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My wife and I recently found ourselves a weekend away from children. The only logical thing for two grown adults suddenly free from parental duties was to experience a date night. These opportunities are far and few between so we needed to choose our plans wisely. After my wife and I had our fill of ahem…” spending time together”, the next logical thing to do was enjoy a homemade breakfast. You know to replenish calories 😉.
In case you are wondering, I served up some poached eggs on a potato hash and it was to die for. Take a look at the pics below. Don’t worry the recipe will soon be posted to the website because the way I made the Hollandaise was genius…at least to me. By the way, it was a complete accident the eggs came out looking like a heart.
After chowing down on this amazing breakfast we felt the need to be out and about to walk off the amazing breakfast. I won’t bore you with the details of the day so let’s just fast forward to dinner time.
Since we had an amazing day free of children it was only fitting to conclude the evening with a meal in Oakland, CA. For those of you who might not be in the know, Oakland has some of the best and eclectic restaurants in the world. A few years ago Oakland obtained the spotlight in the dining and food scene and that light continues to shine brightly.
The city continues to churn out amazing restaurants while the many that helped paved the way continue to inspire and innovate. One such restaurant is Nido located on the corner of Oak St and
5th St (right before the 880 South Freeway Entrance). Nido (pronounced Knee-doh) which translates to Nest in Spanish, serves up a some of the most amazing Mexican Food you will ever eat outside of Mexico.
Many of the items on the menu are modern gourmet versions of the popular dishes served throughout Mexico’s various culinary regions.
The food is not the only amazing part about the restaurant, Nido offers a pretty large selection of tequila and mezcal which go perfectly with everything on the menu (except dessert, of course). For those of you who shy away from drinking tequila and mezcal, you can try one of their signature cocktails or perhaps one of their latest creations. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
I first tried this restaurant by accident nearly a year and a half after it opened. The food was so good that I brought my wife for dinner two days later. This fateful evening is now known as “The Night of Two Dinners” which we started at Nido.
Since “The Night of Two Dinners”, my wife and I have not returned to the restaurant. Not because it created a bad memory or because we were so full we resented the restaurant. Quite the opposite, we simply became very busy with work, traveling, parenting, life, and trying other Oakland gems. Nido holds a special place for my wife and I, and I constantly recommend the restaurant to friends, family, or first-time visitors to the Bay Area.
It wasn’t until a recent conversation with a friend of mine which involved restaurant recommendations and recounting the story of “The Night of Two Dinners”, that I realized it had been nearly three years since my wife and I visited Nido. After this conversation took place, it took two months for us to finally have a date night, so we decided Nido was the best choice.
Despite not indulging in Nido’s amazing Mexican cuisine for nearly three years, it was nice to see the restaurant continues to have the charm that first drew me in like a moth to a flame.
Upon being sat at the table my wife and I quickly began planning what was surely going to be a memorable dinner.
Like any normal couple out on a date, we decided to start our meal with drinks.
Party Time Flight
I decided to start things on the right food and order a mezcal flight. You know you are in for a good time when your mezcal flight is called The Party Time Flight. Unfortunately, I forgot to take note of the specific mezcales that come in this flight…sorry about that.
The Tres Rojas
My wife decided to order The Tres Rojas (The Three Reds) cocktail which gets its name and color due to the Pomegranate, Hibiscus, and Tempranillo. The glass is decorated with a dark almost black colored salt which looks really cool with the murky red cocktail. This was a mezcal cocktail that goes down really smoothly. A great option for those who do not drink their tequila and mezcal straight.
What I really like about the food at Nido is that the portion sizes can either be a one person kind of meal or you can split amongst your table. Rather than order an appetizer and entrees. My wife and I opted to go the antojito (aka appetizer) route. We started the meal with a halibut ceviche that is out of this world good. The ceviche had an excellent balance of flavors, not overly acidic but not overly sweet either and the garnishes of avocado, mango, and peanuts were a nice compliment to the fish. You would think the peanuts would overpower the dish but they don’t. The peanuts also added a crunch element which was really nice.
Mole Coloradito Quesadilla
Next on the list was the Mole Coloradito Quesadilla, filled with red mole, chicken, and a bunch of melted cheesy goodness. Good mole regardless of the color and style is really hard to find so I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into this dish and discovered the flavors were balanced perfectly. I have tried mole in other restaurants and some of the ingredients tend to be more pronounced than others making the dish quickly unappetising because all my attention shifts to one or of the two ingredients that really stood out. Dusting the quesadilla with cotija cheese was a nice finishing touch.
Smoked Trout Croquetas
The third item that came out was the Smoked Trout Croquetas. My wife was really excited to try these but I was skeptical. I personally thought these were going be a huge disappointment, but boy was I wrong. My wife loves Spanish Croquetas (which these are not) so I didn’t make a big deal about the fact she ordered an appetizer with fish and a smoky flavor (two things she doesn’t really like). The croquetas, however, were neither fishy nor overly smoky. They were some of the best croquetas we have ever eaten. They are served with an onion puree and a little swirl of chipotle sauce reminiscent of the symbol from the movie Moana. My wife and I kept signing “I am Moana” over and over as we ate them. Don’t judge we have a young daughter after all…and we don’t get out much 😊.
Pork Pibil Panucho
The final dinner item of the evening was the Pork Pibil Panucho. My wife did not particularly like this dish for two reasons. It has Pibil and cabbage. I have subjected her to the Yucatan classic several times at home so her desire to eat this dish outside of the house is not very high. It’s probably the flavor of the achiote which she doesn’t care for but it’s what gives the dish it characteristic flavor. I personally really enjoyed this dish because of the originality. I pretty much love anything pickled (except pigs feet and eggs) so I was sold when I read this version of cochinita pibil was served with Sauerkraut (I really like Sauerkraut). Traditionally this dish is served with pickled red onions so the usage of the Sauerkraut was a really nice twist.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
To conclude the meal we opted to order the Dark Chocolate Mousse which is served with a cinnamon whipped cream and two shortbread cookies. It was probably good we concluded the meal right here because several of the people around our table were starting to gawk at us (probably because they were jealous of all the amazing food we sampled or because we were signing Moana, you be the judge). The mousse was very light and really well portioned for two people who had just eaten four appetizers. I personally thought the cinnamon whipped cream quenelle was a bit on a large side. Your eyes say, hmm ice cream, but your mouth says, huh, whipped cream.
Overall, the meal at Nido was incredible. Despite not eating at this restaurant in three years, they clearly do not show signs of stagnation. Upon walking in, it felt like the “Night of Two Dinners” had just taken place the weekend prior. Since writing this article, my wife and I have returned to Nido to try their brunch and after experiencing all three menus I can conclude that Nido remains the nesting ground for amazing Mexican food in Oakland.
I highly recommend this restaurant to Bay Area locals and anyone planning a trip to the Bay Area.
You can find out more about the restaurant as well as check out their seasonal menu here: http://www.nidooakland.com/