Best Mole Negro Oaxaqueno, August 2013
Oaxacan cuisine is the new black in what we could start calling “Oaxacalifornia,” and that's largely due to the Mexican state's unparalleled mole negro. Toasted chiles, spices, chocolate, and myriad other ingredients are ground into a paste, usually fried in lard, and blended with chicken stock. Tradition dictates that the inky sauce's only accompaniments be a small scoop of white rice and a boiled chicken leg, and at Las 7 Regiones de Oaxaca, that's just how you'll find it. Long, oval plates are blanketed with a velvety mole that's not too sweet (there's nary a hint of Hershey's), allowing the sauce's nearly 20 components to become a seamless slurry, with a bright flavor that belies its somber hue.