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Caldo Tlalpeno

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I recently went to a place on San Pablo in Oakland (whose name escapes me right now) that I read about in San Francisco Magazine, solely to see if they had a Caldo Tlalpeno anywhere near as good as the one I had years ago in the Yucatan. No such luck. Barely any chipotle flavor, a chickpea or two, but full of carrots, tomatos, green beans and chunks of chicken. No avocado. Fine if I wanted a vegetable chicken soup, but a very disappointing Caldo Tlalpeno. The one I still dream about was very spicy (they even had a whole chipotle in the bowl), had rice instead of chickpeas (though either is fine with me), a nice hint of epazote, and was tempered with cool avocados.

So, does anyone know of anyplace in the Bay Area--though East Bay is preferred--that serves a truly good Caldo Tlalpeno, with no skimping on the chipotle and avocados? I'd be forever grateful!

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  1. I've had it at Juanita's in Alameda, and it does have both avocado and chickpeas, and comes with rice on the side. No green beans either, although it did have carrots, celery, etc, and a whole lot of chicken.

    I didn't think it had much chipolte, but I'm one of those people who orders food "Thai hot".

    Haven't run across the dish anywhere else, although you might get pointers for Mexican spots from the "solo diner" posting a few days ago. (and no, it doesn't appear on the Dona Tomas standard menu, although their menu is seasonal; couldn't hurt to call them).

    Best of luck; post if you find something amazing -- next to Tom Kha and some Hot'n'Sours, Caldo Tlalpena is my favorite soup!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Marc Wallace

      Thanks for the tip Mark. I'll have to try Juanita's.

      Yeah, I'm a constant visitor to Dona Tomas, and keep hoping to see it there--to no avail!

      1. re: PegS

        Be warned that Juanita's is definitely a far cry from Dona Tomas -- as pointed out earlier, more of a "cantina" style place. Still, the soup's good, as are the margueritas. Just stay away from the tacos... ;-)

        1. re: Marc Wallace

          Thanks Marc. Consider me warned. ;-)

    2. The restaurant La Pin~ata has caldo tlalpen~o. There are several La Pinatas throughout the east bay: in Alameda, San Leandro, and Hayward. I recommend the Alameda one. Their soup is good.

      1. Another place that serves Caldo Tlalpeno is La Cabana in Newark, I believe on Filbert Street. I have had it also at La Pinata at the Newark and Fremont locations. I think La Cabana has better soup, but La Pinata has really tasty corn tortillas.

        Does anyone know a place to get Caldo Tlalpeno in South Bay -- San Jose, Milpitas or Santa Clara vicinity?

        1. Well I'm not an expert since this is the only place I've had it, but Tequila Grill in San Leandro makes a really good Caldo Tlalpeno. I haven't had any in a few months, but I have been craving it recently. The restaurant is located in downtown San Leandro a couple of blocks off Davis on East 14th. If you make it there, I hope you enjoy it!

          1. this is an old post to revive but doing it anyway - try Nopalito. Had it on the menu last week and it was spectacular. so much so i ordered two servings to take home.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gpescador


              306 Broderick St, San Francisco, CA

            2. Since this has been revived, I'll add my favorite. I love the caldo tlalpeno at Guadalajara near the Fruitvale bart station. Rice and avocado on the side, nice big chunks of chayote and other veggies, and a nice chipotle punch. It's got a kick, but I wouldn't call it particularly spicy. There's a lot of so-so typical American-Mex food on their menu, but I think they do a few things (namely the caldo tlalpeno, carnitas, and whole fried snapper) really well.

              Guadalajara Restaurant
              1001 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94601

              1. El Huarache Azteca Makes a good one but they only have it as a special. You could call them and ask when they will have it.

                3 Replies
                1. re: chefj

                  Thanks all, for keeping this alive. I'm eager to try the new places recommended!

                  1. re: PegS

                    Otaez has Caldo Tlalpeno - I only frequent the location on International (not a fan of the Alameda branch) - i have found over the years that getting it earlier in the day is best. .rice on the side and I always ask for extra chile and avocado. . .it's pretty good. .. the best is homemade but this is a close second and I really like their tortillas so I am usually pretty happy.

                    1. re: pastryqueen

                      I like the caldo Tlalpeno at Otaez also

                      El Huarache Azteca
                      3842 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

                      3872 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601