Rocio Camacho is the Los Angeles mole master. She first rose to prominence as partner and executive chef at Moles La Tia, where she presided over a massive menu of more than a dozen moles, carefully paired with a variety of meats. She’s moved around to a few other restaurants, and even consulted and developed moles for other chefs.
Now she’s back, with her newest restaurant: Rocio’s Mole de los Dioses (“Rocio’s Mole of the Gods”). At the restaurant’s two branches, you can taste a wider variety of moles than anywhere else in Los Angeles. Perhaps the best bet for a first-timer is the mole sampler, which consists of a meat plate and small servings of six moles.
pleasurepalate‘s favorite mole was the salsa de mezcal y gusano de maguey, a bold, spicy, citrus-y mole centered around the flavor of real mezcal. Other great moles include the sweet mole de café, which pairs perfectly with shrimp, and the dessertlike salsa de mandarina, a mole flavored with mandarin oranges. “Chef Rocio’s moles had a silky smooth texture that [was] amazing. Each of the moles also had their own distinct flavors that were layered and complex,” pleasurepalate says.
Dommy misses some favorites from the old Moles La Tia—the vegetable soup at the new restaurant didn’t live up to expectations, but the veggie plate with huitlacoche sauce was a hit. “OMG. It was stunning. The sauce was so complex and velvety. The mix of veggies perfectly cooked and inside a little ball of gooey cheese. So earthy but still felt indulgent,” Dommy says. “One of my favorite veggie plates of all time.”
The queso con chorizo is one of the best renditions pleasurepalate has ever had, and the empanadas have a flaky crust and nicely seasoned fillings. Even the huitlacoche has a lovely smokiness, says pleasurepalate.
The horchata is also worth a try: It’s freshly made from condensed, evaporated, and whole milk, with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, and fresh cactus syrup. But even better is the Bebida de los Dioses (“drink of the gods”), a freshly made concoction of cacao, cinnamon, corn, vanilla, and almonds, ground together until smooth. It’s cold, refreshing, and perfect for a hot summer day.
Skip the cochinita pibil and lamb barbacoa tacos, though. This isn’t the place for that sort of thing—it’s all about the sauces.
Update, December 15, 2017: Rocio’s Sun Valley location burned down in 2015 and the Huntington Park location is now another restaurant, but she currently runs Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen, added below.
Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen
7891 Garfield Avenue, Bell Gardens
Rocio’s Mole de los Dioses in Sun Valley [San Fernando Valley – East] — CLOSED
8255 Sunland Boulevard, Sun Valley
Header image courtesy of Rocio's Mexican Kitchen.