Jose Can You See…Me Gasping With Anticipation?

I spent this past weekend visiting a friend, Barbara, in Washington, D.C. with my friend and partner in crime, Loni. I was hoping to visit some of the local eateries, and between Barbara”s suggestions and Chris Styler’s intercedence, I was all set up to visit two of Jose Andres’ restaurants; I would visit Oyamel on Saturday night, and Cafe Atlantico on Sunday afternoon for their Latino Dim Sum.

Barbara, Loni, and I arrived at Oyamel around 7:30 in the evening, to be whisked off to our table. Almost at once, as if by magic, we were served an Oyamel margarita, Jose’s favorite margarita, made with “salt air” instead of a salted glass. It was absolutely divine; the margarita itself was the perfect balance of sweet-tart, and the “salt air” gave you just enough salt to make it interesting…and it was pretty!

Oyamel Margarita

We had barely had a couple of sips, enjoying the decor, when our waiter appeared table side to make  our guacamole , served with warm corn tortillas and crispy tortilla chips. I was loving this place already!

Our waiter explained to us that Oyamel is the name of a forest in Mexico, where the monarch butterflies migrate to (and that is saying a lot, being that it takes the monarchs two lifetimes to make the migration…about two years!). Notice the pretty brass butterflies dancing over our waiter’s head? But, enough about butterflies…I was there for the food, and meant to have at it! Here’s how it played out:

Oyamel was featuring an appetizer special that featured soft shell crab. The Soft Shell Crab Tostada was a beer battered Chesapeake Bay soft shell crab on a crispy home made tortilla with tomatoes, onions, queso fresco, and guacamole. It was soooo delicious, that Barbara was tempted to order another one, but we knew we had to pace ourselves for the onslaught ahead of us. It didn’t have the slightest hint of greasy; the batter was light and delicious, crispy and delicate. The crab was sweet and the butteriness of the guacamole was the icing on the cake.

Soft Shell Crab Tostada

This was quickly followed by the Tamale de Mole and the Queso Fundido with Spicy Chorizo that had a roasted poblano garnish that was delightful. They served warm corn tortillas with it…we were good to go!

Tamale de Mole and Queso Fundido with Spicy Chorizo and Roasted Poblano Rajas on Tortillas

In fact, the Queso Fundido was so obscenely, mouth watering good, that it deserves a picture all by itself. Melted, gooey cheese with roasted peppers and spicy crumbled chorizo…what could be bad?

Queso Fundido with Spicy Chorizo

I can tell you that Barbara, Loni and I were having some fun now. We were brought yet another app, this time, I barely managed to get it on film, because potatoes are one of Loni’s favorite things in the world, and the Sopes with Potato and Chorizo with refried beans and Mexican crema. They came four to an order, and I managed to get the last lonely one on the plate (we ended up sharing that last one!).

Sopes with Potato and Chorizo

Whew! It was only now that we were getting to the entrees. Thankfully our waiter explained that we could get two of the dishes in appetizer size, and the last one in entree size. That was seriously some of the best advice we got that night! We ordered the Pollo al Mole Poblano with epazote rice and the Seared Red Snapper with Veracruz Sauce in the smaller size, and the Skirt Steak with guacamole, refried beans, grilled onions and two tortillas dipped in a mole poblano sauce of almonds, chilis and a touch of ground chocolate. ..wow! all I need now is an oxygen tank!

Pollo al Mole Poblano

Seared Red Snapper with Veracruz Sauce

Skirt Steak

By now these three girls were close to defeat, but we decided to bite the bullet and order dessert. It’s a tough gig, but somebody has to do it, right? We picked the Cafe de Olla, a coffee chocolate  custard concoction with a gelatin of Kahlua liqueur and spiced syrup of brown piloncillo sugar. Whoa, mama! Tres Leches Cake, of course, served with pineapple and a rum and milk foam, and Cajeta con Pina, the wonderful dulce de leche made from goat’s milk , with crumbled Mexican shortbread, and two scoops of sorbet (passion fruit and coconut). YUM!

Cafe de Olla

Cajeta con Pina

Tres Leches

I must say that we really rose to the occasion. We would have made Jose very proud, but alas, he was out of town this weekend, and so we were left in the very adept hands of his terrific staff, which included Sous Chef Georgi Yanev, and Ceviche Chef Jason Hull.

Sous Chef Georgi Yanev and Daisy

Ceviche Chef Jason Hull (on the left)

I can barely wait until tomorrow afternoon to be marveled all over again, at Cafe Atlantico, but tonight, my heart belongs to Oyamel!

Barbara and Loni say Goodnight!

Oyamel is located in the Penn Quarter

401 7th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20004

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5 Responses to “Jose Can You See…Me Gasping With Anticipation?”


  1. 1 Mike August 5, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Daisy:
    The food looks great. You should really consider opening up your own restaurant. I need your help Daisy. It’s my 22nd birthday coming up this week, I live in NYC, and I would like to go to an upscale restaurant that serves Latin Cuisine, and I would like your suggestion of where I should go, I was considering Lucy Of Gramercy, but I would like 1 or 2 other options just in case. If you can help me out I would appreciate it. Thanks.

    Regards,
    Mike

  2. 2 daisy August 5, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Hola Mike, and Happy Birthday! I am sorry to tell you that Lucy of Gramery is closed! My dear friend Carmen Gonzalez was the Executive Chef there, and told me…it happened a couple of months ago 😦
    I can readily recommend a few restaurants for really great Latin food. For terrific food with a Spanish flair, try Alex Urena’s Pamplona at 2262 3rd Ave in Manhattan. For off the hook Caribbean, try Mamajuana up in Washington Heights on Dykeman Ave. Aaron Sanchez does a great upscale Mexican at Centrico downtown. If you want to venture into Brooklyn, you have to check out Palo SAnto on Union St. between 4th and 5th Avenue.
    Stop by Boriquablog.com and search “restaurants”. You’ll find most of these reviewed with pics and suggestions.

    Feliz cumpleanos! Daisy


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