Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler
In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Antojeria y Tortilleria
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
As you know,
has become a culinary powerhouse.
restaurants on just about every block, restaurant-goers have
for their meals.
A much-touted restaurant,
Itanoni, was on our list to visit, but unfortunately, we didn't think it lived
up to the hype.
Itanoni means “corn flower”
and the restaurant's theme is all based on heirloom corn.
If you are used to grocery
store packaged tortillas, the first time you eat a freshly-made, real
corn tortilla, will knock your socks off.
Truly, there is no
Part of the hype about this
restaurant was created by Berkeley, California's Alice Waters of Chez Panisse
fame. In our restaurant days, we'd visit her place regularly to enjoy her
leading-edge cuisine. In 2009 Alice claimed Itanoni was her
favorite restaurant in Oaxaca.
Itanoni became famous.
The simple entrance to Itanoni
The other reason this
restaurant is over-hyped, is because of it's "primal simplicity."
It would be safe to say
that many tourists are leery of eating street food for fear of becoming ill, or
because there is no menu to choose from, or the place is not a recognized
restaurant by North American Standards.
From our experience, eating
at Itanoni is like eating street food, but it just so happens to have inside
It's simple, fresh, and has
a kind of "family style waitstaff service."
That's a gentle way of
saying service is spotty, can be slow, waitstaff can forget what you ordered, or
items you ordered will come out at different times.
In other words, casual, not
The kitchen in Itanoni Restaurant
Itanoni is located in a quiet residential neighborhood,
named Reforma. Their theme is Mexican and Indigenous corn meal selections, and
everything is about as authentic as it gets.
Here you see a large comal
(Mexican cooking grill)
with blue corn tortillas cooking. Also there is a display of the heirloom corn
in the basket.
Tortillas are made fresh,
right in front of you.
The entrance pathway to the seating area
As you walk in from the humble entrance you
then walk down a narrow passage way to the seating area.
Broad view of seating
This is the indoor/outdoor
seating at Itanoni.
I'm unsure if the roofing
is sufficient during rainy season, but this restaurant cannot be closed for
months at a time, right? So perhaps it just looks more rickety than it really
In the center of the photo
towards the back you will see several stainless steel storage vats of organic
corn. The cooks stone-grind these corn varieties from Oaxaca and Chiapas.
A closer look at the
corn storage vats
The varieties of corn
kept in these vats include yellow, blue (also called black corn), red, and
On the vats you will notice
the farmers' names, the location of where the corn was grown, as well as a
QR code you can scan if you would like further information!
Barbacoa-stuffed blue corn tortilla
The menu was displayed on the wall, and we
had even simpler versions given to us at the table.
Even for us who are familiar with local
restaurants, it was difficult to understand what, exactly, one was getting when
we ordered an item.
Did it come with rice? beans? salad?
chilaquiles? grated cheese?
Apparently not. One orders an item and you
get that item only.
Later on we realized that there were
"packages" we could have ordered which - translated - meant "complete meals".
Here you see Billy's barbacoa, which was
delicious, but it could have been mixed with some onion and tomato, for
instance. It was solid protein, but eating it with no contrasting flavors or
textures became rather dull. There was nothing given to bring you a flavor break
from the barbacoa.
Chew, chew, chew.
My Rajas de poblano chile
relleno didn't even come with a sauce... nor rice nor beans nor grated cheese...
just a stuffed chili on the plate.
It was small, and after
eating it, I considered ordering something else. But as I mentioned the casual
service, I didn't want to wait another 20+ minutes to get ... what Billy had!
So I sneaked a few bites
off his plate!
The winner of the day was
the Agua Limon con Perejil - which was sweet lemon water and parsley - and it
was healthy, tasty and refreshing. Definitely something I'll make at home.
With tip, lunch was about $15USD.
Curiously, one of the waitresses came to our
table with our bill and a small revolving drum. She explained that it was a
tombola, and we were to pick out numbers from the drum for a designated
Our bill previously came to 292Pesos, but
with our selected 15% discount from the numbers we picked, it was reduced to
We gave that 15% savings amount to the waitress for her
We would like to say that there is delicious food everywhere in Oaxaca and lots and lots of artisanal
We have eaten street food for decades in our
travels and it is very tasty and fresh.
Yes, Itanoni might be worth a visit, but
street food in Oaxaca would be cheaper and you would receive better service. We
think that Itanoni is ok, but just didn't live up to the hype.
Would we return? No.
Itanoní Antojeria y Tortilleria
Ave. Belisario Dominguez 513
Colonia Reforma, Oaxaca Mexico 68050
Tele: 513 915. 205. 2282
Hours: Open 7-4 daily
For more information on Oaxaca,
For more information and photos of Mexico,
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha