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Nov 16, 2008 08:48 AM

Holy mole - 25 of them made by both pros and abuelas?

Has anyone been to the Mole to Die For Tasting Contest at the Mission Cultural Center? It is the fifth annual so I'm hoping someone went and it is as good as it sounds.,

From the SF Weekly ...

"One of the best things in the world is the sight of competing grandmas. Our favorite place to see amped-up octogenarians here in the city is at the Mole to Die For Tasting Contest. Your door fee gets you samples of about twenty-five versions ... and the event is divided into two categories: Professional and home made. The latter is where the abuelas come in, hauling crockpots of their own special recipes. While the public pigs out, the grandmas sit around nervously, eyeballing each other and ordering children around. It's spectacular, in a funny, small, delightful way."

For $7, it sounds like the deal. Is worth my while to move my schedule around and get down there this Wednesday?

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    This is reminiscent of a chopped chicken liver tasting contest I entered. Whole family memories are invested in the prized recipes.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      This sounds amazing! I just sent the info to my BIL in San Francisco who is a big fan of mole, so thanks.

      1. re: grayelf

        "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants"
        Don't thank me, thank rw.

        1. re: wolfe

          I thought I was -- danged software :-). But your link was most helpful too, wolfe.

    2. We went last night after seeing your post (Thank you!!)

      For me, it was worth it b/c I learned the scope of moles. There were 11 "People's" entries. Some very different. My husband is a big fan and has tried more so his take was making Rick Bayless' recipe at home is as good as many of the entries. In the end, for our voting- we agreed on the same top 3 which were easy to choose.

      Professionals had easy stand outs for us too-- we liked Chava's and Olivia's. I believe Olivia's is a new restaurant in the Mission.

      8 Replies
      1. re: rln


        Olivia's Brunch and Fine Dining Restaurant
        3771 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Chava's Mexican Restaurant
        2839 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. re: rln

          Hey, thanks so much for reporting back. I couldn't fit it into the schedule .. sob ... but will definately make it a high priority next year if I'm still in the area.

          Thanks for the tips on Chava's and Olivia's. It is nice to have a lot of side by side comparisons to see what really stands out. Will put these on my to try list

          1. re: rworange

            I wouldn't feel bad at all for missing it. I think the advertising for the event was very misleading. There were nowhere near 25 moles in competition and the lines were very long. The cultural center's advertising shows delicious looking dishes that include mole, but it was just drinking a few drops of mole out of tiny plastic cups. It was very interesting to compare them, but the event in general was really lame.

            1. re: Atomica

              Looking at the information, Weds night, $7 admission, in the Cultural Center, I sort of guessed it would be odd.

              I thought about going...but figured on stopping at a taco joint afterwards because you rarely get enough at these things even at 10x the admission. Little plastic cups are a bit drastic however.

              The idea however is great and obvious in a needs to be done way but in food-centric Calif / SF they probably need a bigger event.

              1. re: ML8000

                I didn't see the ads but they were clear at the event- when you walk in, there is a sign that says "Dinner not served." Definitely tasting sauce only. Little dentist toothpaste size cups.

                We ended up going to Old Jerusalem for dinner, and Mission pie.

                Coincidentally (I think), the Dia de los Muertos altars were still up so it was nice to catch it since we missed that event.

                1. re: rln

                  Yes, once you make the trek (which in my case includes securing a babysitter), there were signs in the Mission Cultural Center stating "Dinner not served." However, you should take a look at the announcement on their website and tell me whether or not you think it's misleading. As ML8000 says, little plastic cups are a bit drastic. There could be a happy medium of small bites. That's my gripe.


                  1. re: Atomica

                    I'm sorry I should have done more than just put in the link.
                    Muy importante,lea las reglas

                    Favor de leer: Usted puede cocinar su mole con carnes para el sabor, pero por favor quite la carne o pollo antes de traerlo al centro para el concurso. El concurso de mole es ahora muy popular, favor de preparar suficiente mole para el público.
                    Todo mole debe de estar en el MCCLA en una olla eléctrica mediana o grande.

                    Please note: You can cook mole with meats for flavor but please take out the meat before bringing the mole to the contest. The meat takes up space in the pot, and it can’t be served to the public. Since the mole contest is now very popular, please prepare plenty of mole without the meat for the contest.

              2. re: Atomica

                I was there too. So glad to have gotten there right after 7. We saw the signs that it wasn't dinner but didn't know what that meant until we got upstairs. We were directed to the back where we received chips, salsa, and some rice, chicken and mole. I assumed even then that the samples would just be small samples, I didn't realize until I entered the cordoned off judging area (within the caution tape!) that we would be sampling from tiny plastic cups and or by dipping Popsicle sticks into the tiny cups. It was like sampling bbq sauces but not the bbq.

                Disappointing but interesting nonetheless. I ended up eating a real dinner afterwards. It was crowded. The line stretched through the whole place.

          2. This sounds amazing. Its impossible to find a good homemade mole where I am. (Unless I make it)

            So jealous!