Everybody loves cheese, but with fried grasshoppers? Add an impressive and flavorful selection of mole and you get, well, an average lunch in Los Angeles, I suppose.
In an attempt to fulfill our appetites (and yours) with only the best and most unique kinds of foods all over the country, and eventually the world, The Wanderer paid a visit to Guelaguezta, a colorful and very authentic Oaxacan restaurant located in the heart of Los Angeles. Known for it’s out-of-this-world mole, the restaurant’s menu items are as unique as its décor.
The architecture definitely stands out, making the location not just extremely appealing to those passing through, but also easy to find on w. Olympic Blvd. Inside, the walls and tables are adorned with fascinating Oaxacan culture.
Not your average chips and salsa
Let’s be real here. We all love going to Mexican restaurants and a big reason is the chips and salsa–let me clarify, the free chips and salsa. Well, have no fear, Guelaguezta has you covered, but not with your average mild salsa. Instead, the restaurant will give you chips drizzled in mole rojo sprinkled with queso cotija.
So much cheese!
Quesillo Fundido is an appetizer that will make any cheese lover’s head spin. With melted Oaxaca cheese and grilled chorizo, the item is very filling! So make sure you share it with friends! Its ooey-gooeyness was worth taking a photo of and not worth missing out on!!
Crunchy Fried Grasshoppers, hold the legs
This was a tough one, but I had to try it. Visitors should be warned though. This isn’t a cute little bed of lettuce with grasshoppers sprinkled on top; these are two tortilla chip bowls, (the size of my fist) FULL of fried grasshoppers! I was a little shocked when the server initially brought it to the table, but come on, what was I expecting?! The menu says ‘fried grasshoppers.’
After giving me a classic you’re on your own look, my boyfriend graciously offered to take the first bite. The grasshoppers, otherwise known as Chapulines A La Mexicana, which read: sautéed grasshoppers with jalapeños, onions, and tomatoes, were served with Oaxacan cheese and avocado, and came with corn tortillas. To our surprise, they were kind of tasty. At first I couldn’t handle the fact that I was eating something my bearded dragon considered a delicacy. It gave me the jitters just thinking about it, but once I had a few more bites over rice, I was happy I tried it!!
This is considered an appetizer, so I would definitely recommend sharing. And don’t be shy, add some cheese and avocado and you won’t even realize you’re eating bugs! This crunchy item goes great with the mole so make sure you save some for the main dish. But keep an eye out for the legs, they weren’t my favorite part, so I cut them off. Still not convinced? Well, it has a lot of protein if that helps!
Mole for days
I really wasn’t the biggest fan of Mole lover before I came here. I recently tried it and it wasn’t bad, but I just never loved it. Then I came here. I didn’t realize how many different flavors of mole there were and how it pairs so well with so many things! It’s great over almost anything!
The item came with four different flavors: negro, rojo, coloradito, and estofado, along with rice and a tlayuda (a giant tortilla-looking thing for those unfamiliar). Negro was bold and smokey, while the rojo was “the right combination of sweet and the typical strong mole flavor,” said my lovely boyfriend and videographer, Manny Andrade.
Estofado was my personal favorite. It had jalapenos and a more mild flavor. Coloradito was our least favorite, but still descent with a clash of sweet and bold flavors. “It tasted like they used chili Colorado in it, which is a red chili that’s used in a lot of very basic enchilada sauces. It was good, but not as good as the other three,” Manny added.
In the end, it was perfect for us to share and obvious why the restaurant is so famous for it.
Guelaguezta’s micheladas are too good to pass up and so is the price. $15 for a large carafe! And if you go on Fridays after 4, it’s bottomless! This spicy beer cocktail pairs great with all the menu items. It’s so popular, the restaurant sells the mix online and at their location. Just add beer!!!
Guelaguezta’s cultural uniqueness and culinary skill make it a standout restaurant and we’d recommended it for anyone visiting Los Angeles, or any local simply passing through. Visit Guelaguezta in Los Angeles for a small dose of culture and a large dose a flavor.
GUELAGUETZA, An advocate of Oaxacan Culture.