Tag Archives: oaxaca

Leftovers: Fuego at the Maya

The makings of Long Beach’s own Mayan Riviera for the District:


PHOTO by ROSHEILA ROBLES

Fuego looks out onto the Long Beach of everyone’s oceanfront dream, a seaside theater where pelicans dive with hungry, graceful precision and pleasure-seekers boat by on the last winds of summer. It’s a scene so idyllic it’s nearly unbelievable, almost as if it were constructed and choreographed by a television crew trying again to approximate Miami. For Fuego, the newest tenant of the equally new Hotel Maya, it’s fitting, a perfect backdrop for the restaurant’s high-end exploration of coastal Mexican cooking.

But that sublime setting doesn’t diminish the difficulties of upscaling a cuisine so common in Southern California that even less-than-serious eaters possess a passable understanding of its regional distinctions. As a result, successful Mexican fine dining must undeniably out-cook our taquería favorites and also compete directly with modern masters like La Casita Mexicana in Bell and Moles La Tia in East LA. Chef Jesse Perez is, by and large, up to the task.

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Leftovers: Moles la Tía

 East LA’s mole master from today’s Times:


PHOTO by BARBARA DAVIDSON / LA TIMES

The multitude of moles at East Los Angeles’ Moles la Tía might just complete a culinary color wheel: Circle through the menu and you’ll find the cheery yellow of the passion fruit mole, the herbaceous green of the finas hierbas mole, the pristine ivory of the velo de novia mole. These sauces don’t seem so much cooked as they do composed, every ingredient mindful of its place in the restaurant’s oeuvre.

Housing these often extraordinary moles is a dining room with familiar design ideas (a clean and classic terra cotta-colored space), but also a telling aesthetic: On the walls hang landscape paintings and portraits cut with cubist corners, each crafted in a sort of fractured geometry that pairs with chef Rocio Camacho’s modern moles.

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