oaxacalifornia, the community and the stand.

Oaxacalifornia, 3655 S Grand Ave, Historic South Central, 213-747-8622