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Old 03-24-2008
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Default Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

Comment: I love Oaxacan food.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/o...2260-menu-made
Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors


Gourmet capital of Mexico is reflected in this cozy eatery

By MARLA JO FISHER
The Orange County Register
Comments 4 | Recommend 8
If you mention Oaxaca to sophisticated Mexicans, they are likely to smack their lips, roll their eyes heavenward and say "Ah, Oaxaca" as they reflect fondly on some remembered meal.
Although it's been a decade since I first visited this Mexican state, I've never been able to forget its mouth-watering cuisine.
Oaxaca, which by the way is pronounced wa-ha-ca, attracts few foreigners, because it's in the southern part of the country and seldom advertises itself to tourists.
But, within Mexico, knowledgeable foodies recognize the region as a gourmet's dream.
At Oaxacan markets, Mexican tourists eagerly buy up food products to bring home with them: prepared moles, chunks of freshly made hot chocolate for grating and brewing at home by the potful, dozens of gourmet varieties of mezcal.
Casa Oaxaca restaurant, on First Street in Santa Ana, near the Santa Ana River and Willowick Golf Course, is a small new eatery that doesn't let this tradition down.
Opened about six months ago, this colorful yet modest cafe has an extensive menu with regional specialties that are hard to find. I keep going back and have yet to get to the bottom of the menu.
In California, most people think that mole is a sauce made with chocolate and ground peanuts. In actuality, a mole is not one single sauce but a category of complex, aromatic sauces. Oaxaca is justly famous for having not just one, but seven moles indigenous to the region.
There's yellow mole, which is typically served in a bowl, with chicken and broth. It has a distinctive anise-like flavor that comes from adding leaves from the aromatic yerba santa tree that is considered to have medicinal properties. At Casa Oaxaca, they serve it in a broth with potatoes, chayote squash, green beans and chicken, accompanied by a plate of chopped cilantro and onion to add as desired. Try it if you have a cold.
The red mole, called coloradito, is served on a platter with chicken on the bone, and accompanied by rice. Its ingredients include ground almonds, ground sesame seeds, chocolate, tomatoes, ground peanuts, ancho and guajillo chiles.
The black mole, or mole negro, has similar ingredients but with pureed plantains and ginger. The dark color and roasted flavor comes from charring the chiles before they are pureed.
My newest favorite is the pollo estofado, which I'd never before tasted. The estofado comes as chicken covered with a pureed sauce made from onions, almonds, cinnamon, sesame seeds, olive oil and with sliced and cooked jalapenos on top.
The owner explained to me why the estofado was technically a salsa, not a mole, but at some point he lost me.
The chicken dishes here are served with the bird still on the bone, which is authentic but, let's face it, hard to eat when it's smothered in sauce or lolling in a broth. Personally, I would be okay with the loss of authenticity to have the poultry deboned.
The tamales here are stuffed with chicken and mole and steamed in banana leaves. Yum.
The menu also features a whole fried tilapia, sliced in a diamond pattern so it's easy to eat. There's other seafood also available and stuffed chiles as well, though I wouldn't be looking for any Baja fish tacos or Sonoran-style enchiladas dripping in cheese.
This is regional cuisine, folks.
Another Oaxacan specialty, the tllayuda, was also on the menu. It's a sort of tostada layered with beans, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. It is traditionally cooked on a round ceramic cooking plate over a fire. The one I ordered, which by the way is a huge amount of food the size of a small pizza, was crunchy and a bit dry. I preferred the moles.
The region is also famous for its string cheese, similar to mozzarella but more tangy.
My favorite Casa Oaxaca dessert so far is fried bananas served hot in a small bowl with a sauce made from orange juice, flambeed mezcal, cinnamon and sugar. It's fragrant, tangy and sweet. I imagine it would be great over vanilla ice cream.
The restaurant's friendly owner, Rogelio Martinez, is of Zapotec Indian heritage, originally from Tlacochahuaya, a village just outside the colonial city of Oaxaca (Oaxaca is the name both of the city and the state). He worked as a waiter for years before deciding to open his own place.
The chefs, Sabino and Vicente Garcia, are also both from Oaxaca, he said.
Because he also runs a small import business, Martinez and his crew travel back and forth constantly from Oaxaca, bringing in the fresh ingredients that make his restaurant's regional specialties seem truly authentic.
The cozy eatery is colorfully decorated with folk arts brought from Oaxaca and includes a juke box and traditional family altar tucked into a corner.
You can even get chapulines here—fried grasshoppers rolled in salt and chile powder—a local delicacy. They're okay, but nothing I'd dream about marooned on a desert island.
Martinez also recommended the tejate, a regional drink favored by working people that he promised, "If you drink it in the morning you will not be hungry all day."
Since the tejate has to be made up fresh by his sister, it's only available on the weekends, he said.The café has a beer and wine license. Margaritas are available, made from agave wine, along with other wine cocktails.
When I was there, the restaurant's menu was entirely in Spanish, which may have been fine for the local Mexican American clientele, but didn't serve the needs of English-speaking patrons.
Martinez promised me that an English menu is in the works.
I hope so, because I know this cuisine will have broad appeal.
Contact the writer: 714-796-7994 or mfisher@ocregister.com
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Old 03-24-2008
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

This place sounds like it is definitely worth a visit! Thanks for posting it.
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Old 03-24-2008
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Default

I read the paper and I want to visit it also. I was wondering if anybody has been to it.

Link:

CasaOaxacaRestaurant.com
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Last edited by tecpaocelotl; 03-24-2008 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 08-20-2008
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

Quote:
Originally Posted by tecpaocelotl View Post
Comment: I love Oaxacan food.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/o...2260-menu-made
Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors


Gourmet capital of Mexico is reflected in this cozy eatery

By MARLA JO FISHER
The Orange County Register
Comments 4 | Recommend 8
If you mention Oaxaca to sophisticated Mexicans, they are likely to smack their lips, roll their eyes heavenward and say "Ah, Oaxaca" as they reflect fondly on some remembered meal.
Although it's been a decade since I first visited this Mexican state, I've never been able to forget its mouth-watering cuisine.
Oaxaca, which by the way is pronounced wa-ha-ca, attracts few foreigners, because it's in the southern part of the country and seldom advertises itself to tourists.
But, within Mexico, knowledgeable foodies recognize the region as a gourmet's dream.
At Oaxacan markets, Mexican tourists eagerly buy up food products to bring home with them: prepared moles, chunks of freshly made hot chocolate for grating and brewing at home by the potful, dozens of gourmet varieties of mezcal.
Casa Oaxaca restaurant, on First Street in Santa Ana, near the Santa Ana River and Willowick Golf Course, is a small new eatery that doesn't let this tradition down.
Opened about six months ago, this colorful yet modest cafe has an extensive menu with regional specialties that are hard to find. I keep going back and have yet to get to the bottom of the menu.
In California, most people think that mole is a sauce made with chocolate and ground peanuts. In actuality, a mole is not one single sauce but a category of complex, aromatic sauces. Oaxaca is justly famous for having not just one, but seven moles indigenous to the region.
There's yellow mole, which is typically served in a bowl, with chicken and broth. It has a distinctive anise-like flavor that comes from adding leaves from the aromatic yerba santa tree that is considered to have medicinal properties. At Casa Oaxaca, they serve it in a broth with potatoes, chayote squash, green beans and chicken, accompanied by a plate of chopped cilantro and onion to add as desired. Try it if you have a cold.
The red mole, called coloradito, is served on a platter with chicken on the bone, and accompanied by rice. Its ingredients include ground almonds, ground sesame seeds, chocolate, tomatoes, ground peanuts, ancho and guajillo chiles.
The black mole, or mole negro, has similar ingredients but with pureed plantains and ginger. The dark color and roasted flavor comes from charring the chiles before they are pureed.
My newest favorite is the pollo estofado, which I'd never before tasted. The estofado comes as chicken covered with a pureed sauce made from onions, almonds, cinnamon, sesame seeds, olive oil and with sliced and cooked jalapenos on top.
The owner explained to me why the estofado was technically a salsa, not a mole, but at some point he lost me.
The chicken dishes here are served with the bird still on the bone, which is authentic but, let's face it, hard to eat when it's smothered in sauce or lolling in a broth. Personally, I would be okay with the loss of authenticity to have the poultry deboned.
The tamales here are stuffed with chicken and mole and steamed in banana leaves. Yum.
The menu also features a whole fried tilapia, sliced in a diamond pattern so it's easy to eat. There's other seafood also available and stuffed chiles as well, though I wouldn't be looking for any Baja fish tacos or Sonoran-style enchiladas dripping in cheese.
This is regional cuisine, folks.
Another Oaxacan specialty, the tllayuda, was also on the menu. It's a sort of tostada layered with beans, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. It is traditionally cooked on a round ceramic cooking plate over a fire. The one I ordered, which by the way is a huge amount of food the size of a small pizza, was crunchy and a bit dry. I preferred the moles.
The region is also famous for its string cheese, similar to mozzarella but more tangy.
My favorite Casa Oaxaca dessert so far is fried bananas served hot in a small bowl with a sauce made from orange juice, flambeed mezcal, cinnamon and sugar. It's fragrant, tangy and sweet. I imagine it would be great over vanilla ice cream.
The restaurant's friendly owner, Rogelio Martinez, is of Zapotec Indian heritage, originally from Tlacochahuaya, a village just outside the colonial city of Oaxaca (Oaxaca is the name both of the city and the state). He worked as a waiter for years before deciding to open his own place.
The chefs, Sabino and Vicente Garcia, are also both from Oaxaca, he said.
Because he also runs a small import business, Martinez and his crew travel back and forth constantly from Oaxaca, bringing in the fresh ingredients that make his restaurant's regional specialties seem truly authentic.
The cozy eatery is colorfully decorated with folk arts brought from Oaxaca and includes a juke box and traditional family altar tucked into a corner.
You can even get chapulines here—fried grasshoppers rolled in salt and chile powder—a local delicacy. They're okay, but nothing I'd dream about marooned on a desert island.
Martinez also recommended the tejate, a regional drink favored by working people that he promised, "If you drink it in the morning you will not be hungry all day."
Since the tejate has to be made up fresh by his sister, it's only available on the weekends, he said.The café has a beer and wine license. Margaritas are available, made from agave wine, along with other wine cocktails.
When I was there, the restaurant's menu was entirely in Spanish, which may have been fine for the local Mexican American clientele, but didn't serve the needs of English-speaking patrons.
Martinez promised me that an English menu is in the works.
I hope so, because I know this cuisine will have broad appeal.
Contact the writer: 714-796-7994 or mfisher@ocregister.com
wow that sound like a definite must go.....how sad that is in cali
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  #5  
Old 02-08-2009
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

Went to the guela-getza festival last year and they had some SOUL food there. Literally if you ate the food it would not only satisfy and warm your stomach but also your soul. I especially liked the sweet squash drink.(Found it on google- Chilacayota hmmmmm
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Old 08-04-2009
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

I did not know Gustavo did an article on it:

http://www.ocweekly.com/2007-11-08/f...-the-wall-life

Quote:
This Hole-in-the-Wall Life

Show Me the Mole!

Gustavo Arellano

Published on November 08, 2007

Orange County's richest dish: the amarillo at CASA OAXACA, a brightly decorated Oaxacan restaurant near the Santa Ana River. Typically, an amarillo ("yellow" en español, but here referring to one of the seven moles native to the southern Mexican state) platter features beans, rice and a chicken drumstick, with thick amarillo mole sauce slathered atop the hen. But Casa Oaxaca's amarillo expands the meal to absurd proportions. For one, it's not served on a plate—instead, the amarillo is transformed into a soup that fills a bowl large enough to quench a St. Bernard's thirst. Beans and rice get tossed in favor of potatoes, green beans and an elote—corn on the cob. A chicken breast is included alongside the drumstick. Hungry yet? I haven't even described amarillo's flavor: decadent, slightly spicy, slightly sweet, with traces of nuts, raisins and dozens of other ingredients overloading your palate until it zonks out in ecstasy. The steaming amarillo serves four, yet it's all for you, baby. Nevertheless, you'll only finish a third of its intensity, much to the consternation of the waitress, who'll shoot you a dirty look and state, "That's it?" with the disappointed tone of a high school virgin who has finally experienced her boyfriend's lingam. All of this for six measly bucks.
The other moles at Casa Oaxaca are also must-eats: the spicy coloradito, chocolate-infused negro and estofado, a brownish mole created with almonds that I actually enjoy more than the amarillo. They demand your immediate attention, but Casa Oaxaca is one of the few restaurants where you must work through the entire menu to fully appreciate its greatness, as each entrée reveals a different facet of the best regional cuisine in the Americas. Don't bother looking for burritos here, and don't be surprised when the chile rellenos (bloated with ground chicken) and enchiladas (topped with stringy, slightly sour cheese called quesillo) you order are like nothing you've ever tasted. Empanadas are really quesadillas crossbred with gorditas and stuffed with that gorgeous amarillo, crispy squash blossoms, or huitlacoche, overripe corn kernels that American farmers trash but Mexicans prize for its fungusy charm. Chorizo is lean, crispy and made with beef instead of pork; cactus salad refreshes the soul. The only tacos on the menu are of tender, stringy goat, while the tamales come wrapped in a banana leaf and layered with mole negro. And no Oaxacan meal is complete unless you nibble on chapulines: fried, salted grasshoppers. Don't get grossed-out; just wash down the little critters with melon-spiked horchata.
CASA OAXACA, 3317 W. FIRST ST., SANTA ANA, (714) 554-0905.
I'm bumping it since Jia & I went to this restaurant last weekend and I will say, one day we will go again and maybe have a soy gathering at this restaurant.

Jia & I have pics of the dishes if anyone is interested.
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Old 08-04-2009
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

this made me so hungry - no good when all you can eat is broccoli soup
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Old 08-10-2009
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

mmm amarillo...that's my favorite kinda soup. I really need to get that recipe from my aunt. It's quite complicated so maybe I'll do a video. Weird thing about it is, my mom and aunt know how to make it but I have always said my aunt makes it a bit better. I am not sure why.

Empanadas de flor de calabaza is really the only type of food I"ll eat out in the mercado when I am in Oaxaca. Delicious.

there's another dish called "picadillo" (this is what we call it). It's usually served during breakfast because it's made out of egg. I am sure they have it because every fiesta that I have been to, serves it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tecpaocelotl View Post
I'm bumping it since Jia & I went to this restaurant last weekend and I will say, one day we will go again and maybe have a soy gathering at this restaurant.

Jia & I have pics of the dishes if anyone is interested.
count me in. I have given up finding a good restaurant like that here in the bay area. What did you and jia get?

Last edited by SJ; 08-10-2009 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 08-10-2009
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

pinche oaxaquenos
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Old 08-10-2009
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

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count me in. I have given up finding a good restaurant like that here in the bay area. What did you and jia get?
We got all the dishes most people talk about:

Appetizers, we got Chapullines.


For drinks, Jia got got Tejate.


While I got the Chilacayota.


Jia got the Tlayuda.

She asked for Huitlacoche on top.

I got the Mole Coloradito.


For dessert, we shared a nicuatole:


We had left over on both the main courses since we got stuffed.

Jia & I have been looking for a good Oaxacan restaurant that served all the typical stuff. Most restaurants that were 50 miles or less didn't serve one or more of the dishes (They didn't serve the Chapullines along with a mole or two) wanted to try out. Luckily, this restaurant had them all.

Sadly, I think the restaurant will slowly lose those dishes or go out of business bc I only saw them advertise the buffets (which I think is helping the restaurant stay open) & tacos (I have not seen a positive review on their tacos, but have seen a positive review on everything else they serve.). Even on the phone when I called them the day before going to the restaurant, they advertise those two items. I thought I got the wrong number or they removed the dishes until I asked. Even the front of the restaurant, you won't see them advertise these dishes.
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Old 08-10-2009
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Damn Tec, that looks hella good.

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Old 08-10-2009
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DOpeness. The clayudas be the business.
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Old 08-11-2009
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

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Damn Tec, that looks hella good.
And it was. LOL.

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DOpeness. The clayudas be the business.
They also have an alcohol license so they can serve drinks.
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Old 06-05-2011
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

They no longer have chapulines & tejate.
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Old 06-05-2011
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

I suppose it was because they couldn't supply something that wasn't as popular?

I'm sure if you ask them to get it for a nice price, they will. It was great while it lasted, something unusual for Orange County too ~
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Old 06-05-2011
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Oh my goodness I'm devastated.
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Old 06-05-2011
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I gotta go to this joint. Still.
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Old 06-06-2011
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

DJ Rick, his nephew, Jia & I were there yesterday. Was pretty fun.
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Old 06-13-2011
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

Lemme next time u folks plan on going. Maybe we can make it.
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Old 04-14-2015
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

What makes me sad is there is no more chapulines to eat there anymore.
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Default Re: Casa Oaxaca restaurant has authentic flavors

I've been to El Fortin in Fullerton... it was pretty delicious... the service sucks balls though.
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