Monday, June 16, 2008


Guelaguetza's hearty Oaxacan caldo de res.

The fiesta de moles.

Especial de carnes:tasajo, chorizo, y cecina.

Mezcal with el gusano( the caterpillar found on the maguey-usually called the worm) and el sal de gusano.

Mole negro.

Guelaguetza is one of the most reputable Oaxacan restaurants in Los Angeles, and rightfully so. They have five of the seven moles on their menu, and a wide selection of other traditional plates and appetizers. Why doesn’t any Oaxacan restaurant ever do the mole manchmanteles, I wonder? Chapulines, the infamous grasshopper snack of Pre-Hispanic origin is also served when in season.

Our table ordered a variety of moles and botanas(snacks) like the Oaxacan clayudas, known as a type of Mexican pizza for lack of a better reference. Every effort was made by all of us to use every available resource in order to mop up the most minute trace of mole left on our plates.

I’ve been to many of the excellent Oaxacan restaurants in Los Angeles, a well represented region of Mexico in the City of Angels, and Guelaguetza remains a favorite. The big surprise for me was the Mezcal cocktails. I had the frozen mezcaladas as they are called with lime and chiles called the "garra de tigre", and Johanna, across the table from me ordered the "coctel donaji", a mixed drink consisting of mescal,orange juice,salt and lime.These were a hit among all who indulged in the mezcal cocktails at our dinner. I followed with a shot of mescal topped with a critter, the maguey worm, actually a caterpillar. The “gusano”, as it’s called in Spanish, is found in many mescal bottles, originally placed there as a marketing tool, if you can imagine such a proposition. Hey, people will buy more mescal if we float a worm in it! Many think tequila contains this little chewy treat, but it is only mescal. Many producers are beginning to omit the “gusano” as it serves no real purpose, but it’s always a conversation piece as all at our table watched with discomfort, shock, and surprise as I downed this tiny victim of the ad man.

Guelaguetza is expanding, now with several branches, but the original on Olympic is still my choice of venue for great Oaxacan in LA.

Guelaguetza(original location)
3014 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles California.
(213) 427 06 08
Fax. (213) 427 36 35

1 comment:

Eat Nopales said...

Hey Bill,

Manchamanteles is a specialty of the Istmus region of Oaxaca... and there aren't many Istmenos in L.A.... mostly Zapotecs from the Valley of Oaxaca.

L.A's Oaxacan offering is style constrained to just ONE of the SEVEN regions of Oaxaca... up in Napa / Sonoma we have a little bit of Mixtec Oaxacan cuisine (as they make up the bulk of Vineyard workers)... but none in L.A. those are the two major migrant workers.

BTW.. if you want to do some sleuthing there is a town in Baja full of Mixtec migrants ( )