Friday, February 11, 2011

Not The Usual Pub Grub @ Cantina Mayahuel

It was a comment from Mooweisqrd of Adventures of an Amateur Foodie on my past Super Cocina post that led me to visit and try the Mole con pollo at Cantina Mayahuel. Turns out they were only a few minutes away from my University Heights neighborhood. Lunch starts at 12-noon and I'm always in the mood in trying a new mole sauce in town so there I was a few days later.

The grilled chicken with mole dish is offered as a special ($14) on Tuesdays and Fridays.

There's a choice of red or black but you can ask for a half-and-half which seems to be very popular. The dark mole was a decadent deep dark chocolate in flavor with additional layers of various dried chili peppers and countless ingredients that I couldn't possibly list if I tried. My second experience of the dark was much sweeter and I preferred my first since I thought it complemented the spicier but also sweet red mole.
The sauces completely smother a lean but moist grilled chicken breast and comes with some garlic flavored rice, stewed black beans and tortillas (which you'll definitely need to finish all that rich mole). I managed well but might be better to share for some, especially with one or more of their quality tequila based drinks. (CM is 100% agave tequila heaven BTW..)

The three for $5 street tacos are offered as a special on certain days as well. Choice of beef, chicken or pork. Here tried the carnitas.

The doubled mini tortillas were loaded to the edges with lean but very moist carnitas and topped with some very fresh chopped onions and cilantro. You know I'm so used to TJ-style tacos being a bit more heavy handed and tossed together, when I got these carefully assembled gems it took me a bit of getting used to. ;) The pork may have been slightly underseasoned but the quality and fresh taste certainly made up for it.

I never had tamales heated on the grill before but they were here ($3). Fillings were poblano chiles and cheese (rajas con queso).

This was quite good. The only small resistance I faced was the logistics of getting the sweet masa and tasty cheese that were stuck to the grilled corn husks cleanly off (and I wanted to devour every ounce of it!). Aside from it the play of crunchy vs. steamed in texture and flavor was really great.

My most recent meal was the Chile Colorado Tequila Style (Thursday special) for dinner. Since this takes several hours of stewing it may not be ready at 12 sharp for lunch, fyi.

Whoo wee, this plate equally rivaled that of the mole for "best to share" category maybe. If not for its richness, for its sheer quantity. The savory deep and smokey flavors had penetrated throughout every tender beef morsel. Every spoonful of rice and beans that was at my disposal was put to full use. In fact I practically squeegeed the plate clean with the last tortilla.

No picture but their Guac I thought was very good too I had one evening with friend along with a couple $5 house margaritas. The torta sandwhiches I've seen some having looked fantastic as well but I think my next visit to the Cantina you had me at Mole-huel, I'll be having one of their salads with agave-sesame-peanut-ginger vinaigrette. I'll have to try their Cevieche too..(!)

Cantina Mayahuel, 2934 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116


K and S said...

I would've probably run a fork or my teeth along the tamale wrapper :) everything looked so tasty!

Dennis K. said...

Haha, nice Kat! I would've used my teeth too if the place wasn't such a stylish bar... ;)