Food Travel America / Mexico

Zicanda, open Sundays

Going to Oaxaca is supposed to be my time to slow down, eat well, relax, and catch up on posting. But it seems that when I’m there in the moments between my eating adventures, relaxing takes precedent over posting, so I fall quite behind.

When I return from Oaxaca each year, I am thrust into Christmas craziness and before I know it, I’ve been carrying the thoughts of my posts of Oaxaca in my pocket for a month. It’s time to get back to thinking about Oaxaca again.

Each year I return to Oaxaca eager for new food adventures but I’m finding that as I keep returning, it’s becoming harder and harder to “be surprised” in the dining scene. I’ve gone to so many fantastic restaurants, and each year I want to return to my favourites. With a limited number of unplanned meals in Oaxaca left, I have little opportunity to try new.

The other challenge in experiencing new places in Oaxaca is the with the group I’m with. My gang spends a lot more time in Oaxaca than I, and when I arrive each year, they have already been in Oaxaca for a month. They have more time than I, to decide where they liked and do not like. They have spoken to people who have steered them to or away from places for various reasons. And then there’s that darn Tripadvisor (since Yelp hasn’t found Oaxaca yet) with its anonymously scathing reviews which sometimes turns an undecided group against.

On nights, where we haven’t planned a dinner, it’s sometimes hard to decide where to eat in a city that I dream all year of eating in. This happened on the lovely Sunday evening I was in Oaxaca this year.

It was later in the evening when we had decided we wanted to go for a bite, but we didn’t really have a plan. Choices were thrown out, and thrown down quickly, but we decided to go back to Biznaga, which I hadn’t been to in many years.  We walked over to Biznaga, but unfortunately on Sundays they are closed. Since we were close, we tried Zandunga, only to find that was closed as well.

Molly & I had checked out the menu at Zicanda a few days before, and the menu coupled with the funky space made me want to check it out. Zicanda was on my radar because the restaurant and its chef, Yiannis Rojas were a  part of the El Saber del Sabor festival. I had mentioned it a few times to the gang, but for a few reasons above, it seemed hard to steer the group there.

In the end, I’m glad we went because it turned out to be a fantastic meal. None of us was that hungry, but we each ordered a separate small dish. I got to sample each and all were delicious.

I forgot to take a photo of the menu and there’s no website, so the descriptions are crude. Sigh, I just need to be a better blogger but I have a hard time pulling my focus away from the dining experience, so the photos and my memory will have to do…

Fresh green ceviche

Fresh green ceviche was fresh, vibrant and wonderfully acidic.

Grilled octopus salad with pesto and tomatoes. A great example that delicious can be achieved with simply with good ingredients and techniques.

Grilled octopus salad with pesto, olives  and tomatoes. A great example that delicious can be achieved with good ingredients and simple techniques.

Sopa de frijol criollo - Black bean soup with cheese and pork.

Sopa de frijol criollo – Black bean soup with cheese and pork was earthy and complex.

Carrot soup poured over a mole negro was the showstopper of the evening.

Carrot soup poured over a mole negro was the showstopper of the evening. As wonderful to taste as it was to look at.

Carnitas tacos

Carnitas tacos were ordered as a “filler”. I must say, I’ll take tacos as my filler any day over rice or potatoes.

I wanted a salad, but wanted something "different". I chose the watermelon salad, but then immediately regretted my order. I was happy with my choice in the end though because this dish was a great example of one ingredient prepared in various ways

I wanted a salad, but wanted something “different”. I chose the watermelon salad as it looked technically interesting, but then immediately regretted my order. I was happy with my choice in the end though because this dish was a great example of one ingredient prepared in various ways (fresh, compressed, smoked, granita) that come together as something completely unique.

"Zicanda Oaxaca chocolate"

So delicious chocolate dessert.

At the end of the meal, I asked to see the kitchen, which I was happily granted. I was shocked at how “basic” the kitchen seemed and marvelled that such vibrant and exciting cuisine was being created in a space so white.

Chef Yiannis Rojas was cooking up a special meal for

Chef Yiannis Rojas was cooking up a special meal for a few chefs who were visiting from the festival so I didn’t want to bother him too much.

 

Gracias Chef Rojas for a great meal!

Gracias Chef Rojas for a great meal!

Zicanda Oaxaca Ricardo Lemus

"Zicanda Oaxaca"

 Zicanda: 409 Garcia Vigil, Oaxaca Centro

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s