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tashby


Aug 6, 2009, 2:29 PM

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Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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We're going to Oaxaca in a month and I'm excited about tasting some new, wonderful food. Unfortunately, what I know about mole you could write on the outside of a shelled pumpkin seed.

What I really want to avoid are any moles that even approach sweet. (I know that there are many types of mole, and not all include chocolate.....) I much prefer savory, and even picante, sauces.

Given that, which dishes special to Oaxaca--moles or otherwise--would you recommend?

Gracias!


(This post was edited by tashby on Aug 6, 2009, 2:32 PM)



Papirex


Aug 6, 2009, 3:32 PM

Post #2 of 25 (17275 views)

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Re: [tashby] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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If it doesn't contain chocolate, it isn't mole. It is usually made with Chiles, and the Chile flavor usually predominates, but you will always taste the chocolate. It is not a particularly sweet sauce, the chocolate seems to take some of the fire out of the Chiles. It is made with chocolate and not normally with sweet milk chocolate.

The best I think, is mole poblano. That name comes from the City of Puebla where the story, or legend is that a group of nuns spent all night grinding the chocolate into a powder when creating the first mole for a dinner being given to honor Hernan Cortes.


You will never know until you try it. I love it, my suegra makes a wonderful mole, and I will order just about anything in a restaurant if it contains mole. Everyones taste is different though and it is conceivable that some sub-humans may not care for it.


You will never learn how delicious (or terrible) many Mexican dishes are until you start tasting them.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo

(This post was edited by Papirex on Aug 6, 2009, 3:37 PM)


Anonimo

Aug 6, 2009, 4:17 PM

Post #3 of 25 (17266 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Tashby, I must respectfully disagree with Papirex. There are numerous types of mole, many of which are chocolate-free. For example, Mole Verde, Mole Amarillo, Mole Coloradito. Oaxaca is called the place of Siete Moles. Most bear little or no resemblance to the thick, dark, slightly sweet complex of many ingredients we usually think of as mole. For example, the related but very different Mole de Olla has no chocolate and is far from sweet. It's a hearty beef and vegetable soup/stew, seasoned with several chiles, and often includes the sour cactus fruit, xoconostle.

But, it's true that Mole Negro, one of the most reknowned Moles Oaxaqueños is made with very dark toasted chiles plus a little chocolate . Not all moles are sweet in the Poblano style. Much depends on the cook and the region. It's worth giving them a try with an open mind. You will be pleasantly surprised, I think.


There are more moles than I know of, and I can't say I've even begun to try them all.

Here's a picture of Mole Verde de Pollo, taken at Las Casa de Los Sabores Cooking School in Oaxaca. (The Maestra-Chef, Pilar Cabrera, also runs the very good restaurant, "La Olla", where Oaxacan traditional cuisine is given a face-lift and presented in a new, lighter manner.) But there are many examples of distinctive moles served in other restaurants*. You can do some research both here on Mexconnect.com and, I suggest, on Chowhound.com, eGullet.org, and possibly, Mouthfulsfood.com, as well as other Internet sources.





Below, Enmoladas, prepared with Mole Negro (yes, contained a little chocolate, but it wasn't particularly sweet), at the Comedor María Teresa, in the Mercado 11 de Noviembre, Oaxaca.



*You will often find more "authentic" and distinctive moles (and cooking in general) in simple fondas and comedores, as well as in elaborate, tourist-oriented restaurants. Please look through the blog, Mexico Cooks!, as it will have considerable valuable info gathered over the years.

(This post was edited by Anonimo on Aug 6, 2009, 4:28 PM)


esperanza

Aug 6, 2009, 5:45 PM

Post #4 of 25 (17250 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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If it doesn't contain chocolate, it isn't mole.

Oh dear! Mole poblano--arguably the best known mole-- contains chocolate, but, as Anónimo pointed out, many moles don't. I'd revise Papirex's statement to this: if it doesn't contain chocolate, it isn't mole poblano.

Mole comes from the Nahua word mulli, which simply means 'sauce'. The best illustration of that truth is the etymology of the Spanish word guacamole. It comes from 'aguacate' (avocado) plus 'mole' (sauce).

Tashby, I know that you already love one mole that isn't sweet: pipián. You've eaten it many times in Morelia, at that place you love!

Pick up a copy of Patricia Quintana's masterwork book, Mulli. It will tell you way more than you ever thought you wanted to know about all the kinds of mole in Mexico.

It's unfortunate, but the mole served in most restaurants in this part of Mexico aren't made from scratch. They're prepared from mole pastes that are sold in plastic tubs--convenience food, not Mamá's homemade. Even Mamá rarely makes her own mole. Imagine, it can contain 30, 40, or more ingredients, every one toasted on a comal and ground on a metate--at least that's the way it was done in the old days!

Go to Oaxaca, eat mole amarillo, mole coloradito, mole negro, mole verde, and the other moles that Oaxaca is famous for. Try a little of all of them and see what you like.

When you're tired of moles, have some chapulines. What? You don't want to eat grasshoppers?


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Anonimo

Aug 6, 2009, 6:30 PM

Post #5 of 25 (17237 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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When you're tired of moles, have some chapulines. What? You don't want to eat grasshoppers?


Try some tlayudas.



tashby


Aug 7, 2009, 9:43 AM

Post #6 of 25 (17209 views)

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Re: [Anonimo] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Thanks you glorious foodie people!

First, I don't consider myself an unadventurous eater. I'll try anything once, including chapulines. (Yes, I've had them before.....not bad, not good, not again.)

So of course I'm going to taste every variety of mole that gets in my way. Including the famous mole negro, which I have also tried before.

But.....

I'll likely taste that mole negro off someone else's plate. For my own order, I'll be leaning toward those others you've mentioned: Mole Verde, Amarillo, Coloradito. The super dark, heavy, earthy - and yes, "slightly sweet" - moles are going to have to work very hard to win me over.

Then again, maybe they will....


Anonimo

Aug 7, 2009, 10:31 AM

Post #7 of 25 (17196 views)

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Re: [tashby] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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First, I don't consider myself an unadventurous eater. I'll try anything once, including chapulines. (Yes, I've had them before.....not bad, not good, not again.)


How about a nice drink of tejate? (Background)

I haven't yet got up the nerve to try it, but if I did, I'd go to the Mercado Orgánico Pochote on Friday or Saturday to sample it there.



¡Buen provecho!

Anonimo


yucatandreamer


Aug 7, 2009, 12:14 PM

Post #8 of 25 (17182 views)

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Re: [Anonimo] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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I had my first taste(tejate) at that very market and it was very good. It was much better than the appearance would suggest.


(This post was edited by yucatandreamer on Aug 7, 2009, 12:16 PM)


Anonimo

Aug 7, 2009, 1:36 PM

Post #9 of 25 (17164 views)

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Re: [yucatandreamer] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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I had my first taste(tejate) at that very market and it was very good. It was much better than the appearance would suggest.


Yes; I've heard from others more daring than I that it's quite a pleasant drink, with no ill after effects.

I took the plunge and had an agua fresca at the Parque El Llano Friday tianguis. While I'd had aguas frescas many times in homes and restaurants, I'd never before ventured to drink one at a tianguis or mercado.
It was quite tasty, accompanying some barbacoa from a stand across the way.



I chose the second aguita from the front, the one with the big, white, gelatinous seeds swimming around in it. But they all looked great.



I should also mention that Pilar Cabrera treated us to a chocolateatole, while visiting the local mercado where she takes her cooking students shopping. It was quite strange in appearance-sort of a Oaxacan "egg cream", but fairly pleasant. Again, no ill after effects ensued.

¡Buen provecho!


esperanza

Aug 7, 2009, 1:46 PM

Post #10 of 25 (17160 views)

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Re: [tashby] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Be sure to try tasajo (delicious grilled beef, which might be the meat in Anónimo's photograph), and a tlayuda con asiento (a great big crisp tortilla spread with what's on the bottom of the pot after lard is rendered and strained--it's marvelous). You can also get your tlayuda with asiento, frijoles negros, quesillo, and then add salsa...

Be SURE to visit the Mayordomo chocolate factory and buy a bunch of it to bring home. It's the best commercial chocolate in Mexico and rarely available outside Oaxaca. In fact, bring me some, please.


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tashby


Aug 8, 2009, 3:05 PM

Post #11 of 25 (17120 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Tlayudas, tasajo, tejate, ¡oh my!

Now we're really getting somewhere.

(And I really do mean, "Oh my!". I just read about, and saw pictures of, Tejate. Why did I have to say "I'll try anything once"?)

Also just flipped through a fantastic photo album filled with Oaxacan foods, so I'm offically starving. Thank you all.

And yes esperanza, Mayordomo for sure.


charalito

Aug 10, 2009, 3:30 PM

Post #12 of 25 (17035 views)

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Re: [tashby] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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You can always ask to sample their moles they will usually give u a small spoonful of each one that they serve. In general there are over 100 different types of mole and all varying in taste, preparation, and ingredients used. Taking that into account im sure you'll find what you are looking for especially if you just ask them directly "Me gustaria un mole picante" or something similar.

another thing i would recommend is trying Agua de Xilacayote (not sure if its spelled right) pronounced Chi-Laa-Ca-Yoh-Te it's generally sweet because its made of a sweet pumpkin but very tastful.


Anonimo

Oct 21, 2009, 6:36 AM

Post #13 of 25 (16575 views)

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Re: [tashby] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Well, Tashby, how was your Oaxaca trip and, especially the food?
Curious minds want to know.

Anonimo


esperanza

Oct 21, 2009, 6:46 AM

Post #14 of 25 (16570 views)

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Re: [Anonimo] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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By the way, Anónimo, the agua fresca that you drank is guanabana. Sweet but a little tart and very refreshing, it's my all-time favorite flavor.


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tashby


Oct 21, 2009, 10:32 AM

Post #15 of 25 (16551 views)

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Re: [Anonimo] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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We had a nice trip to Oaxaca and tasted some wonderful food!

Overall though, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed. We were a group of four and eating establishments were chosen by committee. (That's my diplomatic way of saying we weren't as adventurous as I would have liked.) Anyway, we ate at some of the famous joints.....Casa de Oaxaca, Danzantes, Cafe de Olla. Memory is failing on the rest.

In every single place somebody ordered something spectacular. I remember some really fantastic soups in particular. At Casa de Oaxaca we ordered four different moles. Mine was mole amarillo and I think it was the favored one (though the venison it surrounded was a waste of time and money). I remember I liked the mole negro there also, but I wouldn't have wanted an entire plate of it. Somebody else ordered tongue in, I think, mole verde and it wasn't anything special at all. Can't remember the fourth, maybe coloradito?

I recall everybody loving a soup at Cafe de Olla, but unfortunately can't remember what it was. For an entree there I ordered the Tlayuda Asiento and it was just......meh.

At Dazantes the most spectacular food was, essentially, some kind pf regional take on a beef stew.....served in the ubiquitous pale-blue-speckled-white kitchenware pot. I wish I had ordered that. It was outstanding. I think the very brief, almost cryptic, menu descriptions at Dazantes mentioned pineapple as an ingredient, but it wasn't sweet at all. No doubt different chiles were involved.

Enjoyed tasajo at a couple of places. (Is that seasoning like adobada?)

Anyway, we enjoyed some delicious meals but like I said, I was a little disappointed. Oaxacan cuisine gets so much attention. I think my expectations were just too high. I half imagined my eyes would melt form the flavors. Didn't happen.

Of course, we may have just ate at the wrong places or ordered the wrong things. Food is so personal. Who knows.


(This post was edited by tashby on Oct 21, 2009, 10:37 AM)


Anonimo

Oct 21, 2009, 1:24 PM

Post #16 of 25 (16533 views)

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Re: [tashby] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Anyway, we enjoyed some delicious meals but like I said, I was a little disappointed. Oaxacan cuisine gets so much attention. I think my expectations were just too high. I half imagined my eyes would melt form the flavors. Didn't happen.


Maybe you needed more mercado food and less from famous restaurants. I tend to be more satisied from the former than from the latter.

Anyway, you can always give it another try. :-)


Manuel Dexterity

Oct 21, 2009, 1:38 PM

Post #17 of 25 (16530 views)

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Re: [Anonimo] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Anyway, we enjoyed some delicious meals but like I said, I was a little disappointed. Oaxacan cuisine gets so much attention. I think my expectations were just too high. I half imagined my eyes would melt form the flavors. Didn't happen.


Maybe you needed more mercado food and less from famous restaurants. I tend to be more satisied from the former than from the latter.

Anyway, you can always give it another try. :-)


My wife and I have always felt that the restaurants in Oaxaca were overrated. Many times the people giving the high praise are people who have no point of comparison.


yucatandreamer


Oct 21, 2009, 1:56 PM

Post #18 of 25 (16527 views)

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Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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After five years in Yucatan, Oaxacan restaurants were a joy, the downtown ones, the roadside ones and the mercado ones. There is much more variety and respect for food quality in Oaxaca and most restaurants understood the concept of eye appeal as well.


esperanza

Oct 21, 2009, 4:10 PM

Post #19 of 25 (16509 views)

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Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Anyway, we enjoyed some delicious meals but like I said, I was a little disappointed. Oaxacan cuisine gets so much attention. I think my expectations were just too high. I half imagined my eyes would melt form the flavors. Didn't happen.


Maybe you needed more mercado food and less from famous restaurants. I tend to be more satisied from the former than from the latter.

Anyway, you can always give it another try. :-)

Quote

My wife and I have always felt that the restaurants in Oaxaca were overrated. Many times the people giving the high praise are people who have no point of comparison.

Sr. Dexterity, please don't faint, but I agree with you completely.

I have generally been very disappointed with Oaxacan food.

The best regional cuisines, IMHO, are from Michoacán.

If you'd like to see an example, take a look at the lead article on this week's Mexico Cooks!. The link is just below...


http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









tashby


Oct 21, 2009, 5:32 PM

Post #20 of 25 (16503 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Food Fight!!!

8-)

Like I said, our experience was too limited to form a judgment. But the next time I hear someone singing the praises of restaurants in Oaxaca, it at least won't be a one-sided conversation.


wendy devlin

Oct 23, 2009, 7:48 AM

Post #21 of 25 (16430 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Esperanza,

With Señora Catalina Aguirre Camacho, cooking in her restaurant since 1980, plus your photos, have put the restaurant, on my must-visit list. Gracias.


Hound Dog

Oct 23, 2009, 6:09 PM

Post #22 of 25 (16406 views)

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Re: [Manuel Dexterity] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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My wife and I have always felt that the restaurants in Oaxaca were overrated. Many times the people giving the high praise are people who have no point of comparison.

In our opinions, restaurant food in Oaxaca is vastly overrated. We normally eat home cooking with friends at Teotitlan del Valle near Oaxaca City but say absolutely that the only good restaurant food we have ever had in Oaxaca City has been at the fabulous Casa Oaxaca. All other restaurant food we have had in Oaxaca and we have eaten out many times in that town, has been deplorably mediocre to awful. The most overrated restaurant town in North America. Foreigners eating out there must be extraordinarily naive to rate restaurant food superior there.The restaurant food we have enjoyed inTuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, a town with no apparent following, has been consistently far superior.


Vichil

Oct 23, 2009, 11:46 PM

Post #23 of 25 (16386 views)

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Re: [tashby] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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I think the best food we ever had in Mexico was at people´s homes. For some reason that is where very special food can be found.
We enjoyed the casa Oaxaca food at the hotel's restaurant but not at the sam name restaurant by the Santo Domingo's convent. Same chefs but the food at the hotel is way better.
On one of our trips we ate at both as we were told the menus were the same. We first went to the stand alone restaurant and the food was nothing like I remembered it so we went to the hotel the following night and it is not true the menues are not the same and neither is the quality.
I cannot figure out for the life of me why a fine restaurant would open an other restaurant by the same name but with two different qualities. The lower quality restaurant is the large one so it messes up the reputation of the other restaurant.
We did this 2 or 3 years ago so it may have changed but the stand alone restaurant was a big disappointment.


Carron

Oct 24, 2009, 10:14 AM

Post #24 of 25 (16361 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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Having lived in and around Tuxtla Gutierrez for several years, I have to agree with you about the outstanding quality of its restaurants. We always ate in little nooks and crannies, especially in the mercado areas, and I'll almost bet none of them have ever served--nor will ever serve--a tourist.

Once I was writing a magazine article about the city and decided to have a late dinner at Las Pinchachas since I had seen tour buses parked there and was aware they offered folk dancers along with the food. Also, in one of Rick Bayless's early books he sang its praises. I asked a local friend if he would accompany me and my family there while I did my research. He looked at me in absolute horror and said he couldn't imagine anyone he knew wanting to go there, but he went along for the free meal. None of us remembers a thing about the meal other than the cultural entertainment and a souvenir shop by the cash register.


Vichil

Nov 5, 2009, 9:03 AM

Post #25 of 25 (16202 views)

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Re: [Carron] Oaxaca please.......hold the mole?

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I would not say that the Pichanchas has fabulous food but it is better than an average tourist joint, way better than the tourists places in Chiapa de Corzo, maybe that silly drink they sell helps.
I went there and enjoyed the food and would not say it is an awful place to go to and I am pretty picky.
I rather go the little taco places and bbq places they have all over town, there are some really good ones. Someone from San Cristobal once told me that the reason the people from Tuxtla are so fat is that they eat all day long, I can understand that I would do just that if I lived down there, no amount of Danzon can help, the food is just too delicious.
 
 
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