Saturday, January 02, 2016

Mexico City's Guzina Oaxaca wakes anyone's palate (12-30-15)

The next night I ended up dining alone as Will stayed in the room for chicken broth and Samuel was very tired and joined him.
I headed to another uber-Mexican chef's domaine, Guzina Oaxaca, where the cuisine hails from the south coast region of that name.
I started with my best "margarita of sorts" ever which was a Pepina/Mezcal cocktail with cucumber and lime as well as an awesome salted-chili rim on the glass.
As soon as I sat down a young waiter arrived and asked me what ingredients I wanted in my table-side made salsa. I chose all and went for the picante. A video can be seen (as well as the regular photos) on FB! No questions, this was the best salsa I have ever had with huge chunks of tomatillos and tomatoes as well as a dash of onion, cilantro and of course chiles and garlic. Blue corn and white corn crispy tortilla "chips" were for dipping.
The manager Ernesto helped me through the menu but I knew I wanted the famous Cazuelita de Lengua al oregano which was a thick stew of tongue with a wonderful sauce with a hint of lime. Tortillas arrived made by a woman at a stand in the front of the very small establishment with probably no more than a dozen or so tables, making this a very desirable spot with a long waiting list. It is very casual and simple though.
Some folks at a nearby table asked to buy tortillas and Ernesto said they were not for sale, but did offer me a take home batch of salsa...which I kindly refused as I knew it wouldn't keep in the hotel fridge as it was not cold enough.
Ernesto said not to worry that I couldn't choose between the starters as he would be bring over a bowl of the famous tiny grasshoppers with chilies and lime. I ate most of them and they were superb.
A white from  Valle de Guadalupe Hilo Negro Invisibile which was Sauvignon Blanc and that was excellent with the grasshoppers as well as  with my main course of Red Snapper wrapped in Hoja Santa Leaves in white wine and garlic. There was a divine rice underneath that was gooey and stretchy with what we would call Queso Oaxaca, but the Oaxacans call it simply Quesilla, as it is their cheese. Ernesto brought some over that was shredded and it tasted like a dry version of mozzarella, which made for a great blend with the rice.
Dessert was an Obleas de Maracuya which I would call a passionfruit Napoleon as it was wafers with a passionfruit and pasilla chile cream that was superb, but too rich for me, even though Ernesto insisted it was light.
I left hoping to return here again as he menu was huge and I only tasted a tiny portion of the excellent Oaxacan cuisine.