10 Best Moles in Los Angeles
|Guzzle and Nosh|
|Guelaguetza's tamale with mole negro|
Think mole in L.A., and your mind probably jumps to the mole negro at Guelaguetza. The Koreatown restaurant is king of L.A.'s Oaxacan restaurants in size and reputation. Its famous negro -- made with about 26 ingredients and adapted from a generations-old family recipe -- is served with chicken, stuffed in tamales or splashed atop enchiladas. Your other options include typical Oaxacan varieties of rojo, coloradito, verde, amarillo and estofado. Choose a drink from the well-stocked mezcal bar for the perfect compliment. Want Guelaguetza to go? Purchase jars of rojo, coloradito and negro at the restaurant or from a site called appropriately, ilovemole.com. 3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Koreatown; (213) 427-0608.
6. Gish Bac:
D. Solomon mole negro at Gish Bac
Most Mexican restaurants only make a couple of moles, if any, since the preparation is so time-intensive. That's the case at Gish Bac, a bright, cozy restaurant just off the 10 Freeway at Crenshaw Boulevard, where the negro and coloradito each take about two to three days to cook. Not to worry: The negro, made with more than 30 ingredients including dried fruits, star anise, cinnamon and tortillas, is so complex and flavorful it could make you forget other kinds even exist. But you'll want to try Gish Bac's coloradito, too. "The mole negro is more sweet, then spicy, while the coloradito is the other way -- you taste spicy first, then sweet," says co-owner David
Ramos Padilla. The restaurant serves both over chicken breast, along with rice, beans and tortillas. Also save room, or bring friends, to try the goat and lamb barbacoa, another specialty. 4163 W. Washington Blvd., L.A.; (323) 737-5050.
5. Tamales Lilianas:
D. Solomon A peanut mole sample and the "Zacatecas-style" mole poblano at Tamales Liliana's
You may know Tamales Lilianas for its namesake dish (on our 10 Best Tamales list), but don't dismiss the rest of the menu. Especially not the mole de cacahuete, or peanut mole, a rare find in L.A. The orange-colored sauce, which blankets shredded chicken, is native to Zacatecas. Unlike some moles with visible grains of what used to be seeds and spices, this mole is creamy. And mellow, too -- ideal for spice-phobes. Tamales Liliana also serves poblano, described as "Zacatecas-style" on the menu in a nod to regional pride. 4619 Cesar E. Chavez Ave., East L.A.; (323) 780-0989; and 3448 E. First St., Boyle Heights; (323) 780-0839.
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11927 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA