The MEXICO Report
By Susie Albin-Najera
When you’re a party of 13 people and seven of those are children aged six and under, it’s a bit of a challenge to do a proper review of a restaurant. However, it was great to be in northern California recently among family, along with all the nieces and nephews to enjoy a night out dining in a new eatery.
I chose The Oaxacan Kitchen really because my mom had purchased one of their market bags (all time favorite bags) at a local farmers’ market and I was curious to how the food compared to the ‘real’ Oaxaca. Side note: since my trip to Oaxaca a few years back, I had looked for these incredible market bags. Luckily they sold them there at the restaurant, to which I purchased a handful at $3.00 each.
Oaxaca native Zaida Maria Kent and her husband, Ron Kent, a professional chef, are the owners of The Oaxacan Kitchen in Palo Alto, CA and opened their doors just over a year ago. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a friendly host and seated to our long table. The inside, although very narrow, boasted impressive photos from Oaxaca that told stories of love, food and culture.
There was also a small bar-type eating area overlooking part of the kitchen where fresh, hand-made tortillas were prepared. We had the pleasure of meeting Zaida on this night, who was very friendly and extremely helpful.
The dinner menu consisted of Oaxacan comal favorites such as molotes, memelas, tlayudas, ensaladas, sopas, mariscos, moles, and other traditional Oaxacan plates. I ordered the Vegetarian Tlayuda ($8.50) as an appetizer, a large, toasted hand made tortilla topped with black bean purée, salsa, guacamole, avocado, tomato, and queso fresco and the Enchiladas de Mole ($8.00) for the main dish. Although I was preoccupied entertaining the kids most of the time, my taste buds relished in the rich mole sauce that smothered the cheese enchiladas. The fond memories of Oaxaca came flooding back on the very first taste.
But what impressed me the most was that the majority of the menu items were gluten-free and even though I don’t eat meat, I was happy to learn that The Oaxacan Kitchen uses 100% organic grass-fed beef, goat and lamb.
With the inviting ambiance, friendly service and health-conscious, traditional-style cuisine, The Oaxacan Kitchen is certainly worth a visit!
The Oaxacan Kitchen
2323 Birch Street
Palo Alto, CA 94306
*All photos taken and provided by Jim Bryson.