Chile en Nogada back at Babita
As of last weekened (do not remember it being available two weeks ago) Chile en Nogada is back in season at Babita, and is delicious. Just thought I'd mention that because I know I've seen that particular dish mentioned here several times before. Chef Berrelleza was also doing a little boasting about how other restaurants were copying his edition of that particular dish--pretty entertaining.
Wow! What an incredible dish. Before flying back home, I had the great pleasure of dining at Babita's Friday night on the recommendations of my fellow chowhounds. I can't begin to tell you what a fabulous experience we had. The food was sensational -- and, yes, I had to order the chile en nogada. What a perfect dish with so many blended flavors. Fantastic! What was also wonderful was how we felt that we were personal guests in Chef Berrelleza's home. Such a warm, friendly atmosphere to have a sensational meal. I'll be back, for sure.
We just went to Babita for the first time last Saturday and I must say the Chile en Nogada lived up to the hype. So delicious, like nothing I have ever tasted. We also enjoyed a duo of soup, sweet corn and cream of mushroom that were delicious. Also got the beef cheeks which were very tender and had great flavor. But that Chile en Nogada was over the top good, can't wait to go back!
Is Babita's Chile en Nogada anywhere in the ballpark of La Cabanita's version?
I will never forget my first La Cabanita Chile en Nogada. The Significant Cat took me there for the first time last autumn: "I've been eating here for years, you're going to love this place." Well, one bite of the squeaky-clean sunshine-green salsa and the deep-hued burgandy red salsa and I was hooked, lined, and sinkered. The Rajas con Crema sealed the deal (one of my all-time favorite tastes, EVER).
But it was the Chile en Nogada that did me in.
I will never forget that first bite of sweet-savory pecan sauce; my mind was transported someplace else, to an old house with a roaring fireplace and wood-paneled walls. I swear, I was transported to a warm, safe place which was somehow encapsulated within that amazing sauce. I've never had that type of LSD "see smells/taste sounds" experience before, but this sauce brought me there, where ever "there" is/was. All I knew is I wanted to go back, again and again.
Then there was the chile, itself, stuffed with, what is it, picadillo? Not sure what that filling is called but it's AMAZING. I can't even begin to try to separate the individual ingredients in this filling -- there's some reconstituted dried fruits and some type of meat, not much but just right, and a veritable whirlpool of seasonings -- but I have never swirled such tastes around my mouth before or since. Absolutely sublime. Couple that with the sweetness and mild zing of the poblano chile, and I was in absolute food heaven.
What blew what's left of my mind wide open was the simplest garnish of pomegranite seeds. How obvious, yet so unique, at least to me. What a wonderful little topping, these ruby-red jewels set against a warm background of tan and green.
Like a junkie, I've been chasing that high ever since that stunning autumn day. Any and all recommendations appreciated.