Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘food’

Blogger buddy Chris and I were filled with wonder and gratitude to be invited to the home of Fidel Cruz and María Luisa Mendoza, primero (first) mayordomías (sponsors/stewards), for a 3-day fiesta honoring the Virgen de Guadalupe.  There were orchestrated rituals of seating, music, and dance; a bounty of some of the best cocina Zapoteca food one could ever hope to eat; hundreds of people from small children to great grandparents; and the most amazing warm, welcoming, and communal spirit.

El atole de espuma

El atole de espuma

Higaditos waiting to be served

Higadito waiting to be served

Poultry hanging around, awaiting their turn

Poultry hanging around, awaiting their turn

Canastas (baskets) used to bring food, dishes, and serving pieces

Canastas (baskets) used to bring food, dishes, and serving pieces

Chile spiced oranges and cucumber to cleanse the palate

Chile spiced oranges and cucumber to cleanse the palate

Never ending piles of dishes waiting to be washed by a myriad of women's hands

Never ending piles of dishes waiting to be washed by a myriad of women’s hands

It was an amazing couple of days!  And these still lifes only begin to tell the story.  I promise more, but in the meantime, check out Oaxaca-The Year After.

Save

Read Full Post »

The rainy season has come and with it, the emergence of chicatanas (also known as, tzicatanas) — a pre hispanic insect delicacy in this corner of the world.  My first experience with these giant “flying ants” was at the Oaxaca airport five or six years ago, where I was greeted with, what can only be characterized as, an infestation.  They were flying through the terminal, crawling on the floor, and being chased by toddlers to teens, as adults watched in amusement.  Since then, I’ve come to know and even love these little critters — especially in salsas and mole.

P1190704

Two years ago, I awoke to my own infestation on the terrace.  However, yesterday morning only a lone female chicatana put in an appearance.  Darn, just when I’d actually considered gathering them up like these children and attempting to make chicatana salsa!

Save

Read Full Post »

A pause in the Cuba coverage to echo Dorothy, “There’s no place like home” — especially if that home is Oaxaca.  I needed (yes, needed!) chocolate and coffee and, thus, headed toward the Benito Juárez and 20 de noviembre mercados.  As always, even just a grocery shopping trip is a feast for the senses.

P1190316

First, a calenda on Calle Independencia of students, academics, and workers to launch the registration of candidates for rector of Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca (UAJBO).

P1190325

A peek into el pasillo de las carnes asadas (ahhh, the smells) in 20 de noviembre mercado, while waiting for my chocolate guy to finish with other customers.

P1190329

A look at the finished murals (and merchandise) in a newly opened shop at Calle Macedonia Alcalá 100.

P1190332

Stopping to gaze up at the “Aves Sin Paraíso” exhibition above the Alcalá.

 

P1190340

Almost back to Casita Colibrí, a new stencil at the corner of Morelos and Tinoco y Palacios.

By the way, I got the chocolate, but couldn’t find my coffee guy in the maze of temporary stalls set up on the streets surrounding the Benito Juárez mercado (it’s undergoing a much-needed renovation).  There’s always mañana — I’m not completely out, yet.

Read Full Post »

Remember the pineapple growing in my rooftop container garden?  Upon returning from a week-long magical mystery trip (more about that to come) last night, I discovered mi piña was more than ready to harvest.

P1190258

The fragrance beckons… breakfast tomorrow!!!

Read Full Post »

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.

P1180160

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.

P1180165vert

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.

P1180162

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.”

Read Full Post »

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…

P1170360

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…

P1170372

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…

P1170378

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…

P1170432crop2

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…

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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…

Read Full Post »

Can you believe it?  It seemed that no sooner had last month’s Oaxaca Sabe culinary adventure concluded, than the seventh annual Saber del Sabor: Festival Gastronómico 2015 kicked off.  This past Friday, the Plaza de la Danza was tented and decorated for a buffet dinner prepared by cooks from the eight regions of the state of Oaxaca.

For only 300 pesos (approximate $18.50), one could feast on a mind-blowing and waist-expanding galaxy of gastronomic delights.

Menu inauguacion Saber del saborThe dinner seeks to recognize and promote Oaxaca’s traditional cuisine.  Always a highlight are the maestros of barbacoa, who brave blistering heat and eye-stinging smoke as they turn and tend the spit-roasted piglets, lambs, and chickens.   Alas, this year by 8 PM the line was too long and I elected to miss these always succulent and mouth-watering delights.  However, I was in no danger of starving!

Of course, the chefs were the stars of the show and young and old alike savored their creations.

This year El Saber del Sabor is honoring two regional chefs:  Young chef, Ixchel Ornelas from Tlaxiaco, in the Mixteca Alta region of Oaxaca and Teotitlán del Valle’s own, Abigail Mendoza, who has done so much to promote and bring respect for Oaxaca’s traditional indigenous methods and flavors.

The festival continues with lectures, workshops, and gourmet meals prepared in the kitchens of Oaxaca’s top restaurants by celebrated chefs from all over Mexico — as well as a couple from Spain and the USA.

Read Full Post »

September 29 was Día Nacional del Maíz (National Day of Corn) in Mexico.  Corn was first cultivated approximately 8,000 years ago in the valley of Oaxaca and native varieties are still grown by the descendants of those original farmers.  This was a day to, not only pay homage to Mother Corn but, as Mexican painter Francisco Toledo reminded those along Oaxaca’s Alcalá, to continue the struggle to defend native corn against impending invasion by Monsanto and its genetically modified seeds.P1130669 The year revolves around the cycle of corn, which is planted in the same fields as beans and squash to make a perfect growing environment.P1130658The cornstalk grows, the bean plant crawls up the corn, and the squash vine sprawls out and shades the ground to keep it moist… Some of the corn is harvested in August and eaten fresh, while the rest is left on the stalks to dry.P1130662All parts of the corn plant are used — kernels, husks (for tamales), cobs (pig feed), and stalks (cow feed).  The dried corn is stored and used in many ways throughout the year.P1130675Text in italics is from the Seasons of My Heart cookbook by Susana Trilling.

The artists of the above, used the signature “olote” which is derived from Nahuatl word, olotl.  In English, it translates to “corncob” and “a nobody.”  Thank you to a couple of “nobodies,” Coral Saucedo and Ricardo Aeme, for such an expressive and beautiful piece of art honoring the sacred corn.

Read Full Post »

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…

Read Full Post »

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.

P1140226copy

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

P1140230

Hot river stone dropped into the broth

P1140231

Seafood cooks and vegetables wait to be added to bubbling broth

P1140234

Caldo de piedra (Stone soup)

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

P1140239

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…

P1140244

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…

Read Full Post »

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.

P1140214

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.

P1140211

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.

P1140200

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

Yesterday, Oaxaca Sabe kicked off a week of delicious dining; three-course meals, including beer, mezcal, or wine, for only 250 pesos per person at some of the top restaurants in the city.  As readers of Oaxaca-The Year After already know, blogger buddy Chris and yours truly couldn’t resist and we were first to the table at Las Quince Letras.  No sooner had we been seated in the lovely shaded patio, than chef Celia Florian came out to welcome us.

Celia Florian, chefWith every course, she continued to check in with us, explaining the ingredients and asking our opinion.  She also turned the tables on us and took out her smart phone to take our picture!

Sopa de tortilla de tomate de milpa (Tortilla soup with tomatillos and little balls of quesillo)

Sopa de tortilla de tomate de milpa (Tortilla soup with tomatillos and little balls of quesillo)

Camarones flameados en mezcal con mole negro de chicatana (Shrimp flambéed in mezcal on a bed of chicatana black mole sauce)

Camarones flameados en mezcal con mole negro de chicatana (Shrimp flambéed in mezcal on a bed of black mole made with the rainy season insect, chicatanas)

Helado de maracuya con buñelos con miel de piloncillo (Maracuya sorbet with buñuelos drizzled with melted piloncillo, which is similar to brown sugar)

Helado de maracuya con buñelos con miel de piloncillo (Maracuya sorbet with buñuelos drizzled with a honey of piloncillo, which is similar to brown sugar)

Every dish conveyed Chef Florian’s pride in her heritage — from the fresh locally sourced ingredients to her original interpretations of traditional Oaxacan cuisine — and then there was the love and joy she radiated.

By the way, this is what it looks like to sit across the table from a blogger…

Chile en nogada

Chris photographing his Chile en Nogada

If it’s Tuesday, it must mean another Oaxaca Sabe restaurant to try…  ¡Buen provecho!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: