Thursday, March 15, 2012
When it comes to Moles in LA, there are few that can beat the mole creations of Chef Rocio Camacho. I first experienced her unique and delicious moles at Moles La Tia, where she once served as the Executive Chef. Click here to read that post. She eventually made her way to being the Executive Chef at La Huasteca in Lynwood and even worked as a restaurant consultant. In fact, one of the restaurants she worked with in terms of helping the Chef to finesse his moles was Juan's Restaurante in Baldwin Park. Juan's has become one of my favorite eating destinations ever since my first visit there last December.
Now it's Chef Rocio's turn and she has finally opened two restaurants, first in Huntington Park and then in Sun Valley. They are both aptly named Rocio's Moles de los Dioses (Rocio's Moles of the Gods). It's been a long time since I've had Chef Rocio's moles so I was happy to finally pay a visit with a friend to her Huntington Park restaurant.
My meal started with an Horchata, but this was no run of the mill pre-made Horchata that you'll usually see at a lot of Mexican restaurants. Instead, it was freshly made up of condensed, evaporated and whole milk as well as pumpkin seeds that were boiled in cinnamon and fresh cactus flower syrup. The glass was also rimmed with colored sugar. What a perfect start to the meal. It was a little rich, but not overly sweet and the cinnamon gave it a nice spice.
Our first appetizer consisted of 3 Types of Empanadas (Huitlacoche, Cheese and Squash Blossom). The empanada itself had a nice flaky crust and all the fillings were nicely seasoned. I have to give props to the huitlacoche which had a lovely smoky flavor to it.
We also shared a Queso con Chorizo with cheese, onions and chipotle chili. I've had my share of Queso dishes over the years, but this was one of my favorite renditions. The addition of the chipotle took this to another level with a nice hit of smoky heat that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I must have been parched because I drank up my horchata like there wasn't any tomorrow, but instead of getting a second serving of that, I opted to try the Bebida de los Dioses aka the Drink of the Gods instead. This drink is made to order with cacao, cinnamon, corn, vanilla and almonds. I think some of those ingredients are ground because the drink itself was pretty smooth. Even more so than the Horchata, I loved this drink. It was served fairly cold and it was so refreshing. This is the type of drink you'd order during a hot summer LA day.
After we finished up our two starters, we went to the main event which consisted of a meat sampler plate and a sample of six moles. First, there was the Mole de Cafe, which was a bit sweet, but paired perfectly with the shrimp. The second one I tried was the Mole Mandarin. It was definitely interesting. I likened it to being a dessert topping, but it did fine with the chicken. The three other moles included a Mole Poblano, Mancha Manteles and a Mole Verde, and were all very good.
However, my favorite mole had a bold spicy citrus taste to it and was called Salsa de Mezcal y Gusano Maguey. The key ingredient came from a bottle of Mezcal that just happened to have a worm or two inside as well. From what I understood, the worms don't actually make it into this mole, but I could be wrong. Overall, Chef Rocio's moles had a silky smooth texture that were amazing. Each of the moles also had their own distinct flavors that were layered and complex. I was definitely happy to have Chef Rocio back doing what she does best.
From the moles, we also tried a couple of tacos, a Lamb Barbacao Taco and a Cochinita Pibil Taco. Unfortunately, I wasn't that impressed. The lamb was a little gamey for my taste and while the cochinita pibil was moist, the flavor seemed lacking. It lacked a spicy kick.
We were quite full, but yes, we fit in dessert. In fact, we tried 3 different ones. First, there was the Diosa del Tiempo which are Conserved Pumpkins and Tejocates. Tejocates are a crab-apple-like fruit, but aren't actually apples. This particular dessert tends to makes its appearance during the Christmas holidays. It's definitely something I've never had before. The sweetness of the pumpkin was a good foil for the slightly crunchy tartness of the tejocates.
Next were the Bananas in Tequila Sauce which was not only pretty looking but tasty as well. Finally, it all ended with a Rompope Flan. Rompope is an eggnog liquer and unfortunately, it erred on being too sweet for me. The flan itself had a nice texture, but that rompope was just too overwhelming.
Overall, I had a wonderful first time meal at Rocio's Moles de los Dioses. While there were a couple of misses, the moles were without flaw and I look forward for a return visit so that I can try even more moles and dishes from her menu.
Rocio's Mole de Los Dioses
6242 Maywood Ave
Huntington Park, CA 90255