>> Quiadaiyn Restaurant | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday 14 December 2020

Quiadaiyn Restaurant

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mร‰XICO (Oaxaca)
EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (08 March 2024) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:

Sometimes when you visit Quiadaiyn in Mar Vista, the sandwich board in front will have a colorful mountaintop drawn with an explanation of both the meaning and pronunciation of their name. The word is Zapotec and means the summit of a hill, and loosely can be pronounced kia-dine. But ask a bit more about the reasons it came to exist as their name, and prepare to hear stories of their hilltop house back in Oaxaca and the women that create pottery from red clay in the town of their family's previous home.
Once the story circles back to Los Angeles, and the family's catering business that evolved beginning in 2009, it carries on the traditions of so many that come here. Thousands of clients a month eventually led to a small takeout stand in South Central and then this beautiful restaurant in Mar Vista by October 2018.

Some recent takeout chilaquiles verdes ($15).

Quiadaiyn hit the ground running with a strong list of Oaxacan dishes that are difficult to give justice to, and hit them out of the park. Five moles, 100% hechos en casa, make up their own category on the menu, while the "Live Oaxaca" section truly explores the breadth of the state, which also has regions.
You can begin any meal with Oaxacan-style molotes or a specifically Oaxacan antojito known as memelitas ($12, below). Sometimes you see these with meat options, but here they are served in their purest form, almost as if handed to you by a street vendor in Oaxaca. A thin layer of beans rests on the thick homemade tortilla and asiento, with a pinch of quesillo and drizzle of salsa on top.

Memelas looking sad after traveling, a 2020 requirement.

While not always possible these days, the memelas are best when super fresh and still hot enough to scorch your fingertips. If you are coming in for a pickup order, grab these and treat yourself to a driver's seat feast before heading home. For those that are just as happy with good tortillas as they are with the rest of a meal, these thick discs will be very satisfying.
Oaxacan people in Greater Los Angeles are truly blessed with the array of options they are given and the chefs cooking meals up to par with those from back home. Many others with a keen eye for delicious foods have taken trips to the southern Mexican state and bring back their memories of even more moles than the famous seven. The complexity of one served from even the most modest restaurant found on a side street or in a small village is usually enough to supersede any sightseeing in a traveler's memory.

In this regard, Quiadaiyn is the perfect restaurant to come close to replicating those tastes. Each recipe is of course different, but the real talent of these moles is similar and generational. Each of their options are served with chicken, like the dark red-brown mole coloradito ($17, above), named and colored by the toasted chile used in its preparation.
Dried fruits and nuts, as well as mashed plantain makes this sauce very thick and viscous. These lay down a subtle base allowing the herbs and spices of the mole to shine through, while peppers work from the background to slowly build up the heat level on your lips.

One way to sample another one of their moles, while simultaneously enjoying a different dish and their excellently prepared tasajo, another Oaxacan staple, is with an order of enmoladas de quesillo ($16, above and below). Two more of their large homemade corn tortillas are folded over quesillo and thoroughly soaked with mole negro. The combination of tastes from top to bottom work almost magically well together.
Mole negro is given its color by dried chilhaucle negro chiles, while its spice and fragrance comes from chile pasilla and hoja santa, respectively. This herb has the passing resemblance of licorice, mint, sassafras, and tarragon bundled into one taste.

The rest of the menu has something for everyone, including a really good tlayuda, that is a dish that screams for the end of the pandemic to be served fresh and shared with family or friends. Until then, Oaxacan moles will continue to sustain Westsiders until the last vaccine dose is administered.

Part of the magic of a place like Quiadaiyn is that in their history is the history of Los Angeles. And in the history of Los Angeles is the history of Quiadaiyn. Gรนlรฌ gaร gษจ, gรนlรฌ gaร gษจ.


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