Oaxacan and More
- Jim Leff
The "Best Thai Food" thread (see right below this one on the index) is starting to digress into more of a discussion on Oaxacan places in LA.
Jonathan Gold, The Man in such matters, wrote the following:
"Nah...you're okay with Oaxacan. There are about 20 Oaxacan restaurants in L.A. now, and even if
both branches of Guelaguetza should be sucked up to Alpha Centauri by mole-crazed aliens, you'll
eat extremely well at El Sazon Oaxaqueno, Texate or the newly reopened Tlapazola Grill"
But none of those places make the 17 (or whatever the number is) different kinds of mole that Guelaguetza makes, do they? I want ALL the moles...ALL the moles, Jonathan!
Which brings me to my next question...how do you order in that place? How to try maximum stuff? Will they give you little dishes of different moles to try, or must I bring 12 friends?
Shoot...I don't HAVE twelve friends in LA!
The folks at Guelaguetza, particularly the one on 8th Avenue near downtown L.A., are very accomodating about giving you tastes of the different moles. One time I was there, they served some of moles as dips for the tortilla chips, so you could taste the moles without having to order a full entree. The other thing to say is that the moles are not the only wonderful--and special--things to eat at Guelaguetza. On a recent visit, for example, they were offering, as a special, a huitlacoche quesadilla, which was fabulous.
". . . or must I bring twelve friends in LA"
Hell, Jim, I eat enough for six, my wife makes seven, you're eight (or maybe eight and nine)--we're closing fast. Actually, the prices at Guelaguetza are so reasonable that you don't have to worry if your can't finish everything, which I rarely can do, given the fact that the portions are enormous.
There are seven classic moles, and most good Oaxacan places will have at least four or five. To wit: the black, which you know (although the Oaxacan version throws rocks at the measly Poblano kind), amarillo, a mild yellow mole; coloradito, a brick-red, often spicy model; barbacoa (a spicy goat stew; verde, a green one flavored with mint and epazote. The other two, which I'm blanking on, are sometimes served as specials. The sauce is the thing. Even the best places give you a choice between reheated chicken and boiled pork spine, which is nobody's favorite cut of meat. The stuff simmers in pots all day, and you can usually wheedle tastes.I wish I was at Guelaguetza right now...and I'm off to Union Pacific in a couple of minutes. Anyway, order the giant Oaxacan pizza called tlayuda topped with little balls of homemade chorizo; a memela (thick homemade tortilla smeared with black beans) or two; a tamale stuffed with mole negro; and an order of mole, black or green. Empanadas are the size of UPS envelopes and approximately as tough; the enfrijoladas and enmoladas just repeat experiences already on your plate.Don't forget the Oaxacan horchata, which comes garnished with red syrup and a handful of raw pecans, unless the housemade tepache, fermented pineapple driunk, happens to be on hand. Whew!
re: j gold
In addition to the Mole Negro (black mole), Mole Amarillo (yellow mole), Mole Verde (green mole), and Mole Coloradito ("little colored" mole), the other three fabled moles of Oaxaca are Mole Colorado ("colored" mole, a deeper redish brown than the lighter colored Mole Coloradito), Chichilo Negro (another black mole), and Mancha Manteles (a deep brick red mole). All fabulous! All this talk of Guelaguetza is too much for me. Guess where I'm eating dinner tomorrow night?