Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mexican Mole

Red Cabbage
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
July 22, 2010
7ish pm

When asked where one could get the best traditional Mexican food in Puerto Vallarta, I heard Red Cabbage as the answer many times.  Therefore, we had to try it.

When I saw the turns and backstreets our cab driver took to get to the restaurant I was very thankful we didn't try to find this place ourselves or try to navigate the bus system!  We ended up in a neighborhood and I'm sure I wouldn't have recognized this place as a great restaurant if I was walking by, and on another note, I know that without my trusty tripadvisor.com reviews I would have never even had the opportunity to walk by, given the local!  But we were immediately warmly greeted by (what I assume to be) the owner's son opening our cab door to great us.  This was soon followed by the owner welcoming us at the front door. 

We were immediately seated and enjoyed looking at the tables decorated in different monetary bills from the different countries patrons visited from.  We realized we didn't need to add one from the US.  The ambiance seemed to exude family and friend centeredness.  Since it was a weeknight during the low season, the restaurant had a few tables of patrons, but was not busy and we put our orders in quickly. 

This restaurant is known for its mole sauce and so I had to try it.  Erik went with the chilles rellenos.  Now I have to admit I took a risk with the chicken mole.  Honestly, mole, with its chocolate and chili nuances, is generally not one of my favorite sauces.  However, I've also heard that it takes skill to make a good mole.  It is best slow cooked and generally a mixture of up to 40 ingredients.  I reasoned that possibly it wasn't that I didn't like mole, but it was more that I hadn't had the right mole.  So many people swear by a good mole, it couldn't possibly be that I didn't like it.  I figured I was in this dish's home country at a place known for the dish,  so if I was going to like it at all I would like it here.  So I went for it. 

Unfortunately, I found out that evening that mole is just not a dish I'm overly fond of having.  I could tell that this mole was a great one, it was by far the best one I had ever tasted, and it had a rich, complex flavor.   So this is by no way a critique of this restaurant's dish.  I have recognized that this is a case of my faulty taste buds, and nothing more.  The chicken filling was tender, slow cooked, and very flavorful.  The rice was good and I loved the added carrots and peas.  I will also admit that the mole grew on me the more I had it,  but I found myself wanting more of Erik's chille rellenos. 

Now, in my opinion, the chille rellenos were a different story.  These were really good and batter dipped, just the way I like them (and Rick Bayless says they should be)!

For dessert we decided to share the flan.  This flan was lighter and less custardy than the flan we usually have in the United States.  It had a strong nutmeg flavor, but overall was delightful. 

Overall, we really enjoyed the family style friendliness of this place, and the food was pretty good too! 

Bill Total:  ?? Absolutely no clue.  It was one of our pricier dinners in Mexico, but still reasonable compared to American restaurants.

Overall Rating:  3 buckeyes

1 comment:

Stella said...

I'm with you on the mole. But that could be because it has chocolate in it (at least the kind I tried). The chille rellenos look good!