Monday, July 23, 2012

On the Town - El Naranjo

A few weeks ago, we went out with some friends to try El Naranjo on Rainey St.  It used to be a food truck, but is now a restaurant in a cute little house.

Several of us wanted to go there because we had seen a couple of stories on TV about how wonderful the mole sauce is.  Michael and I saw a piece on Eat St. on the Cooking Channel and our friend saw this piece on a local TV network.  Their story is amazing and the challenges they have faced to get here are overwhelming to consider.  But we’re glad they are here!

The atmosphere is pleasant and laid back, but very well appointed.  And I love that the house has lots of windows, so there is an abundance of natural light.  We went on a Sunday evening - it was not crowded at all - and we sat in the main dining area but there is an outdoor area in the back that I would love to try when it’s cooler.

For appetizers, we got the Queso Fundido with Chorizo and our friends got the Molotes Veracruzanos.  We all shared and everything was delicious.  The queso was a thick, gooey cheese with delicious chorizo on top, served with corn tortillas.  And the Molotes (which I had never heard of before) where kind of like little tamales and were incredibly yummy!  When we go back, I will get the same thing because both of these dishes were fantastic.

For my main dish I got the Mole of the day (which had lots of spices and chocolate) with the pork tenderloin.  This dish was amazing!  I had never had mole before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I can tell you that it was so dark and rich and intense - like no sauce I’ve ever tasted.  There were so many flavors going on.  And the pork was perfectly cooked and super moist.  Also, once you try it, you’ll find it’s incredibly impressive that she uses no lard in her sauces!

Dessert was Tres Leches - which you simply can’t go wrong with.  But again it was the best one I’ve had.  It was moist and flavorful without being “soupy” which is often associated with tres leches.

If you live in Austin, I highly, highly recommend El Naranjo.  Below is a photo our friend took of his meal... I was too busy eating.  :)

Thanks for the photo, Dave!

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