Those of you who have us on Facebook will have seen my recent post about my disappointment that Mexican food so far hadn't been living up to my (extremely high) expectations. While we have both really enjoyed the freshly made street food quesadillas that abound, the rest of the fare so far has been nice but rather unremarkable. Because of that, I was super excited by a recommendation from the owner of our hostel to visit 'Los Danzantes
' (The Dancers) for our anniversary. Consistently rated one of the best restaurants in Oaxaca I checked out their website and prepared Ty that it was likely to be kinda cuisine-y (but promised that I'd take him to BK afterwards if he was still hungry).
The restaurant is situated in what is really just a vacant lot between other buildings, but they have used clever interior design to make it a very relaxing space and the unusual design of the roof (effectively just a corrugated shaped tent) allows any rain to drain into the indoor pool.
Oaxaca is known for its Mezcal (basically tequila but since tequila is trademarked to a specific region they cant call it that - but another blog about that later!) so we started the night with a couple of mezcal cocktails and our mouths began salivating the moment we started reading the menu!
I opted for the Heirba santa rellena de quesillo y queso de cabra con salsa de miltomate y chile chipotle meco to start (a bit of a mouthful to say but it roughly translates as Heirba santa - a big leaf, not really sure what type - stuffed with Oaxacan quesillo - a super stretchy cheese, which is basically Mexican mozzarella - and goats cheese in a green tomatoe and chilli chipotle pepper sauce). What I originally thought I was ordering was stuffed peppers but I'm totally ok with the fact that I was wrong. It was delicious! The chipotle pepper sauce was sweet but spicy and went really well with the creamy cheese.
Ty ordered Sopa de tortilla con tasajo, chicharron, aguqcate y queso fresco (tortilla soup with beef strips, pork rinds, avocado and fresh cheese) which he seemed to enjoy a lot, as I was only able to sneak one mouthful of it! The tomatoe base to the soup had just the right amount of smokey-ness about it and the pieces of avocado were an unusual but perfect addition.
Feliz anniversario to us!
Ty's melt in the mouth steak
this photo does not do my stuffed leaf justice!
For our mains Ty ordered Arrachera al grill acompanada con frijoles, guacamole, chiles toreados y tamalito mixe (Grilled flank steak served with beans, guacamole, and toreado chillis with tamale mix - kind of hard to describe in English but like a moulded mashed potatoe (but maize) stuffed with a chilli mixture). The first words out of his mouth after taking a bite of his steak were 'Wow, wow, wow!'. I hadn't even take a bite of mine yet before he slipped a bit of his steak into my mouth and I had major food envy. Oh My! We haven't had steak like that since Argentina! It literally melted in your mouth. Fortunately my meal of Chilorio de pato para preparar tacos, acompanado de aguacate y salsa de chile morita (Shredded chilorio duck, served with avocado, chile morita pepper sauce and fresh warm corn tortillas) was almost as good. Although, if I didn't know I had ordered duck I would have had a hard time distinguishing the slow cooked spiced meat from pork.
Our friendly waiter came back with the desert menus, and even though we really didnt need one, on his recommendation we decided on a simple chocolate cake and icecream to share (Oaxaca has lots of chocolate factories so it seemed appropriate). I dont know if there are words to describe the deliciousness that was what we were given. Imagine a just baked chocolate mound filled with dark chocolate sauce that oozes out onto the plate when you cut into it. Add to that fresh vanilla bean ice-cream and shaved almonds and you have a little slice of heaven. The perfect end to a celebration of 11 wonderful years.
Ty's tortilla soup
Pulled duck with warm fresh tortillas mmm nom nom
oozy, gooey deliciousness
No trip to Philadelphia is complete without stopping by Tony Luke's. This guys’ restaurant is one of the most famous in Philly for their cheesesteaks. Essentially just shaved meat and cheese on a roll, Philly has made a name for itself with these sandwiches’ and one of the walls at Tony Luke’s has photos of celebrities like Will Smith and Paula Abdul who eat at their joint. We ordered ours with onion and roasted peppers and were given the option of provolone (ie proper cheese) or cheese wizz. Um, provolone please! Ty was excited to see that Man vs Food have visited the place, but with the challenge being 6 cheesesteaks in less than an hour, and us splitting just one, we decide we aren’t quite M vs F potential today. A cheesesteak is basically a little bit smaller than a footlong subway. Crazily, the current record stands at 10 minutes!!
It became a running joke with the people we lived with in Horty House in London that Ty loves cheese. While my boy was definitely partial to cheese and crackers back home the wide range of choices in Europe has broadened his fromage horizons and we have come back from many weekends away with parcels of cheesy goodness in our suitcases. Unexpectedly Poland was no exception! These delicious bite sized morsels were sold all over town. A friendly local explained that they are a smoked sheeps' cheese which is grilled over open coals and then served with cranberry sauce. The best bit though had to be the fact that they cost 2.50 zloty, about 50p each! such a cheap snack to warm you up on a cold day exploring!