Monday, March 22, 2010

Guelaguetza: That Oaxacan Swagger

Its Sunday morning (or rather afternoon in my case), you just woke up and you find yourself absolutely famished. To say that you’re stomach is ready for food is a different argument, its not very happy with you after how you treated it last night. Was it beer before liquor or liquor before beer? Throw in a 3AM snack of Soon Tofu soup or Tacos de Tripa and it doesn’t really matter anymore.

Hmm…what to eat, what tooo eat?! A plate of 2+2+2 doesn’t sound too appetizing; you’ve had eggs every other day this week. And Menudo? Well, you’ve never really been fond of the offal soup to be honest, and you don’t feel like getting full of the pure hominy yet again…it’s a childhood thing.

What is left? Barbacoa.

Lamb: Its What's For Breakfast!

Whole pieces of lamb, roasted in Maguey Leaves and seasoned according to region. Its food for the sake of mere sustenance, meaty protein seems like a godsend when you’re all cruda (hungover as all hell). Its just something about food you could just gnaw at, you know, hold it by the bones and abandon table manners for while . The time of hunters and gatherers is long gone but at least you get a feel for it for it with the bone-in, Guajillo chile rubbed Barbacoa at Guelaguetza.

Here, it is served with generous sides of lard-kissed black beans, a light Tomatillo infused Guacamole and a broth chock full of al dente string beans, carrots and comforting chunks of potato.


To wash down—and help your poor little liver detox—a splendid Oaxacan style horchata. B.S aside, its my favorite version at the moment, with an opaque pink hue thanks to the dash of tuna (“red prickly pear”) syrup and a handful of neatly chopped pecans pieces, the version here is sans milk, giving it a more rustic texture and interesting, lighter taste.

Last time I was here was a lamb-intensive week though, wasn’t craving the gamy beast actually. So, I decided to be annoying and ask if was possible to make me a custom version of Pulpo Endiablado. They did. It was splendid, chock full of smoky, lean chunks of cephalopod and braised onions. And now, its on the regular menu…

pulpo enchipotlados
Smoky Tentacles

The 8th st. restaurant location has just recently been passed down to Fernando Lopez Jr. , the twenty-two year old son of the founder of the Guelaguetza empire. He is part of the new generation of restaurateurs, working those daily ten hour shifts with ceaseless bravado...and still partying 'till the break of dawn.

Fernando Lopez
Embroded Emblem, White Collar And All: Fernando Doesn't Mess Around

Its always a good thing to see a restaurateur eating his own food, I think. What specifically does he eat?

molcajete chapulin chico
Chapulines: Grasshopers Can Be Comfort Food Too!

He makes me a simple taco bite of his favorite way of having them. He smears some freshly steamed tortillas with those unctuous black beans, sprinkles a pinch-full of the bugs, and finishes off with some salty Quesillo (Oaxacan String Cheese) that Guelaguetza imports themselves.

chapulin taco
Un Taquito De Chapulin: Beautiful

As I relish the bug taco. He tells me about one thing he "always has to have": Sweets (as he points to his food baby impregnated stomach).

dessert course
Desserts At Guelaguetza

Golden fried plantains in condensed milk are crispy in the edges here. And flans come in every flavor, traditional, coffee and a ChocoFlan where it suddenly becomes a strata with a layer dense chocolate cake.

I love this guy.

(Barbacoa only available on Weekends)

8TH Street
3337 ½ W. 8th st.
Los Angeles CA 90005

tel: 213.427.0601

3014 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

tel: 213.427.0608

Plaza Mexico
11215 Long Beach Blvd #1010

tel: 310.884.9234


Daily Gluttony said...

Lamb for breakfast sounds A-OK to me.

BTW, beautiful photos. New camera?

glutster said...

Daily Gluttony:

Not to mention pretty damn lean! ;)

and yup, its still like whatever but it'll do for now (saveur money actually, he he)

burumun said...

Wow, nice new camera :)
The barbacoa and horchata pictures are awesome.

hotpinkmanolo said...

Great post!! I love Guelaguetza! My boyfriend is Oaxacan and anytime he wants a taste of home we stop there.

And guelaguetza itself has such a beautiful meaning:

Jin said...

yummy! i love their horchata... also, where can i buy tuna? i've been looking for it but apparently not in the right places.

MyLastBite said...

Could totally go for a plate of the Pulpo Endiablado pre workout!!

Christina said...

"Lard-kissed", ahahah!

I actually have been leaning towards eating more savory foods for breakfast, so all of this sounds really good to start the day off!

Lo said...

Lard-kissed black beans... the sheer simplicity will get me every time. Of course, so will lamb. And anything rubbed with Guajillo is pretty difficult to resist.

Love the photos!

glutster said...

burumun, hot pink, last bite, christina, lo:

thanks! I don't know how I went so long without a dSlR, ha ha.


Tunas are pretty seasonal, I've seen them out of season at douchebag stores like bristol farms sometimes though...but, you're better off just waiting a couple more months and come to East LA market :)

weezermonkey said...

Great pics!

I want the chapulines!

Gastronomer said...

LOVE barbacoa! And love your vivid photos!

Eddie Lin said...

wha happen'd to da huitlacoche mcmuffin?

authentacity said...

Looks sooooo good.

Aaron said...

I agree with the comments before. "Lard-kissed" made me smile, and the pictures are fantastic. I've gone to Guelaguetza and haven't eaten so well. Though I always thought their moles were pretty good. Guess I have to know the owner. Never seen a tuna horchata though. I'm still a little confused. Is barbacoa typically lamb or sheep?

Food GPS said...

Solid write-up, but promise me you'll never use the expression "food baby" again. That's messed up.