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Tepa Watsonville Recomendado report and Pipian!

Nathan P. | Feb 13, 200510:54 PM

After PolarBear and Carb Lover posted very positive reports on a new dish at Tepa Sahuayo I was feeling both jealous and out of the loop so I combined a little nature watching down at Elkhorn Slough with a lunch trip to Tepa Sahuayo this afternoon.

Wow, wow, wow. As previously posted the recomedado is this earthy dark stew of huiltachoche, and guajillo chiles with shrimp, corn and fried cheese. Deep complex flavors, the only comparison I can make is to a good mole though the flavors were different here. Frying the cheese is the step that makes this dish. THe crisp texture and concentrated cheese flavor made it stand up in the sauce and insured that it did not melt into oblivion. My only quibble would be that the shrimp got a bit lost. I would rather have a bit of veg in there for some freshness, more cheese or perhaps chicken or pork which would have more texture. Anyway this leaped way to the top of my list at Tepa.

Now the exciting new off the menu dish: Pipian!!
Jorge is very excited about this dish and with good cause. They are doing a pipian (pumpkin seed sauce) in 3 different versions; red, green and white. Jorge was most excited about the white version which he said is extremely rare but was, according to Jorge, an important part of meals put on by Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo. I chatted with him about ingredients and beyonf the pumpkin seeds I got mention of a rare chile (I think in the red version) and that the green had lots of herbs including Hoja Santa, Avacado leaf and epazote. The sauces were light and delicate with great texture. While you could taste that they were related, they were all fairly different and complex. The sauces were served simply with shrimp or with tamales. Now shimp are fine but these tamales were a unique (to me) version and great. There were 3 fillings; huiltacoche, shrimp and the turkey filling from the Chiles en Nogada. The masa was then stuffed into a roasted poblano and steamed so that the mild green chile flavor permeated the dough. Put these on the 3 pipian sauces and you have a great dish.

This place is a gem. Get there to try the Tamales w/ pipian or the recomendado.


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