The Mole Poblano at La Tejana Taqueria
As a, uh, big boned kid, I was obsessed with the mole poblano at Pueblo Nuevo up in Hazelwood. My dad worked nearby, so we’d always go there for lunch on days we visited him. I’d get a grenade-sized beef empanada, two chicken mole enchiladas, and a Diet Coke, then just go to town on them. Any extra sauce leftover over was shoveled up with tortilla chips. That plate would go back to the kitchen looking like it was brand new. I was like a young Joey Chestnut.
From there, my obsession with mole grew—if it was on a menu, it was going in my belly. I met good moles. I met bad moles.
Not all that long ago, I (foolishly) thought, “If I can make my own curries, I can make my own mole!”
While it is technically true that I did in fact make a mole from scratch, it took what felt like a week of my life and required an entire aisle of groceries from Global Foods. I would describe the flavor of it as “disappointing.” After that day, I decided that mole was off the table for things I’d make from scratch. It was a dish best left up to the experts.
My first meal ever at Tejana was probably the kind of meal you imagine I eat daily—the table was absolutely covered in food. Tacos, gorditas, platos, margaritas, quesadillas. It was beautiful. As we were finishing our meal, Tyler Garcia, the son of owners Tony and Bren Garcia (and now the owner of the Locoz Taco Truck) came over with an off-the-menu dish: a gigantic burrito with their mole poblano inside. I was smitten instantly. So much so that I purchased a quart of it to-go, then took it home and dipped everything I could find in it. I’ve never been able to find the words to accurately describe it. The thick, almost mahogany colored sauce is nutty, chocolatey, spicy—but also sweet, with hints of warming spices like cloves and cinnamon. If I really just sit there and think about what I’m tasting, I turn into Violet from Willy Wonka, just announcing potential ingredents—"It’s guajillo chiles! And almonds! No…pepitas? Almonds and pepitas? Sesame seeds!”
Everyone knows that Tejana has bomb tacos. I’ve been at the taqueria multiple times when staff from other Mexican restaurants have been there eating. I’m just trying to spread the word about their mole, which I really do think you should try. You can get it either as an entree plate with bone-in chicken or as an enchilada platter—my go-to. Just order one less taco and share the dish for your taco buddy. If you don’t like it, well, we probably can’t be friends. Like the torta ahogada at Taqueria Durango, I can almost guarantee this is going to throw a wrench in your future ordering. I think it’s one of the tastiest bites in town.
La Tejana Taqueria
Don’t let the raw onion throw you off—it’s there to help cut through the richness of the mole.