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Jun 22, 2008 05:13 PM

Chile rellenos Guanajuato style in LA?

Many years ago I used to get great Chile rellenos w/out batter at a little place in Santa Monica Canyon called Pancho's. I've never found them anywhere else. Pancho told me they were "Guanajuato style".
Anybody else ever heard of this style or been to Guanajuato?

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  1. You may want to try the delicious chile rellenos at La Casita in Bell. You can either have them stuffed with cheese or try the chiles enogadas that are stuffed with dried fruits and pork, topped with a creamy walnut sauce. The tradition in the right season is to top them with pomeganite seeds. But I don't think you can get pomeganites in the summertime. There may be a thin batter on the cheese relleno, but I am certain you can request it without. While you are there, check out their chips that come drizzled with 3 different kinds of mole sauce. The owners here are serious chefs. They have received a few awards for their cooking. Plus they recently cooked for the James Beard Foundation Award Dinner in New York just a couple of weeks ago. They talked of making blackberry mole. I wonder how it went.

    5 Replies
    1. re: sassille

      I was there (La Casita) a week ago for lunch and was completely disappointed. Not recommended. Yeah I know, they've won lots of awards, mostly local stuff.

      1. re: russkar

        :/ That is because the awards they have won, have been for dishes that aren't on their regular menu. Like I doubt that Blackberry Mole will ever see their regular menu. Also at the Jonathan gold event... the Tamales and the Ceviche they served... also NOT on their menu.... I LOVE their cooking, but the menu they offer is SOOO pedestrian or just doesn't sparkle (Last month I had their Mushroom Chile Rellenos and they were just meh)... It's INFURIATING because I want to send people there, but I'm afraid they just won't get 'it'... ://///


        1. re: Dommy

          Hey Dommy!

          Couple things about La Casita. La Casita is a cenaduria, which I know you are familiar with, but to others it may not be known.The cenaduria is a place for supper, the lightest meal of the day in Mexico where good soups and classic dishes are cooked by "abuelitas" with changing dishes depending on the region.This is simple cooking done in a traditional venue but excellent cooking.Great enchiladas with complex sauces, the conquista plate,moles,flautas, etc.

          I've had tastings at La Casita that would knock your socks off, and yes those things aren't on the regular menu.That's because, La Casita is in Bell and 90% of their daily business are locals, Mexicans from the community.This is one of the few alta cocina places in LA serving a mostly working Mexican clientle, not used to eating alta cocina.As much as it would make the 10% or less of us happy to "go for it", the place wouldn't survive.They don't have the proximity of the non-Latino foodies, or Latino business crowd.They keep it simple and delicious for the locals.But, there are some gems, I like the conquista plate,the enchiladas a la plaza, and the huevos divorciados while being a regular dish anywhere in Mexico is very uncommon here. The moles are great, too.

          I think you would be safe in sending folks here Dommy.The cenaduria is a rare style of restaurant here in LA, simple dishes cooked with fresh ingredients and lots of soul.

          1. re: streetgourmetla

            I completely understand... which is why it is SO maddening. Sadly only a few us know how to 'appreciate it'. But honestly, those few are not the ones asking me for recs for great mexican food, those are just plain folks who honestly aren't the types to ask for special tastings. Actually, I'm not that type either, last month's visit was totally spur of the momment, I happened to find myself in the area and after the wonderful dishes at the Gold Event, I wanted to see if the menu had changed at all... NO. EXACT same thing from over 2 years ago!! Even their special of the day was a pedestrian enchiladada dish... (which is what P. had). Which we've had much better at other places (Which is the same thing I can say for their regular menu soups, meat dishes, flautas, and moles)

            I truly.... LOVE THEM. But perhaps I do hold a bit of a lack of respect that for WHATEVER reason they aren't willing to take the risks that Babita, Chichen Itza, and Mariscos Chente others have done with regards to their menu.

            So let me know when they do change their menu... I'd be thrilled to rediscover them then...


            1. re: Dommy

              It would definitely be nice to see some new items on the regular menu, true that.

    2. I went to Guanajuato as part of a culinary tour to San Miguel de Allende (and actually you fly into Guanajuato as well). We had some chiles en nogada in San Miguel but on our day trip to Guanajuato I don't actually remember what I ate - it was lunch at a place on this little zocalo - other than some fantastic ice creams in another little town - I think Delores Hidalgo - on the way back to San Miguel. The chiles en nogada that I've had at Babita in San Gabriel (seasonal in the fall and early winter) were better than those in San Miguel. But I wasn't overly impressed with the chiles en nogada at La Casita the one time I went there.

      1 Reply
      1. Just curious - how long ago was this?

        Also, besides not having batter, what else was different about the relleno?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Moose

          Very simple, just the chile and 2 kinds of cheese. Cooked under the "alligator".

        2. Chiles rellenos are done with many chiles both dried and fresh.With batter, without.With a tomato sauce.They are stuffed in countless ways depending on the region.Seafood fillings in the coastal areas,huitlacoche in the state of Mexico an south, but the most common are cheese and picadillo, which are done all over Mexico.

          And of course, the chiles en nogada.Guanajuato wouldn't be the only place to have a stuffed poblano without batter.

          1. La Cabanita in Montrose makes a dish containing three poblano chiles, each stuffed differently: relleno, vegetariano and "Cabanita." It's my favorite item on their menu.

            1 Reply
            1. re: farmertomato

              I am no vegetarian, But La Cabanita's vegetarian relleno is perfectly delicious. Without batter.