Guelaguetza is a wonderful authentic Oaxacan restaurant in Korea Town that everyone should visit once in their life. It is a family restaurant where everyone from good babies and not-so-good babies to the best grandparents there are, and all the hungry friends in between, come to enjoy live music, specialty cuisine, and lively atmosphere.
Oaxacan food is different from the traditional Mexican food that I’m used to eating in Los Angeles. You will like it. I would say the biggest difference is the regional influences on standard items. While you might have a regular cheese quesadilla at your corner restaurant, you have to come to Guelaguetza to find a Flor de Cabesa quesadilla, which is especially yummy because it contains squash blossoms. Flowers can be food, and quite tasty food when they are combined with stringy cheese. I can’t wait until I have another one.
An appetizer of chips and salsa is enhanced by their homestyle Molé which, if you’ve never had it, is a sauce usually based in chili pepper mixed with almost twenty other ingredients, which can range from chocolate to garlic. I’m a big fan of putting sweet sauces on my savory dinner. In the Jewish culture, I put applesauce on my potato pancakes. This is just as good.
A nice thing about Oaxacan food is that you can share a few items family-style or order your own entree. This time, my granddaughters and I decided to share a little bit of everything. I was especially impressed by the guacamole, the sweet tamale, the cold, cactus salad, and their version of a thin-crust pizza which is topped with grilled mushrooms and black beans. Come to think of it, I was impressed with everything. And just because I give a lot of positive reviews does not mean that I don’t have high standards.
The beverages are really something to write home about. They are famous for their horchata, which is a rice-based cinnamon drink that they topped with nuts and strawberry. I usually don’t like cinnamon, and I was surprised to learn that they snuck it into my drink. But if they got away with it, its worth it. My grandchild ordered a fancy squash drink which reminds me of the Chinese Bobas that you drink with a big straw. Only this is better because it is made with fresh squash instead of processed jelly balls.
Be sure to save room for desert! If you have enough people at the table you can justify ordering their sampler desert platter which includes choco-flan, which I thought they invented at Tropicana Bakery in Downey, but happens to be very good here. It also comes with corn-based jello (which is really more appetizing than it sounds, in fact I loved it), and strawberries with salted cream. I’m a fan of anything with cream, so they had my attention from the beginning.
Next time, I will remember to order more food so I can take some home. The best part about this place is the overall experience of this friendly, lively place. It is not just a meal, it is a night out and that is exactly what we all look for. So get out and bring your best girl, and I know that you will enjoy it.
See this review and Cutie’s other dining adventures at Yelp:
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