Thursday, June 28, 2012

Angela's Cafe

          Angela’s Café is a tiny authentic Mexican restaurant in East Boston with a mix of casual and higher end menu options. I recently had the chance to try it with some foodie friends, and we had a great experience sampling a good portion of the menu! We were impressed by both the food and service, and almost as impressed by the fact that Guy Fieri had visited recently (and signed his name on the wall)!

          We started with several appetizers including an order of guacamole and the Favoritos de Angela, a sampler including several types of tacos, tostadas, and gorditas. The guacamole was some of the best in Boston. I've eaten a lot of guacamole lately that seems to be overwhelmed by the non-essential ingredients like onions or lime juice. This had the perfect balance of flavors to complement rather than overwhelm the taste of fresh avocado.

         Next, I tried both the chicken and the sausage gorditas. Although the sausage was my favorite I loved the mole sauce on the chicken so much that I decided to order the chicken mole as my entree!


Chicken Mole

          Next, I tasted each of the three tostadas. The shrimp ceviche was my favorite; the shrimp was incredibly fresh and had a light citrus flavor. The tinga was also very good, I loved the combination of the marinated steak and the cotija (as an aside, I've seen many places charge extra for cotija. Angela's included generous servings on several dishes). I enjoyed trying the nopales (cactus), which I'd never had before, but it just wasn't my thing. It was an interesting texture, the outside similar to a pepper or green bean and the inside more like a cucumber.

Shrimp Ceviche

Nopales (Cactus)

Tinga (Beef)

            The two tacos (arabe and al pastor) were the last of the appetizers and probably my two favorites. The arabe was more like a fajita than taco, it was stuffed full of roast pork, onions, and chipotle sauce. It had a great flavor, and wasn’t too spicy. The tacos al pastor were some of the best I’ve had (and as one of my favorite dishes, I try this any place I see it). The pork was tender, juicy, and had just the enough pineapple so that it wasn't overly sweet. It was served traditionally in two corn tortillas, and topped with onion and cilantro.

Al Pastor


          Just as I was finishing the apps, thinking I couldn’t possibly eat anymore, our server arrived with the entrees! I’m not sure how, but I rallied and managed to eat almost my entire plate of chicken mole. It was delicious and the mole sauce was unlike any I’ve had before. It included a mix of dried chiles, nuts, seeds, and sweet chocolate, and according to the menu was cooked over several days. The chocolate gave it a milder flavor so that it wasn't quite as bitter as other moles I’ve tried.

          Despite feeling full before my entrée arrived, I tasted three desserts: traditional flan, mango crepes with chocolate and caramel, and chocolate bread pudding. The flan was by far the group favorite, and some of us agreed the best flan we’ve ever had. The custard was the perfect texture, silky and creamy, and the caramel sauce went perfectly! The crepes were good, although the mango was a bit sweet for my taste. The chocolate, caramel, and coffee ice cream that came with it were less sweet and gave the dish some balance. The chocolate bread pudding was the least favorite, it was much too dense for bread pudding and although the texture was similar to a brownie or flourless cake it lacked the rich chocolaty flavor.



Bread Pudding

          Overall the meal at Angela's was excellent. While there were a couple of dishes I probably wouldn't order again, I enjoyed almost everything I tried. The big winner for the night was definitely the flan, but I would go back for the tacos, chicken mole, and to try a number of entrees that looked great on the menu!

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