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Babita in San Gabriel (review + pics)

pleasurepalate Dec 8, 2006 01:08 AM

Earlier in the year, I finally got to check out Babita's for the first time. To tell you the truth, Mexican Cusine has always been my last choice whenever it was time to dine out. My experience at that time consisted of Acapulco, El Torito, fast food Mexican (Taco Bell, Del Taco) and other Mexican restaurants that weren't that memorable. Opening up a menu and seeing rows of burritos, tacos, enchilada options always ended up with me heaving a big sigh.

Not that I don't enjoy those dishes, but they all just seemed the "same" to me. After perusing Chowhound, I kept on hearing raves about Babita in San Gabriel and finally decided to make the trek there and wow, what a revelation. For the first time, I experienced the tender juicy meat of conchinita pibil (sp?) and had a delicious bite or two of the mole enchiladas and the roast pork loin that were ordered by others in my party. My sweet tooth was also ecstatic over the creamy guava mousse that I had for dessert. Overall, it was a awesome experience and really jumpstarted my desire to really explore more Mexican as well as Latin American and South American Cuisine.

Now towards the end of the year, I wanted to make my way back to Babita's to see if the food was just as good now as the first time and let me tell you, it was! My starter was a duo of soups: half pumpkin and roasted guava. Those of us who ordered that soup were told not to mix them together, but to eat them separately so that the integrity of the flavors can be kept. The pumpkin soup had just the right amount of sweet which balanced really well with the roasted guava soup that had an actual bite to it.

I shared two dishes with someone else in my party: the chiles en nogada and the enchiladas with a dark mole sauce. The Chiles En Nogada was delicious and with the Poblano Pepper being baked, the texture of the pepper was soft. The meat filling was tasty and moist while the sauce, though a little too sweet for me, partnered well with the pomengranate seeds, which added some tartness to the dish overall.

The enchiladas in the mole sauce was also superb. The dark mole sauce had wonderful complex flavorings from a little nutty to a little sweet to having just a little heat (not spicy, just flavorful) and although I thought there was a little too much sour cream, my, my, it did add a pretty lacy look to my dish. As for dessert, I just had a small sampling of the chocolate tamale and I gotta to say that was the best chocolate tamale I ever had. Rich, dark and sinful!

Overall, my second meal at Babita was fantastic and next time I won't wait so long to make a return visit.

To see pics, go to:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/la_addic...

Babita
1823 S. San Gabriel Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 288-7265

Thanks,
Abby

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  1. chica RE: pleasurepalate Dec 8, 2006 01:13 AM

    Great review. I really want to go there now!

    Have you ever tried Frida in BH? That place got me hooked on mole. The dishes there are plated beautifully too, and everything is delicious (The hot server got me hooked to the place :) ).

    1 Reply
    1. re: chica
      pleasurepalate RE: chica Dec 8, 2006 05:33 AM

      I haven't tried Frida yet, but it's on my list to check out next year.

    2. JAB RE: pleasurepalate Dec 8, 2006 01:40 AM

      Does anyone know if there's a relationship between Babita and the restaurant that was in that very same location?

      2 Replies
      1. re: JAB
        monkuboy RE: JAB Dec 8, 2006 04:48 AM

        El Emperador Maya. I was wondering the same thing. Some of the things look similar.

        1. re: JAB
          j
          Jack Flash RE: JAB Dec 8, 2006 06:46 AM

          This is the most thorough account of the restaurant's history that I can find.

          http://www.laweekly.com/eat+drink/cou...

        2. Debbie W RE: pleasurepalate Dec 8, 2006 01:59 AM

          The chile en nogada at Babita is one of my favorite dishes anywhere. Before I read your post, I had called to make a reservation for Saturday night, and specifically asked if the chile en nogada is in season. Happily, yes! I can't wait.

          1. b
            Bert RE: pleasurepalate Dec 8, 2006 05:32 AM

            chile en nogada there is one of my absolute favorite dishes in LA. but just about everything is good there!

            1. k
              krushdnasty RE: pleasurepalate Dec 8, 2006 06:29 AM

              Sounds absolutely incredible. Around how much $$ are the entree's and starters? And do they offer wine by the glass? Thanks alot for any info... sounds really intriguing!

              1 Reply
              1. re: krushdnasty
                Hershey Bomar RE: krushdnasty Dec 8, 2006 10:30 PM

                It's like eating in someones living room. Cozy but kinda odd in a good way.

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