Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sea Hunt: Marisquería La Perla de La Roma

Marine life mural sculpture
We had begun our trip in Colonia Roma with a comida at the casually elegant (read "pricey") seafood restaurant, Salón Progreso. When we returned to el D.F., we craved another seafood meal. Our criteria were: within walking distance of our hotel and neither "hip", trendy or expensive.

A look at the usual Mexico City restaurant review websites wasn't fruitful. (Too far, too trendy, too expensive.) I then turned to Google Maps. I'd already given it our location as Hotel Embassy, Calle de Puebla 115, Colonia Roma Norte, México, D.F.

Google quickly came up with a result within easy reach:

Marisquería la Perla de la Roma
Avenida Cuauhtémoc 35, Cuauhtemoc, Roma Norte, 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico ‎

Not only close to the Hotel Embassy, (which is really at # Puebla 115. I don't know why Google Maps thinks it's at # 111.) it's just around the corner where Calle de Puebla meets Avenida Cuauhtémoc.



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I'd glimpsed this restaurant earlier as we rode a taxi to the hotel. Then I rechecked the restaurant review web sites, including Yelp! The reviews were generally favorable to enthusiastic, but several mentioned "waiting in line to get in". I consider that a good sign.

La Fila
When we arrived, there was indeed a waiting line. A security guard served as both doorman and host. We waited about 15 minutes before he led us through two huge dining rooms to a table in the cozy, dining room annex, located over the loading zone ramp. (By now you should be beginning to grasp that La Marisquería La Perla de La Roma's style is the polar opposite of that of Salón Progreso's.)

One half of La Marisquería La Perla de La Roma main dining room
The other half of the first dining room.

There is a second dining room similar in size to the first.

Cozy, more intimate annex dining room
Perhaps 10 minutes passed before a waitress arrived to give us a do it yourself order form. The wait time was understandable considering that all dining rooms were nearly full to maximum capacity. Surprisingly, while the noise level was LOUD, we could, with care, still communicate vocally across our table.

Once we had our do it yourself order form filled out, our waitress returned and read the order back to us.

Then things moved quickly. Our meal arrived in just under 10 minutes.

Sra. Cuevas started with a Coctel de Camarones, sin catsup. It was very nice, although not equal to the one she'd had at Marisquería  La Red in Oaxaca.

Coctel de Camarones, sin catsup
I had a Coctel Ceviche de Pescado, (other marine life ceviches are offered), a simple but good rendition. It was purely good sized chunks of firm fleshed fish in its marinade liquid. I think I added some salsa picante and cilantro from a dish on the table. We both noted that each coctel had a few drops of olive oil, a kind of old fashioned, special touch infrequently encountered nowadays.

It wasn't long before our platos fuertes arrived: Doña Cuevas got Pulpos al Mojo de Ajo which was good, but again, not as good as that she had at La Red. But keep in mind that La Red is over 6 1/2 hours away by bus.

Pulpos al Mojo de Ajo
Following enthusiastic recommendations on various restaurant review sites  (YELP!) I had "Empapelado", a melange of seafood baked (?) in a sizable aluminum foil pouch. It wasn't bad, but it was under seasoned, and not very imaginatively at that, and it very quickly became boring.

Empapelado
In fact, we found ourselves so full from our cocteles that neither of us could eat but half of our platos fuertes.

Sra. Cuevas drank agua mineral and I had a do it yourself michelada. That is, a glass with a half inch of lime juice in it, a bottle of beer and a selection of bottled salsas on the table.

Although the main courses we had ranged from mediocre to o.k., we saw some probable veteran customers getting some attractive dishes. The Sopa de Mariscos, for example looked spectacular, with a crab claw boldly emerging from a large bowl. A plate of Camarones Empanizados looked perfectly cooked. Numerous customers received well browned, crunchy crusted quesadillas o empanadas.

Our neighboring table received a dozen pristine and very tempting ostiones en su concha . (Tempting, but not tempting enough for me to have, remembering the dire illness I'd contracted from eating raw oysters in Tuxpan Veracruz in 1980.) The price is a remarkably low $70!! A half dozen oysters are also offered.

RATINGS

Food: *** What we had was under seasoned, but obviously we had but a small sampling of the menu offerings. Portions tended to be very large. Seafood without frills.

Service: **** Efficient!

Price: $$+ Nuestra cuenta aquí.

Ambience: Huge, noisy, popular,  unpretentious, crowded, blimp hangar sized dining halls. But fun!! Some review sites describe it as nearly devoid of decor, but that's not true. Look:

Decor!
Marine life sculpture
Restrooms: very nice, but no paper towels at the time of our visit. (Not unusual in México.)

Glib, snapshot summation: Better than The Red Lobster, not as good as Fonda La Veracruzana. This is la marisquería para el pueblo.

Yes, we would happily return.




Monday, January 26, 2015

Dim Sum Brunch at Jing Teng, Colonia Viaducto Piedad Mexico City.

After our August, 2014 visit to Jing Teng, we craved an encore. This time we caught an inexpensive taxi in Colonia Roma, and, thanks to our street savvy veteran taxista, we were at the restaurant about 10 minutes later.


As my physical well being had improved greatly since our August visit, and because the restaurant was very quiet, we were able to look over the dim sum offerings with calm deliberation. Additionally, there were only one or two tables occupied during the time we were there, 11:00 to 12:30 a.m. Our charming, Spanish speaking waitress, Ximena, was able to give us her full and helpful attention.

We immediately noticed that the glass case in the window held some intriguing Cantonese meat and poultry specialties.

L-R: Lop Yuk (Chinese bacon), one hung duck
We gingerly approached the steam table, covered with bamboo steamers bearing hidden delicacies. We began with a few Har Gow, steamed shrimp dumplings in translucent wrappers.

We shared a steamer of three Char Siu Bao. O.k., but not the best we've ever had. The filling seemed to be mostly a few fatty morsels of pork and very little sauce. The puffy white dough was slightly undercooked and too filling to make them worthwhile to me.

Har Gow at top, Char Siu Bao bottom
Afterwards, we nibbled on some pork riblets with garlic. The garlic was understated.

Pork riblets with garlic
We saw an employee get what they told us was "canelón". But of course, it really has a Cantonese name which we don't know. It seemed to be like  a rice flour crepe, but in an unusual form, like twisted pasta strands. It was rich, with a glutinous texture. We like stuff like this.

"canelón"
We'd seen the roasted duck, a white cut chicken and some lengths of Chinese bacon hanging in the window showcase. We asked Ximena about the bacon. She told us it was served sliced and coated with "miel". We had to try this, and we were well rewarded.

This stuff is beyond good, and could be addictive. It was probably the costliest item we had that day. $70 MXP.

"Tocino Chino" I later learned the Cantonese words are "Lop Yuk"
We ate only half of the bacon, reserving the rest for a later meal, while saving room for a "small" bowl of congee. Ximena offered us different optional additions, such as beef, egg, shrimp, duck egg. We chose the latter.

This is the small sized congee.

Congee, pork slices and preserved duck eggs slices
The creamy rice gruel is Chinese comfort food. There was a hint of fresh ginger and the oddly textured "zucchini" slices turned out to be preserved duck egg. ("1000 year Egg")

I also saw that there are two shelves to the side of the dining room with items for retail sale. I bought a pound package of Lop Cheung, cured Chinese pork sausages. $100 MXP. It may be slightly cheaper at El Dragón del Oro, at Plaza San Juan and Calle Pugibet, in Centro. But it was worth the small price difference for the convenience.

Jing Teng remains on my "A" list for Chinese food in México.

RATINGS

Food: ****

Service: *****

Cost: $-$1/2. Around $150 MXP pp. A Bargain! Nuestra Cuenta  The meal was $278 MXP, plus $100 MXP for the Lop Cheung.

Ambience: minimal

Rest Rooms: one, unisex. Just passable.
Contact and location:

Sur 65-A 3256, Viaducto Piedad, 08200 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico ‎ 
Tel: +52 55 5440 2732 


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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Oaxaca Sojourn— Part 12: Leftovers

I'm near the end of my story, but there were a few other eateries that we visited, both in Oaxaca and then in Mexico City.

On Friday a week ago, we went to Parque Júarez/El Llano in Oaxaca for the weekly tianguis. (Temporary market, usually outdoors.) About one third of the long rectangular park is given over to food stands. Much of the food offered seemed to be Argentine style sausages or carnitas, the latter of which might be good. But since we live 20 minutes from Quiroga, Michoacán, generally acknowledged as the Carnitas Capital of the World, we looked instead for barbacoa. We found what we were looking for at a nameless stand toward the end of the food pavilion at the west side of the park. Both barbacoa de borrego (sheep) and barbacoa de chivo  (goat) were offered. My scant earlier experiences with barbacoa de chivo had left me with  negative memories, so we chose borrego.


Barbacoa de borrego en su consomé
Some considerable confusion and some consternation ensued when mi querida esposa mistakenly ate my order of barbacoa en su consomé. I recovered but it was then an uphill struggle to get our waiter to understand what I wanted. The kind but misguided señores eating across from us added to the confusion by telling the waiter that what I wanted was "Un cuarto kilo de carne." (That's a bit over a half pound.)

But I persisted, and finally, got a foam cup full of consome. I was shocked at the first sip to find that it was at a near boiling temperature.

Un cuarto kilo de la carne
Eventually the consomé cooled enough to eat, and about half the leftover meat was wrapped to take to our hotel, so all was well again. My mouth did not suffer much from the scalding because of my quick reflexes.

On returning to Mexico City on Thursday, we had a mostly mediocre supper at Bisquits, Bisquits Obregón. But it was easy and uncomplicated, and we appreciate the geezer discount that they give.
Soups are usually good. I like the Sopa de Ajo con huevo.

Ensalada del Chef Bisquits Obregón. Yawn ...
Friday morning, I walked one block westward on Calle Puebla, to the great little stand of Super Tacos de Guisados. I ate four plump tacos generously filled with freshly made guisados (prepared, seasoned or sauced foods). I got a juice from the Super Jugos Curativos stand next door. It was the perfect breakfast.

Super tacos de guisados: 1.pollo, 2.rajas, 3.milanesa
After a long rest, in the afternoon we met our Mexico City amiga, Sra. LMS, at Macellería Roma, which I reviewed earlier. This time we shared a Pizza Vegetariana. Then the women both had Ensaladas de Betabeles while I had an Ensalada de Endivias. Macelleria's salads are magnificent.

Pizza Vegetariana at Macelleria
Ensalada de betabeles Macelleria
Ensalada de Endivias Macelleria
Our amiga then had a rich Berenjena a la Parmesana (eggplant parmesan) and Sra. Cuevas got Pappardelle con Hongos de la Temporada, an excellent dish.

I enjoyed a few spoonfuls of my wife's wild mushroom pappardelle and I was satisfied.

We passed up dessert but had some decent coffee and very good limoncello, on the house.

Macelleria Roma remains on my "A" list despite one disappointing meal one Sunday evening over a year ago. The only negative are the excessively high prices for wines and liquors. A glass of the cheapest wine, a domestic, is $90 MXP. (True, the menú del día offers a supplementary glass of "house wine" for $40 MXP)

That's all for now, dear readers.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Oaxaca Sojourn— Part 11: Restaurant El Quinqué: El Encanto Del Buen Comer


Yesterday we joined our friend Bixa at El Quinqué. The place is charmingly inviting. The affable, English speaking host and owner, Carlos was stretched a bit thin that day, as he was missing some of his regular waitstaff, but he was still very attentive and gave us friendly, personalized service.

The Menú del Día featured pork cecina, salad and potatoes, but we looked instead to the a la carte menu.

Bixa chose Filete de Mahi-mahi Encamaronado, which consisted of a thick, moist and beautiful piece of fish in a light, tangy sauce, all covered with large shrimp. I was envious, to tell the truth. It also was accompanied by a nice salad and chunky potatoes fried in olive oil.

Filete de Mahi-mahi Encamaronado
Señora Cuevas also had mahi-mahi, but al Ajillo; a popular treatment of chiles guajillos and garlic. It also looked very appealing. (This was the first time that I’d seen a dish of food prepared al ajillo, with whole chiles guajillos rather then in little ribbons. My wife prudently, set the hard to digest chiles aside on her plate while enjoying the flavor they imparted to the dish.)

Mahi-mahi Al Ajillo, with nicely cooked vegetables
After 12 days of eating wonderful Oaxacan food around the city, at El Quinqué I gave in to my native tastes and had a Quinqué hamburger. It was a hefty burger of good beef, with a good piece of bacon and cheese, cooked just a tad longer than I prefer, but I had no trouble eating all of it. A minor quibble was that the homemade bun was a little too much bread, so I cut the top off and then was happy. We were given small dishes of a good salsa roja and a delicious, chile chipotle based barbecue sauce.

The El Quinqué Hamburger
Our meal came with a complimentary pitcher of agua fresca. Ours was a pitcher of refreshing but not very strong limonada.

Because of the small size of the attractive ground floor dining room, the acoustics don’t lend themselves to conversation when the room is busy. (There is a smaller dining are up a short, steep flight of stairs. But noisy acoustics are not a reason, in my opinion, to deny yourself the pleasure of eating at this delightful, casual restaurant.)

To sum up: delicious food, simple but attractive plate presentations, friendly, helpful, bilingual host, excellent chef (Carlos’ mom) in the kitchen. Reasonable prices. What’s not to like?
 No beer, wine or liquor. You might be able to BYO. Check first by calling ahead.

RATINGS

Food: ****1/2

Service: ******

Cost: $-$1/2 Nuestra Cuenta

Ambience: Cozy, charming

Restroom: Single, unisex, small but acceptable.

Contact Info:
Macedonio Alcala 901 Esq. Gomez Farias Col. Centro, Oaxaca 68000, Mexico
Tel: 951- 5026702


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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Oaxaca Sojourn Part 10— La Coronita

Hotel Valle de Oaxaca and Restaurant La Coronita 
I first learned of Restaurant La Coronita in a small, useful book, "Oaxaca Tips". While only a few blocks west of the Zócalo, it was said to be "off the tourist track". It's a stronghold of culinary tradition, and one of the few, perhaps the only Oaxaca restaurant offering all of the famed Siete Moles every day. I also looked it up on TripAdvisor, where many reviewers lauded its cooking, but one dish, a soup, stood out: Sopa de Guias. La Coronita was one my must visit list.

We went there for the first time on Saturday, January 17, 2015. It's located in the venerable and somewhat sober looking Hotel Valle de Oaxaca.

Entrance and lobby, Hotel Valle de Oaxaca


The restaurant, "La Coronita", is on the ground floor, and the capacious dining room presents a restrained but attractive decor.

La Coronita dining room
The multi page menu offers fascinating options.

Some of the main course menu
There is a short list of well chosen mezcals. On both visits, we had the decent mezcal joven blanco de la casa. $30 pesos.

We started with a light appetizer, blanditas con mole, which are simple medium sized tortillas spread with a choice of three moles. They were pretty good, but are skippable

Blandita con mole negro
Of course, we had to have the famous Sopa de Guias. It is a meatless soup of a well balanced broth laden with fresh, green squash leaves and runners. The added plus is the pair of chochoyones (or chochoyotes), a sort of Oaxacan masa ball.They are small, mild and delightful. Sopa de Guias is light and fresh and feels like a very healthy, low fat soup. 

Sopa de Guias con Chochoyotes
Doña Cuevas had Crema de Elote for her soup. It was smooth, slightly sweet, balanced richness, and true comfort food. I tasted a spoonful, and it seemed almost to have a hint of vanilla.

Crema de elote
We then looked over the menu of Especialidades. I was immediately attracted to the Chichilo,  a mole rarely found on restaurant menus. A key ingredient of this black mole is ash of burnt chiles. (This may be the most exotic dish I had on this trip.)

Chichilo

"Mole Chichilo starts with a rich beef stock. The seeds from the chile De Arbol (very hot), Chile Ancho (mild), and Chile Guajillo (hot) are removed and toasted, as well as the skins of the chiles ( this should be done outdoors). After the seeds are toasted they are placed on top of a corn tortilla which is then toasted on the comal, until almost black but not burned. The toasted tortilla is then ground, along with the seeds. The chile skins are soaked until soft. They are then placed in a blender or hand ground in molcajete (mo-ka-het-tay - a stone three-Iegged mortar and pestle) Avocado leaves are toasted and ground with cumin seedsgarlic, fresh oreganoallspicetomatoestomatillos,chayote and potatoes. The entire mixture is thinned with the beef stock to a little thinner than desired thickness, and reduced to thicken. In most cases the mixture is fried, in a little oil for a fast reduction imparting a different flavor."

I had a choice of chicken, beef or pork and I chose the latter. It was a little resistant to the spoon and somewhat stringy. The mole itself was interesting and good, but it will not become my favorite. One reason is a slightly slick unctuousness from whatever was used to thicken it.

La  Señora was satisfied with the blandita and soup and did not order a plato fuerte.

We returned to La Coronita on Tuesday, January 20, this time with our local friend, Bixaorellana.

We skipped the appetizers, but all of us had Sopa de Guias. I neglected to mention earlier that the soup is accompanied by a small dish of a condiment paste, chintextle, of chile, garlic and possibly dried shrimp.

That at La Coronita is especially smooth and is perfect for kicking the soup up a notch. We also requested and were brought a small bowl of extra chochoyotes.

Chintextle
For a main course, Señora Cuevas had Mole Negro de Pollo, a classic, complex and perfectly blended mole. She was very pleased with her selection.

Mole Negro de Pollo
Bixa decided on Pipian Rojo de Cerdo, a mole  based on seeds; in this instance on carnitas of pork. She told us it was somewhat oversalted. The presentation was fairly underwhelming.

Pipian rojo sobre carnitas
I had Espinazo de Verde; or pork backbone in green mole, one of my favorite moles. A number of years ago, I took a one day cooking class with Pilar Cabrera, chef owner of La Olla restaurant and the La Casa de Sabores Cooking School, in the (now shuttered) bed and breakfast of the same name. Ours was made with free range chicken, which, incidentally, we bought at the Mercado La Democracia.

Making Mole verde demands close attention to cooking times, so the meat is tender yet the vegetables are not overcooked. Most importantly, the mole itself must not be overcooked, or it will lose its attractive green color and become olive drab.

The Espinazo en Verde at La Coronita was perfect in every way.\.


We were mostly pleased and satisfied. I give the highest recommendation to La Coronita. If you are looking for a well prepared, traditional Oaxacan meal, without flights of the chef's creative whimsies, plus excellent service and very reasonable prices, you should go to La Coronita.

RATINGS

Food: **** 1/2

Service: *****

Cost: $$ 1/2 per person, with mezcals. Our cuenta, for three of us:


Ambience: conservative but attractive.
Restrooms: Oddly located at the back of the hotel's internal parking garage, but the restrooms are clean, and supplied with TP.

Contact info.

Díaz Ordaz 208
Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, México
+52 951 516 3707



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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oaxaca Sojourn— Part 9: Eating Locally

Gelatinas at a stand in the Mercado La Democracia 
We normally prefer to eat in small, local restaurants rather than in celebrity chefs' beaneries. Barrio La Merced, where our hotel is located, has some good eating places. Besides the nearby branch of Marisquería La Red (we haven't eaten there, just at the Centro matriz La Red.) and El Muelle (a pretty good seafood restaurant, but not worth a special journey.)

I've already described the nearby Mercado La Democracia and some of its fondas. The last fonda in which we breakfasted was Fonda San Diego. I ordered chilaquiles verdes with one egg on top. Two eggs arrived. What the hell. They were good chilaquiles, but with almost no chile. I asked our young waiter for some salsa verde más picante. He seemed baffled. Soon, the burly head cook/chef/boss came to our table and asked "What seems to be the problem here?" (In Spanish, of course.

I told him that there was no problem, and the food was good, but that I would be pleased to have some spicier salsa verde.
He turned to the kitchen and bellowed, "¡SALSA!".

But time passed, perhaps 10 minutes, and no salsa there came our way. A passing junior waiter in the required chartreuse bellhop like uniforms) asked "Is everything o.k. 'here'?"

My wife or I told him that I would like some salsa picante verde. Within 5 minutes, we heard the whirring of a blender, and we were presented with a bowl of salsa verde. It was good; loaded with chopped cilantro, but only the slightest "bite". Sigh ... I guess you just have to go with the flow when in México.

Freshly made salsa verde at Fonda San Diego
Chilaquiles Verde, Fonda San Diego, Mercado La Democracia 
Doña Cuevas asked for Huevos Rancheros en Salsa Verde, and this is what she got:

Two eggs in a pool of salsa at Fonda San Diego

Fonda San Diego, Mercado La Democracia
Food: ****
Service: ***
Price: $ BARGAIN!
Keywords: "Go with the flow."

The day before, when we'd tried to eat at Fonda San Diego, but it, and all the other fondas of the mercado were absolutely jammed with hundreds of protest marchers stoking up, in preparation for a long day on the streets.

So we left, after getting our daily juice at La Victoria, and went a few blocks west to Restaurante Tierra del Sol. It's quite nicely appointed and the food is decent. We both had Enchiladas Mixtecas, which are Enchiladas de Pollo en Mole Negro with a lettuce and onion (supposed to be radishes, too, but not present). The mole was not too thick and the flavors were nicely balanced. But the champurrado was inferior and poorly blended compared to that of the fondas.

The chef, Olga Cabrera, is of the same family as Pilar Cabrera, of Restarante. La Olla fame. Tierra del Sol also has some connection with renowned cantante Lila Downs, who is a part owner of a restaurant of the same name in San Sebastían Tutla, outside of the city of Oaxaca.
(Lila didn't join us for breakfast. Maybe she had a rehearsal.)

The jury is still out on this restaurant. It was o.k. But nothing wonderful. After all, it was just breakfast. However, their website, at least for the mother restaurant, shows some very tempting looking traditional dishes.


Enchiladas Mixtecas at Tierra Del Sol
The local branch is at Avenida Mártires de Tacubaya, between Morelos and Murguia.

Tierra del Sol Breakfast packet specials
Almost across the street from TdeS is a restaurant/taquería called "El Embrujo". We had breakfast there Tuesday morning. A speciality are tacos de cabeza de res y consomé de res. Breakfasts and comidas are also offered.

El Embrujo. Av. Mártires de Tacubaya 218, Oaxaca
Tacos de cabeza are common in the Pátzcuaro, Michoacán area, and most are pretty good. But the consomé at El Embrujo is in a class by itself. It's deeply rich and flavorsome and seasoned with a complex of spices and mildly picante chiles. There was a distinct taste of an anise like herb. Could have been hoja santa but I'm betting that it was hoja de aguacate. I had three, pretty good tacos, trying all three salsas caseras and the tangy pickled onions, plus a substantial bowl of consomé. I could have eaten more, but I restrained myself.

Consomé de Res, at El Embrujo
Spike your tacos with El Embrujo's good salsas

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oaxaca Sojourn — Part 8. Return to La Biznaga

Tortilla making at La Biznaga Oaxaca 
Yesterday, on a late developing impulse, we decided to return to La Biznaga, one of Oaxaca's most deservedly popular restaurants. It was last year that we went for the first time, urged by our local expat friend, Bixa, who convinced us that the horror stories of their infamous rudeness to customers was highly exaggerated, if at all founded in reality. From our experiences, those stories can be dismissed as Internet fables.

This time, Bixa was unable to join us, so we winged it on our own.

Despite major ongoing repairs to the street, García Vigil, the patio dining room inside was as attractive as ever.

La Biznaga dining room
We enjoyed our meals, with two exceptions: one significant and the other minor. But in the end we were pleased.

To optimize your dining experience at La Biznaga Oaxaca, it pays to study the menu in detail. In fact, there is more than one menu. There's a printed menu, a pair of very large blackboard menus (with much the same listing as the paper menu), and then tucked away around the large, attractive patio dining room there are supplementary menus on blackboards, such as the "Lasagna Menu", which seemed oddly anomalous to me.

The more or less complete main menu is available on La Biznaga's website. (The link to the rest of the web site from the initial page is small and can be missed.)

Another couple of small blackboard menus are behind the bar listing beverages of which you otherwise might be unaware. One has a short wine list; the other advertises Cosaca draft beer and pulque.

I had done extensive preliminary research to assist us in examining the very extensive menus.The first item was an appetizer called "Las Calendas". It had Oaxacan quesillo (string cheese) with chopped flor de calabaza (squash blossoms) and chile poblano, wrapped in hoja santa. This was an excellent starter. There were three generously filled packets, plus a small hill of good frijoles negros machacados in the center. It would be enough to to serve as a light lunch. Vegetarians should like this.

Las Calendas
Doña Cuevas had an Ensalada La Tehuana, of sliced pear, watercress and a generous handful of blue cheese with a sprinkling of nuts and pumpkin seeds. The dressing was pale yellow and citrusy. (Keep that "Roquefort" cheese in mind as we go along.)

I had a taste, and although it was all right,  in my opinion it didn't come together that well. The pears were somewhat underripe. Compare and contrast this salad with a similar but substantially better salad of pear, arugula and Parmesan shavings we had last year at the Neapolitan restaurant, "Mexita".
Insalata di pere, rucola e Parmigiano,  Ristorante La Mexita 2014
Ensalada "La Tehuana", La Biznaga 2015

The big disappointment of my meal was the soup, "Sopa del Establo". Bixa had it last year and allowed me a taste. It was rich, creamy; with a bold flavor of "Roquefort" cheese. In addition, the presentation was simple but beautiful.

Sopa del Establo 2015
This time, it was little more than slightly thickened broth with almost no presence of blue cheese. 

What happened? Waiter: "They changed the recipe."
 He took it back with no fuss and it was taken off our bill. Why would they ruin such a wonderful soup? 

Sopa del Establo 2015
We then ordered our main courses. (You have to be well trained and in good shape to eat like this.)

Doña Cuevas had Pescado Mojado, dorado fish in a brilliant orange-red sauce of achiote (bixa orellana), tomato, chile and grains of corn. It seemed like a riff on Pescado Tikin Xik. (Recipe in Spanish.) I tasted it and thought it was too many intense flavors clashing, plus somewhat too salty, and fishy, but my wife liked it.

"Pescado Mojado"
I comforted myself for the failure of the soup by ordering Filet of Beef "Necio". It was very handsome and the lagoon of sauce around the reasonably tender filet was very good, accompanied by tasty, homestyle mashed potatoes. The sauce was made from mezcal, prunes and chiles pasillas. I spooned up the sauce to the last drop.

Filete "Necio"
With our meal, we drank agua mineral and I had a couple of mugs of pulque natural, which was light, tart and refreshing with no intoxicating after effects. (When consumed in moderate amounts.) La Señora had a Cerveza Obscura Cúcapa, a Mexican craft beer.

In keeping with my strict dietary regimen, I abstained from eating either tortillas and bread, and ate only half of the mashed potatoes. 

We also passed on desserts, and instead had some so-so coffee. (The café Americano resembled brown tinted water, so we sent it back for a second shot of espresso, and it returned in more than satisfactory form. Again, no charge.)

RATINGS

Food: ****  (Lost a star because of the soup and the weak café Americano. But mostly because of the soup.)

Service: **** Unobtrusive but not fully attentive.

Price: (one $ = $10 USD: $$-$$$$$ La cuenta nuestra aquí.

Restrooms: Dark, a bit primitive, but acceptable.

Tips: Large servings; think carefully before ordering more than you can eat.
And: look at the specials both on the printed menu and the blackboards.

Contact info:
Gral. Manuel García Vigil 512,
Centro, 68000 Oaxaca
Teléfono:01 951 516 1800







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