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Mar 17, 2014 06:13 PM

Molotes in the Bay Area

I'm looking for molotes, a food I ate in Puebla, Mexico. The molotes there were made by placing meat on a ~9" round of thick but flattened masa, folding it in half with a loose seal, deep frying it, and then splitting it open to apply salsa and crema.

Whatever it might be called, is something resembling that description available around here?

"Molote" seems to correspond to a lot of different preparations, both in Mexico and here, and I've identified four places to check out. Has anyone tried these?

Molcajete in Oakland lists three molotes for $6.50, so it might be the right item, but smaller!anto...

Vianey's Kitchen Mexican Food in Oakland sells three for $6.99, so it might be the right item, only smaller.

Tropisueno in SF descibes them as "cigars" so that doesn't sound right

Padrecito in SF doesn't give a useful description, but they cost $13

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  1. Mescal, in downtown San Jose, has them.

    1. I don't know if you want to go there, but there is a picture of the Molcajete molote on y**p.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cecelia

        Thanks for the help! Hmm... those look like small and sealed. If I don't get a match elsewhere, I could always cut those open and throw some salsa and crema inside.

        1. re: hyperbowler

          Molcajete's molotes are enclosed, but I thought they were very good (not having ever tried the Puebla style myself).

          In general, the restaurant's masa-based dishes are its biggest selling point. Their chancla (kind of like a huarache) is also really tasty.

        2. re: Cecelia

          Vianey's Kitchen review on y**p also has a picture of a molote - but look kind of pale. You might also search for "dorados" same kind of idea (frying meat encased in masa), but dunked in some kind of meat broth (so amazingly yummy!) prior to the frying.

        3. I think the ones at Padrecito and Mamacita are also cigar-like.

          Maybe this place:

          5 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Thanks for pointing out Melanie's post. No molotes, but their menu says that they have a few items I would want including cemitas, pambazos, mole, and chalupas.

            The quesadilla pictured on this blogpost shows them using freshly pressed masa, so that's a plus too:

            1. re: hyperbowler

              If he has fresh masa, carne guisada, and a fryer, he might be able to make what you're looking for whether it's on the menu or not.

              1. re: hyperbowler

                Thanks for the blog link. I noticed the Tacos árabes at the end, which I've never seen up here either. I've had them at cemitas places in the LA area. But they should be made with pita-like bread, not a tortilla.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  It's funny that blogger called them "Tacos árabes" --- their menu only listed "al pastor." At least to my palate, the seasonings of the árabes I ate in Puebla could easily pass for al pastor in SF.

                  Tacos árabes in Puebla were different than what I'd read about. One place founded in 1933 (La Oriental) served the tacos on flour tortillas no better than what you'd get at Safeway. Another place served it on a weightier flour thing that could either have been an unpocketed pita or a tall tortilla. Both places served the meat in rolled up tacos with the open side down.

                  A torta árabes used a bread similar to what I've had at Turkish restaurants, only a little dryer. Puebla has lots of specialty breads that I didn't get to try, so I have no idea whether that one is specifically used for árabes.

                  1. re: hyperbowler

                    I've only had two, both in the LA area.

                    The one from Cemitas Puebla is wrapped in flatbread sourced from a local Middle Eastern bakery. I recall the owner telling me with some pride that he had found the right kind. The other from Cemitas Poblana Don Adrian was wrapped in a thickish flour tortilla.

            2. Two that I can think of off the top of my head in Healdsburg:

              Rufina's in Casa del Mole

              and its big brother, Agave Mexican Restaurant

              I've not tried the molotes at either.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Ah, I think I'm getting it. The article about Oaxacan restaurant Casa del Mole discusses a molote as "similar to a spring role but made with masa." It's sounding like the cigar shaped one is what a "molote" is in Oaxaca. In Puebla, it's more like a large, deep-fried quesadilla. The size gives a better filling to masa ratio than you'd get from an empanada sized thing.

                But fried masa, in whatever form, is something worth seeking out :-)

              2. Let's hope that El Zocalo Oaxaqueno in Gilroy re-opens soon.