… or, How I was Enamored by The Mission Cantina’s Mole Sauce
Second, I had an incredible encounter with one of the restaurant stands there, right around the corner from “Bethenny” – The Mission Cantina. Bethenny stood out from the rest of the Real Housewives of New York City from the start. She had that X-factor that drew the audience to her in an unparalleled way. Same with The Mission Cantina. Their Mole was unlike any I’ve ever tasted – and truly set their food apart from virtually all others at the event for me. So I had to ask the owner, George Abou-Daoud, about the Mole – and his restaurant.
Owner George Abou-Daoud (with his girls!)
As it turns out, George has a burgeoning restaurant empire, which includes:
- The Mission Cantina – As George says, it’s “a bar with good food.” In Hollywood, it’s a local hangout with dozens of tequilas along with homemade Mexican food (including that Mole I mentioned)
- The Bowery – LA’s first Gastropub and home of the Famous Bowery Burger
- Delancey – a Pizzeria in Hollywood, in the same neighborhood as The Mission Cantina and The Bowery. It’s patterned after the classic pizzerias and Italian restaurants of the East Coast.
- Rosewood Tavern – in Fairfax Village, it specializes in Chops, Ales and Fine Scotch … with a similar feel to The Bowery (as Eater said, a “hip neighborhood pub feel”).
- The Mercantile Wine Bar – a “wine bar and a cheese place” serving lunch, dinner and brunch items.
Whereas most Mole I’ve tried is super rich, gooey, sweet and chocolaty, this Mole was spicy, layored, balanced and inviting. According to George, the secret is grilling and/or roasting all ingredients separately before adding them to the sauce. If I add a Mole to my DeathbedFood list, this Mole would be it.
I admit: I have a bit of the LA Westside complex (aka “The 405 Disease”). It’s not that I’m opposed to Hollywood, Downtown and the like … it’s just that, like many in L.A., I hate traffic and “crossing the 405″ (technically probably La Brea). But, if I want to be a full-fledged Angeleno Foodie (which I do), then I need to venture East. Or, as Scott Conant counseled, I need to get out more.
Wow, did I just say I’m inspired to “go East” and fight traffic to try new restaurants? I think I did! That’s one of the best things about going to events like this … it inspires you to try new places, meet new chefs and expand your food universe. George, thanks for offering the Mole at The Taste … I’ll be in soon!