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Apr 22, 2012 01:43 AM

Al Fresco Lunch at The Haute Enchilada Cafe in Moss Landing

Last week our friend Dyane joined Mom and me for lunch at The Haute Enchilada Café in Moss Landing, a first visit for each of us. On this bright and sunny day, we decided to take a table outside on the patio.

The complimentary chips and salsa were quite good and it was hard to not fill up on them. The thick homemade corn tortilla chips were freshly fried and while modest in heat, the roasted salsa had a lot of flavors going on.

The Guacamole, $5.95, was the one clunker of this meal. Out of balance with too much lime, underripe avocadoes, and cottony tomatoes, it is made to order.

For Mom, the Grilled tilapia taco, $5.95. I asked for it to be just done and not overcooked, and it came out exactly right for her. Nice char markings and succulent flesh, she said it was very fresh and she liked the salsa. She added the guacamole too, probably better as an accompaniment to fish with all that citrus.

Dyane ordered the Tamal Trio, $12.95. The plate featured three petite tamales: artichoke/cheese, chicken/mole, and pork/chile verde with black bean and corn salad. Light and fluffy masa of freshly steamed tamales, the artichoke one was somewhat bland but earns points as a good use of local ingredients. The poblano-style mole was slightly sweet, mild in heat, and not complicated. This mole sang harmony rather than being the soloist.

I went vegetarian with the Chile Relleno Trotskey (sic), $16.95. One of two chile relleno preps on the menu, this one is a battered and deep-fried pasilla chile stuffed with organic zucchini, jack and cheddar cheese, then smothered with dark mole and squiggles of crema. The batter was a very thin layer, not the fluffy eggy type. But this overstuffed portion was huge enough as is. I especially loved the bed of black bean and corn salad. The mild mole weaved through and pulled together the many elements. At meal’s end, only the stem of the chile pepper remained on my plate.

Prices are on the high side for this area but certainly fair for the colorful art-filled setting, local sustainable ingredients, cooking flair, and solid execution. We were all happy with our meal.

Travels with Romney was filming this clip while we were there.

The Haute Enchilada Cafe
7902 Moss Landing Rd
Moss Landing, CA

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  1. Thanks for the report, Melanie. I am a fan of the thin batter style of chile relleno, and am always searching for one with batter that isn't too fluffy or eggy, so between that mention, artichoke tamal (who could resist, bland or not?) and the location, this definitely will go on my 'to try' list.

    1 Reply
    1. re: susancinsf

      The menu is HUGE, so you have lots of choices. And there were four different "soup of the day" options. One was an artichoke bisque (or similar) that was hard for me to not order . . . another time. The place was quite busy mid-week at lunch time. Note that it closes at 8pm, so the mid-day meal might be a better time slot.

    2. Thanks for the report. I ate there a few years ago after they first opened, and while I don't remember the food--senior moment here--I do remember the service was excellent. It was a very windy day, my friend and I were the only ones brave enough to stay on the patio, and we hoped they would succeed. The last time I drove thru I ended up at Phil's but will give Haute Enchilada another try.

      Oh, and the Whole Enchilada is good too!

      4 Replies
      1. re: alwayshungrygal

        Yes, the service was quite good and very friendly. And yes, the breeze did kick up on the patio.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          We have passed by this place so many times, now we have to stop! We will be in the area tomorrow for 3 days. Can't wait to try this place, I'm going for the Chili Relleno! :)

          1. re: syrahgirl

            Have fun!

            We also like Moss Landing Cafe for simply prepared seafood.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Well, our meal at Haute did NOT disappoint! It was a beautiful, sunny day and we dined out on the patio. The Chili Relleno was awesome and a French Mojito went nicely with our meal. My husband also very much enjoyed his meal and said this place was one of his favorite meals of our trip! We dined at Schooner's Coastal Kitchen, Casanova, California Market & Pacific's Edge @ The Highland's Inn where stayed for two nights. We also had lunch at Lokal in Carmel Valley. :)