I woke up last Sunday morning with a craving for dim sum and Chindian, which is why we found ourselves at the entrance of Mi Pueblo for dinner.
Ten years ago, we went to their east side location on Euclid Ave near the Euclid Tavern and Case Western Reserve University. Bug wasn't impressed at the time so we didn't return until just a few weeks ago to the west side location on Lorain Ave. We have patronized the mercado adjacent to the west side location over the years, however. This is where I discovered that fresh chicharrones are so buttery!
When Bug finally woke up at 4 p.m., we drove over to the mercado and bought Mexican chocolate, dried guajillo and ancho chiles, then popped in next door for dinner.
We walked in and slid into a booth. There was a large party in full swing, so a feeling of dread washed over me. Rojo and verde salsa arrived with a basket of chips and our menus a couple of minutes later. The chunky tomatillo salsa is piquant and complements the spicier, earthy (from ?cumin) and a touch grainy red sauce.
On our previous visit, we were served a small platter of pickled carrots and onions. The carrots were vinegary, rubbery-crunchy as expected from slices of thick-cut pickled roots. Its absence was mourned on this trip.
To tame the slow burn, horchata ($1.95), a nutty, sweetened rice water, was helpful. The drink is thicker and smoother than the glass I drank at Ohio City Burrito, the only other place I've tried horchata.
Three special dishes are served on Saturdays and Sundays only:
:: Menudo ($7.95) -- tripe beef soup served with cilantro, onions, and tortillas
:: Birria estilo jalisco ($9.95) -- goat soup served with cilantro cebolla and tortillas
:: Birria estilo Michoacan ($10.95) -- steamed goat served with mole, tomatillo sauce, Spanish rice, and refried beans
Birria estilo Michoacan piqued my curiosity so I ordered this. A minute later, the waitress returned, informing me they were out. Being Sunday, I considered the possibility so I had already picked a 2nd choice; their delicious carne adobada ($13.95), a dish I enjoyed the first time we ate there several weeks ago.
Bug and I typically avoid ordering the same dish at restaurants so we can share. He was apparently so impressed with my carne adobada last time, he ordered it. I scampered to find a 3rd choice -- pollo en mole poblano ($10.95) was an immediate 3rd. I love the choices here!
My eyebrows jumped when my platter arrived. Yikes, that's a lot of mole! The thick sauce is a bit overwhelming at first, not in spiciness but in its complexity and strength; smoky and slightly bitter, then peppery, followed by a subtle sweet and nutty flavor.
Their Spanish rice is faintly salty and sweet. I like the refried beans because it has some texture to it since the beans aren't completely pulverized and isn't as sweet. With the sprinkle of tangy cheese, perhaps cotija, the refried beans are an experience if you're used to the almost peach puff (pink) mash, with a mild sweet tone, and covered in "Mexican cheese."
Four fresh corn tortillas were brought with my order. They aren't the typical flat, dry, and chewy tortillas, but thick, soft, and moist flaps of corn with a little char on the skin. On both visits, I discovered myself eating one by itself.
Three moist, grilled breasts rested cozily under the blanket of mole. I was only able to finish 1-1/2, stuffed in tortillas with beans, and rice. Bug had an amazing midnight snack with my leftovers. Salad greens and cucumbers would have made this dish perfect for a variation in texture and temperature.
Bug's platter of carne adobada arrived. Grilled leeks, salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, raw onions, Spanish rice, refried beans, chunky guacamole, and tortillas accompany the grilled 10 oz steak. The beef is marinated in what tastes like a sauce composed of tomatoes, garlic, cumin, chiles, citrus, pepper, and salt.
The steak is cut to about 1/4" and served folded in half, transforming itself from a hunk of meat into a tender, slightly tangy, peppery, and smoky grilled steak, when rolled in the fluffy tortilla with lettuce, cucumbers, and rice, makes a wonderful meal in just a bite washed down with horchata.
The party had wrapped up 3/4ths through our meal. Service did not suffer at all. I am hopeful that we'll be returning on a Saturday so I can try the Michoacan dish. Perhaps I'll try one of 4 of their desserts! Pastel de 3 leches, cake made with 3 kinds of milk (usually condensed, evaporated, and whole milk), sounds luscious.
12207 Lorain Ave
Cleveland, OH 44111
Tel: 216 671-6661