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Mystery Special at Taqueria Coatzingo

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I finally had my first meal at TC Saturday night.

A friend and I shared a huarache and some tacos. To be honest, I wasn't thrilled with them, partly because of the sheer quantity of green sauce. Even after scooping out most of it, there was still way too much for us (enough to make the huarache tortilla to get soggy, too).

But we were served a knockout special (through the meal, Brian's suggestion to order the specials resonated), the pork ribs in a Pahuastle chili sauce. The ribs, and especially, the sauce, were delicious. It's likely that the name of the chili is a typo (zero hits on Google). Anyone have an idea what we ate?

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  1. Was the sauce anything like a guacamole? Pahua is a breed of avocado, with the name supposedly coming from the Aztec "pahuatl" for "fruit."

    1. Had my first meal at TC last night as well. I got the pork chops in some kind of green sauce (3rd or 4th item on the specials menu), "Chuletas S. Verde c/ something". The green sauce was quite tasty but very oily and not something you can eat a lot of. I got zero help from the waitresses on what it was as I don't speak Spanish and they were reluctant to speak English. Since they're conveniently located, I'll be back to explore their menu.

      btw, by now google returns some results when you search for Pahuastle.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ow77

        The sauce was more like a gravy. No avocados in sight. But my current theory is that Pahuastle is not a chili, but a variant of the town of Pahuatlan, which is in Puebla.

      2. next time you go, try a milanesa cemita, sort of a torta PLUS. really good, more than filling for a meal. doesn't travel well though.

        1. I didn't have a clue what this was so tonight I went to Coatzingo. I asked the waitresses and they told me pahuastle is the name of a kind of dried chili pepper (un tipo de chili seco) Better yet, they had some, so I ordered it! It was a brownish sauce, thick as a gravy, but not made thick with pan juices from the meat, but instead it became thick because diced onions and other goodies had been cooked so long they melted in. It was delicious; the dominant flavor was a strange spice that I assume was the pahuastle chili.

          Coatzingo sometimes uses variant spellings on their menus. I remember spending an hour on Google to learn that the mystery meat called pansa was really spelled panza and was goat's rumen. (And even then, thanks to Cervantes' joke in naming the trusty squire after a cow's stomach, most of the Google hits were about Don Quixote)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Brian S

            Brian, I think you've gotten us back to "Go". Nowhere in Googledom can be found a chili yclept pahuastle or anything remotely similar, but in the quest I discovered another great chili database (3,700 varieties), which I guess is the cyberspace version of collecting $200.

            http://www.thechileman.org/search.php

            1. re: Brian S

              I'm sure it was the same sauce, but I'm still doubting that there is a chili with that name. We asked at the panderia and they didn't have a clue. The sauce did have a distinctive taste, one I loved, which is why my friend and I went in search of the pepper.

              1. re: Brian S

                Years ago, my then roommate worked at a restaurant in the theater district ( long since closed!) with a dish on the menu called "Chicken Mauve". The challenge every night was to make a sauce that had the right color. Didn't matter what they put into it, as long as the color was right. Somehow this mystery ingredient /name/chili makes me think of that story.