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Sol de Mexico--a Bahena connection

Sol de Mexico--a Bahena connection
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  • Sol de Mexico--a Bahena connection

    Post #1 - July 14th, 2006, 9:41 pm
    Post #1 - July 14th, 2006, 9:41 pm Post #1 - July 14th, 2006, 9:41 pm
    After a psychically draining day (no, week, no, month, no,...year) I picked up Himself at his new place of employment across from La Quebrada and we headed home. It already being close to 7 when I picked him up, and knowing that the kitchen was bare except for food that is to be prepared for out of town visitors tomorrow, and that I could not even prepare a decent egg dinner because we lack both decent bread and, more importantly, potatoes, I suggested we stop for supper before heading home to clean house.

    Himself agreed, and asked where. I suggested a place I had seen with a sign tortillas hecho a mano in the window. Halfway there I was so dispirited in recounting the day's events that I wasn't sure I could face a public place, but hunger won out and I decided to show my psychically drained self in public for the sake of a meal.

    We stopped at Sol de Mexico, on Cicero near Belmont. I had previously stopped to inspect when it was closed. It is a spacious, high-ceilinged storefront, and looked through the window to be nicely, eclectically decorated. The tortillas hecho a mano sign still beckoned.

    On to tonight. While Himself was occupied trying to find a bag to place over the broken parking meter, I entered alone to seek refuge from the heat. I was greeted by the charming owner/host, Carlos, who asked how I had heard of his establishment. There was one other customer.

    Further conversation with Carlos and our equally pleasant waitress revealed a number of things:

    They have been open about two months;
    Carlos purchased a previously existing restaurant, which was a taqueria, from a woman who still occupies a place behind the stove;
    Geno Bahena is his brother-in-law;
    His mother-in-law, Clementina Flores, is listed on his business card as consulting chef. She is Bahena's mother;
    Moles are their specialty;
    For now, the restaurant is BYOB;
    Carlos himself is from Michoacan;
    He has been in the restaurant business for 20 years, starting as dishwasher, with about 10 years at Coco Pazzo (I never ate there);
    Sol de Mexico is a tapas-style place, but will do full plate dinners as well.

    The last was explained to us but is also listed on their sign in front: "Sol de Mexico, Tierra Azteca, Tapas Mexicana."

    There are tacos, tortas, and burritos at the top of the menu, competitively priced. Himself ordered his standard, carne asada with onions and cilantro, and it definitely passed muster. They were out of al pastor (my standard) so I opted for lengua, which came with onions and cilantro. I opted for the green salsa, which had some nice charred bits indicated a roast of the tomatillo and/or the peppers. Tortillas definitely hecho a mano. Salsa perfect counterpoint. Both tacos came with a generous lime to squeeze.

    We also ordered the pork in mole manchamateles and the lamb in mole negro. And the sopesitos with chicken and mole. All were excellent. The sopesitos were beautiful, high-sided, light and not greasy masa, simple poached chicken with mole on top, garnished not with cheese or crema but a few roasted pumpking seeds which was a nice touch. Lamb was on-the-bone, and included some fat. Obviously cooked in a well-seasoned broth before hitting the mole. Pork was boneless, delicious mole with a definite peanut playing off all the complex flavors.

    To me, mole is about the richness of the mole being adequate to the essential bitter notes. I must confess that bitter and sour are, of the flavor spectrum, my two preferences in a heartbeat. These moles did not disappoint. They came with handmade tortillas which were replenished when we asked. Another diner had a plate of mole which came with rice and I didn't notice if there was anything else on the plate. The menu listed about 20 choices, ranging among fish, fowl, and beast, with vegetables and cheese dishes as well. I would have liked to try the Sopa Azteca but tonight was not the night.

    Portion sizes were what in Spain would be a 1/2 racion--that is, larger than a tapa, smaller than a full portion. Easily shared by two with enough to feel you had more than a taste. We saved room to inquire about dessert--for now, flan, although Carlos has plans for more desserts in the winter. As soon as my spoon hit the flan, I knew I was in for something special, and I was right. Best flan I've had since I can remember, dense, rich, creamy.

    In inquiring about how we had come upon Sol de Mexico, Carlos asked us to please share word of it. I told him that I would post to a website I knew, and he was surprised and pleased to hear that this might generate some business for him.

    This is actually the first post I have initiated on LTH. When one has "not done" something for a long time, one can develop almost a perverse pride in continuing to "not do" it. I confess I am this way about James Bond movies, and for many years was that way about Clint Eastwood movies until Himself pointed out to me that I had seen Play Misty for Me when we were in college and it was (literally) the only show in town, at which point I was free to enjoy CE's filmic output. An added benefit of Sol de Mexico may be that it got me across the "first post" hump. Now I just need to eat out more!

    All in all, a delightful evening. A nice room, a couple of very nice calaveras among the many artworks. Delightful host and service, and delicious food. Total tab $30.28--flan was comped. I am glad that picking up Himself from work can now easily include a stop at Sol de Mexico.

    Tell Carlos you read about it on the web.

    Sol de Mexico
    3018 N. Cicero
    773-282-4119

    Buen Provecho!
    Last edited by annieb on July 19th, 2006, 3:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - July 14th, 2006, 11:49 pm
    Post #2 - July 14th, 2006, 11:49 pm Post #2 - July 14th, 2006, 11:49 pm
    annieb, what an interesting find...and so close to Oak Park. Thanks for writing it up.

    I have had classic manchamanteles only a few times and would like to try more. I'm surprised (as always) that the mole negro came upon lamb -- so common in Chicago... and to me so odd.

    Any way, thanks -- I'll stop by sometime soon.

    David "Ever eager for a new local thrill" Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #3 - July 15th, 2006, 12:09 am
    Post #3 - July 15th, 2006, 12:09 am Post #3 - July 15th, 2006, 12:09 am
    This sounds very interesting indeed. I believe Geno Bahena used his mother’s recipes for mole, so maybe these are the same. That would be good news. Do you remember how many moles were offered? I’m sure I passed this place many times but can’t picture it at all. Can’t wait to try it though. Thanks for posting this find. I hope you’ll continue and that your next restaurant visits are as worthwhile.
  • Post #4 - July 15th, 2006, 6:18 am
    Post #4 - July 15th, 2006, 6:18 am Post #4 - July 15th, 2006, 6:18 am
    There was also a mole negro and a mole verde, if I recall. I forgot to ask if the mole verde was a pipian. Carlos was an excellent host--turned off the TV that was on when we came in, was interested in us and our experiences and what brought us there, very willing to answer questions but did not hover and allowed us to enjoy our meal together. I simply forgot to ask. Quite good music in the background--can't tell you what it was exactly, but our tastes in music are broad (great Congolese rhumba in Welles Park last weekend!).

    The TV was later turned on to view Amores de Mercado, which appears to be a telenovela set among the market stalls--if it's on free TV (no cable here) I'm tuning in regularly.
  • Post #5 - July 15th, 2006, 9:37 am
    Post #5 - July 15th, 2006, 9:37 am Post #5 - July 15th, 2006, 9:37 am
    annieb,

    Thanks for a great report on a very interesting-sounding place. We've missed you!

    Amata
  • Post #6 - July 15th, 2006, 10:01 am
    Post #6 - July 15th, 2006, 10:01 am Post #6 - July 15th, 2006, 10:01 am
    Amata wrote:annieb,

    Thanks for a great report on a very interesting-sounding place. We've missed you!


    Indeed!

    Antionius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #7 - July 15th, 2006, 6:22 pm
    Post #7 - July 15th, 2006, 6:22 pm Post #7 - July 15th, 2006, 6:22 pm
    Are they open for lunch on weekdays? They don't come up on Metromix, which is probably a good sign.
  • Post #8 - July 15th, 2006, 11:59 pm
    Post #8 - July 15th, 2006, 11:59 pm Post #8 - July 15th, 2006, 11:59 pm
    Yes, they are open for lunch on weekdays, they are open 7 days a week.

    They also had cochinita pibil and a flat masa thing in a stewed pork sauce, I'm blanking on the name, started with a c.

    The menu has probably 20 items in addition to the tacos, tortas, burritos.

    They other diner who came after us ate a meal and took several items to go--he asked after ceviche but it was not available. Given that business is slow for this new venture, that's probably a good sign.
  • Post #9 - July 16th, 2006, 8:29 am
    Post #9 - July 16th, 2006, 8:29 am Post #9 - July 16th, 2006, 8:29 am
    Corundas--a night of sleep has restored my memory.

    You can read about them here: http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/michoaca ... pecha.html

    where you will discover that they are a specialty of Michoacan, Carlos' home state, and are made from corn treated with wood ashes rather than lime.

    Carlos seemed enthusiastic about them in his discussion with us, but we had already put in our order for the two moles. Since we were eating tapas style--order a dish or two, order a dish or two more, when it was time to think about ordering another dish, we opted for dessert (happily). Next time I will definitely order them, also the cochinita pibil.
  • Post #10 - July 16th, 2006, 9:22 am
    Post #10 - July 16th, 2006, 9:22 am Post #10 - July 16th, 2006, 9:22 am
    Rene,

    I meant to type mole rojo. So there's negro, rojo, verde and manchamateles that I recall of the moles.
  • Post #11 - July 16th, 2006, 9:44 am
    Post #11 - July 16th, 2006, 9:44 am Post #11 - July 16th, 2006, 9:44 am
    It was a day of once and future GNR candidates for the VI family yesterday. For lunch, we finally (finally!) got to see how delicious the noodles are at Katy's. For dinner, we were heading to Spacca Napoli when failing AC and this thread called out to us. Thank god for using Cicero as a north-south artery!

    What an outstanding little find! Sadly, we were the only customers the whole time (although I really expected another LTHer or two to surprise us). Of course, while this location is reasonably convinient for me, it's a rather lousy location for a semi-upscale restaurant. Hopefully, this board will drive some customers there way.

    Like Annie, we got the sopesitas with mole; unlike Annie, we DID try the soup. We also had the corundas, queso fundido, and the Michohacan style mole with chicken. If I have any quibble, I thought the preperations were slightly to clean, I would have liked maybe a touch more grease in a couple of things.

    That said, all of the flavors were outstanding, different and muy complex. And compared to, say Frontera, I thought the masa preperations were much better (although the tortillas were only good not great). The sopesitas were especially interesting, with their range of soft and chewy as was the unfilled tamal that is the corunda. Also, the soup is worth ordering. I swear it was a thinned out version of the mole rojo.

    Carlos is a whirlwind of ideas and interests, and if you hear him out, any day now, the menu will include the entire contents of the ourvre of Diane Kennedy, Rick Bayless AND Zarela Martinez. See what will happen.

    VI
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #12 - July 16th, 2006, 10:01 am
    Post #12 - July 16th, 2006, 10:01 am Post #12 - July 16th, 2006, 10:01 am
    Hi,

    annieb wrote:where you will discover that they are a specialty of Michoacan, Carlos' home state, and are made from corn treated with wood ashes rather than lime.


    Wood ashes are full of calcium and a substitute for lime. Many, though not all, Native American Indians treated their corn with wood ashes to remove the hull. The difference between Indians who did or did not treat their corn with wood ashes affected their longevity. Untreated corn was tough on the teeth eventually wearing them down. Indians from the areas around Dickson Mounds as well as from Cahokia Mounds, both in Illinois, did not treat their corn with ashes. They did not live as long, had teeth which were very worn and had nutritional related problems with much attributed to their not treating their corn with ashes.

    Purcell Mountain Farms wrote:Unlike the sweet corn we enjoy on the cob, posole is a starchy field corn with a tough hull, or skin. Before the Spanish arrived, the Aztecs and American Indians knew that soaking the dried corn with an alkali -- lime or wood ashes, would soften the papery hull, making its removal easier. And long before science could explain it, they apparently understood that the alkali treatment made the corn more nutritious.

    In untreated dried corn, the nutrient niacin is bound up and unavailable. Alkali processing releases this essential vitamin in a form the body can absorb.

    Instead of wood ash, most people today use cal, otherwise known as calcium hydroxide or slaked lime. It is a fine white powder that looks like cornstarch, and it dissolves in water. Boiled briefly in water with a little cal then soaked for about an hour, the corn kernel sloughs off its hull. A vigorous rinsing removes the last traces of hull and any cal flavor. Using canned hominy saves the posole cook a lot of time, but it is definitely a compromise. Starting from scratch with dried corn yields better texture and flavor


    Regards,
    Last edited by Cathy2 on July 19th, 2006, 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #13 - July 16th, 2006, 6:25 pm
    Post #13 - July 16th, 2006, 6:25 pm Post #13 - July 16th, 2006, 6:25 pm
    Wood ashes contain potassium hydroxide, which is quite alkaline and so perfect for treating corn. You have to be careful when using wood ashes on a garden because of the alkalinity.
  • Post #14 - July 16th, 2006, 6:39 pm
    Post #14 - July 16th, 2006, 6:39 pm Post #14 - July 16th, 2006, 6:39 pm
    ekreider wrote:You have to be careful when using wood ashes on a garden because of the alkalinity.


    At least for the soil we encounter here in the midwest, which is already alkaline. In the northeast where their soil is acidic, then ashes and agricultural lime are welcome in the garden.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #15 - July 16th, 2006, 7:07 pm
    Post #15 - July 16th, 2006, 7:07 pm Post #15 - July 16th, 2006, 7:07 pm
    Even with acid soil care is needed in applying wood ashes to avoid burning roots of growing plants. Wood ashes are best applied when nothing is growing.
  • Post #16 - July 16th, 2006, 8:14 pm
    Post #16 - July 16th, 2006, 8:14 pm Post #16 - July 16th, 2006, 8:14 pm
    I'll add my praise for Sol de Mexico. The wife and I just returned from a light supper there and had a delightful time. Carlos was friendly, engaging, and excited, and the woman he had working table service was likewise. He seemed surprised (pleasantly so) that the internet was corralling people toward his little out-of-the-way corner of the city.

    The sopecitos and the borrego en mole negro have been described before; we found them as delicious as previous posters.

    We also enjoyed the enchiladas michoacan - tortillas stuffed with onions and a little cheese (not a melty variety) and coated in a chile-flavored paste. They weren't super saucy like those i've had at other places; i do believe this is an equally (if not more) authentic preparation. They were tasty - i might have liked a little more cheese and a little less onion, but that's a minor quibble.

    We also ordered something billed as scallops in a creamy chipotle sauce. We got scallops, but not in that sort of sauce. I've had pipian only once - and that was when i made it out of one of bayless' cookbooks - but i'm pretty sure that this stuff was pipian. (I meant to follow up and ask, but forgot!). Either way, it was delicious - we used leftover tortillas to sop up the sauce so as not to let it go to waste.

    We finished with a flan. quite nice.

    In all, a great place. and in spite of it's remote-sounding address, it only took us about 20 minutes to get there from Andersonville - so it's just as close as anything. I can't wait to go back and try more of the dishes! Well done, annieb!!

    -jim

    ps - it is conveniently located across the street from chicago meats, where i found a nice big tub of tan-colored manteca with which to make some proper refried beans.
  • Post #17 - July 16th, 2006, 9:12 pm
    Post #17 - July 16th, 2006, 9:12 pm Post #17 - July 16th, 2006, 9:12 pm
    I forgot to mention Chicago Meats, with the two life-sized cows gracing the parking lot entrance. It extended the folk art decor of Sol de Mexico into the distance:-)
  • Post #18 - July 17th, 2006, 12:03 am
    Post #18 - July 17th, 2006, 12:03 am Post #18 - July 17th, 2006, 12:03 am
    Only a few minutes before Jim and companion got up to leave, I walked into the nearly empty Sol de Mexico and occupied a table near them. I didn't know them, yet thought they seemed somewhat LTH-ish (whatever *that* means), though I also wondered if I was perhaps just wishful-thinkingly imagining some sort of LTH aura emanating from them. Unfortunately, they were finishing up and on their way out before I could glean solid clues from their conversation as to whether they actually were of the brown-and-black-diamond persuasion. Sorry I didn't speak up and introduce myself, Jim. I didn't want to have to go into potentially weird-sounding explanations if it turned out that you weren't of the cognoscenti, and instead regarded me as some kind of cult proselytizer.

    By that time, Carlos had come to my table and introduced himself. We chatted abit about moles, the restaurant's specialty, which can have 28+ ingredients. He asked how I had learned about the restaurant, and I assured him that he was getting word-of-mouth recommendation via LTHForum, for which he was grateful to annieb, et al.

    I told Carlos I was looking forward to trying more than one of mole, though I was limited by being there as a single diner. He immediately had small samples of rojo (dark red), verde (green, made with ground pumpkin seeds), negro (black, thickest of the four to the point of near-lumpiness), and manchamanteles (darker than rojo, but less so than negro) sent to my table with tortillas to dip into them, so that I could get an idea of what they were like and compare the variety of flavor complexities. This was a very good thing to have before ordering, and, in itself, could almost qualify as a light appetizer, or an educational amuse bouche. I mentioned to Carlos that this was like the "flight" concept used with wines and cheeses by, e.g., Bin 36, and suggested he consider instituting something like a flight of moles to help enlighten and intrigue patrons. He thanked me for the suggestion and noted that future menu items would include even more moles, such as a yellow (amarillo) and one based on guava, but not overly fruit-sweet.

    So I finally ordered (only one mole, as it turned out :-) ). First, I went with the Carne de puerco--fork-tender chunks of pork, off-the-bone, in a pool of manchamanteles mole topped with bits of pineapple and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. While I was waiting for it to arrive, I continued to eat the mole samples with replenished tortillas--which were fresh and hot, though somewhat thin--and sipped my iced tamarindo. They are in-process for a liquor license, but it's currently BYOB.

    Next, for contrast, I had the baby scallops in a creamy chipotle sauce: about eight or ten marble-sized scallops in a tan/rufous-colored sauce, thick, creamy and filling despite its somewhat smaller size. The chipotle seemed a tad more assertive heat-wise than the mole, yet wasn't as deep in its complexity.* Since I was a party of one, I decided to stop with those two tapas dishes, and move on to dessert.

    Good thing I did stop there, too, as the flan and coffee were no mere denouement to the meal, but a combined force to be reckoned-with, in and of themselves. The fresh-brewed coffee was that blend with cinnamon which I've only had in Mexican restaurants; it was just excellent as a foil for the rich flan. And the flan--! This was no will-o'-the-wisp ephemeral puff of flavored air, nosirree! This was a rich, muscular animal of a flan, a flan with legs *and* cojones (can I say that on television?) For a long time, I forgot about all the gargoyle masks leering at me from the opposite wall among the large oil paintings of Mexican scenes, and just focused on the resistance to my spoon as I sliced-off each cool, aromatic taste of eggy custard and sweet caramel ichor, then washed my palate with sips of the warm, spicy coffee....

    Ahem! Ok, I'm back...Did I mention that I liked dessert? Dessert was good. Tapas were very nice, too, and--as Carlos repeatedly voiced his hope--I intend to return with multiple others so that I may sample a whole range of items from the menu.

    Prices were quite reasonable: the mole flight (no charge), two tapas, flan, tamarindo drink, and coffee came to under $25 including tip for very friendly service. They take typical credit cards. Pleasant decor, too, FWIW.

    I could well see Sol de Mexico as an instructive and enjoyable complement to, say, Cafe Iberico. Carlos definitely needs the business, and has a good attitude.

    I'm thinking LTH dinner....

    --Matt

    * Note to Jim: The evening's Specials included a Baby Scallops in mole verde, which is almost certainly what you got instead of the chipotle version.
    "If I have dined better than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants...and got the waiter's attention." --Sir Isaac "Ready to order NOW" Newton

    "You worry too much. Eat some bacon... What? No, I got no idea if it'll make you feel better, I just made too much bacon." --Justin Halpern's dad
  • Post #19 - July 17th, 2006, 7:48 am
    Post #19 - July 17th, 2006, 7:48 am Post #19 - July 17th, 2006, 7:48 am
    Ah yes. Mole verde would be a better explanation than pipian. After refreshing my recollection with the recipe, it was greener (both in color and in taste) than i'd expect pipian to be.

    Having lived in central NY for the last 8 years (i just moved here last month), my experience with many foods is limited to what i've made in my own kitchen. I did grow up in southern california, but the mexican places we went to did not feature a wide variety of moles. In any event, it was damn fine stuff.

    Thanks Matt for the info - should our paths meet again i'll introduce myself!

    -jim
  • Post #20 - July 17th, 2006, 1:36 pm
    Post #20 - July 17th, 2006, 1:36 pm Post #20 - July 17th, 2006, 1:36 pm
    I think we may have come in to the restaurant just as mhl was leaving; I wonder what percent of Sol de Mexico's customers customers last night were LTH-driven!

    We had a great meal, starting with the Sopa Azteca: a good portion of dark, complex broth, filled with chunks of avocado, shredded chicken and tortilla strips. We then ordered the lamb in mole negro, and the flautas with ropa vieja. The lamb itself was fatty, tender and flavorful, and the mole was mellow and complex, and tasted dark. I mean that in a good way. The flautas were crispy on the outside, and good and chewy inside; my only regret is that we should have ordered a little bit of extra salsa verde on the side. We then ordered the flan, which did not disappoint. What a great dense and silky texture! (And of course the flavor was excellent as well).

    Both the woman who served us and Carlos the owner were very nice and filled us in on the finer points of the menu and their goals with the restaurant, most of which have already been discussed in the above posts. He did mention that the only thing on the menu that wasn't "authentic mexican" was the fajitas, which he included because the demand was high, but he wasn't particularly fond of them (in general, not his version in particular). He also said that within a few weeks they are going to change the menu up a little bit by including at least one traditional dish from each region of the country, so that people can take a culinary tour of the different specialties and preparations of Mexico.

    I did mention LTH, and he was very pleased, and asked us to help him spread the word as much as possible if we liked our meal. We did, so I am!

    Our total bill including tax came to $26.62 after they very kindly comped our flan. A great meal for a great price--thanks annieb for letting us know about your find!
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #21 - July 17th, 2006, 4:26 pm
    Post #21 - July 17th, 2006, 4:26 pm Post #21 - July 17th, 2006, 4:26 pm
    Annieb’s description of Sol de Mexico surprised me a little bit, because I have been stopping at this taquaria for nearly a year after (or sometimes before) going to Chicago Meat. I have always enjoyed my food, but never really thought that much about it one way or the other. I was going to post about it one of these days once I had been a little deeper into the menu besides my usual order of a couple of tacos. The place annieb described sounded not at all like what I had experienced in the past.

    I went today for lunch as was greeted with the same sign and even the same waitress as has always been working at Sol De Mexico, but something was different.

    Friendly Waitress
    Image

    There was some new pictures hanging on the wall (although some of the old stuff was still there, too.) and the place had been cleaned up a bit. And then there was the menu. It was a completely new menu with all of the wonderful dishes that annieb and others have posted about. Also, Carlos was there, sharing his enthusiasm for his new restaurant in the hopes of getting the word out about his food.

    We started off with some sopesitas, delicious small masa cups, filled with chicken and topped with mole negro and some sesame and sunflower seeds.

    Sopesitas
    Image

    These were fabulous tasting. I would love to try a version made with some of their cochinita pibil, which was our next course.

    Cochinita Pibil
    Image

    This was a very good version, served with rice and beans and a citrus sauce that added just the right counterpoint to the rich pork. This dish was served with fresh heco en mano tortillas.

    Tortillas Heco en Mano
    Image

    We also had some flautas. While this is not my favorite Mexican dish, these were very good and full flavored.

    Flautas de Pollo
    Image

    We finished the meal off with the much vaunted flan. I found this to be an excellent version. It is very rich and full bodied. I slightly prefer the version served at Dorado, which is made with a slightly more deft hand, but I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to order the flan at Sol de Mexico again.

    Flan
    Image

    Sol de Mexico is a great find. I predict a rush of LTH visits and posts about this gem! Thanks to annieb for bringing it to our attention. I think that Sol de Mexico will generate a ton of excitement here, such as we haven’t seen since the opening of Spacca Napoli.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #22 - July 17th, 2006, 4:34 pm
    Post #22 - July 17th, 2006, 4:34 pm Post #22 - July 17th, 2006, 4:34 pm
    annieb wrote:The sopesitos were beautiful, high-sided, light and not greasy masa, simple poached chicken with mole on top, garnished not with cheese or crema but a few roasted pumpking seeds which was a nice touch.

    AnnieB,

    Steve Z and I had an ever so nice lunch thanks to your post, so glad you decided to take the plunge and initiate a thread.

    Sopesitos were, as you say, beautiful, high-sided and light with full rich flavor.

    Sopesitos w/chicken in mole
    Image
    Image

    I'm a Flautas fan and Sol De Mexico's were particularly good, nice attention to detail in presentation as well.

    Flautas de Pollo
    Image

    Cochinita Pibil was flat out terrific, I hate to go into full-on hyperbole mode on a first visit, but the pork was full flavor, tender and ever so nicely complimented by a citrus sauce.

    Cochinita Pibil
    Image

    Tortillas are definitely made in house.
    Image
    Image

    Rice and beans were delicious without being over the top rich. Also, I appreciated the fact that rice did not have the overpowering taste of Goya Sazon that 90% of the Mexican restaurants seem to have.

    Rice and Beans
    Image

    I'm not a flan fan, but thought it quite good, Steve Z, who is a flan fan, can give his own opinion (though I'm guessing thumbs up).

    Flan
    Image

    We finished with complimentary juicy ripe watermelon. Which, with a squeeze of lime and dash of salt, made for a perfect meal end.

    Image

    The entire menu seems enticing, I will be back soon to explore further. Thanks again AnnieB.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - July 17th, 2006, 9:35 pm
    Post #23 - July 17th, 2006, 9:35 pm Post #23 - July 17th, 2006, 9:35 pm
    Steve,

    Your reaction may be due to the fact that Carlos purchased the restaurant and opened it as his own establishment only two months ago. Before that it was a taqueria, and while tacos are still on the menu, there is quite a bit more. Glad you both enjoyed it. I am especially looking forward to the cochinita pibil.
  • Post #24 - July 18th, 2006, 1:20 pm
    Post #24 - July 18th, 2006, 1:20 pm Post #24 - July 18th, 2006, 1:20 pm
    G Wiv wrote:I will be back soon to explore further.

    Good to my word, I went back with a small group for dinner, equally as enjoyable. In particular the Borrego-lamb in mole Negro and the Manchamanteles mole, which we had with Sopesitos. In addition to the Sopesitos we were brought a small bowl of both mole verde and manchamanteles.

    The verde was quite good, manchamanteles, which was served warm with a few scattered pumpkin seeds, so deliciously complex it captured my complete attention. My wife loved the Camarones w/mole verde and my 12 year old nephew declared the carne asada Awesome. All in all we tried 4-moles, Negro, Rojo, Verde and Manchamanteles, they really have a way with moles.

    Service was terrific, same waitress as lunch, and they were quite accommodating to the kids in the group. As an aside, Aaron noted some of the artwork decorating the walls came from the now shuttered Ixcapuzalco.

    Thanks again to AnnieB

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #25 - July 18th, 2006, 1:33 pm
    Post #25 - July 18th, 2006, 1:33 pm Post #25 - July 18th, 2006, 1:33 pm
    some of the artwork decorating the walls came from the now shuttered Ixcapuzalco


    Meaning the old Milwaukee location? Or has the "La Bonita" one on Western closed too?
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  • Post #26 - July 18th, 2006, 1:33 pm
    Post #26 - July 18th, 2006, 1:33 pm Post #26 - July 18th, 2006, 1:33 pm
    I haven't seen it mentioned yet.. what cut of meat is the lamb in mole negro? Shank? Leg?

    Beth and I are hoping to make it up there this week.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #27 - July 18th, 2006, 3:43 pm
    Post #27 - July 18th, 2006, 3:43 pm Post #27 - July 18th, 2006, 3:43 pm
    The lamb was a bone-in cut, can't say what particularly. Not shank, not leg. Perhaps shoulder or bone in chuck. What it reminded me most of was the lamb that a Moroccan friend who raises lamb and beef in central France used in his tagines and couscous. Being real, rather than hobby farmers, most of the choicest cuts go to market. With two chest-sized freezers in one of the barn to store their meat, it is a variety of bone-in cuts, and the chunks of fat are left on and happily devoured. Making hay takes a lot of energy:-)
  • Post #28 - July 18th, 2006, 10:26 pm
    Post #28 - July 18th, 2006, 10:26 pm Post #28 - July 18th, 2006, 10:26 pm
    Mike G wrote:Meaning the old Milwaukee location? Or has the "La Bonita" one on Western closed too?

    Mike,

    I'd guess the old Milwaukee location.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #29 - July 18th, 2006, 10:28 pm
    Post #29 - July 18th, 2006, 10:28 pm Post #29 - July 18th, 2006, 10:28 pm
    Add Evil Ronnie and I to the afficionados of this place. We just returned from an absolutely delightful experience. We ordered many of the same dishes mentioned in previous posts including the borrego in mole negro....and they ran out! Que lastima! So we substituted enchiladas in mole roja...sabrosas! Then, being addicted to sugar products, I wanted the flan....which they were out of, too. However, I was told next time I come in, it's on the house. The atmosphere from the minute we walked in was warm and very welcoming. ER and I will be back very soon.

    p.s. There was a couple mentioning to Carlos they read about the place on LTH!
  • Post #30 - July 18th, 2006, 10:29 pm
    Post #30 - July 18th, 2006, 10:29 pm Post #30 - July 18th, 2006, 10:29 pm
    gleam wrote:I haven't seen it mentioned yet.. what cut of meat is the lamb in mole negro? Shank? Leg?

    annieb wrote:The lamb was a bone-in cut, can't say what particularly. Not shank, not leg. Perhaps shoulder or bone in chuck.

    Ed,

    What Annie said. :)

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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