Hungry Hiker's Guide to 
     Tijuana Dining

La Casa de Mole

Aquiles Serdan No. 543, Col. Libertad P/B - Tijuana

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Tel: 682-90-74 (just because they don't answer doesn't mean they're not there!)
Price Range : 50 pesos for main dish (Price revised 8/01)
Price Rating: Bargain
Credit Cards: Not accepted
Reservations: Not required
Mins. to walk
from the border:
10
Overall Rating (1-10): 10
Summary:

Absolutely the best value in TJ. Family style restaurant with limited menu , but all food seems to be prepared from scratch - the chicken soup will cure all your ills! See also the other location.


I. The Setting

Looking down Aquiles Serdan filled with run-down small businesses, the exterior of La Casa de Mole stands out for it's refreshing display of greenery. The restaurant itself has three small rectangular dining areas. Booths line the walls and the restaurant is well-lighted, reminding one of a diner. However, the tasteful displays of pottery around the restaurant and the huge display of fresh mums and baby's breath adorning an entire table at the front door do much to elevate the impression beyond that of a diner.

Though not a regular feature, the night we visited patrons were seranaded by an excellent guitarist, Victor Risidro. He played Mexican fados and ballads, songs of love; both happy and sad. Call ahead and make special arrangements if you wish to enjoy this bonus.

The menu is entirely in Spanish, but it has a photograph of each dish, making it easy for Non-Spanish speakers to pick a meal.

 

II. The Food and the Service

Essentially, the restaurant has two sauces for entrees - a verde and the house speciality, mole. The mole is served on chicken (your choice of leg or breast) or enchiladas. The sauce is rich and mildly spicy and adorned with seasme seeds. It is quite good and one can taste a variety of flavors in the mole-cinnamon, cilantro, chocolate. A variation on the mole is the dish called "Mixiote de Pollo con su toque de sabor a maguey." The name indicates this dish has a flavor of the maguey cactus, not being experts in the flavor of cactus; we really cannot tell if this is the case. The Mixiote is definitely the more savory of the two dishes, however. The verde sauce, made with tomatillos and chiles, comes on chicken, enchiladas or chicken chalupas. The sauces are quite good and the chicken was succulent. Tacos Dorados are also available.

Vegetarians need not be disappointed at this normally meat-centric restaurant. Personnel are happy to transform the chicken enchiladas into cheese enchiladas. Our group's vegetarians were served a complimentary additional dish of tacos of huitlacoche, a Mexican delicacy (blue corn fungus, a rough analogy to truffles). Even our lacto-vegetarian was prepared a special dish without cheese or lard.

Other than the chalupas and tacos, the 5 dinners served are all $32 MN for chicken legs to $37 MN for chicken breasts. Meals come with a huge bowl of incredibly good, homemade tasting chicken soup. The soup is consume-like with rice, onions, cilantro and is served with fresh lime, warm tortillas and two different fiery salsas, one of them especially, extraordinarily flavorful (if not addictive). The meal is served with frijoles and rice. The frijoles are the best I've ever tasted, with a marvelous charcoally-cooked flavor.

The restaurant prides itself on its fast service. Our large group had called ahead and was told it wasn't really necessary to do so. Our table was ready when we arrived and we were eating our food within 15 minutes. We had two servers, however, and one end of the table was served soup while the other end sat and waited. A few of our hungry hikers, a little grouchy for some reason, felt the need to get up serve the soup to themselves; they had waited 5 minutes.

 

III. Beverages

Alcoholic beverages are served, the margaritas are strong and delicious. Sodas are served. If you're tired of Pepsi, try the Penafiel de manzana (apple soda), a bargain at 5 pesos. Two favorite national beverages are served here - atole and horchata. Atole is a thick drink made with grain. Flavored here with pineapple and a small amount of sugar (if any), it was a hit with our group.

8/01: Reportedly Beer has gone up to 20 pesos.

 

IV. The Dessert

Desert, a pineapple tamale, is included with dinner. Chocolate, it's not!

 

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Copyright © Pat Fisher, 1998-02
Reviewed: 15 November 1997
email: pfisher@hungryhiker-tj.com