Oaxaca

Sopa de frijol

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A bowl of sopa de frijol from La Olla in Oaxaca, Mexico.

What: Oaxacans love their black beans, and finding them pureed into a soup, usually along with fried tortilla chips, avocado, and chunks of Oaxacan cheese (quesillo), is quite common. We happen to think those ingredients in one dish equal the best kind of comfort food: simple, hearty, and full of flavor.

Where: At chef Pilar Cabrera’s excellent La Olla (Reforma 402, map), the creamy, blended sopa de frijol santanero is seasoned with hierba de conejo (Indian paintbrush) and chile de árbol and poured tableside atop a bowl filled with cubed avocado, cubed quesillo, and little fried slices of tortilla chips.

Good to know: Read our Q&A with chef Pilar on the blog.

When: Mon-Sat, 8am-10pm

Order: The sopa de frijol (50p), plus other regional goodies like the tostadas de salchicha and the mole negro de fandango. You might also be interested in their botana de olla sampler (140p), which offers a few Oaxacan specialties like cecina, tasajo, quesillo, chapulines, and memelitas on one plate.

Alternatively: You’ll also find this dish at Casa de la Abuela (951-516-3544; Hidalgo 616, map), where it’s likewise prepared with hierba de conejo, cheese, and tortilla chips (45p).