I had the first restaurant meal of my Oaxaca trip in La Olla, and boy, was it a great introduction to the variety of flavors in Oaxacan cuisine. Pilar Cabrera, the chef/owner, came to our table and answered all of our questions about ingredients and cooking techniques for the dishes we ordered. The restaurant is charming and very welcoming. I had two very tasty mezcal margaritas over the course of the meal--they were easily the most well-balanced margaritas I've ever had. The salad of greens with sweet potato, sprinkled with Oaxacan cheese, was perfectly fresh and deliciously dressed. My main course was a fish dish--again, super tasty! My table shared two desserts: a flan that was perfectly set and not too sweet, and a tart with mamey and fresh ice cream. I knew that Oaxaca is a serious food city, but I was still very pleasantly surprised by the relaxed atmosphere, friendly and welcoming service, and excellently prepared meal at La Olla. I also took one of the classes that Pilar teaches. I would recommend these classes to anyone who is interested in getting an introduction to the ingredients and techniques of Oaxacan cuisine. Over the course of three hours, Pilar took us to a mercado, where she showed us how to select the proper ingredients for our meal--all of the vendors we bought from knew and clearly respected Pilar. Then we spent a few hours preparing a most delicious three course meal of a salad with greens, jicama, pomegranate seeds, slivered cucumber and onion and grapefruit, a super flavorful chicken with a mole made from peppers and a variety of spices and dried crushed corn, accompanied by tamales, and a dessert of warm rice pudding stuffed inside guava halves. The food was delicious and Pilar's class allowed us to appreciate the care and skill that goes into transforming the wonderful and varied ingredients available here into the delicious food, and her patience and humor as a teacher invited us all to jump right in with our knives and cutting boards. All in all Pilar Cabrera and La Olla are real treasures.