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Aug 13, 2003 01:28 PM

Molotes at Valle de Oaxaca

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Took the wife and little ones to Valle de Oaxaca in Mar Vista last Saturday for lunch – I’d been there once and quite liked it. The wife had the al pastor huarache and I had the molotes, which I’d never heard of before. They were kind of like torpedo-shaped masa somosas; masa wrapped around a filling of potato and chorizo, then deep-fried until crispy, and served with guacamole, lettuce and such. The molotes were very good. The contrast between the hot, crispy masa and the cool guac and other toppings was quite nice, while the filling gave it a bit of a punch. I still like the huarache a bit more, though; it also has great textural contrasts between the toppings and crisp-chewy masa, but then has the black-bean puree, salsa and meat for additional complexity. Moreover, there’s something quite homey and comforting about it. My wife remarked that it seemed quite familiar, though she’d never had one before.

Took Just Larry’s suggestion and tried the homemade ice cream. Tried mamey, tuna (cactus fruit), and lemon-lime. Kind of a cross between sorbet and ice cream. The flavors were subtle (or faint), but nice. Bit pricey for what you get (the ice cream was more than the huarache…but then the huarache was only $2.80!), but they probably have to charge a bit more to make it worthwhile. In any case, it's worth it just so you can casually mention that you've eaten tuna ice cream.

I think the molotes are a Saturday special, they’re not on the regular menu.

Valle de Oaxaca Restaurant
3809 Grand View Blvd (Venice), West Los Angeles
(310) 390-4427

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  1. you know, when I lived in Mexico, the fitness club I belonged to had a restaurant that served a dish called "molletes" ... which I haven't seen since. It sounds similar, but instead of masa they used a torpedo-shaped bolillo (Mexico-City style roll). It was spread with refried black beans and queso fresco, and then put under the broiler. It was served with salsa fresca on the side. Yes, it would be easy to reproduce here, but the rolls just aren't the same.....

    1 Reply
    1. re: janet

      When the waitress mentioned molotes, I thought she was referring to molletes (my Spanish is muy lousy), which I've had once before (and quite liked), at a little bakery/cafe in another state. But when she described 'em, it was clear that these were a different breed of snackage. I've kept my eyes open for molletes here in LA, but haven't run across any yet. Yeah, they should be easy to make, but I just can't get motivated to do questionable, homemade versions of Mexican snacks, when really good ones are soooo cheap and easy to buy...

    2. They also have Molottes at El Texate near 4th and Pico in Santa Monica. They are a starter and were 4 to an order and they are VERY heavy. I was finished after one but it was very good. It would have been a real hit if 4 of us were sharing it with a few other tasty morsels. I also liked Texate's plantains filled with black beans (plantain empanada?), but one was also enough.

      Have you ever had fresh Mamey? I just had my first taste of it Monday. It is pink/orange color, has the texture of Avocado and is sweet, creamy and somewhat exotic, the way a Mango tastes exotic. I got it at the Mar Vist Ranch Market at Venice and Centinela. It almost looks like a Coconut on the outside. Took 2 days to ripen.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Just Larry

        I haven't had fresh mamey; I'll give it a try this weekend. Thanks for the tip on the Mar Vista Ranch Market. I noticed it for the first time just a couple of weeks ago (no, I'm not very observant), and made a note to scope it out, but haven't yet. It looked like a Mexican/LatAm market, is that right?

        1. re: Yclops

          Yes, it is that but also has a Middle Eastern influence too. The Bulgarian Feta is incredible and only 4 bucks a pound. They also have a meat counter but I haven't tried it. I hope they have Mamey this weekend. I have been going there for more than a year and this is the first time I have seen it. They usually have fresh Garbanzo Beans. What do you do with them?

          1. re: Just Larry

            Thanks for the info. I didn't make it there this weekend, but went to Top Valu instead. They had a couple of mameys in the back, like petradish mentioned, but they looked a little scraggly (to my expert mamey eye - tic), so I passed.

            Oddly enough, Top Valu has a fair chunk of Middle Eastern/Balkan foods as well. I've picked up some great ajvar (pepper and eggplant spreads...I especially like the "il pepe d'oro" brand by zergut...very smooth), and some terrific Bulgarian fruit juices (esp. mixed berries, sour cherry and black currant...I forget the brand...very colorful, squashed-looking boxes) as well.

            I'll have to check out the feta and fresh garbanzos and figure out what to do with them...sounds like an interesting challenge.

      2. I just tried for the first time the Memela: a thick hand made corn tortilla with mashed black beans and cheese. Wow, I am so in love with sweetness of the tortilla, the cheese, and they did add a very garlicky yummy red sauce, just a bit enugh to leave you wanting more. I feel so happy to have discovered this amazing, place that marinate thier meets for a while. I am so happy to recomend this place.
        Valle de Oaxaca Restaurant
        3809 Grand View Blvd (Venice), West Los Angeles
        (310) 390-4427