El Fortin in Fullerton (oaxacan)
First heard about this place a few years ago (on this board, probably) and have been trying to get there ever since. Problem is, I no longer live in California. However, I'm visiting for a few weeks and, prompted by the posting a few days ago for oaxacan places not named gualaguetza and monte alban (nod to el fortin by "dynamike"), as well as a post from "Funwithfood" on the general topics board about chapulines, I decided to get out to El Fortin and try it out while I'm in town.
Had a great meal there. The place is really basic. Staff very friendly. And the food was very good. My only regret is that I just don't have a large enough stomach to try everything.
The mole negro is awesome. Thick, complex, flavorful. I really liked it. Mole coloradito is also very good - a great rich sauce with just the right level of piquancy. Ordered the mole coloradito with pork, which was pretty minimalistic (in a good way) - three large chunks of very tender pork in the mole coloradito, with white rice on the side. Unfortunately, I was not able to try the mole amarillo, which I really wanted to. Not sure why, but intuitively, I just have a hunch it is the real star. I'll have to do that next time.
We also had a tamal oaxaqueno. It was quite good, though not the best I've had. The flavor was great - pork (or was it chicken... memory not good) with a mole negro. Just that the masa itself wasn't as creamy as I'd like - it was a little too crumbly. The kids got a quesadilla, which was a HUGE hand-made tortilla filled with oaxacan cheese. Really good, actually. also ordered hand made tortillas on the side. Again, great tortillas. mmmm....
I wish I could have ordered more. Wanted to try the clayudas, cecina, etc. Oh well, next time. I think (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that this is the only oaxacan place in orange county (with the exception of one of its other branches in Stanton). Is that right? Very cool. I've been dying to try guelaguetza and monte alban and juquita and others in LA. Wondering how the compare to el fortin. Regardless, having this in OC is great.
Also, just noticed on their website they have a branch in Chino as well. Certainly, this would be the only oaxacan in san bernardino. Chino Wayne... where are you? have you tried the chino branch? Any good?
I feel bad that I've only eaten here once. The place is a hole-in-the-wall, and the people so friendly. The "chefs" I saw cooking in the kitchen were older women--must be "killer" good cooks. Thanks for the reminder to stop in again.
P.S. E-mail me when you are planning to go--maybe I (and others) could meet you for lunch!