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Tonight, we had dinner at Casa Oaxaca, a fancy restaurant right by Santo Domingo church. The dinner started off beautifully. Immediately after we ordered our drinks and meal, a man came to the table with a molcajete and all of the ingredients for salasa: tomatoes, tomatillos, cilantro, three chiles (jalapeno, chile de arbol, and guajillo), garlic, and salt. He asked us how spicy we wanted it and prepared a delicious fresh concoction right before us. We also tried ricotta stuffed squash blossoms with epozote and honey: delicious. Next we had salads. I had a divine hot and cold mixed salad. The carrots, beets, squash, and bell peppers were hot, and the lettuce, raspberry viniagrette, and quesillo were chilled. M had tomatoes and cheese. The dish also included watermelon (something he usually avoids), but he ate every last piece and even the seeds.

As we were waiting for our dinner, we had high expectations that the final course would be as delicious as the myriad things we had tried before. M said something about how it was practically guaranteed to be delicious. He might have even asked how it would be possible that they could ruin the main course. Each time he did this, I cringed, anticipating that we were doomed.

M was especially doomed. His turkey mole came out cold and fatty. To make matters worse, it didn’t look so great on the plate either. My medium steak was raw and cold in the middle, and the potatoes that accompanied it wouldn’t have filled a teaspoon.

I laughed at the pretentiousness of the maître d’ as I watched one of his waiters guzzling the wine left in glasses as others ran up and down the stairs leading to the rooftop dining area that was accessible only to patrons who had planned ahead and made reservations. M and I both agreed that the food would be warmer if they had a dumb waiter.

All in all, a good start, but we should have stopped while we were ahead.

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