Essential T: Tacos de Guisado at Ricardo Diaz’s New Colonia Taco Lounge

T is for Tesmole.

Chef Ricardo Diaz first got Los Angeles excited about guisados—stews, braises, and beyond in a taco—at the popular Boyle Heights taqueria: Guisados. Last year, Diaz and partner Armando de la Torre parted ways, giving de la Torre sole ownership of Guisados. Since the split, Diaz has converted one of his family’s Siete Mares restaurants into a new concept that’s even more more ambitious than his original menu at Guisados. Colonia Taco Lounge is Diaz’s new project. Set to open on August 1, it has a full bar with Mexican craft brew Cucapá on tap and fashionable cocktails. There’s even a cabaret license—Tito and Tarantula anyone?

The menu offers several interesting guisados, like the huevo chile—Diaz was inspired by a trip to Ciudad Valles, San Luis Potosi, where it’s known as huevo verde, or green eggs (no, it doesn’t come with ham!). Huevo verde was a favorite discovery recently on my own trip to Ciudad Valles just over a year ago

The best taste on the menu may be was Diaz’s pollo tesmole, a simple mole from Oaxaca’s Sierra Mazateca thickened with masa—oh yeah, Colonia Taco Lounge is taking us deep down South! Tesmole is the star of the taco here, where a mouthwatering blend of herbed and spiced chiles is supported by a slim amount of chicken strips, as it should be—mole is the star!

A significant improvement here at Colonia is the tortilla. They were too thick at Guisados, and ended up diluting the taco fillings. Here the guisados are at the forefront, and Chef Ricardo Diaz is back on top, dishing out bold regional Mexican flavors that were Born in East L.A. Colonia Taco Lounge, 13030 Valley Blvd., La Puente, (626) 363-4691