Whenever we visit our daughter in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, the subject of where to eat lunch often comes up. This is not a simple proposition. In most places, the decision might come down to the closest restaurant or a family favorite, usually involving driving there. In the case of Ballard, which has seen a restaurant renaissance lately, the choices are almost overwhelming. Since our daughter lives within blocks of the main commercial district, all we have to do is walk there, so distance is irrelevant.
On several occasions, the Mexican food choice has been La Carta de Oaxaca.
When La Carta opened in 2004, it could be said that Seattle’s Mexican restaurant scene shifted. Continue reading
Molés are complex chile sauces, made in Mexico, primarily in Puebla and Oaxaca, that range in many styles. Some of them have a mind-boggling list of ingredients and may take hours to prepare. For me, this is one recipe that’s best left for an experienced cook to make. What better way to sample the many kinds than to go to a restaurant that specializes in them? Some of the best molés in Southern California can be had at Molés La Tia. Its colorful interior and artful presentation of its entreés belie the building’s humble façade.
Rather than molé poblano, which I’ve had many times, I decided to have a different molé called mancha manteles that consists of tomatoes, several kinds of dried chiles, nuts and cinnamon, among other ingredients. The charred chiles lent a nice smoky taste. A friend got the traditional molé negro on chicken. This too was an excellent version that shared the same smokiness from charred dried chiles. The restaurant lets you sample up to three molés before you order. The three we sampled were the mancha manteles, coffee molé (a little too sweet for my taste), and another whose name I can’t recall. The corn tortillas were wonderful, made fresh on the premises, thick and chewy, with great flavor. The salsa was searingly hot though really tasty. All the care and effort to make these molés comes at a price, a steep price. The entrees start at $14 and go up, so it’s not an everyday place to eat.
If you’re a molé lover, you owe it to yourself to dine here.
Chicken breast with mole negro
Inside Molés La Tia
Tortilla chips served with a fiery salsa
Papaya agua fresca with mint
Pork loin with spices, guajillo chile and cinnamon
Molés La Tia
4619 East Cesar Chavez Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90022