The Best Mole Fries In Los Angeles
It wasn't that long ago that—except among culturally curious foodies—mole was practically a secret of Mexican and Chicano households. Now, even the James Beard Foundation has taken note, recently selecting Guelaguetza, one of the city's most prominent and accomplished purveyors of mole (among many other delicious things) for a coveted America's Classics Award. Another sign that the dish has gone mainstream: mole fries. Though not exactly new, the phenomenon which combines America's favorite vegetable with the sultry Mexican sauce and, often, cheese, finally seems to be catching on and popping up more and more around town. We're hoping it's not a passing fad and that this irresistibly decadent fusion becomes as easy to find as nachos. Here are three that set the bar.
The first I ever even heard of mole fries was years ago at CaCao Mexicatessan in Eagle Rock. One taste and I was hooked. Their execution is pretty straightforward—the house-made fries are on the thick side, and the mission fig mole (which is vegan) that they drench them in is rich, sweet, and nicely spiced. A sprinkle of sesame seeds finishes them off, and if you like, they'll add cheese, taking the dish to another, even more addictive, level. Even better is that CaCao has a few Eagle Rock Brewery beers on tap, which makes for perfect pairing.
CaCao Mexicatessan is located at 1576 Colorado Boulevard; (323) 478-2791
Las Molenderas Restaurant
Las Molenderas makes all of its moles from scratch. They offer traditional chicken mole plates served with thick, hand-made tortillas along with soups, tacos, and Mexican breakfasts, but they also get playful—striking what writer Bill Esparza contends is the "perfect balance between tradition and the pocho (Mexican-American) tendencies of Boyle Heights"—with their delicious mole fries. Also made in house, the fries, themselves, have a medium, skin-on cut and a lightly crispy cook. Mole poblano (ask for the mole poblano de chipotle if you like it spicy) is poured on without going overboard, so the fries don't get soggy, though the speed with which we ate them might have had something to do with that. A handful of shredded mozzarella is thrown on top. The result is simple, but it you want take it further, order some tasty molcajete-made guacamole to go with it.
Las Molenderas is located at 2635 Whittier Boulevard; (323) 269-2812
This Uptown Whittier gastropub is from chef Ricardo Diaz, who has also brought us Guisados, Cook's Tortas, and Colonia Taco Lounge. Bizarra Capital serves a wide range of dishes, from plantain tacos to beans cooked down with house-made chorizo and bacon. A standout on the small plates menu is the mole fries, which are currently being done with a green mole based on pumpkin seeds. Melted Oaxacan cheese, more pumpkin seeds, and cilantro top the dish, which is served with a side of sweet onion aioli. Definitely worth a trip down the 605.
Bizarra Capital is located at 12706 Philadelphia Street, Whittier; (562) 945-2426