Aspen’s Zocalito is restaurant, rum bar, chile purveyor and more
To Aspenites and visitors hungry for south-of-the-border fare, Zocalito Bistro on the Hyman Street Mall exerts a magnetic pull whether for drinks and tapas, dinner or dessert. Cookbook aficionados page through Zocalito To the Source, a beautiful cookbook sprinkled with favorite recipes. To replicate Zocalito’s recipes, home cooks stock up on dried Oaxacan chiles, imported from Mexico ad not Oaxacan in name only.The restaurant and chile purveyor has a website page that is labeled “Oaxacan Travel,” which is a blog about the owners’ travels to Mexico.
Describing their quest for special chiles to import, chef Mike Beary wrote about “Finding the Rare Chilhuacle Chiles for Importation” on the restaurant’s blog:
“As we pulled through the gate to Felix’s house I couldn’t help wondering what his wife was fixing us for dinner. After all, we had arrived in Cuicatlan barely 24 hours ago and only met Felix early this morning. Now, after spending eight hours with him in his fields, where he was growing the most beautiful chilhuacle chiles I’d ever seen, Felix didn’t hesitate to invite perfect strangers into his home. We piled out of Roberto’s Suburban very hungry– it was 3 p.m., and we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. Then it hit me. The aroma pouring out of the kitchen meant one thing: mole negro!”
I have never been to the restaurant, and I don’t own the cookbook, but I did receive a package of chiles that I’m eager to try. It came with recipes, and I’ve also been perusing other cookbooks for a model recipe in which to use robust Chihluacles chiles, both black and red, that Zocalito imports and distributes.