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Oaxaca Trip Report

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zozo Aug 22, 2012 04:00 PM

Just returned from a week and a half trip to Oaxaca. Although there's always more to be had, we covered some pretty good eating ground. A word of "warning," we stuck mostly to seafood. Some chicken but we both avoid red meat so hopefully someone can comment with those additions.

- La Olla (we stayed at Las Bugambilias which is attached to the restaurant hence the number of meals here)
Dinner: tortilla soup, cream of squash blossom soup, fish with nopales and hierba santa, all very good, fresh, oaxacan food without feeling too heavy or cheese laden.
Lunch: mole amarillo with turkey, blueberry ice cream. good, spicy!
Breakfast: squash blossom omelet, as with all the other dishes here, beautiful presentation. simple and delicious.

- Itanoni
Lunch: worth the trek. Contrary to lots of people saying taking a taxi is necessary, the walk is not that far from the center of town. Translations were a bit difficult since my Spanish is not that advanced, so we basically tried to order everything we didn't recognize. Ended up with a trifolded tortilla with soft cheese, crema and mushrooms. Was the best thing we ordered.

- Pitiona
Originally were going to do the tasting menu but were too full because of a late lunch and so much chocolate.
Dinner: carrot tacos with ceviche ("tacos" were a tad too sweet but ceviche was yummy), plantain fritters with black beans and cheese (delicious. very sweet), memolitas with fish (my favorite, perfect little bite), octopus salad with amaranth (had a "dirt" sauce/dressing....not quite ideal but the greens and other components of the salad went well together, sweet and refreshing), corn cream cake dessert (surprisingly not very sweet and therefore refreshing).
Overall the food here was quite creative and extremely fun. although some dishes were more unsuccessful than others, I appreciated the risks that were apparent at Pitiona. Made for an overall enjoyable meal full of things to talk about.

- Casa Crespo
Actually took a cooking class here but ate what we made after it (with Oscar's recipes) and was one of the more traditionally Oaxacan meals, so worth mentioning.
Lunch: guacamole and 3 salsa variations (fresh, simple, good), chiles rellenos (unexpected delicious nut, raisin,olive combo in the stuffing), hierba santa wrapped cheese (so. delicious. eat whenever you can. we mostly did for breakfast), squash blossom and cheese tortillas, squash blossom soup, mole negro (so rich, complex, fun) avocado ice cream (rich but not too sweet).

- Casa Oaxaca
To be fair, I had originally picked Pitiona over going to Casa Oaxaca but was told on our last night that this was a big mistake. Thank god! Really glad I didn't miss this meal...definitely my Oaxaca favorite and one of my favorites of all time.
Dinner: Fresh made salsa at the table - soooo gooooood, ricotta honey stuffed squash blossoms (mmmmm), shrimp and avocado with a green sauce (refreshing especially post sweet cheese honey combo), heirloom tomato salad with cheese (fresh, lots of flavors), ceviche (the sauce on this was ridiculous. i wanted to drink it from a cup. perfect sweet, sour, spicy combo), chocolate desert with passion fruit sauce (so good, super rich).

- La Biznaga
Dinner; quesadillas: mushroom, squash blossom and chile (simple, yummy), salad with green sauce dressing and LOTS of cheese (a little too much cheese for my taste but the dressing was good and much more of a thick sauce than dressing), tamarind mole! over shrimp (something different, extremely delicious, rich without being too heavy).

- Los Danzantes
Light lunch: soup and salad (can't remember exact types but light, fresh, good taste), goat milk flan with chocolate and figs (mmmmmm)

- Origen
Dinner: nopales soup with egg (rich broth), ceviche: more Peruvian with corn and sweet potato,
fish en nogado!!! (was so excited to see this on the menu since the usual chile version includes beef. so many different things in this sauce but it all worked, sweet, savory, extremely rich but unlike anything else i've ever tasted.), pineapple meringue dessert on sponge cake with fruit (maybe cherry?) sauce (I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the dessert stole the show. One of the, if not the most, ridiculously awesome, inventive desserts I have ever had. Very sweet though--in case that's not your thing.)

We also traveled to Puerto Escondido for a few days:

- Espadin
Confession: we ate dinner here every night. The view was unreal and the food was good and fresh. Very delicious shrimp tacos. If you live in NY, you know them from Mercadito. Pina guacamole was also a fav, as were the Mezcal margaritas.

Another Puerto Escondido favorite was
- Cafecito
Traditional Mexican menu with Oaxacan specialties. Just good fresh food, not super fancy or anything.

Didn't have any bad seafood (lots of random shrimp tacos, cocktails and sopa de mariscos consumed...

Hope this helps some plan their trip and inspires others to go!!!

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  1. Dave MP RE: zozo Aug 25, 2012 10:26 PM

    I am heading to Oaxaca in two weeks, and am so glad you posted this!!!! Casa Oaxaca is definitely on the list now! I'll probably be posting again with follow up questions, and would love to hear about other opinions on not-to-miss food in Oaxaca. I'll probably be posting separately once I do a bit more research, but thanks so much zozo, your timing is perfect for me!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Dave MP
      cristina RE: Dave MP Aug 26, 2012 08:11 AM

      I continue to recommend La Teca as a do-not-miss place. It's off the beaten track, little known to tourists, and not 'alta cocina mexicana'--the trendy high-end decorator food currently popular everywhere in the world among the 'cool' people--but it is without question fantastic.
      http://mexicocooks.typepad.com/mexico...

      1. re: cristina
        Dave MP RE: cristina Aug 26, 2012 07:04 PM

        I couldn't find a website for La Teca....do they have one? What are the prices and ambiance like compared to, say, Casa Oaxaca?

        1. re: Dave MP
          cristina RE: Dave MP Aug 26, 2012 09:02 PM

          No, La Teca does not have a website. The ambiance is pure family, the restaurant is in a private home. I've eaten there two or three times, but I don't remember the prices.

          And I've eaten at Casa Oaxaca (wonderful and gorgeous!), but only as an invited guest of the chef. To compare the two restaurants would be like comparing eating at my house vs eating at...well, I don't know, somewhere really upscale wherever you live.

          Sorry I can't give you a price comparison.

          Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

          1. re: Dave MP
            DiningDiva RE: Dave MP Aug 26, 2012 09:37 PM

            FWIW, here are the comments from Trip Advisor for La Teca - http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

            My guess is that the prices are reasonable and certainly well below Casa Oaxaca.

        2. re: Dave MP
          a
          ajoe RE: Dave MP Sep 25, 2012 12:54 AM

          Hi Dave! can't wait for your Oaxaca report! I am actually headed there for a week on Thursday 9/27 and am anxious to try out the food! Hope to post details upon my return!

          1. re: ajoe
            Dave MP RE: ajoe Sep 25, 2012 12:43 PM

            Okay, I will try to post today or tomorrow so you can benefit from my review.

            Sneak preview: We did eat at La Teca, which cristina recommends, and we thought it was great (and worth the trek). Definitely try the garnachas. Mole colorado was also pretty amazing. Also tried plenty of street food, which was a lot of fun...more soon!

            1. re: ajoe
              Dave MP RE: ajoe Sep 30, 2012 09:36 PM

              Sorry for the delay! Hope my report helps. You can now find it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871600

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