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May 16, 2010 10:00 PM

Angela's Cafe

I've been to Angela's before (after seeing rave reviews from veteran 'hounds) and was blown away the first time I went there.

Last time was a mixed bag. We got there around 9pm on Saturday, and were seated relatively quickly.

We ordered:

Guacamole : fantastic! good chunks, fresh, not over mixed

Favoritos de Angela
Chicken Mole Gordita,
Tinga Tostada, Arabe Taco, Ceviche Tostada, and Al Pastor Taco.

- a general positive- the Ceviche was raved about. The Tinga Tostada got a meh- I suspect it was first prepped and suffered from that.

Mole with the pork loin- This was the dish that confused. Last time, it was amazing- rich complexity of the sauce that lingered, with the meat being tender, moist, and fantastic.

This time, however, the meat was dry. The sauce, had it been fantastic, could have helped redeem it, but the sauce seemed one note, compared to last time.

Has anyone else noticed this or did I just get unlucky?

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  1. Have to agree. I have been probably a half-dozen times, and loved it the first four. The last two visits have been really disappointing. The last meal I had was so bad (and overpriced), we haven't been back since. We're going to give it one last shot and hope that we just caught them on some off nights.

    3 Replies
    1. re: thehomers

      Finally made it to Angela's last night (a recurrent theme of my posts ...) All things considered, this place more than lived up to its star billing from the hound community.

      We started with a perfectly acceptable glass of red sangria (my DC wanted white, but they were not serving) and a Negra Modelo. For an appetizer, we shared a chicken tamal and a small guacamole. I'm not much of a guac fan, but Angela's version is simply divine. Freshness is key, which allows the flavors of the cilantro and lime to burst through the creaminess of the avacado. The tamal was also excellent, worthy of comparison to my long-time favorites at Taqueria/Cantina La Mexicana.

      As first timers, we decided to eschew mains for a the large (4-5 person) version of Angela's favorites. We were glad we did. Of the seven appetizers we sampled, six were huge winners while the 7th rated pretty darned good.

      My favorite was the rajas poblanas, a blend of fresh lime, soft/slow cooked red onions, and suateed/roasted poblanos (the menu said sauteed, but they bore tell tale signs of roasting), mixed with a dollop of sour cream, and topped with crumbled queso fresco. This dish was divine, a perfect balance of heat, smoke and savory balanced by the slightly salty cheese and sour cream.

      Tied for second favorite was the chicken mole gordita and verde vhorizo gordita, both which featured toothsome masa dough cakes topped with 1) the insanely complex mole sauce which Angela's is known for, along with shredded boiled white chicken and crumbled queso (a superfluous touch in my opinion) and 2) an intense chorizo that mixed heat with savory, thanks to a perfectly executed verde sauce.

      We also loved the taco arabe, which featured perfectly roasted pork with a touch of adobo spice accompanied by a mouth-watering red chipotle/onion dipping sauce, and loved the taco al pastor, a top flight version of this eponymous Mexican dish, given a unique twist with the addition of small bits of pineapple among the chopped onions.

      Rounding up the field, the tinga tostada was also sensational, perfectly cooked shredded beef spiced with adobe and chipolte, heaped on a fresh, crips corn tortilla with fresh tomatoes and shredded lettuce; and the nopales tostada, which provided welcome cooling of the tongue. Of particular note, the mexican cactus was only slightly sweet, yet not bitter, and made for a great accompaniment with the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and queso on the tortilla. alas, the shrimp ceviche tostada did not burst with the flavors of other ceviches I've enjoyed. This was but a minor quibble, however, as the item was in fact, quite tasty, yet did not measure up to the other two tostadas. All of the tostadas had a small smear of refried beans, and a blend of questo, sour cream, and the aforementioned shredded lettuce, as well as a garnish sliver of fresh avacado.

      In summary, I'd wholeheartedly agree with the many hounds who rate Angela's as the standard for authentic homestyle Mexican fare in Boston. I look forward to returning.

      1. re: Bob MacAdoo

        Thanks for the detailed report of your maiden voyage. I love those rajas and your post reminds me I need to get back over there soon. How busy was it when you were there?

        1. re: yumyum

          It was just after peak, as we arrived about 7:30 and waited 15 minutes for a table.Only 3 other parties came in after us.

    2. Popped in to Angela's on Friday night - tried to go to Little Q to get me some Mala, but it was an hour wait. So to eastie we go - no trouble getting a table there...

      Great sangria and small guac excellent as always
      But I wanted to comment on the excellent quality of the meat under the mole sauce. It was a special of chipotle mole with beef - it ended up coming with a chicken breast as well, so bonus.

      I have also run into the dried out, too-well-done meat at Angela's but now this is the second visit in a row where the chicken was moist and perfectly cooked, and the piece of flank steak was really outstanding - nice chew, great flavor, just perfect.

      The chipotle mole had a nice little kick to it - all in all, a really satisfying meal.

      So not sure why the meats are being cooked inconsistently, but they were spot on this weekend.

      1. The original comment has been removed