HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Apr 8, 2002 02:13 AM

Guelaguetza Chowhound Dinner write-up

  • k

Here it is from your roving Rover, the Chowhound writeup of the Guelaguetza Chowhound dinner. I was nominated by the group, but all attendees, please help me out and fill in any blanks!
In short, guet out and guo there, it was great! Dinner prices average about $9.00, appetizers vary, Horchata for $2. Cheap exotic eats. Definitely a Must in LA--take your out-of-town visitors if you need a cause, otherwise, it's great grub, so who needs a reason?!?
At one point the plate passing worked up into a frenzy to match the brassy music and tempo of the Oaxacan dances peformed live on stage...With the aid of their take-out menu I'll name the favorites: Mojarra fritao al Mojo de ajo--Fried fish in a garlic sauce. Moist tender fish dish was very popular...A very nice shrimp dish was also passed, but I didn't catch the name. Seemed to have a red mole sauce. Moles were pretty much the name of the game, but the Empanada de Huitalacoche was reminiscent of some childhood comfort food--Stephanie and I couldn't quite place it...the Barbacoa was excellent and the Tamal Oaxaqueno de Mole con Pollo was extremely rich. Tamale in a banana leaf with black mole... All dishes with Mole Negro (Tamale, Chicken Breast & Chicken Tacos)were amazingly deep, complex and rich in flavor intensity--similar to an incredible dessert, but not sweet...yes, an awkward explanation, but I've never had anything like it before. The Red Mole dishes (chicken and enchiladas)weren't as rich but had a very nice balanced quality. I had the Estofado mole made with raisins and olives...sweet and spicy. I'm feeling like I'm forgetting one dish--the guy who left first--Doug--I apologize, but my mind is drawing a complete blank...also I think I'm forgetting another dish, Stephanie at the head of the table...We stuffed ourselves on two appetizer trays and a clayuda ("Oaxacan Pizza", reminded me of a flattened sope) with all three meats: Chorizo was excellent, not greasy, plus the other two meats tasajo--salted beef , cecina-chile past-marinated pork were also quite flavorful...The horchata, made with prickly pear fruit and nuts were quite popular and colorful, and the other exotic drink, Chilacayota, made with squash, cinnamon and dark brown sugar was quite a hit--texture, spicy flavor & aftertaste of tea....Nicuatole dessert had a cream cheese flavor but a more grainy milky texture, and the flan was very smooth. Most of the fun for me: the ease of enjoying an adventurous meal with fellow culinary explorers. Highly relaxing to be among the company of non-timid eaters!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I had trouble sleeping--anyone else get a little wired? Ate a lot of the chips with red mole, but other than just samples of the black mole, didn't think I had too much chocolate...maybe the squash drink? Any guesses or similar reactions?

    8 Replies
    1. re: KeikoG

      Nice report, Keiko.

      Two things:
      (1) Hit that ol' "Enter" key every once in a while. Paragraphs are good. Among other attributes, they make reading much easier.
      (2) Where the hell is it? Not one poster so far has given an address. I'd ask Miss Cleo, but she's indisposed at the moment.

      1. re: TE

        3014 Olympic @ Normandie

        1. re: Sandra W.

          I have not visited Guelaguetza yet but hope to very soon (especially w/all the rec's)......is the one on Palms & Sepulveda just as good??? I hope so as it is much closer to home.........

          1. re: Dolly

            From reading the events of Sunday night, and having been to the Palms location dozens of times, I can safely assure you that the Olympic and Normandie location is far superior. Their favorite dish, Mojarra Fritta is almost inedible at the Palms location. The Estufado dish I don't even think is on the menu.

        2. re: TE

          There's one on Eighth, but if I'm not mistaken the Hounds went to the larger Olympic Blvd. locale.

          1. re: TE

            I'm new to the board.
            Thanks for the style preference.

          2. re: KeikoG

            Nope, slept soundly after all that rich food.

            1. re: KeikoG

              Yes, I did have some trouble sleeping that night. But I'm not entirely certain that it was due to the food.

            2. From here on, the G in KeikoG will mean Guelaguetza! I think you've pretty much nailed it here. The fish was better than it had any right to be, the barbacoa de chivo (that's goat to our Spanish-impaired hounds) tasty and tender, and the moles were complex revelations of intermingling flavors. The only minor complaint I would have had on the horchata was its sugar level, but an infinitesimal quibble, at most. I think the nicuatole was one of those like-it-or-not things, and I was in the former camp. I echo your satisfaction with not only being able to taste such an exotic and diverse range of dishes, but to share it with like-minded diners. Hounds rule!

              Also, hounds, never challenge Keiko on her knowledge of produce. You'll leave whimpering with your tail between your legs. A veritable walking Encarta of vegetation!

              Thanks again to everyone for coming. I look forward to seeing the emerging regulars and fresh faces at the upcoming Traveling Chowathon - details TBA.

              1. Nice, tasty report. So, did we ever find out how to pronounce Guelaguetza?

                2 Replies
                1. re: mc michael

                  I must have been in a mole-induced torpor when I speculated about the umlaut-laden u's. No evidence to be found of that, so it should be Gay-la-gayt-za. As always, I'm open to being proven wrong.

                  1. re: Kriss

                    Yup-- "gue" in Spanish is pronounced as g in "get" in English..like in Guerra for warmongers...names like Guerrero, Guernica for Picasso fans...Merengue for Dominican dance fans and Guelaguetza for mole fans!

                2. Bravo, Keiko! (And honey, take a breath) I think the shrimp dish was "camarones al mojo de ajo", shrimp in a garlic sauce. Kevin had the Taco de Barbacoa de chivo, a goat taco along with a bowl of goat broth. I had the Costilla de puerco, chile-marinated pork ribs, and I think one of the lesser dishes.

                  My favorite things: the fish the fish, ohmygosh the fish! I will be back for that. The two moles, the black Mole Negro, and your Estofado with raisins and olives were amazing. The tamale oaxaqueno was out of this world, the texture of the corn dough was perfect and the mixtures of flavors with chicken and black mole was amazing. I may have liked that dish best. I loved the cecina (marinated pork), and chorizo sausage with the clayuda. I wasn't thrilled with the tasajo beef.

                  A side note, the restaurant has a counter where they sell the black and red moles take-out. It keeps for a month in your fridge.

                  Thank you everyone, the "Dance of the Oaxacan Dinner Plates" was a riot.