Guelaguetza has three locations in LA (we visited the one at Olympic/Normandie) and specializes in mole. For those unfamiliar with this Oaxacan treat, it's not "mohl" but "moh-lay". This long-cooked, chili-based, multilayered sauce comes from Oaxaca, Mexico, known as the "land of the seven moles." Ingredients usually include chocolate, roasted nuts, fat of some kind, roasted vegetables, and thickeners such as corn tortillas or plantains. Foodblogger Mattbites recently made his own mole, quite the project.
At Guelaguetza you can get red, yellow, green or black mole. Everyone gets to try the red-it comes slathered on a complimentary plate of fresh tortilla chips. The sweetish sauce gets a kick from the fiery green salsa served on the side. We cleared our portion in no time, and the waiter happily brought us more.
Though the expansive menu includes many non-mole related dishes, I had to try another, so I went with the enmoladas, three fresh corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, drowning in black mole. They come with your choice of meat on the side (really, on the top). My cecina (pork cutlet) was nothing to write home about, but it was a fine vehicle for devouring more of the addictive mole. Smoky and chocolate, a tad bitter and spicy too, I couldn't get enough of it.
Small but potent margaritas rounded out our evening (J ate the carnitas--large bone-in chunks of fried pork with tortillas, rice and beans), though we eyed with envy the tequila shots at the table next to us. We joined in a few rounds of Cumpleanos Feliz (Happy Birthday), then made our way out into the night. We passed up the chance to buy some mole to take home--we couldn't imagine having nearly as much fun in our kitchen alone.
3014 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006-2516
There's a parking lot in back, but there's also ample street parking
Photo by Justin
Visiting Guelaguetza means I get to cross another spot off my to-eat list. Here's the latest below--I've added a couple thanks to Tableau Vivant and Melting Wok. If you have recommendations, let me know and if I haven't already visited, I'll add them. They've gotta be east of La Cienega and not too $$.
The 2007 Erin's Kitchen Cheap To-Eat List (in no particular order)
Angeli Caffe (thx, Gastronomy 101)
Annapurna (thx, Kalyn's Kitchen--it's not east, but she's not a local, so it counts)
El Huarache Azteca (thx, Chez Shoes)
Food Garden Restaurant (thx, Melting Wok)
Golden Deli (thx, Anon)
Halal Tandoori (via Eating LA)
J & J Restaurant (thx, LA-OC Foodie)
La Curva (via Foodie Universe)
Los Balcones de Peru (via All Kinds of Yum)
Noshi Sushi (thx, Rachael)
Paris Baguette (via LA Ritz)
Shin Sen Gumi Ramen (thx, Tableau Vivant)
Soot Bull Jeep (via Colleen Cuisine)
Zeke's Smokehouse (via Best of LA)