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Chilaquiles - SF Dish of the Month (Feb 2013)

It was a close vote between pho and chilaquiles, but chilaquiles won out in the end! Here's a link to the vote: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888174

The goal of Dish of the Month is to collectively try as many versions of chilaquiles as possible during the month of Feburary! So let's start exploring and eating—report back with reviews and photos.

If you're unfamiliar with the dish, then you can check out the Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilaquiles), and also search Chowhound for references and past reports, not to mention this detailed discussion about the origins/definitions of the dish: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/294038

For those who regularly eat chilaquiles, hopefully this project can lead to a new favorite rendition, and for those who have never tried chilaquiles before, hopefully this will be an excuse to go out and try them!

Dave MP

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  1. El Molino Central (Sonoma)

    No, I haven't had their chilaquiles yet this February, but I've had them before and want to encourage others to have them there. I found them as excellent and special as their other items, which is "way up there". I've also not had chilaquiles anywhere else and would like to hear how others more familiar with this dish feel that the El Molino Central version compares.

    Photo of El Molino Central Chilaquiles w/ Early Girl tomato & chipotle salsa and scrambled Field of Greens eggs
    http://ruthvenphotos2.com/files/IMG_4...

    http://elmolinocentral.com

    8 Replies
    1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

      I will third the chilaquiles at El Molino. Just a warning that they are only available until 11:00 am (and nothing else is available until after 11:00). So everyone in the group needs to want to eat chilaquiles, not a problem for me or my husband.

      Also have great coffee, for a splurge, try the iced New Orleans style coffee.

      Very different, but also good are the chilaquiles at Jeffrey's Hillside in Santa Rosa. Verde rather than rojo.

      1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

        In case anyone not up for the drive north doesn't know: Primavera is at the Ferry Building on Saturday mornings, and serves an effectively identical dish. Both business are run by Karen Waikiki. I've had both on a number of occasions and ... the differences are marginal at best.

        If you're lucky enough to come across chilaquiles verdes at Primavera for the LOVE OF GOD do not put salsa rojo all over it. Please. I'm begging you.

        1. re: jpancake

          Headed over in an hour. The version there looks like the chips are crispy and not soft by yelp photos. Are they indeed crispy? I think I prefer the cooked until soft version.

          1. re: Porthos

            My friends in Guadalajara say soft chilaquiles have just been sitting around too long, they insist on theirs being cooked to order.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Probably. I feel they have more flavor since they soak up more of the sauce. Just my preference.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Been doing some extra reading. Are you sure there aren't regional variations of this dish and that maybe the ones in salsa verde are sometimes cooked until soft depending on region and preference?

                There are recipes online that call for cooking until soft. I don't know enough about regional Mexican cuisine to know which part of Mexico this recipe is from.

                http://www.today.com/id/32126752/site...

                "Pour the salsa verde into a wide pot or pan and place over medium heat. Just when it starts to bubble, stir in the beaten eggs. Cook and stir for about 5 seconds until the egg feathers into the sauce to thicken and bind.

                Immediately add the chips, tossing gently until they have absorbed enough sauce and become soft. "

                1. re: Porthos

                  "As the saying goes, there are as many recipes for chilaquiles as there are cooks. Nothing is wasted in the Mexican home, so this dish was born as a clever way to revive yesterday's tortillas and leftover salsa."

                  1. re: Porthos

                    They're supposed to be slightly softened but still with some crunch.

                    At the Guadalajara market stalls, they make a big batch and keep them hot. If you get them freshly made, they have some crunch. After they've been sitting around for a while, they're mush. It's not a different regional variation, it's just sloppy.

                    In Mexico, you're also more likely to get sick from stuff that's been sitting around.

          2. Melanie's link is inspiring:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8881...

            Another stop at El Molino Central sets the bar high; I love it!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cynsa

              Following Melanie's link to Santa Rosa at Las Palmas, the chilaquiles come with egg or meat. With lengua, soft and tender, it melts on my tongue; spicy red sauce laps the crisp tortillas; rice and beans make a hearty breakfast for $8.75. Good Value.
              415 Santa Rosa Avenue/Santa Rosa/Sonoma County

               
               
            2. Had the Chilaquiles at Primavera.

              Pretty good. I think I like it cooked in chile verde more and the tortilla a bit softer. The refried beans are excellent. The lard really comes through.

               
              1. Chilaquiles at El Huarache Loco (Larkspur) come topped with 2 eggs. Get 'em overy easy and while that's being prepared, waltz over to the salsa bar and stock up. This is a giant platter of chilaquiles and the addition of your choice of salsas sets it off perfectly. Break those yolks, pour on that sauce, and enjoy. This is one truly delicious (and large) platter of food.

                16 Replies
                1. re: tayres

                  Their online menu says "and choice of topping". Do you think adding a meat topping adds or detracts from the experience of chilaquiles ?

                  Also want to clarify that El Huarache Loco is in Larkspur Landing, not in downtown Larkspur. I've had several very good lunches there, but not the chilaquiles. It's time to try that.

                  http://huaracheloco.com

                  1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                    If I'd have added a meat topping I'm pretty sure I'd have had to be rolled out of there in a wheelbarrow. I think a meat topping is completely unnecessary on chilaquiles. I even think scrambled eggs are unnecessary. Fried eggs with runny yolks though? That's another story.

                    El Huarache Loco is in Larkspur Landing, in what's now being called the "Marin Country Mart". They began as a stand at the Alemany Farmer's Market in SF and are now a brick and mortar resto. Enjoy.

                    1. re: tayres

                      My standard for chilaquiles in Mexico City has salsa verde, chicken, and no eggs. The chicken is cooked in the layers, not thrown on top.

                      SF restaurants tend to make them in a fry pan with eggs because that's easier to do. My preferred version is more like a lasagna or bread pudding, cooked in an oven. They're easy to make at home, and the tortillas are a mix of soft and crispy.

                      1. re: Windy

                        Windy, you and I have the same taste in c'quiles, as previously noted. My ideal comes from eating chilaquiles verdes con pollo on a long-ago, three-month-long trip across Mexico with the parentals. I was so picky, it was the *only* thing I would eat. Just lucky it was so readily available and at all times, though it was considered to be a breakfast dish. In most every case, it was cooked as you describe and served in an ovenproof dish, layered. I did not eat it with eggs, as eggs were "evil" in my younger self's book, and it had to be green sauce, not red, stale tortillas deep fried in strips, not chips.

                        Notwithstanding nostalgia, this thread is killing me as we have NO chilaquiles in Vancouver and I won't be in SF again till late spring.

                        1. re: grayelf

                          Don't you have old tortillas in Vancouver?

                          D Kennedy writes: "As complicated and delightful as the name sounds, it is simply a way of using up old tortillas."

                          and
                          "There is no hard and fast rule about ingredients. Use up whatever you have handy."

                          The Tortilla Book

                          1. re: paulj

                            Sorry, I should have said no restos that serve chilaquiles. I have been known to make them myself out of desperation :-).

                            1. re: grayelf

                              Mine came out pretty decently when I've made them myself--more often since Pastores closed. I hate throwing fried tortillas in a casserole and layering with cream but they're awfully good.

                              Lately I've given in on eggs and make a soft scramble with lots of vegetables and leftover blue corn tortillas. Not the same though.

                        2. re: Windy

                          At San Jalisco - 901 South Van Ness at 20th Street/San Francisco: Chilaquiles Remo is layered with egg, chicken, onions, red sauce, soft tortillas and cheese $9.95 plated with rice, beans and sour cream. Best tasting red sauce here, smoothly rich with a long-cooked flavor.
                          I've enjoyed this restaurant as Los Jarritos and now as San Jalisco. Service is friendly and attentive; food is delicious. Portions are generous; my DH finished his Huevos con Chorizo and then rescued me by finishing the rest of my chilaquiles.

                           
                          1. re: Cynsa

                            yo C-
                            Los Jarritos changed...?! I guess it's been a while since I've gone there. Is it as good as before it became San Jalisco?

                            1. re: escargot3

                              absolutely! It's the same wonderful Reyes family, nothing changed except the 'name'.

                              http://www.missionmission.org/2010/06...

                            2. re: Cynsa

                              Thanks for the recommendation! The space and service were great.

                              As for the food, San Jalisco has the tortillas-scrambled-with-eggs variety of chilaquiles on the menu. The chilaquiles Veronica has eggs, red salsa, onions, nopales, and chorizo and is topped with crema and a crumbled cheese. Nice porky flavor, either from the chorizo or from lard, and just enough eggs that you might not even notice their presence. The triangular chips softened during the meal, but stayed tasty throughout. The salsa is mild, so I'd probably request it hot next time.

                              There's also a version with a side of thick or thin steak.

                              We had some good birria too--- they give a generous portion of goat.

                               
                               
                              1. re: Cynsa

                                I'm chiming in a little late for dish of the month, but thought that this was still the best forum to comment on Chilaquiles at San Jalisco. I had the regular Chilaquiles today, with scrambled eggs (would not have known they were there, but for the menu description), onions, peppers, and red sauce. I liked the flavor and the contrast between crispy and chips softened by the salsa and other ingredients they are scrambled with. My one complaint was that I found the dish a little too salty, not so much in terms of flavor, but in the feeling one has after eating such a meal. The salsa served with the chips was too salty for me. My DH enjoyed his huevos divorceados, served with chile verde and chile colorado, including large pieces of very tender pork covered with each of the two sauces, but also found his dish a bit too salty. The fresh homemade tortillas were delicious.

                              2. re: Windy

                                yes, my standard also, though I am fine without the chicken. And eggs over easy on the side are nice at breakfast, but I don't think of them as a part of the dish. From my point of view, some of the dishes that get called 'chilaquiles' should really be called 'breakfast nachos'.

                              3. re: tayres

                                +1= meat is totally unnecessary. Fried egg on top is heaven.

                            3. re: tayres

                              I had chilaquiles at El Huarache Loco this morning. I thought they were as good as tayres said. His description is correct; their website menu is a bit out of date. The high quality of the ingredients waa evident. The tortilla wedges started out a bit crisp yet tender and moved toward soft as minutes went by. It was really excellent. Compared to El Molino Central? They're different animals, different versions of this item for which there must be hundreds of versions. I'm not going to try to say which is best. They're very different and both are excellent.

                              This is a photo album of my chilaquiles experiences.

                              http://ruthvenphotos2.com/chilaquiles

                              1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                                Beautiful photos. I'm glad you enjoyed the El Huarache Loco chilaquiles. The plate they served them on makes them look even more lovely.

                            4. Never had them before, so I went over to La Mission Taqueria in Berkeley to try theirs.

                              They were nothing like the ones in the photos referenced here. This version seemed to be just eggs scrambled with a bunch of tortilla chips in red sauce with a little queso on top. Perfectly acceptable, nothing really special.

                              La Mission only serves egg dishes before noon on weekdays and 1:00 on weekends. It's a tiny place with only seven indoor tables, but on warmer days the terrace is pleasant, even with the University Boulevard traffic.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ernie in berkeley

                                Went to Tres Hermanas in Richmond this Saturday. Their chiliquiles is still delicous, surprising for such a simple dish - scrambled eggs with homemade tortilla chips, red sauce, onions, cheese.