December 1, 2018

Mole Poblano - (Moe' Lay Poe Blah' Noe) - Fonda Santa Rosa on Beechnut is a Houston Treasure

Journalist, Alice Levitt, has written an excellent article for Eater on where to find excellent mole in Houston. She lists several regional styles here in this link to the article:

Alice Levitt Writes About Mole in Houston - Where to Find It

It's always dangerous to come out with a "best in" assessment. But, I will stick my neck out here and say that the house made mole Poblano at the Fonda Santa Rosa on Beechnut is the best I have had in Houston. It is a little on the sweet and the chocolate portion of the mole Poblano spectrum. But this mole would pass muster even in Puebla, in my opinion.

My friend, Michael Shum, a fellow Mexicanophile first asked me about this place several years back. Regrettably, I never had the opportunity to check it out until now. And. It. Is. Wonderful.

Chef owner, David Reyes's family is from the state of Puebla, though he grew up in CDMX. He is passionate about his food and you will see him moving effortlessly between the front of the room and back of the room, overseeing the preparation and presentation (as can you as it is an open kitchen) but also having time to meet and socialize with the patrons, including me, seen here in my Lucha Libre mask.

In addition to the superb mole enchiladas (technically, tortillas enmoladas, though here in Texas, just about everything is called an enchilada) we tried the tilapia in a mango sauce and also the "molcajete" which was a potpourri of chorizon, nopales (cactus), grilled meats and onions. Delicious!

Here are some photos of ours and others dishes as they came out of the kitchen. This place is a treasure.

Friend Michael Shum writes: "I love Mexican food, not the Tex-Mex variety as much, but authentic Mexican food that’s cooked from the heart, and presented by Mexicans who are proud of their rich and wonderful heritage. Nothing beats being in Mexico and enjoying this colorful cuisine in the actual environment, but oh man, coming to Fonda Santa Rosa is a treat as close to the real thing as possible.
Mole Poblano on Enchiladas, Molcajetes Mixto, and Filete de Mojarra al Mango, even the side of Guacamole are foods that comfort the body and soothe the soul. Each and every dish is “balanced” in the words of owner and chef David Reyes, who has a tremendous background growing up in CDMX with parents from Puebla. If your tastebuds can only respond to heavy seasoning, saltiness, and spiciness, this place might not be for you. If you can detect little nuances and special care that put into making complex food, and you can respect other culture’s special characteristics, then you will have a grand experience. Dining with Jay Francis and Hirotoshi Mugen is always a pleasure, because they both have tremendous sensibility and appreciation for a wide spectrum of culinary varieties.
Have a full experience and get the Aguas Frescas and Cafe de Olla, also,  to accompany a delicious authentic Mexican cuisine. Tex-Mex is also offered, but I doubt I’ll even get to that part of the menu, before exhausting all the fantastic option on the Mexican Specialities section. "

Mexican - Doña Chela's on the East Side of Houston

I recently visited my old high school on Broadway (Milby High School) to donate a collection of cookbooks to their new culinary school. Very impressive. The Pappas family had donated money in order for them to build a commercial kitchen on premises.

That side of town has changed a lot from when I was growing up there. I decided to check out Doña Chela's Mexican Restaurant on Broadway. The lunch special, "El Especial" was a great bargain at $6 plus tax and tip. Consisting of a giant tostada, a flauta, a fajita quesadilla and rice, it was an elegant sufficiency as the Brits might say.

I was blown away by the rice. Perfectly cooked. Light. Fluffy. Seasoned perfectly. Possibly the best rice I've sampled recently in Houston.

All in all a very good experience and I plan to go back. One note: although the restaurant itself is spotlessly clean, the tenants in this strip center aren't doing a great job of keeping the parking lot area clean. I would recommend to them that appearance is critical and that they and the other tenants should diligently sweep and clean in front of their locations so that it doesn't look so "bombed out".

I see that they have several locations.

Mexican - Vegetarian - Veego's Mexican Restaurant

A great find on the west side of Houston at Wilcrest and Westheimer. On recent trips to CDMX and Puebla I found myself moving away more and more from the meat heavy taco option and more to the new and excellent vegetarian restaurants there. I'm pleased to advise that the food at Veego's is very good and I recommend it. Especially the huge plate of nachos, supplemented by an agua fresca (25% jamaica and 75% horchata).

The Location:

The Sopa de Fideos (could have been done with a tad less salt)

The Pastor Taco

The nachos plate.

A cute kitten photo just because.

Boudin - Lousiana Boudin Sources - Alphabetical by Store Name

Boudin: Sources for Boudin in Louisiana
Alphabetically Listed