Mexican Cuisine

By Jim Kane, Guest Blogger

Oaxaca is known for its cuisine. I've been fortunate to have traveled there a half dozen times in the last three years. I typically sample the culinary gamut from a late night, street corner tacos al pastor washed down with a cold Bohemia beer to an evening at the internationally known El Naranjo, a favorite of New York Times reporters for its traditional Oaxacan dishes prepared with care by Iliana de la Vega.

This latest trip, coinciding with the Day of the Dead celebrations in early November, added a new twist. In addition to the small group of travelers along with me participating in the marvelous Day of the Dead festivities, I was there to scout for a 5-star museum group traveling with Culture Xplorers next fall. A critical part of the scouting was trying out a new restaurant billed to be one of Oaxaca's finest.

Alejandro Ruiz, owner and chef of Casa Oaxaca Restaurant, was gracious with his time as he accompanied me for lunch at his restaurant adjacent to Santo Domingo, even though I was visiting during the single busiest week of the year.

He asked if he could choose a tasting menu for me so that I could try several of the dishes for which the restaurant was best known. Saying yes turned out to be one of the best decisions of my trip and pure culinary nirvana.

As I imbibed the food and fine mescal that accompanied it, my body seemed to go into a wonderful, altered state of consciousness.

Amongst the half dozen dishes I tried that day, the following were stand-outs:
Salad – jicama cannelloni stuffed with grasshoppers, corn mushrooms and Oaxacan string cheese, all local delicacies.
This was followed by
Soup – fresh corn mushrooms and zucchini flower with epazote
Fish – fish of the day with zucchini flowers, capers and tomato marmalade
Prawns – with salsa of chile de arbol pacific style

The tasting menu at Casa Oaxaca is currently 320 pesos for five courses (around $30 USD) per person. It will be one of the most memorable meals you'll have in Oaxaca or anywhere in Mexico.

Comments are closed.