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Moles on the Peninsula?

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hi there -

so, my husband and i just moved up to the bay area (san carlos, to be exact) from pasadena and are desperately missing our favorite mole restaurant (moles a tia) where they make on a daily basis up to 15 different moles. is there anything comparable in the bay area? recommendations needed as my husband's birthday is coming up and i'd like to surprise him...thanks!

aslouie

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  1. I am not aware of any place like that described on this board but I'm sure I will be corrected. My best mole experience was at Guelaguetza Palms Restaurant with Soledad Pepez recipe dark mole. Here are some links from this board.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7428...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7430...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7300...

    1. Not on the Peninsula, but south of you in San Jose, Juquilita offers up a handful of moles each day. I've not been there myself and no one has reported on it recently, so be sure to call ahead before you head down there. Here's a thread,
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/670410

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      Juquilita Restaurant
      577 W Alma Ave, San Jose, CA 95125

      1 Reply
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Thanks so much...will check it out!

      2. First, general, comment: Folks who've lived in Southern CA (or Arizona or Texas or even, and this is plain embarassing, Boston) may be dismayed at the general, run-of-the-mill Mexican restaurants in the Bay Area, it is not a genre famous hereabouts.

        Second comment, specific to the request: On the other hand, Peninsula and South-Bay diners (including here on Chowhound) who have actually _experienced them_ enough times to discover their _strengths_ (please note that not every online commentator regards this, or any, experience, as prerequisite to posting strong opinions) tend to enjoy the "regional" (interior) Mexican restaurants some of which, including those below, are at least a tad more upscale and individual than our run of the mill. A couple of those below also boast vast (200-plus) Tequila collections as sidelines, though that's not my interest and I can't comment on that side of it. But all feature distinctive mole dishes (if not necessarily 15 each!) and are nearer to you than San Jose.

        Estrellita (at the nexus of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Mountain View -- San Antonio near El Camino) and incidentally next door to a rapidly rising hole-in-wall German bakery with real German people (Deutsch gesprochen) and also near The Biggest Chinese Restaurant In The Region (Chef Chu's, catering to and frequented by non-Chinese), is a modest very longtime family-run place with specialties like "Pipian" green mole sauce and a loyal following.

        La Fiesta, Mountain View near the downtown, and popular for business lunches, also features mole sauces though I was waylaid subsequently by an addiction I don't seem able to kick, their "diabolo" stir-fry specialties that combine a paste of very hot smoky chipotle peppers with toasty sauteed onions and meat or prawns, served with flat thin rounds of papas fritas, fresh, toasty, and almost like potato chips. I can't seem to get enough of this place. You have been warned.

        Not far from there are two other upscale popular independents, related but distinct: the two Fiesta del Mar restaurants. Their specialty, as you might guess from the name, is seafood; I've also seen some prized distinctive sauces. The downtown MV location (Fiesta Del Mar Too) routinely gets top Mexican restaurant award in the annual city newspaper popularity poll, and there is some real competition in that category. (MV boasts a strong Latino heritage and even when the downtown was a mess, 30 years ago, it was known for good "destination" Mexican restaurants. Which was, actually, what originally took me to that downtown to eat.)

        http://www.estrellitarestaurant.com/
        http://www.lafiestarestaurant.net/
        http://www.fiestadelmar.com/

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        Fiesta Del Mar Too
        735 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041

        La Fiesta Restaurant
        240 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041

        Fiesta Del Mar
        1005 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043

        2 Replies
        1. re: eatzalot

          Thanks for the La Fiesta diabolo recommendation! I had the chicken version and it was delicious indeed. My wife's catfish with chile and onions was very tasty too. We'll be back so I hope to try the mole there soon.

          Estrellita is our favorite local Mexican restaurant, but the only mole they have on the regular menu is the mole poblano - which is very good. The other mole dishes like the pipian come and go on the monthly specials. Stick to the specials, the mole, and the chicken Oaxaca at Estrellita and you will do very well. The rest of the regular menu is more hit and miss.

          I'm not sure if either of these are special occasion places for people in San Carlos. Nopalito is a wonderful Mexican place in San Francisco and even has easy parking. The dishes I've had there have all been wonderful; I've not tried the mole but the one on the current website menu sounds amazing.

          Michael

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          Estrellita Restaurant
          971 N San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022

          La Fiesta Restaurant
          240 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041

          Nopalito
          306 Broderick St, San Francisco, CA

          1. re: eatzalot

            A lot of people like the mole at La Fiesta.

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            La Fiesta Restaurant
            240 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041

          2. This is one of those posts that is bound for disappointment, as Moles la Tia is exceptional even in Southern California - excellent traditional moles, plus creative modern ones. Don't expect to find anything like it here; I haven't even tried. I've been impressed by the fresh flavors at Tu Mero mole, in my neighborhood, but despite the name it's not a mole specialist and I haven't gotten around to trying their mole (poblano, I think) yet, although everything else has been good. I should really get over to Juquilita.

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            Juquilita Restaurant
            577 W Alma Ave, San Jose, CA 95125

            Tu Mero Mole
            2041 Woodard Rd, San Jose, CA 95124

            2 Replies
            1. re: Cicely

              Yes, it is a passionate topic that inspires strong opinions -- but the OP has received some good advice -- general purpose and mole-specific. Since you have settled in San Carlos, your best candidate for a regular - a go-to -- is going to be Redwood City. Broadway is your walking village and worth exploring.

              Amelia's is on Broadway in RWC and an informal Salvadorean/Mexican restaurant. When they have Mole on the specials list, it is worth paying attention

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              Amelias Mexican Restaurant
              2042 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA 94063

              1. re: neil

                Thanks everyone, for the advice. Will plan on checking out La Fiesta to see if we can satisfy ourselves until we go back to Moles La Tia on occasional LA visits.

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                La Fiesta Restaurant
                240 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041