Friday, August 26, 2011

El Texate

It's a quiet little joint on Pico Boulevard, just four blocks from the beach. It's called El Texate, It's a little family place that has been right here, between the video store and the gas station, for a couple of decades.

We were in the outdoor dining area having lunch, and as we sat there, day-care groups of toddlers on their way to the beach trooped by, corralled by teachers, wearing special shirts or vests, or clutching long ropes to keep together. And as they passed the restaurant, with it's pretty entrance fountain, they clustered and exclaimed.



"Let me see!"

The waitress said, "Every day there are four or five groups, and they always stop! They're so cute."

They WERE cute. We were impressed at such appreciative and enthusiastic children. Amused that such a simple thing as a fountain would transfix them.

El Texate serves a menu of Oaxacan traditional foods, including a variety of sauces called moles - which are complex mixtures of ingredients including dried chiles, spices, nuts and seeds, greens, garlic, onions and sometimes chocolate. The ingredients are toasted and ground together and cooked down to a thick paste, which can be thinned with meat broth for serving. The Mexican state of Oaxaca is famous for its variations of moles in a rainbow of colors - Negro, Verde, Colorado, Coloradito, Amarillo, and manchamantela - or "tablecloth stainer".

Our lunch was great - I had chicken enchiladas in mole amarillo, with rice and beans. The salsa was mild and with a hint of spicy flavor. One of the things I love about El Texate is their black beans - it is obvious that they are cooked from dried beans, and they are perfect, sprinkled with a bit of cotija cheese.

[The Man I Love] had chicken in green pipian mole - sauce made from ground pumpkin seeds. It was served with squares of nopale, or prickly-pear cactus paddles. It was really delicious - the nutty taste and creamy, granular texture of the pipian spiked with the fresh grassy bite of the nopales.

El Texate also has a vast selection of tequilas, and a great happy hour featuring live music from Mariachi Alta California. If you're in Santa Monica, check them out.

When we finished our lunch, we walked out past the fountain and looked inside.

Ah! Turtles! That's what entranced the children!


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I like turtles!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I had chicken enchiladas in mole amarillo, with rice and beans

Oh that sounds so good, even without the pics.

Dammit, now I feel like we have to go to La Perla as soon as possible.

Deborah said...

Your meal looks delicious! I'm loving the word "Coloradito" - never heard that one before. I think I'll start using it as a term of endearment for my home state.