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Jun 10, 2001 11:37 PM

Cafe marimba

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My friends and I had such a pleasurable time at Cafe Marimba recently. This was the first time in many years that I've had Mexican food other than the standard fare.

Note that Marimba is disciplined with reservations. They'll hold your reservation for 15 minutes, no more. This is a popular place, so the policy makes good sense for both restaurant and customers. We were lucky and the owner stopped by to welcome us. She answered our questions about mole by offering us tasting samples of three kinds of mole before we ordered. She arranged them from mild to assertive. This was a nice, personal touch.

I ordered the Marimba Sampler. This highlights: 1. huitlacoche enchilada 2. mole rojo chicken enchilada 3. spicy chorizo empanada 4. mole amarillo chicken tamale.

Most unusual and quite tasty was the huitlacoche enchilada. Huitlacoche is a fungus, described as mushroom like. Afterwards, I found out that huitlacoche is corn smut! I grew corn a number of years ago. I remember corn smut as the nasty growth ruining golden, beautiful ears of corn. Huitlacoche has been traditionally considered a disease in the US, but prized in Mexico as a gourmet delicacy. Now I have ambivalent feelings about huitlacoche!

The mole rojo chicken enchilda was wonderful. Everyone makes mole slightly different. This rojo was robust and harmonious. Its ingredients includes a hint of chocolate.

The empananda and tamale were good, though not memorable.

Another plus for Cafe Marimba was that even though the place was packed, my friends and I could enjoy conversation. In particular, we sat at a small table next to the eastern window, that has only one table next to it.

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  1. A perennial favorite, this place has held up over the years. The salsas are the best. I'm with you on the tamale. I usually go for one of the mole plates or the rock shrimp or calamari soft tacos.

    Another plus is that this place is good for handling large groups. I've had dinner for 10 at the big table along the back wall. The watering hole for pitchers of margaritas and mojitos.

    Btw, an ex-beau did made all the tables, chairs and fancy woodworking for the colorful decor. I do miss being able to eat for free, but it's well worth paying my own way for a meal here.