photo credit: Jakob Layman
There are two key reasons why Tlayuda L.A. is a must-go when on the hunt for tlayudas. The first is the women-owned restaurant’s commitment to making everything from scratch, whether it’s their delicious moles, tortillas, frijoles, or even agua frescas. You can even get a stove-top Mexican coffee for when you wander in half-asleep searching for a Oaxacan breakfast. The second reason is that it’s one of the few (if not only) Oaxacan places that offers plenty of vegan and vegetarian options for you or your non-meat-eating friends. This even applies to their tlayudas, with their vegetarian version–which nixes the asiento (a.k.a the unrefined pork lard)–showcasing an assortment of sauteed bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini squash, along with more of the fantastic bean paste.
photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto
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Chilaquiles de Mole Negro
Instead of the usual chips, Tlayuda LA breaks up large bits of tlayuda for their chilaquiles, which is technically also a fried corn tortilla but just a smidge denser. The mole negro is sweet, decadent, and hits all the nutty and spicy notes we could ever ask for. Rather than stewing everything together, the mole gets poured over the tlayuda chunks, with the dish’s fried egg filling in all the sauce-less gaps with runny yolk.
We appreciate the pillowy softness of these freshly made memelitas, but the masa could use some salt. You still get plenty of flavor for the mildly salty queso fresco and bean paste, but the whole dish still feels like it has some untapped potential.
Vegan Mole Tacos
The vegan tacos here are made with hibiscus flowers, which get cooked down and stewed in a tangy, nutty mole sauce for a nice balance of flavors atop the fresh corn tortillas. Everything is nicely tart and sweet, with pieces of raw onion providing some nice bitterness and crunch.
What this tlayuda lacks in meat, it definitely makes up for in texture, with a whole assortment of vegetables like zucchini, grilled onions, and bell peppers arriving on top. There’s a whole lot of crunch going on here, but you also get some needed creaminess from the bean paste, quesillo, and thick slices of avocado. Make sure to add some salsa for a bit of zing.