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Dec 1, 2007 08:06 PM

where to buy a molcajete/tejolote?

We already checked out Las Palmas and Casa Lucas on 24th street in the city, but the molcajetes they had were too big and too porous. And painted to resemble animals. They appeared to be more decoration than utensil.

Any suggestions on where to go for a bigger selection/higher quality in or near the city?

Also - there were no tejolotes to be found - do they sell them behind the counter, or were they just out of stock? I assumed they'd be sold as a set, but I guess not.

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  1. I don't know if I've ever seen any good ones. We have one in the traditional shape with 3 legs that we found locally, but it is so porous and soft that the mole ingredients I tried to grind in it all got stuck in the crevices and it released a lot of sand. I'm wondering if local abuelitas even use these, or just use their food processors.

    I keep meaning to hit Japan town and see if they have some of those great stone grinding bowls from Korea.

    3 Replies
    1. re: SteveG

      There are sometimes large granite Thai mortars and pestles available that are not very porous and work quite well. They do not give you the look of the molcajete though.

      1. re: wally

        I got mine through a place up in WA state called something like Thai Chef? The largest was about $37 and the S/H quite reasonable.

        1. re: PolarBear

          Mine was $25 and the largest. I bought it in San Francisco at Sur la Table over 8 years ago and at the time they charged by the cost rather than weight for shipping and I lived in Chicago. It was an incredible bargain.

    2. Try Sur La Table. They usually have a large selection.

      1. It's pretty tough these days finding a quality molcahete, here in the U.S. or in Mexico. Try the link below. These are good, with the tejolote. Located in the eastbay so shipping time is usually short.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Frijol

          Good resource. I especially like the ceramic version with rubberized feet, since I tore up my butcherblock counter by accident with my stone metate, thinking the cork I'd glued to the feet would stand up to the beating I was giving the spices.

          1. re: SteveG

            Thanks for the insight - I was considering that one after checking the link Frijol posted, but was worried it wouldn't be as good as the stone one. I hadn't thought about the wear and tear stone would cause!!

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. I got a somewhat similar mortar/pestle from Kamei very cheaply (granite)

            1 Reply
            1. re: xanadude

              Depends on what exactly you are looking for. For true Mexican salsas and guacamoles there is no substitute for good quality lava rock. The molcahete is properly coarse to grind things like tomatoes, tomatillos, chiles, etc.. It also imparts a distinct mineral-y flavor.

              If you want it to grind spices and pound garlic however, something less porous like what Xanadude suggested would be a better option.

              If your worried about the feet doing damage, a thick towel folded in four does the trick, stops it from moving as well.