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    Post #1 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:04 pm
    Post #1 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:04 pm Post #1 - October 2nd, 2006, 1:04 pm
    In the past, I have written about the Tamales Nejos at Cuetzala Gro. and their wonderful Mole sauces. Thanks to G Wiv, those who participated in the recent Clark-a-thon had a chance to experience these unusual Guerreran specialties first hand. Aside from the Tamales Nejos, Cuetzala is also one of my favorite neighborhood Taquerias (they have very good sopes and huaraches).
    Imagephoto by G Wiv

    However, for some reason, I had never actually tried any of Cuetzala's entrees. So yesterday, inspired by G Wiv's wonderful photo of an appetizing plate of carne asada, I decided to determine if Cuetzala's skirt steak is actually as tasty as it is photogenic. I am happy to report that it is, and for $9 it is a bargain too.

    Image

    My friend had Enchiladas in Cuetzala's delicious Red Mole sauce. I don't think this dish is on the menu, but it was recommended by our server, and was also as good to eat as it was to look at.

    Image

    Cuetzala also has wonderfully thick licuados, that are actually milkshakes made with ice cream. As usual, I had my favorite flavor, Mamey. If you have never had a Mamey milkshake, you should try one.

    Cuetzala Gro.
    7360 N. Clark
    Chicago,IL 60626
    773-262-9417
  • Post #2 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:02 pm
    Post #2 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:02 pm Post #2 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:02 pm
    I too was motivated by the photo of the carne asada and tried it out the night of the tornado scare - one of the best value steaks around, IMO

    unfortunately they were out of corundas, so i had chicken in green mole instead (actually ordered just a side of mole to try it out, but the cook misheard and sent us chicken which they graciously didn't charge us for). A nice mole and chicken which was perfectly cooked - tender but not overcooked as it often is in such dishes.

    I'm not as crazy about the huaraches (prefer dona lolis down the street for that) but will be back for steak and some of the other items
  • Post #3 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:23 pm
    Post #3 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:23 pm Post #3 - October 3rd, 2006, 2:23 pm
    zim wrote:I'm not as crazy about the huaraches (prefer dona lolis down the street for that) but will be back for steak and some of the other items
    Now that I recall, I had a not so good huarache from Cuetzala once (I don't order them that often). It was chewy, as if the crust(?) had been made ahead of time and dried out. But other times they have been very good. I like the beans that they use. A friend told me the quality of the food depends on who is cooking (he said to look for the guy with the moustache). Anyhow, I usually get the tacos de Cabeza there (an acquired taste).

    I have never had the Huaraches at Dona Lolis, but I will try them soon. Thanks for the tip.
  • Post #4 - December 2nd, 2006, 2:13 pm
    Post #4 - December 2nd, 2006, 2:13 pm Post #4 - December 2nd, 2006, 2:13 pm
    Over the last couple of months, I have become increasingly enamored with Cuetzala Restaurant. While their antojitos (tacos, sopes, burritos) are good, they are not particularly notable. Where this venue really shines is in their entrees. I made the mistake of assuming Cuetzala was simply just another taqueria, but it turns out it is a real restaurant. Not only that, but it is restaurant with some real talent in the kitchen. I already commented on their wonderful Carne Asada and Enchiladas en Mole above. Since then, I have been exploring their dinner and breakfast menus, as well as their weekend and daily specials. Not only has the fare been surprisingly well executed, it is an amazing value.

    Unfortunately, I don’t always remember to bring my camera with me when I go out to eat (I am just getting used to bringing a cell phone). Like many of the die-hard LTHers, I need to get a little pocket camera that always stays with me, in case I stumble across some food that begs to be photographed. For instance, I wish I had some pictures of the great Mexican breakfasts I have eaten at Cuetzala (the chilaquiles and huevos rancheros are both very good and well presented). Anyhow, here are a few of the dishes I have enjoyed.

    First off is one of my new favorites, the Pozole, which is only served on weekends. The broth is of the red variety, and is well spiced and garlicky. You get a very large generous bowl of it for $7.00.
    Image
    It is accompanied by all of the requisite condiments (onions, cilantro, limes and oregano), including some tasty (but searing) freshly chopped jalapeno peppers. Also included are three crispy tostadas for dipping and floating in the soup.
    Image
    The hominy has a nice nutty flavor and a firm texture. Here is the Pozole properly topped with the accoutrements.
    Image
    The soup is chock full of big chunks of tender lean pork, with just a few pieces of skin added to ensure proper porky fatty goodness (excuse the focus, but my lens was steaming up). By the way, the fancy dishware is from Bice.
    Image

    The shrimp dishes at Cuetzala are also consistently good, featuring big fresh shrimp. Here is a picture of the Camarones de la Mexicana ($9). The firm plump shrimp are in a tangy and spicy tomato sauce, which includes bits of hot peppers and garlic.
    Image
    I often see people having the seafood soup (Caldo Siete Mares), but I haven’t tried it yet. They did move it from the weekend menu to the everyday menu, so I think it is one of their specialties.

    The daily specials at Cuetzala are usually a good bet, and often offer some pleasant surprises. Yesterday’s special was Chiles en Nogada. The dish featured a large roasted poblano pepper stuffed with a mixture of ground beef and pork, garlic, onions (and carrot?). The rich and creamy walnut sauce was slightly sweet with a touch of cinnamon and a hint of orange. Rather than the traditional garnish of pomegranate seeds, raisins were used. However, I understand this is a perfectly acceptable variation on the dish. Besides, at $8.50 for this complex and tasty delicacy, who is going to complain?
    Image
    Here is a wider shot, showing the pretty plate of lettuce tomatoes and citrus fruit that accompanied the dish (and also the Bice logo on the dishware).
    Image
    Anyhow, I can’t stress how much we enjoy having Cuetzala in our neighborhood. While it is certainly not the caliber of Fonda del Mar or Sol de Mexico, it is a big step up from your typical neighborhood taqueria. The cuisine is consistently good and surprisingly well presented, and the service is friendly, attentive and efficient. Plus the quality to price factor, makes dining at Cuetzala a great bargain.
    Last edited by d4v3 on April 16th, 2007, 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #5 - April 16th, 2007, 10:32 am
    Post #5 - April 16th, 2007, 10:32 am Post #5 - April 16th, 2007, 10:32 am
    Had another very good meal at Cuetzala this weekend, along with yet another remarkable interpretation of Chiles Rellenos. I am glad that this worthwhile restaurant recently garnered a little attention around here thanks to the Evanston Lunch Group (ELG) excursion.

    A friend of mine, who invariably orders Enchiladas de Pollo en Mole Rojo (pictured above), decided to go wild and order the Enchiladas with Mole Verde instead. I have to tell you, they were pretty darn tasty. Whenever I taste Cuetzala's Mole Verde, I am reminded of a comment David Hammond made about Sol de Mexico's moles being very "clean". By comparison, Cuetzala's moles are positively muddy. Whereas S de M's mole verde is very smooth and light with the fresh tang of tomatillo, Cuetzala's is almost chewy with crunchy bits of seeds and a deep toasted flavor. It is interesting how two Guerreran kitchens interpret the sauce so differently.
    Image

    The special was another version of stuffed peppers that was very different from the Chiles en Nogada pictured above. These Chiles Rellenos were huge dried Ancho chiles stuffed with ground beef, onions, potatoes, carrots and cheese. The peppers were dipped in batter, fried crisp and served topped with a creamy, but remarkably light, cheese sauce. The smooth sauce was a perfect complement to the crunchiness of the dried pepper with its fried coating. Although the sauce looked similar to the walnut sauce above, it was not at all sweet (despite the ubiquitous raisin garnish). I am not sure if this was the same special as the ELG enjoyed earlier in the week (it looks different from the photo), but it was an excellent dish. I had never eaten a stuffed dried pepper before.
    Image
    I also noticed that the house salsa verde was exceptionally good last night with lots of garlic and big chunks of roasted tomatillos and peppers.

    This time, I passed on my favorite beverage, the delicious but rich Mamey Licuado (which is actually a milkshake made with ice cream) Instead I enjoyed Cuetzala's popular Horchata. You often see groups of young men, coming from playing soccer at the park across the street, chugging giant glasses of the stuff. It appeals to me because it is not overly sweet, but has a wonderful aromatic floral spiciness to it. We did, however, have a nice creamy Mamey Flan for dessert.

    On a down note, I mentioned in a post above, that Cuetzala's seafood soup seemed popular. While it is still popular, I found it disappointing. The broth was tasty enough, but it contained a boatload of Krab®.
  • Post #6 - April 16th, 2007, 12:34 pm
    Post #6 - April 16th, 2007, 12:34 pm Post #6 - April 16th, 2007, 12:34 pm
    Thanks for the great reports. A couple of factaul observations for others reading this: the starchy stuff in pozole/posole is not chick peas, its hominy (posole). Also, the various chiles rellenos look good, though the en nogada prep us. has pomegranate seeds instead of raisins (though it is also us. a very special dish for holidays, etc. -- I'd be pleased to find it with raisins as long as it's good...).
  • Post #7 - April 16th, 2007, 12:54 pm
    Post #7 - April 16th, 2007, 12:54 pm Post #7 - April 16th, 2007, 12:54 pm
    JeffB wrote: the starchy stuff in pozole/posole is not chick peas, its hominy (posole).
    Doh! Of course I knew that. I don't why I was thinking Garbanzos. :oops: I will correct my error.
    Also, the various chiles rellenos look good, though the en nogada prep us. has pomegranate seeds instead of raisins (though it is also us. a very special dish for holidays, etc. -- I'd be pleased to find it with raisins as long as it's good...).
    In my my post from October, I noted that Chiles en Nogada often has pomegranate seeds (especially when made on indpendence day), but I did find several recipes that call for raisins instead. I don't know, I have had 3 different stuffed pepper dishes at Cuetzala, and they were all garnished with raisins. That seems to be their garnish of choice for these dishes.
    Last edited by d4v3 on April 16th, 2007, 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #8 - April 16th, 2007, 12:56 pm
    Post #8 - April 16th, 2007, 12:56 pm Post #8 - April 16th, 2007, 12:56 pm
    Pomegranates are so rarely any good, raisins make sense.
  • Post #9 - April 16th, 2007, 1:46 pm
    Post #9 - April 16th, 2007, 1:46 pm Post #9 - April 16th, 2007, 1:46 pm
    Dunno. I was disappointed that the Chiles en Nogada did not have the traditional red, white and green motif. I figured maybe it was the tail-end of an Indepedence Day special and they ran out of pomegranates. Now I realize that the chef at Cuetzala is just fond of raisins. Other than the non-spec garnish, as I recall the nogada sauce was actually very good.
  • Post #10 - May 20th, 2007, 9:17 pm
    Post #10 - May 20th, 2007, 9:17 pm Post #10 - May 20th, 2007, 9:17 pm
    d4v3
    Thanks for the tip on this little gem. Took the family here for dinner this evening and it couldn't have been better. Wife had the camarones , tacos for the tiny men and I had the carne asada along with some tamales nejos.
    Skirt steak was tender, flavorful and cooked to perfection. I could have made a meal out of just the beans alone at this place.
    Looking around the table at the end of out meal all I could see were clean plates and smiling faces.
  • Post #11 - June 3rd, 2007, 6:26 pm
    Post #11 - June 3rd, 2007, 6:26 pm Post #11 - June 3rd, 2007, 6:26 pm
    I walk past Cuetzala a couple of times each month but hadn't eaten there until this afternoon.

    The totopos seemed to be either homemade or a very good commercial variety. The red and green salsas were good; a bit more pica than I see in many places.

    Image

    Cuetzala presents pozole on Saturday and Sunday and I first thought I'd try that. However, only pozole rojo is served (and only with pork), and I prefer pozole verde (with chicken); so I took a pass. I chose the encliladas de pollo en mole rojo, filled with chicken. The dish included a small lettuce salad, some Mexican rice, and a small bowl of very good tasting beans.

    I wasn't impressed with the enchiladas: they seemed light on chicken, there was melted cheese inside and I prefer mole that isn't almostly completely baked onto the enchiladas. I also didn't like the overactive design work (with the cream) on the enchiladas; I want to taste more of the enchiladas, not the decorations.

    Image

    To wash down the meal I'd wanted an agua fresca - a glass of agua de Tamarindo, but there was none. The next choice was agua de Jamaica, but there was none of that, either. So, I settled for the only one available: horchata - which was nice. I can’t think of a good excuse for not having each of the three drinks as listed on the menu.

    Image

    For dessert I chose the flan (the only desert, according to the efficient waitress). Flan with an orange sauce; very tasty (the photo didn't turn out well).

    For the times I've walked past this restaurant, I've not seen more than one or two tables occupied, and that was what I experienced when eating there today; there were two take-out orders, however.

    I'll visit Cuetzala again in the future, but my sense is that, for me, it'll turn out to be nothing more than an "okay" place to eat - and that'll be fine for the times when I'm close to the restaurant and have a taste for some Mexican food; I won't be going out of my way to visit, however. I had the same reaction to Jesse’s Mexican Grill at Lunt and Western, several weeks ago.
  • Post #12 - June 3rd, 2007, 7:44 pm
    Post #12 - June 3rd, 2007, 7:44 pm Post #12 - June 3rd, 2007, 7:44 pm
    Bill,

    I dont know of anyplace in the area that makes pozole verde with chicken. Seems to me the standard is the red made with pork. I am not sure I have ever seen pozole made with chicken.

    I think Cuetzala no longer carries Jamaica, at least they never seem to have it anymore (I don't know why they stopped). Besides, most Jamaica is made from a powdered mix like koolaid. As you noted, the horchata is excellent, and is really the most popular beverage there. The licuados are also good, and are made with ice cream and real fruit, including the difficult to find Guerreran flavor, Mamey. They are very rich and creamy.

    While I do find Cuetzala's menu is not as extensive as some places, I have eaten there dozens of times, and have almost always enjoyed the food that is on the menu (with the rare just OK meal). The frequent specials are usually also very good. In fact, I challenge you to find a better Carne Asada for $10.

    Nevertheless, the enchiladas in your picture do appear a little dry. Compare them to the enchiladas pictured at the top of this thread, which were much saucier (and prettier). I don't really like enchiladas, but I have a friend who eats them there about once a week. He sometimes asks for some extra sauce on the side.

    As I noted upthread, I have noticed that on the rare occasion when the head cook is not working, the attention to detail at Cuetzala does suffer. By looking at the presentation of your plate, I think that was likely the case on your visit. Again, compare it to the other dishes pictured above. By comparison, the crema on your enchiladas does look pretty gloppy, obviously applied by a less skilled hand

    Please don't let one plate of slightly over-cooked enchiladas make you write this place off. I assure you that it is usually much better than "Just OK", especially for the area, and the price.

    Carne Asada
    Image

    Nachos Supremos con Carne Asada
    Image
  • Post #13 - September 30th, 2007, 8:59 am
    Post #13 - September 30th, 2007, 8:59 am Post #13 - September 30th, 2007, 8:59 am
    d4v3 wrote:However, for some reason, I had never actually tried any of Cuetzala's entrees. So yesterday, inspired by G Wiv's wonderful photo of an appetizing plate of carne asada, I decided to determine if Cuetzala's skirt steak is actually as tasty as it is photogenic. I am happy to report that it is, and for $9 it is a bargain too.

    Dave,

    I snapped the the photo of Cuetzala's carne asada over a year ago and it's been on my must-try list since your post, but it wasn't until yesterday I actually tried the carne asada. This is a serious steak for $9 with accompaniments, lightly marinated, flavorful, bit of toothsome resistance, as befites skirt steak, and flavor points of grill char.

    Carne Asada
    Image

    As an aside, the grilled jalapeno topping the carne asada was, without a doubt, the hottest son of a bitch jalapeno I've ever tasted. I forked up a half inch square chunk of pepper, ribs and seeds and the intense lingering burn rivaled, if not exceeded, it's cousin the habanero.

    Killer Jalapeno
    Image

    Huaraches w/chicken were fine, good flavor, but not the sheer joy of Ricos Huaraches at the Sunday Maxwell Street Market.

    Huaraches w/chicken
    Image

    In the past year I've stopped a few times for Cuetzala's tamales nejos, I like the dense earthy flavored tamales and particularly like the salsa verde and mole rojo.

    Tamales Nejos
    Image

    We, I had the pleasure of Joe G and Pigmon's company at lunch, had a weekend special of posole, which I thought a particularly good version.

    Posole
    Image
    Image

    Each time I've been to Cuetzala the same efficient friendly waitress has been working, her pleasant demeanor adds to the overall good vibe.

    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Restaurante Cuetzala Gro.
    7360 N Clark St
    Chicago IL 60626
    773-262-9417
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - September 30th, 2007, 9:06 am
    Post #14 - September 30th, 2007, 9:06 am Post #14 - September 30th, 2007, 9:06 am
    Gary, was the place as empty as your photo makes it appear? :(
  • Post #15 - September 30th, 2007, 9:34 am
    Post #15 - September 30th, 2007, 9:34 am Post #15 - September 30th, 2007, 9:34 am
    cilantro wrote:Gary, was the place as empty as your photo makes it appear? :(
    Cilantro,

    While not exactly busteling, there were a few other occupied tables during our Saturday lunch.

    I haven't been to Cuetzala often enough to gauge how busy it might be, though from my perspective it should be buzzing all day long.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #16 - September 30th, 2007, 10:02 am
    Post #16 - September 30th, 2007, 10:02 am Post #16 - September 30th, 2007, 10:02 am
    I haven't been to Cuetzala often enough to gauge how busy it might be, though from my perspective it should be buzzing all day long.

    I walk past the restaurant regularly - weekday evenings and weekends day and night . . . and have never seen more than two or three tables occupied. I've eaten there twice now - I wrote about the first experience, not the second. I find the place run-of-the-mill Mexican, not worth a special visit, nor, for me, a routine one.
  • Post #17 - September 30th, 2007, 10:05 am
    Post #17 - September 30th, 2007, 10:05 am Post #17 - September 30th, 2007, 10:05 am
    Bill wrote: I wrote about the first experience, not the second. I find the place run-of-the-mill Mexican, not worth a special visit, nor, for me, a routine one.

    Bill,

    Differing opinions are what keeps the discussion interesting. Anyway, if we all liked the same thing everyone would want to marry my wife. ;)

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - September 30th, 2007, 10:37 am
    Post #18 - September 30th, 2007, 10:37 am Post #18 - September 30th, 2007, 10:37 am
    The carne asada, chicken in red mole, and chiles rellenos (the ones on the regular menu; I've never had the special) are all considerably better than run-of-the-mill. The fact that they make flans in several flavors should tell you that they're at least trying for something better than the norm.
  • Post #19 - September 30th, 2007, 11:35 am
    Post #19 - September 30th, 2007, 11:35 am Post #19 - September 30th, 2007, 11:35 am
    The only decent point of this lunch was the chickeny (not porky) broth of the posole. The huarache was overly dried out and basically flavorless and topped with that all-to-often-found shredded chicken whose texture and taste closely resembles (I suspect) a catcher's mitt. The fairly chewy and not overly tasty carne asada was ok for the price but I wouldn't call it a steal, even at $9.
    While eating the tamales, I had thoughts of them coming off a Goodyear Tire assembly line rather than coming from a decent mexican kitchen; maybe I just don't enjoy this style of tamale.

    This lunch, besides the usual Gwiv/Germuska entertainment value, was almost a total bust.
  • Post #20 - September 30th, 2007, 11:40 am
    Post #20 - September 30th, 2007, 11:40 am Post #20 - September 30th, 2007, 11:40 am
    PIGMON wrote:This lunch, besides the usual Gwiv/Germuska entertainment value, was almost a total bust.

    Pigmon,

    While I found the Huaraches the weakest part of the meal, I'm wondering if we ate different lunches? ;)

    I liked the skirt steak, especially in perspective of a $9 low impact lunch.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #21 - September 30th, 2007, 12:20 pm
    Post #21 - September 30th, 2007, 12:20 pm Post #21 - September 30th, 2007, 12:20 pm
    The first Huaraches I ever had at Cuetzala were pretty good, and freshly made. Since then, they have not been so good. Now they seem to make the "crust" ahead of time (maybe even freeze it), which makes for very chewy and plastic like base. The beans they use are the best part. I think Dona Lolis' huaraches are much better.

    In my experience, the carne asada at Cuetzala has usually been quite good, as were the daily specials, and the mole sauces were delicious. They also do a nice breakfast. Lately, though, Cuetzala has been hit or miss depending on who is cooking. I have learned to peek into the kitchen before ordering. Look at the difference between the steak in G Wiv's picture from yesterday and the one in my picture just above. You can tell they were prepared by two different cooks.

    I have had a few disappointing experiences there recently, so I have been frequenting other local places (Love the Barbacoa de Chiva at el Rey). They have also toned down the salsa quite a bit (maybe they got some complaints from gringos). The last time I went to Cuetzala, however, the Carne Asada was as good as ever (the good cook was working). I also recently got a Carne Asada Chimichanga to go from there (on a lark) that was tasty as hell, and came garnished with a nice guacamole .

    Frankly, I don't give a damn what others think about the place, it is a familiar and friendly neighborhood favorite, and I will continue to support them despite a few recent problems. That said, I do find myself going there a lot less lately, which is unfortunate, because they do aim a little higher than your "run-of-the mill Mexican restaurant". I hope, for their sake, they iron out the inconsistency issues soon.
  • Post #22 - September 30th, 2007, 3:23 pm
    Post #22 - September 30th, 2007, 3:23 pm Post #22 - September 30th, 2007, 3:23 pm
    I never feel really comfortable writing a post about a place after just one visit, regardless of whether I liked it or not. Who knows if it was just an off day for them or what?

    No matter what, Cuetzala is certainly worth a retry, that's for sure.

    d4v3 wrote:... and the mole sauces were delicious.


    Thanks for reminding about the mole rojo and salsa verde that accompanied the tamales, Dave. I completely put them out of my mind.

    And, yes, they did aid me having more than a few bites of tamales, nonetheless. :D
  • Post #23 - September 30th, 2007, 3:42 pm
    Post #23 - September 30th, 2007, 3:42 pm Post #23 - September 30th, 2007, 3:42 pm
    PIGMON wrote:I never feel really comfortable writing a post about a place after just one visit, regardless of whether I liked it or not. Who knows if it was just an off day for them or what?
    Unfortunately, there have been a lot more "off" days for them lately. I will be the first to admit it. Still, I have had 30 good meals there over the last few years and maybe 3 so-so ones.

    There is one guy who has been cooking since just after the place first opened (tall and thin with a moustache). He used to work 16 hours a day. On occasion, he had an assistant helping him. Starting a few months ago, the assistant started cooking by himself, and the quality went downhill on those days. Like I said above, compare the photos of both the steak and the pozole with the ones I took a several months ago, or compare Bill's enchiladas with my picture of the same dish. It is totally obvious that there is one cook who pays much greater attention to detail.
  • Post #24 - January 7th, 2009, 6:05 pm
    Post #24 - January 7th, 2009, 6:05 pm Post #24 - January 7th, 2009, 6:05 pm
    Glad to say that we had lunch today, and they were back up to their earlier standards.

    We had the guacamole (which was extremely rich and a HUGE portion, but almost straight-up avocado - not really a problem for me) and a bunch of absolutely excellent tacos, topped with cilantro and red onion, listed in order of my preference:
      Carne Asada: one of the best I've had in recent memory. The meat was well-charred, and had a lovely smokiness
      Cabeza: First of all, I'm just glad to find it. This version offered a nice contrast between the gelatinous bits and the crispy bits - must have come off the grill after being braised
      Al Pastor: an interesting version, more heavily spiced than I'd had elsewhere, well crisped. I think I detected allspice in the seasoning.
      Rajas: refreshing after the chicharron, this is a pretty simple taco of just poblanos and cheese, but good; not gloppy like a chile relleno can be.
      Chicharron: a little over-the-top in portion size, this is the gelatinous kind, no crisping. I'd have preferred this as a gordita or sope
      Chorizo: they say it's homemade (not sure if that means house-made or just the style) This wasn't bad, but wasn't really that special.

    I couldn't see far enough into the kitchen to figure out how they were doing it, but it's nice to have tacos whose filling is charred and not slightly steamed; a really nice, smoky char.
  • Post #25 - January 8th, 2009, 10:07 am
    Post #25 - January 8th, 2009, 10:07 am Post #25 - January 8th, 2009, 10:07 am
    Mr. X's brother wanted "head tacos" when he stayed with us last year. We attempted to ask for them at the taqueria in the Chapalas market, but I'm not sure if our poor Spanish was understood. It probably had something to do with not knowing what the proper word was! We'll have to take him to Cuetzala next time he's in town. Thanks for the tip.
    -Mary
  • Post #26 - January 9th, 2009, 9:22 pm
    Post #26 - January 9th, 2009, 9:22 pm Post #26 - January 9th, 2009, 9:22 pm
    The GP wrote:Mr. X's brother wanted "head tacos" when he stayed with us last year. We attempted to ask for them at the taqueria in the Chapalas market, but I'm not sure if our poor Spanish was understood. It probably had something to do with not knowing what the proper word was! We'll have to take him to Cuetzala next time he's in town. Thanks for the tip.

    El Rey del Taco across the street from Chapala serves a pretty decent taco de Cabeza also, but I think Cuetzala may have the edge here. While I like the Carne Asada tacos at Cuetzala better, El Rey's taco de Lomo is the best steak taco in the hood (and a great deal for $2).
  • Post #27 - January 17th, 2015, 11:36 am
    Post #27 - January 17th, 2015, 11:36 am Post #27 - January 17th, 2015, 11:36 am
    LTH,

    Its been forever since I've been to Cuetzala, not sure why but I had a serious hankering for the dense earthy flavored tamales nejos and accompanying moles. I'll guarantee it won't years until my next visit!

    Cuetzala Tamales Nejos

    Image

    Cuetzala, count me a fan!
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #28 - January 17th, 2015, 12:15 pm
    Post #28 - January 17th, 2015, 12:15 pm Post #28 - January 17th, 2015, 12:15 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Its been forever since I've been to Cuetzala, not sure why but I had a serious hankering for the dense earthy flavored tamales nejos and accompanying moles.

    Its been pointed out the lovely Mike Sula wrote about tamales nejos last week on the Reader Bleader. While a fan and regular reader of Mr. Sula, I don't think I saw the mention, if I did it did not consciously register though surely contributed subliminally to my desire for said tamales nejos.

    Coincidence or Sula planting ideas in the part of my brain open to culinary suggestion, which is most of it, either way, tamales nejos are damn good, go get some.

    ---------> link to Sula Nejo story
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #29 - January 19th, 2015, 10:50 am
    Post #29 - January 19th, 2015, 10:50 am Post #29 - January 19th, 2015, 10:50 am
    Thanks so much for resurrecting this thread.

    We have been stopping at the various taquerias on the blocks to the south of this about once a weekend lately. We would have continued to drive right past Cuetzala without this head's up as it really gets lost in the sea of flashing green neon surrounding it.

    I would agree with the assessment that the tamales nejo are somewhat rubbery, but I enjoyed the taste and are an great way to eat the wonderful sauces they prepare here. We asked for both the red mole and the green and were given both. The red was rich, dark and complex as you would hope and the green had a very fresh taste. We enjoyed both. I don't know if they actually use ash in the tamales here, but I could believe they do, as I thought I caught a hint of an ash taste. It was interesting to try something different and I would order these again.

    I had the short ribs braised in three sauces. I didn't get a clear explanation of what three sauces this included, but it was clearly based on the red mole, with an additional note of sourness that I would guess came from the green sauce served with the tamales. This was a great dish with layers of flavors in the sauce.

    As indicated upthread, the waitstaff was friendly, smiling and delightful.

    Next stop for us - Dona Chio.
  • Post #30 - July 22nd, 2016, 8:30 am
    Post #30 - July 22nd, 2016, 8:30 am Post #30 - July 22nd, 2016, 8:30 am
    I've been to Cuetzala twice in the last few months and it remains rock solid, tamales nejos w/mole, enchiladas w/mole and in particular skirt steak. Friendly efficient service, clean, comfortable, plentiful street parking, good value and well prepared tasty food.

    Always the same server and its obvious whomever is cooking not only knows their way around a kitchen but cares about what goes on the plate.

    Cuetzala89.jpeg Cuetzala skirt steak


    Cuetzala88.jpeg Cuetzala enchiladas w/mole


    Cuetzala, count me a fan.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow

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