Follow us:

Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

September 12, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Oaxaca Mole Challenge: And the winners are…

Brownie points for presentation of the mole at La Olla Restaurante in Oaxaca. (photo by Brian J. Cantwell / The Seattle Times)

Brownie points for presentation of the mole at La Olla Restaurante in Oaxaca. (photo by Brian J. Cantwell / The Seattle Times)

Readers urged me to try the mole (“MOHL-ay”) at La Olla Restaurante on Calle Reforma (No. 402) in Oaxaca, and my Moon guidebook noted it has become a favorite with visitors and residents from the United States. The latter may be a plus or minus depending on whether you want to be with a local crowd or with other Estadounidenses. (That’s the preferred name here for folks from the U.S. — “estados” means “states,” and “unidos” is “united.” I’ve found that others who live in The Americas sometimes resent that U.S. residents claim “American” for their own.)

There was no crowd when I visited La Olla but the few who came in were not Latino, so maybe the guidebook is correct.

All that aside, the mole was the thing.

But first I have to rhapsodize about the soup, crema de flor de calabaza, a creamy broth made with squash, a big yellow squash blossom, corn, roasted pumpkin seeds and a bit of the local quesilla (soft white cheese). It tasted as good as it looked (60 pesos, or about $4.30 U.S., for a big bowl).

The Mole Negro de Fandango (their fancy name for it) also came topped with a squash blossom, which was a pretty complement though not as exciting as it might have been had I not just finished that soup.

The mole leaned harder on the chilies than some, with appropriate creamy chocolate texture. It was quite good, but at 135 pesos (still a bargain at $9.65 U.S.), I’m more inclined to keep raving about the Comedor Maria Teresa mole at about a quarter of that price.

La Olla wins points for presentation, though, with rustic terra cotta for the salsas, a woven basket for tortillas and a sky-blue tin pan for rice (which, to air a pet peeve, was as white as North Dakota in January). The service was friendly and fast.

OK, my mole taste buds feel like they’ve been stomped on by a merry band of folk dancers from the zócalo. I’m calling it this way on the Oaxaca Mole Challenge:

  • Restaurante Los Pacos for flavor (the smokiness — from smoky chilies I’ve heard about? — whether “tipica” or not, is a terrific addition). And the combination plate that gives you samples of six classic moles is a treat.
  • Comedor Maria Teresa for value and just plain happy feeling.
  • La Olla for presentation (and great soup). Viva la squash flowers.

Thank for the tips, readers, and feel free to add more.

0 Comments | More in Mexico, Trip reports | Topics: molé, Mole Challenge, Oaxaca

COMMENTS

READER NOTE: Our commenting system has changed. Find out more.

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►