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Posts Tagged ‘Pilar Cabrera’

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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I kind of have an unwritten rule for this blog of not promoting commercial enterprises.  However, being an alumna of the sixties, I wholeheartedly subscribe to the rule that rules (especially unspoken ones) were made to be broken.  Thus I encourage you to click on the “Behind the Scenes” videos of season 9 of Rick Bayless, Mexico: One Plate at a Time in Oaxaca.  Start with episode 13 and work your way backwards.  These “Behind the Scenes” clips really do give a flavor of the culinary culture, traditions, and scenery of Oaxaca.

If you are in El Norte, watch the shows.  What’s not to like?  Come on down!!!

h/t: Margie B.

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From today’s NYT…

Market Driven, Oaxaca-Style

By PETER CATAPANO

A vendor at Mercado de la Merced in Oaxaca, Mexico, where produce grown on small local farms is sold throughout the city.

OAXACA, Mexico — “The market is not for shopping,” Pilar Cabrera said.

¿Qué?

We were walking around Oaxaca’s Mercado de la Merced, a covered market where Cabrera, a well-known chef and owner of the popular La Olla Restaurant, does some of her food gathering for a class she teaches at La Casa de los Sabores, a cooking school she runs to which chefs on pilgrimages and food-curious tourists have been flocking for several years. Students who sign up and pay for the class (about $70) gather up the goods with her at one of the town’s markets in the morning, then bring them back to a big, bright, picture-perfect kitchen, where they proceed to cook and consume the meal, a five-course Oaxacan lunch based on Pilar’s recipes, including a taste of mezcal and dessert. (Coloradito, a red mole, was the main event at the class I attended.) They also get to pepper her with questions about the food, recipes and region.

Pilar knows her stuff: she was born and raised here and has a background in food science, as well as decades of cooking experience. La Olla serves a modern menu based on traditional Oaxacan recipes in a modest, clean setting that attracts both tourists and well-heeled locals. Apart from the restaurant and cooking school, she has gained some fame as a sort of ambassador for Oaxacan cuisine, traveling abroad to teach her classes, even making an appearance on “Iron Chef.”

In both the restaurant and the class, Pilar hammers home the main theme of Oaxacan food: an uncompromising devotion to fresh, unprocessed local ingredients (the squash blossoms she chose for the meal that day were still open when the vendor handed them to her). And she can switch from speaking Spanish to English with ease, making it easy for monolingual pilgrims like me to get what’s going on.  [Read full article]

h/t:  gg

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