Friday, November 03, 2006


Cafe Pasqual's

On this week's program of The Splendid Table, Lynn Rosetto Kasper interviewed the owner of Cafe Pasqual's, a restaurant in Santa Fe where I had the pleasure of dining in October of 2005. Rick had gone to Santa Fe with a group of friends in 2004 to help persuade swing voters in New Mexico to vote for John Kerry. I'm not sure how many folks they affected (the state still went red in the end), but they did eat at this amazing restaurant, Cafe Pasqual's. Rick loved it enough that he wanted to take me back.

So last year, we went on a road trip to eat at Cafe Pasqual's. Oh sure, we pretended that we were vacationing in the Santa Fe mountains and that we were going to New Mexico for the Taos Wool Festival. And while we did do those things, we really went for the food.

Oh my god, the food. We both ordered (and I quote from the menu here) Organic Tofu Mole Enchiladas with Calabacitas, Cilantro Rice, and Grilled Banana. (Tha'ts mole as in moe-lay, not the garden pests that would probably be organic but not very tasty. I'm sure y'all knew that already but if you are reading this before your morning coffee, you might do a double take). I had never had mole sauce before but was instantly enlightened about why people love it. I was practically rendered speechless by the flavors of this food. When I did speak, it was to say, "Oh my god. Oh my god." It was a little like that scene in When Harry Met Sally (y'all know the one), except I wasn't faking. And while I was a good girl and did not light up a cigarette afterward, I did call my mother to let her know I'd just had the best meal of my life.

Interesting...I had mole in of all places Mexico City. I did not care for it at all. Considering it has chocolate (although unsweetened) in it, that is a big shock! lol I did however, love the mariachi band that was playing for us.
I guess what I love about mole is the complexity of the taste. From what I've read since that meal, a typical mole sauce is comprised of anywhere from 20 to 40 ingredients. Also, the longer the sauce cooks down, the better, so a lot of sauciers (I have no idea if that is a word, but I like the way it sounds) will cook a mole sauce for twenty-four hours or more.

In the mole sauce from Cafe Pasqual's, the chocolate is very subdued. It's almost an afterthought, a nice surprise to complement the nutty and spicy flavors. However the hell they do it, I love it!
Justin digs the hell outta mole. That, and Abuelita's Mexican Cocoa. (
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