Pitiona: Cocina de Autor
As you may know by now, our trip to Oaxaca was truly an enchanting experience. There are so many photos, and experiences to remember, that just being able to re-live it all again in my mind while writing it down, is indescribable. I could literally write for days, as I begin to day dream and look back at all the photos, but I am not writing a book here, so I will keep it to a minimum. Of course the first questions that we were asked upon our return, was about the food, and what was our favorite thing that we ate. Everything, and each restaurant or cafe that we ate at, has its own little place in my memory, but Pitiona was an evening that I will never forget.
We decided to choose our last evening to dine at Chef Jose Manuel Baños restaurant Pitiona. Believe me we walked by it numerous times during the week, and we could not wait to experience it for ourselves. Chef Jose Manuel has worked in some of the top restaurants in the world, including El Bulli and Arzak. He describes his dishes and creations as a "Gastronomic tour of the Mexican state of Oaxaca." His inspiration stems from his devout passion for his homeland. The restaurant is located in the historic district, transformed from an old colonial house, with modern touches and art pieces in the interior from local Oaxacan artists. While you savor each bite of a dish, you can feel that love and admiration, and you know that this will be a meal to remember.
The evening started off with a glass of Baja wine for me, and a Pitiona martini for Antonio. The restaurant is named after this plant or herb that is used in a variety of dishes from soups, to bread, and now in this case their house martini. The herb was even growing in the window sill behind our table. They want this herb to remain a memory of yours, in time to come, and that it has. The restaurant itself is simply elegant, and the dish ware that came along with our meal, I would absolutely love to have on my own table at home.
We ordered the six course tasting menu, and here you can choose the exact courses that you would like to enjoy, or in our case we asked to just have the Chef send them out at random.
A little palate teaser was the Prickly Pear Granita with Coconut foam, and a sprinkle of chile on top. I have become an absolute fan of Prickly Pear lately, and this was the ideal way to get our taste buds rearing and ready to go for what was about to come.
The meal started off with a Memela de Venado. A fried corn tortilla filled with juicy venison. The star in this dish was of course the venison, there was nothing masking its natural flavors and beauty.
The second course, Jamon Serrano de Pato (Duck) on a toasted piece of bread with fresh tomatoes. Each ingredient shined on its own, and these couple of bites were packed with textures of flavors.
The third course, their lettuce of the land salad, with Goat Cheese, croutons, and avocado criollo. The flavors all together were earthy, you could almost taste the humidity and surrounding weather of Oaxaca in this salad. I know that sounds extreme, but it is so true. The tangy goat cheese and avocado together are a delightful pair, and their creaminess really comes through next to the greens.
The fourth course, Mero fish rubbed with cacao and bathed with "Salsa de Tierra", sharing the plate with carrot puree, I can still remember the first bite that took into the fish, It was so incredibly buttery. The waiter explained to us, that they make the salsa from washed local soil. I found that to be an intriguing fact. It had such a unique flavor, that went perfectly with the slightly sweet carrot puree and tender piece of fish.
The final savory course, Baby pork ribs with mole coloradito and Haba puree (Fava bean). They asked that you try the rib on its own, prior to adding the sauce. The mole was an added bonus, the perfectly cooked ribs had their own show going on for themselves.
The dessert course, Passion fruit and Chocolate mousses in the glass, to the left of that a mango sphere, and on the right is mamey with 25 spices. This dish was both pleasing to the eye, as it was to the palate. From the rich mousses, to the mango sphere that goes from its sphere like solidity, to liquid the second that it touches your tongue. It's fair to say that this dessert was simply magical.
Pitiona prides itself on having 70 percent of their product be Oaxacan, and the other 30 percent comes from the rest of the country of Mexico. What a beautiful display of local ingredients and flavors. Pitiona, thank you for remaining one of my all time favorite memories of Oaxaca.
Pitiona Allende 108, Centro.68000 Oaxaca, Oax. México Tel. (951) 514 0690