Oaxaca Kitchen

Mole rojo
Before I get into this story and review, here’s a highly informative article about eating sushi at a restaurant. Though in general, sushi and raw fish are healthy, the article presents some great tips about avoiding caloric bombs at sushi restaurants.

When you get to college, oftentimes, you’re bombard with numerous communities and organizations that want to consume your soul. They shower you with gifts and make promises of grand opportunities, but that all ends after freshman year. More often than not, the benefits drop stagnantly as soon as after the first month. One of the best programs I signed up for, however, is the Korean American Students at Yale’s (KASY) adopt-a-freshman program. Of course, I, along with my friend Jessica, were the freshmen to be “adopted” by two generous members of KASY, Sarah and James.

As a frame of reference, most cultural societies at Yale have a program like this where freshmen are adopted into a family, allowing them to ask upperclassmen questions and get a better feel for college. Other groups do the same. For example, Timothy Dwight college (TD), my housing community, has a similar program.

With my TD family, I shared two meals—one at a dining hall and another at a famous pizza restaurant. While the dining hall meal was free because I am on the dining plan, everyone who went to eat at the pizza restaurant split the bill. Note that my entire family didn’t actually go get pizza, about half of my TD family—three people—could make it. These meals were nice, informative, and fun, but they all occurred within the first couple months of school, and I haven’t gotten to know any of the people in my TD “family” well.

My KASY family, on the other hand, poses a completely different outcome. We’ve gone out for multiple meals at local restaurants—Thai Taste, Basil, Oaxaca Kitchen, and probably one other occasion I forgot. I’ve met up with my KASY sibling, Jessica, in New York City for a run and a meal. Jessica, James (the father in this family), and I surprised Sarah (the mom) with a late-night birthday cake on her birthday. James and Sarah—I couldn’t make it to this occasion—delivered Jessica food and gifts for her birthday. I received an iTunes gift card electronically over spring break for my birthday and Christmas. I could go on. Both Jessica and I are blessed to have ended up with such an awesome KASY family, and this KASY adopt-a-freshman program truly was one of the best, most-enduring perks of being a freshman.

Oaxaca Kitchen

The reason I bring up this story is because I want to quickly review a meal of Oaxaca Kitchen, which Sarah and I visited last week.

Sarah and I went on a quiet Sunday afternoon. There was only one or two tables occupied when we got there, and there are at least fifteen tables at Oaxaca Kitchen. The atmosphere feels festive, as the walls are peppered with aged cement, wood, and bricks. The lighting looks antique but not ancient. The place feels and looks like a cavernous bar, and I hope to come back during the night one day.Salsas at Oaxaca

Once seated, the waitress brings to your table two small dip bowls made of soft wood. One contains salsa verde, and the other holds standard tomato salsa. Both are fairly homogenous, as there are no large chunks of tomato or any of the ingredients that compose the dips.

Chips at Oaxaca

Oaxaca’s complimentary chips are triangular-shaped and are generously salted—not overly salted, however. The chips are somewhat thick, offering a nice crunch and stable support for the dips. While the salsa verde broke into a beautiful melody in my mother—the flavor shocking yet mild enough to discern its subtleties—the tomato salsa seemed rather standard. The tomato salsa lacked much kick and could use some spice and more salt.

Sarah and I both ordered the Mole rojo, which is a chicken mole. A mole is a type of Mexican sauce made from chili peppers, garlic, tomatoes, tomatillos, and other spices. The mole rojo actually included cocoa, which gave the sauce a fragile, yet present, bitter taste. The combinations of chili and chocolate flavors provided a unique experience in terms of taste, but the chicken breast, which sat doused in the mole sauce, edged on the overcooked side. The crust, although thick and crunchy, did not compensate for the dryness of the inside.

Alongside the mole rojo dish came two small, metallic bowls filled with fine pieces of Mexican rice and semi-pureed black beans. Both served a nice accompaniment to the mole sauce. The meal, overall, presented various flavors but few textures.

About Earl

Hi, my name is Earl. I am a student who loves to analyze food and eat healthy. My careful eye for food has caused me to become interested in the science behind food and cooking, and I write about my explorations into food on my website Toastable.com. While I believe in sticking to whole, natural foods, I'm not afraid to work with avant-garde ingredients and equipment such as constant temperature water baths and sodium alginate. I also love photography, technology, and journalism.

12. June 2012 von Earl
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