A little while ago, a friend invited me to the annual Mole to Die For tasting contest at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco. I was promised that there would be tons of abuelas furiously battling it out for mole supremacy, but much to my dismay, not a single grandmother was there cooking up a secret family recipe. Instead, volunteers manned the slow cookers. Out of the 11 moles I tried, none blew my mind—though rich and spicy, they were all too chocolaty for my taste.

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