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Lunch coming down out of the mountains in Colorado…

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Tacos at Carniceria Sonora in Clifton, CO

Back in Oaxaca in time for a comida of September’s traditional dish…

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Chiles en Nogada at Las Quince Letras Restaurante in Oaxaca de Juárez

And, not to be left out, Argiope showing off her freshly caught brunch…

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Flies or bees or one of each on the terrace at Casita Colibrí

Gals, be they human or arachnid, have got to eat!

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Sunday was the last day of B’s Week in Oaxaca and he had some last-minute shopping to do.  Family back home had requested a stack of tlayudas (also spelled, clayudas), the 12″ diameter handmade and dried tortillas, and quesillo, Oaxacan string cheese.  The closest mercado to B’s hotel was Mercado de la Merced.  It’s one of the best in Oaxaca city — selling fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and dried chiles, healing herbs and incense, meats and poultry, breads and cheeses, baskets and oil cloth, housing juice bars and small restaurants (like the well-known Fonda Florecita), and more — almost everything one could ever need.  These mercados make shopping social and fun — way more enjoyable than impersonal supermarkets and shopping malls.

After purchasing the requested items and wandering up and down the maze of aisles, we returned to B’s hotel to off-load the cheese (hotel’s refrigerator) and tlayudas (spread out on the bed to dry).  Our appetites having been stimulated, we walked across the city to the off-the-beaten-path location of Criollo, the year-old creation of Chef Enrique Olvera (Pujol in Mexico City, Cosme in New York), Chef Luis Arellano (originally from the Cañana region of Oaxaca), and architect Javier Sánchez.

It was a good thing we were famished, as the 7-course tasting menu was more than enough.  However, each plate brought such deliciousness, we happily continued on.  And, the setting?  While on an extremely busy street, once one steps inside this modern take on the traditional colonial courtyard, a sense of peace takes over.  Sated, we wandered to their orchard at the back of the restaurant, where we were warmly greeted and offered a cup of poleo tea brewed in the outdoor kitchen set in the orchard.  Our hostess explained this kitchen allows for the traditional preparation of some of the menu items.  In addition, she pointed to another building that she explained was going to be a culinary bed and breakfast.

By the time we left Criollo, it was late afternoon.  Before B returned to his hotel and I to my apartment, we marveled at what a full, delicious, and delightful six days it had been.

Just a note:  A week isn’t nearly enough time to experience all that Oaxaca city and surrounding villages have to offer.  We never made it to the Sunday market in Tlacolula de Matamoros, Hierve el Agua, Centro de las Artes de San Agustín (CASA), the alebrije pueblos of San Martín Tilcajete and San Antonio Arrazola, San Bartolo Coyotepec for their black pottery and Museo Estatal de Arte Popular de Oaxaca (State Museum of Folk Art (MEAPO), Santa María Atzompa for green pottery and the archaeological site, the Pueblos Mancomunados of the Sierra Norte, and then there are the mezcal palenques in the valley of Oaxaca.  I guess B will just have to come back!

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Our first stop on day five of B’s Week in Oaxaca was the Palacio de Gobierno to see the magnificent Mural of Oaxaca history.  Ooops!  I had forgotten that the Government Palace was now closed to the public.  However, a polite appeal to see the mural, addressed to one of the guards by a couple of tourists (okay, one tourist and one resident), resulted in the guard receiving permission from a superior to let us in.  We were instructed, mural only!  We obeyed, walking only half-way up the grand staircase to take in the entire work of art.  I love this mural by Arturo García Bustos and hope the palacio will again be opened to the public.

Once we had finished marveling at the Bustos history of Oaxaca, we walked up the Macedonio Alcalá to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO) to check out the Espejos de Cal mural being painted in the courtyard by Jesús González.  Engrossed in watching the mural unfold and fascinated in the technique explained by the artist’s Russian assistant, we never made it inside this treasure of a museum.  Next time!

We strolled further up the Alcalá to the Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO), founded in 1988 by renown artist, philanthropist, and social activist, Francisco Toledo.  First we wandered through the exhibition rooms and then into the impressive library.  The 60,000+ books on art, architecture, design, photography, and much more is one of the most extensive arts-related collections in Latin America.  A photography professor friend raved to me about finding a book at IAGO that he had been searching for and B (the architect) was ooh-ing and ahh-ing at titles he eyed — and pulled a few off the shelves to leaf through.  IAGO also hosts lectures, conferences, musical performances, workshops, poetry readings, and film showings.

Needless to say, by the time we finally left, we were hungry.  Lucky for us, the acclaimed restaurant Pitiona was only a block away.  Born in Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, Chef José Manuel Baños spent time in Spain under the tutelage of innovative chefs Feran Adrià and Juan Mari Arzak.  However, as the name Pitiona (a native herb frequently used in Oaxacan cooking) suggests, the starting point for Baños is local ingredients.  The simple elegance of the old colonial building and attention to detail in table settings, service, and especially food, made for a sublime interlude in the day’s activities.

We descended the stairs of Pitiona to the sound of music coming from the atrium of Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán.  It was Saturday and that means wedding day at Santo Domingo – each featuring a band, folkloric dancers, marmotas (giant cloth balloons), bride and groom monos (giant puppets), a wedding procession down the Alcalá, and scores of tourists and locals stopping to watch — which we did, too!

Our final stop was at the photography museum Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo, another brainchild of Francisco Toledo.  The museum has over 18,000 photographs in its permanent collection, including by its namesake Manuel Álvarez Bravo, his first wife Lola Alvarez Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Tina Modotti, Guillermo Kahlo (yes, Frida Kahlo’s father), and Mary Ellen Mark.  Works from the collection and by photographers from all over the world are exhibited in galleries surrounding a beautiful courtyard featuring a reflecting pool.

However, that wasn’t the end.  After a siesta, we gathered with eight other diners for a Waje pop-up dinner.  The June menu was an homage to mole and the setting was at the restaurant Mezquite Gastronomia Y Destilado where Waje chef, José Daniel Delgado is the new chef.  As always, José Daniel and his Waje team provided a creative, delicious, and delightful evening.  An added bonus was being seated across from Jason Cox, co-owner and mezcal steward of El Destilado — a restaurant I definitely need to try.

Only one day left in B’s Week in Oaxaca.  Where to go?  What to do?  Stay tuned!

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Day four of B’s Week in Oaxaca had B relying on yours truly for the day’s sights and sounds.  Where to begin?  The answer, because it was near Casita Colibrí and we had just been to Mitla and Monte Albán, was the Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México Rufino Tamayo (Rufino Tamayo Museum of Prehispanic Art).  The collection is spread over five rooms surrounding a courtyard in a 16th century colonial building.  Each room is painted a different iconic Mexican color, chosen by the late Zapotec Oaxaqueño artist Rufino Tamayo, to highlight the pieces of his extraordinary collection.

Next we walked down to and through the iron gates, designed by Francisco Toledo, and across the brick pathway of the Centro Cultural San Pablo (Cultural Center of San Pablo).  We explored the interior rooms of this ex-convent, now an academic research and cultural center, that hosts concerts, lectures, exhibitions, and houses a library.  Pausing to rest, we took advantage of the cafe in the courtyard to order a couple of aguas.

Our thirst quenched, we walked around the corner to the Museo Textil de Oaxaca (Textile Museum of Oaxaca) to explore the ground floor and upstairs exhibitions of one of this textile lover’s favorite museums.  One of the exhibits was the stunning “Almas bordadas, vestido y ornamento en el Istmo de Tehuantepec” — displaying the iconic embroidered clothing of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.  (Think, the dress of Frida Kahlo.)

Forty-five minutes later, we were certifiably hungry and, lucky for us, Origen, restaurant of Top Chef Mexico 2016 winner, Rodolfo Castellanos, and one of my oft recommended restaurants in Oaxaca, was only a block away.  As always, its relaxing interior, attentive service, and delicious food provided a perfect respite.

Once rested and satiated, it felt good to set feet to pavement for the short walk to the Catedral Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption).  The cathedral towers over the zocaló and the Alameda.  The construction of this green cantera (stone) edifice began in 1535 and was consecrated on July 12, 1733.  It is dominated by a spectacular altar and lined, on both sides, with chapels — the most important being that of Señor del Rayo.  In addition, it is home to one of the historic pipe organs of Oaxaca.

After being wowed by the Cathedral’s soaring ceiling, altar, art, chapels, and organ, we crossed Independencia for a taste of the modern — the Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (Museum of Oaxacan Painters).  This, often overlooked, two-story restored colonial era mansion showcases the creativity and talent of Oaxaca’s painters.  I had been to the museum only a month before, but the exhibitions are ever-changing, and new artists were on display.

Of course, no day in Oaxaca is complete without a parade and we were not disappointed.  We departed the Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños to be greeted with a calenda (parade) by “Ranchu Gubiña” from Union Hidalgo in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region — attired in clothing similar to that which we had seen earlier in the day at the textile museum.  We had come full circle!

Another long day’s journey into evening….  However, we weren’t finished yet; two more days await!

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On day three of B’s week in Oaxaca, Benito (Discover Oaxaca) returned to pick us up a little after 9:00 AM.  We wound our way up to the archeological site, Monte Albán — the imposing former capital of the Zapotecs.  Construction of this commanding site, on top of an artificially flattened mountain, began around 500 B.C.  By 350-550 A.D., it had become the economic, political, and religious center for the Zapotecs, and one of the first urban complexes in Mesoamerica.  Though we were only there for two hours, I learned more from Benito than I had on my previous five or six unguided visits.  While we were there, a specially fitted drone (archaeocopter) was being used by archaeologists — the sound was annoying, but once we figured out it was for research, it became more tolerable and rather intriguing.  There is still so much to be uncovered!

Monte Albán – looking down onto the main plaza.

Coming down off the mountain, we took the scenic route, circling around the western base of Monte Albán, often bouncing along on dirt roads as we headed south to the Ex-monastery of Santiago Apóstol in Cuilapam de Guerrero.  Construction began on this massive and elaborate Dominican complex in 1556 but was temporarily halted in the 1570s and never resumed — leaving behind a towering roofless basilica, ornate frescoes, and a magnificent Gothic cloister.  There are several theories as to why it was never finished — lack of funds due to the extravagance, a dispute over land ownership, the decimation of the local indigenous population from 43,000 in the 1520s down to 7,000 in 1600, leaving few workers to construct it and natives left to convert.  Climbing the stairs up to the second story terrace yields an impressive view and site from which to contemplate the impact of the Spanish conquest.

Murals inside the Ex-monastery of Santiago Apóstol, Cuilapam de Guerrero.

After an hour of roaming through the unfinished remains of the Ex-monastery, we returned to the van for the 4-mile drive to Villa de Zaachila.  Thursday is market day and the village was alive with shoppers.  From where we parked, we walked through the market, with B marveling at all there was for sale — from fresh fruits and vegetables to tools and kitchen ware to clothing and needlework to…. And, we never even made it to the livestock market.

Moto taxis taking people to and from the tianguis on market day in Villa de Zaachila.

Once through the market, we walked past the church and up a hill to the small archaeological site of the last capital of the Zapotecs and later conquered by the Mixtecs, not long before the Spanish arrived.  It is mostly unexcavated, but has two small tombs that can be accessed.

Tomb 1 – The Owl (Tecolote, Búho) of Zaachila.

We were about to head to lunch, when we were waylaid by Benito’s inquiry if we knew about and would like to see the Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) murals decorating the walls of Calle Coquiza — a street that connects the church with the municipal cemetery.  Of course we responded that we would love to see them!  If you are in Zaachila, they are worth checking out.  You can see more of the murals on my blog post, Muertos murals in Zaachila.

Muertos mural along Calle Coquiza, Villa de Zaachila.

We were starving by the time we had walked the length and back of Calle Coquiza, so we made a beeline for the van that would take us to Restaurante La Capilla de Zaachila.  It felt so good to sit, relax, and eat!

Tortilla Zachileña de guisado al horno.

It was a fairly quiet return to the city — we were satiated by food, sights, and information.  However, following a few hours of rest, B and I met up again to stroll down to the zócalo, sip mezcal on rooftop terrace of Casa Crespo  — though the music was a bit loud, the mezcal was good and the view of Santo Domingo couldn’t be beat.

By the way, this day’s travels took us to many of the major sites where the legend of Donaji takes place.

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Recently, as previously mentioned, a friend came to visit for a week.  It was B’s first time in Oaxaca and we packed a lot of sightseeing and delicious dining into just six days.  B is an architect and, among other things, is an archeology buff, so those interests helped shape our itinerary (as in, not a shopping expedition).  Naturally, the six days sailed by, but the sailing was so smooth and flowed so well that it occurred to me a blog post chronicling our adventures might be helpful to future visitors and hosts.

B arrived on a Monday night, so Day 1 began the next morning, when we rendezvoused on my terrace so he could begin to get his bearings as I pointed out landmarks.  Our first stop was to gaze at the gold and gilt interior and up at the impressive family tree that decorates much of the ceiling of Santo Domingo de Guzmán.

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Santo Domingo de Guzmán and its former monastery.

After being thoroughly wowed, we went next door to the former monastery, now the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca.  Arranged in historical epochs, the 20+ rooms are an historical treasure trove that include treasures excavated from Tomb 7 at Monte Albán.  Also on the extensive grounds is the glorious Jardín Etnobotánico, an impressive ethnobotanic garden of plants native to the state of Oaxaca.  While we had no time to take a tour of the garden (the only way to visit), the views from the museum are spectacular.

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Looking down on the Jardín Etnobotánico from the Museo de las Cultures de Oaxaca

Leaving the museum, we strolled down Oaxaca’s walking street, Macedonio Alcalá (aka, Andador Turistico), across the zocaló, past the Palacio de Gobierno, to the Mercado Benito Juárez.  Besides the fact that I was almost out of coffee beans and needed stop by El Grano de Oro to replenish my supply, in my humble opinion, the mercado is a “must see” for any visitor.  Feeling a bit parched and ready for a break, we pulled up stools at Casilda Aguas Regionales and had to choose from their dazzling selection of fresh aguas. Refreshed, we resumed exploring the aisles of fruits and vegetables, fish and meats, clothing and jewelry, fresh flowers and souvenirs, mezcal and quesillo, and more.

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Aguas lined up on the counter of Casilda Aguas Regionales

Hungry, tired, and on sensory overload, we walked back up the Alcalá to the tranquility, innovative architectural design, and savory flavors of Los Danzantes — the complementary mezcalito was an added bonus!  Our late afternoon comida was a leisurely affair, as we reviewed the day and made plans for the next.  B worried that we might be lingering too long, but I assured him, unlike the USA, restaurants in Mexico don’t rush diners.

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Retractable ceiling and modern take on adobe walls at Oaxaca’s Los Danzantes restaurant

It was a lovely and delicious way to end the day.  Stay tuned for Day 2, as we headed out of the city….

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As you know, I love the food of Oaxaca.  However, having spent most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to cuisine from all over the world, there are times when the palate craves a little international flavor.  So, I was delighted to finally try the Indian restaurant, Mini Taj, located in the Plaza Bugambilias building at Garcia Vigil 304, between Matamoros and M. Bravo.

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Opened in 2012 (yes, I’m late to the party), it is the delicious creation of Chef Ramesh Chawla.  Originally from Haryana, India, he was born into a caste of chefs and has been cooking and refining his talents since he was twelve years old.  Chef is very exacting in his flavors and travels to the USA every two months to personally source the herbs and spices needed for his recipes.

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It is well worth it.  The Chicken Tikka Masala that I had last week and the Lamb Korma and Lamb Rogan Josh that my amiga J and I shared today were all exquisite.  The Steamed Basmati Rice and Naan were perfectly prepared and the Mango Lassi is one of the most refreshing beverages one could ever hope to drink.  If you don’t believe me, check out the rave reviews on Trip Advisor.  So get thee to Mini Taj and never mind the current road construction.

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Mini Taj is open 11 AM to 10 PM, Monday through Sunday.  Spread the word and, as their website says, “Be prepared to be blown away.”

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Day three of Oaxaca Sabe took me to meet a gal pal for comida at El Olivo.  She has become a regular there but I hadn’t yet been to their new location on Constitución and was pleasantly surprised by the sophistication and warmth of the space.  After several sips of a nice glass of Tempranillo (included in the prix fixe menu) and conversation, our divine starters arrived…

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Rollo de quesillo relleno de huitlachoche con puré aguacate y ensalada de arúgula (Roll of quesillo cheese stuffed with corn smut, garnished with avocado puree and arugula salad)

As I’ve mentioned before, I have become a huitlacoche enthusiast and thus savored the mushroomy corn flavors.  The main course was Ballotine de lomo de cerdo acompañado de pure de manzana y piña asada con reducción de pomelo y zanahorias horneadas (Rolled pork loin accompanied by applesauce and roasted pineapple sauce with a grapefruit reduction and baked baby carrots).  Dessert, which I “forced” myself to eat, was a yummy Tarta de manzana al cardamomo (Cardamom apple tart).

Then there was yesterday’s comida with my recently returned (from el norte) blogger buddy Chris.  On the seventh day of last spring’s Oaxaca Sabe, we were tired but determined to continue our restaurant-a-day record and had somewhat randomly chosen Sabina Sabe.  It was a great decision and so was yesterday’s return.  I began with the Crema de mejillones al vino blanco con crotones de pan amarillo (Cream of mussels in white wine soup with croutons) — not very photogenic, but muy sabrosa.  It was followed by…

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Trucha en vara, asada con chimichurri de poleo (Trout on a stick grilled with a chimichurri sauce of pennyroyal)

It was my second trout meal in less than two weeks, was cooked to perfection, and the poleo offered an unexpected, but welcome, flavor to the chimichurri.  Have I mentioned, how much I love how Oaxaca Sabe affords being exposed to new restaurants and the way their chefs combine and create with familiar and new (to me) ingredients?  My dessert, was another yummy delight…

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Dulce Istmeño de yuca y piña con cada y coulis de zarzamoras (Dessert from Isthmus of Tehuantepec of yucca and pineapple with blackberry coulis)

Today, I was up early for this year’s fifth Viernes del Llano promenade and competition, where I again rendezvoused with Chris.  Once it was over, we walked up to El Asador Vasco Plaza Parque in Colonia Reforma for a Oaxaca Sabe desayuno (breakfast).  Seated on their terrace, amidst the chatter and laughter of other patrons, we were quickly provided with coffee and jugo primavera (spring fruit juice).

Our first course of copa de yogurt con fruta y granola (yogurt with fruit and granola) was layered in a wine goblet, with small bowl of honey and honey dipper to the side.  It was lovely to look at, but after an hour and a half of taking photos of the young women parading around the statue of Benito Juárez in Llano Park, neither one of us remembered to take out our cameras until we had finished it.  However, we were camera-ready for our main course…

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Huevos César (Bacon coddled egg on a potato pancake served of a bed of greens)

Coffee was refilled and the final and sweet course arrived.  Though I’d already eaten more than I ever eat for breakfast, I did manage a few bites of the panqué de naranja con mermelada de la casa (Orange cake served with a red fruit marmalade).  The entire meal was a delicious way to start the day!

Mañana?  Who knows where Oaxaca Sabe will take us…

 

 

 

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Early this morning, I bid my BFF a fond farewell after a fun, freezing (more about that another day), and food filled two weeks.  Delicious dining options are few and far between in her neck of the woods — the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska.  So, the aforementioned cooking class and restaurants were at the top of her list.  We made the most of her time here with comidas at Biznaga, Las Quince Letras, Restaurante Catedral, and Zandunga, along with some tasty street food up in the mountains in Capulalpam and Llano Grande (the chilly part of her visit).

And, as luck and good timing would have it, Oaxaca Sabe (Oaxaca’s version of restaurant week) opened two days ago.  Thus, it was Tres Bistro on Monday.  She had the “Aire” (Air) and I had the “Mar” (Sea) menu.  All of our choices were prepared and presented to perfection and left both of us stuffed and smiling.

Rollitos de salmón al eneldo (Salmon rolls with dill cream cheese)

Rollitos de salmón al eneldo (Salmon rolls with dill cream cheese)

Captura del día rellena de mariscos (Fish of the day stuffed with seafood)

Captura del día rellena de mariscos (Fish of the day stuffed with seafood)

Panna cotta de coco con coulis de jamaica (Coconut panna cotta with a coulis of hibiscus flowers)

Panna cotta de coco con coulis de jamaica (Coconut panna cotta with a coulis of hibiscus flowers)

Tuesday, we had planned to go to Casa Crespo but when we arrived at 3 PM, they explained the Oaxaca Sabe menu would not be ready until 6 PM, because they were conducting a cooking class.  There were rumblings coming from our stomachs and BFF had to finish packing, so we opted not to wait and, instead, took ourselves to La Olla.  We ran into chef/owner Pilar Cabrera as we arrived, were seated upstairs, and were greeted from across the room by expat foodie friends, who were also enjoying the Oaxaca Sabe menu.

BFF began with the Ensalada de tomates criollos, quintoniles cenizos, arúgula y aderezo de tomate riñon (salad of native tomatoes, native Mexican greens, arugula, with a tomato dressing) and I had the Sopa de garbanzo (garbanzo bean soup).  I was expecting a heavier creamy blender soup, but this was an extremely light and flavorful broth.  However, it wasn’t very photogenic, so I will leave it to your imagination.  On the other hand, my main course and dessert both looked lovely and tasted yummy.

Camarones al mojo de chile meco (Shrimp with dried smoked chiles)

Camarones al mojo de chile meco (Shrimp with dried smoked chiles)

Panacotta de tejate (Tejate flavored pana cotta)

Panacotta de tejate (Tejate flavored pana cotta)

By the way, BFF raved that her main course of Amarillo con flores de calabaza rellenas de requesón (Squash blossoms stuffed with cheese in a yellow mole sauce) had the lightest tempura-like batter she had ever tasted.

Oaxaca Sabe again so soon?  Yippee!!!  Today, I’m off to El Olivo with another friend.  I’ll keep you posted…

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Yesterday, we ended our Oaxaca Sabe journey at Origen, the creation of celebrated owner/chef, Rodolfo CastellanosP1140365 Here, we had a choice between three items for each course.  Hmmm, we should have invited a third person to join us!  I began with a salad filled with tiny wild and incredibly flavorful mushrooms.  The combination of textures and flavors was brilliant.

Ensalada de hongos serranos, toronja , pepitas y manzanita criolla (Wild mushroom salad, grapefruit, local apple puree and pumpkin seeds)

Ensalada de hongos serranos, toronja, pepitas y manzanita criolla (Wild mushroom salad, grapefruit, local apple puree and pumpkin seeds)

Though the spaghetti and meatballs tempted me (who wouldn’t want to see what a renown Mexican chef does with this Italian/American classic), Chris took care of that.  Besides, I’d already decided on pozole, a Mexican comfort food that dates back to Pre-Hispanic days.  And, it was sublime!

Pozole verde de pescado (Fish of the day in green pozole)

Pozole verde de pescado (Fish of the day in green hominy soup)

My dessert wasn’t very photogenic but it tasted divine and those meringue wafers melted in the mouth.

Sopa fría de durazno, espumoso, merengue y yogurt (Chilled peach soup, fresh fruit, meringue wafers and frozen yogurt)

Sopa fría de durazno, espumoso, merengue y yogurt (Chilled peach soup, fresh fruit, meringue wafers and frozen yogurt)

We were seated upstairs in a light and airy dining room at a table affording a view of the comings and goings along Avenida Miguel Hidalgo.

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Origen provided a lovely and delectable conclusion to our journey through Oaxaca city’s finer dining scene for only 250 pesos (US $14.62) per meal, including beverage.  Now, when asked, I have more restaurant recommendations to give — and that’s what restaurant week is all about!

However, I’m looking forward to getting back to the mercados and street food.  ¡Buen provecho a tod@s!

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Dare I admit…  It took a couple of phone conversations with blogger buddy Chris on Sunday to motivate us to keep our Oaxaca Sabe restaurant-a-day streak going.  Who knew it would be so tiring to dine, photograph, and write about diverse and delicious meals???

We decided to rendezvous at Sabina Sabe — a restaurant that we knew nothing about, but was casual and offered interesting menu choices.  I chose the vegetarian and, while not on the menu, its starter was a light and flavorful salad.

Mixed greens with apples and dried cranberries

Mixed greens with apples, figs, and dried cranberries

I love huitlacoche and my main course did not disappoint.

Gratín de papa con huitlacoche y adobo de chile guajillo (Potato gratin with

Gratín de papa con huitlacoche y adobo de chile guajillo (Potato gratin with “corn smut” and dressing of guajillo chili)

The meal concluded with a yummy dessert.  We spotted the smiling chef Miguel Jiménez in the kitchen as we left and gave him a thumbs up for our delicious meals.

Gaznates rellenos de mouse de almendra con salsa de chocolate amargo (Cannoli stuffed with almond mousse with dark chocolate sauce)

Gaznates rellenos de mouse de almendra con salsa de chocolate amargo (Cannoli stuffed with almond mousse with dark chocolate sauce)

By the way, I gather that Sabina Sabe used to be on the zócalo, however now it is located on 5 de mayo, across the street from Mujeres Artesanas de las Regiones de Oaxaca (MARO) — you can’t miss the building’s aqua color!

P1140319Today, there is no question, we WILL be going to our eighth and final restaurant during Oaxaca Sabe.  Stay tuned…

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Yesterday, albeit with flagging energy, blogger buddy Chris and I climbed the narrow winding staircase that looks down into the tiny kitchen, making our way to the rooftop terrace of Casa Crespo for day six of our odyssey through Oaxaca’s Oaxaca Sabe restaurant scene.  However, we perked up when our personable and efficient waiter brought up the fixings for my starter course and a show began.

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Table side preparation of a Prehispanic soup unique-to-Oaxaca

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Hot river stone dropped into the broth

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Seafood cooks and vegetables wait to be added to bubbling broth

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Caldo de piedra (Stone soup)

Yes, it was as delicious as it looks, as was my entrée.

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Estofado de bodas con pure de papa istmeño (Wedding stew, accompanied by mashed potatoes in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec style)

And then came the divine dessert…

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Helado de chocolate de metate (Chocolate ice cream, ingredients ground using a metate)

You can check out Chris’s blog for the spectacular rooftop view and the alternate menu.  And, yes we shared!  Another day, another tasty  meal…

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Yesterday was day five of Oaxaca Sabe and restaurant number five for your intrepid foodies.  Yes, we are still on a-restaurant-a-day pace.   Our choice?  Tres Bistro, or as the sign says, Tr3s 3istro.

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We had watched as this second floor space above Del Jardín was renovated two years ago and a visiting gal pal and I had eaten there in July 2014.  While the food was delicious, the cacophony coming from the occupied zócalo (pirated CDs blasting, amplified speeches blaring, etc.) through the balcony’s giant open sliding glass doors made it a less than pleasurable experience.

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However, currently all is quiet on the zócalo front, save for the occasional marimba players, and the menu beckoned.  Thus we decided to give it a try.  We climbed the beautifully designed curving wooden staircase under the portales and were seated at the second from the left table above.  Chips, salsas, and herb butter for our choice of flavorful breads soon followed.

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Choices made from the Oaxaca Sabe menu, the fun began!  My first course…

Laminado de pulpo con mojo verde, aceite de cacahuate, rábanos y cilantro (Rolled octopus with green sauce, peanut oil, radishes and cilantro)

Laminado de pulpo con mojo verde, aceite de cacahuate, rábanos y cilantro (Rolled octopus with green sauce, peanut oil, radishes and cilantro)

My entrée…

Risotto de gorgonzola con camarones (Gorgonzola risotto with shrimp)

Risotto de gorgonzola con camarones (Gorgonzola risotto with shrimp)

And, my dessert…

Panacota de frutos rojos y coulis de fresa (Panna cotta of red fruit with strawberry coulis)

Panacota de frutos rojos y coulis de fresa (Panna cotta of red fruit with strawberry coulis)

For Chris’s menu choices, see his blog post, Oaxaca Sabe – Oaxaca knows….. food!… Day 5 – Tres Bistro.  I’ve got to say, the portion sizes were more generous than we’ve become used to and we pushed away from the table feeling quite sated.

Many thanks to chef Fermín López Damián, who was born in the Sierra Norte region of Oaxaca, for a delicious, relaxing, and thoroughly enjoyable dining experience.

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Another day another Oaxaca Sabe lunch.  Yesterday, along with a couple of friends, we celebrated the ## birthday of blogger Chris at Luvina.

The birthday boy!

The “gifted” birthday boy!

As you can see below, the menu chef Carlos García created was beautifully presented, imaginative and, I can assure you, muy sabrosa.  Our first course was out-of-this world, in my humble opinion.

Arroz cremoso con legumbres, calamares y mollejas asadas (Creamy rice with vegetables, grilled calamari and sweetbreads)

Arroz cremoso con legumbres, calamares y mollejas asadas (Creamy rice with vegetables, grilled calamari and sweetbreads)

Ahhh… Which main course to choose?  I chose the rabbit and, naturally, sampled a table mate’s sea bass.  Both were delicious.

Conejo chimeco con verduras rostizadas con manteca de pato (Rabbit with roasted vegetables and duck fat)

Conejo chimeco con verduras rostizadas con manteca de pato (Rabbit with roasted vegetables and duck fat)

Robálo al pastor con chichilo negro (Sea bass with chichilo mole)

Robálo al pastor con chichilo negro (Sea bass with chichilo mole)

The dessert got mixed reviews, but I liked the lightness of the brioche.  And, yes, the birthday boy’s came with a candle!

Espuma de requesón con bizcocho de pan brioche (Foam of ricotta with a cake of brioche)

Espuma de requesón con bizcocho de pan brioche (Foam of ricotta with a cake of brioche)

It’s somewhat out-of-the way location (off Republica on the block-long Mártires de Tacubaya and across the street from the Kiss the girl goodbye mural) shouldn’t hinder a visit to this light and airy restaurant. By the way, the service was excellent.

 

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It’s Wednesday and day three of the Oaxaca Sabe restaurant festival.  Yesterday, we dined at Pitiona, one of Oaxaca’s most sophisticated and innovative restaurants.  Chris, my partner in blogging and food-fest dining crime, beat me to the punch in posting photos of our meal, so I will let his entry speak for both of us.

Today, our Oaxaca Sabe choice was La Olla, one of Oaxaca’s best known restaurants with one of her best loved chefs, Pilar Cabrera at the helm.  Here, we were offered an either/or choice for each of the three courses, so I ordered “either” and Chris ordered “or.”  Thus, I began with a salad that tasted as delicate and flavorful as it looked.

Ensalada de durazno y queso istmeño (Salad of peaches and cheese from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec)

Ensalada de durazno y queso istmeño (Salad of peaches and cheese from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec)

I’m a sucker 😉  for octopus and this was cooked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection and saucing it with the “usually reserved for special occasions” chichilo mole, provided the taste buds an unexpected flavor explosion.

Chichilo servido con pulpo y arroz (Chichilo mole served with octopus and rice)

Chichilo servido con pulpo y arroz (Chichilo mole served with octopus and rice)

And then there was dessert.  I opted for the tiramisu, which is an old favorite of mine.  It did not disappoint and its layers looked lovely served in a glass, garnished with coffee beans and a single viola blossom.

Tiramisú oaxaqueño (Self explanatory, methinks)

Tiramisú oaxaqueño (Self explanatory, methinks)

Our compliments to chef Pilar Cabrera and muchisimas gracias for a delicious dining experience.  We are sorry to have missed you!

As our meal came to a close, we poured over the Oaxaca Sabe list of restaurants and their menus.  More to come.  What can I say?  This is yummy and fun!

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