We've combed the West for the very best flavor experiences, all worthy of a culinary pilgrimage
Photo by Brian Yarvin/the food passionates/Corbis
Nothing quite compares to moles—those rich, smooth, complex Mexican sauces made of chiles, spices, fruits, nuts, and sometimes chocolate that are used in all kinds of dishes. Outside their Oaxacan birthplace, you can try fantastic moles at Guelaguetza, an early standout among L.A.’s Oaxacan restaurants—now dozens strong—and arguably still the best. At their original Koreatown location and second spot on Plaza Mexico in Lynwood, the smoky mole negro—jet-black from several different dark dried chiles, plus chocolate—comes ladled over chicken, a tamale, or as one of four festival de moles (the others are rojo, with red chiles; coloradito, with roasted chiles; and estofado, with raisins and olives). Beyond the moles, be sure to try the clayudas: crisp, platter-size tortillas topped with black beans, asiento paste (a Oaxacan seasoning made from pork fat), and Oaxacan cheeses.