Quail Confit Enchiladas Placeras at El Michoacano (Santa Rosa)
Some time in the last year I was quizzing a young Michoacana working at a Pastry Shop in the local Roseland barrio about Michoacan restaurants specialities... and she threw out the Enchiladas at El Michoacano. In my misguided arrogance - and upon seeing her blank stare when I asked about Churipo, Atole de Grano, Caldo Michi & Trout in Macadamia Sauce - I concluded that she didn't know much about her home state's cuisine and I wasn't about to waste my sleuthing on Enchiladas!
Well today's cereal didn't cut it... and I was craving something Mexican for almuerzo so I decided to gave El Michiocano a try... after reviewing the menu, I felt stupid for not realizing that when she said Enchiladas... she was referring to Enchiladas Placeras like you find in Morelia and other towns... duh!
Complimentary Chips, Salsa & Creamy Beans
> Chips were good... I hate being served Chips, but can never seem to pass them up... but I still refuse to acknowledge my "selling out"
> The Salsas... a sharp Verde with Arbol Chile Flecks, and a Red with Tomatillos, Guajillo & Arbol Chile Flecks are the best I've had in Northern California in their respective styles. Fresh, spicy, addictive... to the point.
> Beans... creamy, savory... subtle but flavorful... not Pintos, not Mayocoba, not Flor de Mayo... I am not sure what they were but they were a fresh harvest & prepared today... best I've had in Northern California. Scratch that... the only restaurant beans I can remember ever having in Northern California that were worth the calories.
Enchiladas con Huilota
> 4 Tortillas quick fried in mild dried chile sauce to a nutty Al Dente texture (much like my favorite style of Chilaquiles)... simply folded over Cotija cheese... sitting on a bed of two fresh Romaine leaves wilting on one end & crunchy on the other... then the Enchiladas were garnished with Shredded Cabbage, lightly pickled, crunchy very fresh tasting Jalapenos, Carrots & impregnated with Mexican Oregano... and the sublime addition of rich Crema & Pickled Pork Skins (yes you read that correctly) and more salty, slightly nutty Cotija... on the side was a whole Quail fried carnitas style... the thighs & breasts about the texture of Duck Confit... the rest so crispy you can eat just about all the bones... in addition rustic, potatoe cubes also fried in the Enchilada Sauce tinted Oil.
Disclaimer... these are a notch below what you will get in Morelia from vendors that do nothing but... but my god, sometimes I get caught up in sleuthing for the more Refined dishes and I forget the multi layered orgasmic genius found in some of the Antojitos. ($13)
> Papaya, Manila Mangos, Pineapple & Watermelon at their peak ripeness with a squeeze of Lime & sprinkling of salt... very refreshing. ($3.50)
There are a lot of pedestrian items on the menu... but enough specialties to warrant some future specialties... including Molcajetes, Bacon Wrapped Shirmp with Quail and Fish Enchiladas among others.
I had a very nice lunch here with RWCFoodie & husband... the food was fantastic & did not let down:
> Enchiladas... solid, same as on other visits but completely overshadowed by the other dishes
> Camarones Borrachos... perfectly cooked large Shrimp in an Ancho and Tequila sauce.. absolutely fantastic... tangy, woody, dark, fruity almost citrusy... many layers but so delicious you just want to drink it.
> Molcajete (they only do one version here but it obliterates La Palapa)... Shrimp, Chicken Breast, Thinly Sliced Beef Loin, Griddled Nopales & Poblanos in a savory Guajillo based sauce amply flavored with garlic, thyme, marjoram, oregano etc., I bit more "sober" but another fantastic sauce... the texture of all the ingredients was perfect.
The Shrimp & Molcajete dishes are all served with their fantastic beans, great handmade tortillas, rice & your typical iceberg garnish (as I always I could have gone for something more interesting like some Huazontle fritters etc., but what you gonna do).
Ah yeah we also had some watered down Micheladas... not bad if you accept the difference in style they were just refreshing and hinted of beer, clam juice & chile etc.,
EN: Thank you so much for meeting us at El Michoacano and doing the ordering! We really enjoyed the lunch and the opportunity to meet you. It's great that they have both an English and a Spanish menu that include photos of the dishes. It really helps to see what a dish looks like when it's something that is unfamiliar.
It was fun to see and hear the large family groups enjoying their Sunday lunch. What a happy place!
You're right about the enchiladas, they were good, but they were, as you said, totally overshadowed by the Camarones Borrachos - that sauce! What depth of flavor; your description is perfect. I don't believe I have ever tasted a more delicious sauce on any Mexican dish. I'm looking forward to stopping there again and trying more dishes but we have to have the Camarones Borrachos.
The Molcajete - just so delicious. I really appreciate your explaining the ingredients that go into these sauces/preps.
I was so full that I really couldn't do justice to those beans - those tortillas are addictive. This was our first taste of Michelada - we're looking forward to trying it again. I've seen it on many menus in Redwood City but just have never gotten around to ordering it - even if it was a bit watery, it was refreshing.
We're sorry that you're leaving the area - we wish you much luck and happiness in your new venture! I'll let you know if we're headed to Oahu... :-)
F___ing A! How many times I rode past here to and from work on the bike and never once did stop...
"but my god, sometimes I get caught up in sleuthing for the more Refined dishes and I forget the multi layered orgasmic genius found in some of the Antojitos."
>>Dude, how guilty am I of the same...
Mmm...the pairing of sauced enchiladas, chewy cueritos and crisp and crunchy whole fried quail.
I am coming up labor day weekend. :^)