Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chiles & Chocolate

after Beth & Coleen's wedding, Priya & Jonathan & I went to Chiles & Chocolate, a Oaxacan restaurant fairly close to my home, on 7th Ave in Park Slope. During our Montreal trip some months back, Priya had barely eked out a win kicked my ass in a series of Scrabble games we played on the train ride up. The agreed-upon prize was this dinner, and although it was a couple of months late, Priya was claiming her due.

we waited a few minutes to get a seat in the heavily air-conditioned rear tent; after being outside in Beth & Coleen's backyard all afternoon, sweating, we figured it was worth it. although crowded at first, it cleared out as we ate.

we split an order of guacamole ($8) with a side of chapulines (grasshoppers, +$1) to start. the guacamole was good, although a bit oniony; because the orangey salsa they gave us for free at the table was so good, though, we ended up taking a large quantity of the guac home. the grasshoppers were also pretty good, though a bit strange. they had a heavy chipotle flavor, smoky and spicy, and maybe a bit sour (lemon?). Priya was afraid of getting one with liquid in the fat abdomen, but I think they were pretty well dried out and crunchy. alone, they were a bit much--kind of like eating just a little dried chipotle pepper with no accoutrements--but they were excellent on a chip, with a blob of guacamole. added a chipotle spice to it...

I also had a watermelon agua fresca, and it was pretty much what you'd expect--good, fresh, not too sweet, obviously made from fresh watermelon but not too watery.

there were three kinds of mole on the menu, and we ordered one of each type. I got the mole amarillo (yellowy) with roast pork, Priya got the mole coloradito (reddish) with chicken enchiladas, and Jonathan got the mole negro (black) with chicken enchiladas. the amarillo sauce was absolutely delicious--it was made with a pumpkin seed base, and tasted a little fruity, kind of like Japanese curry. it also had chunks of potato mixed in it, which kind of enhanced the Japanese-curriness. I thought the pork itself could have been a little bit saltier and more flavorful, but the mole sauce itself was so delicious it more than made up for it. the mole negro was pretty strong, not bitter exactly, but not something I could have eaten a whole plate of (Jonathan seemed to agree, and took home half his food--in fact, we all took home half of our entrees). Priya described hers as exactly what she'd wanted--not too dark-tasting, slightly sweet, well-rounded...

for dessert we split a flan. it was fantastic! Jonathan had kind of pressured us to order the flan (because he was a flan-atic, ha ha) and I'm glad he did. it was much denser than other flans I've had before, not at all woobly and floppy like those Japanese fruit puddings you get in cups at the really had to kind of bite through it and almost pull it apart? it was sweet, but not sickeningly so. Priya remarked that it was probably the best flan she'd ever had.

all told, the meal was $87 with tax & tip, including only a single beer for Jonathan. not bad! hope I can get back before I move out of the area in August.

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