The Great White Hunter and I were on a Meat Adventure and we needed some nourishment. ‘El Molino Central’ in Boyes Hot Springs, California has been a destination restaurant and on my bucket list of ‘go to’ restaurants. El Molino has been written up, reviewed and praised by numerous magazines and food television shows. They specialize in seasonal Mexican food with their specialty of freshly ground corn masa for tortillas and tamales. If you have ever had a tortilla made with fresh masa you will understand the appeal and the promise of a ethereal Mexican food experience. The Great White Hunter agreed to drive and as I like to, say chauffeur us to El Molino Central.
The Great White Hunter was driving so we did not park right in front but across the street. El Molino is a fairly small place. We went through the front door into a small room with a signboard menu counter/register and a refrigerator with to-go items. I knew there was seating outback so I suggested we walk around the building. We went into a covered patio with picnic tables. Outdoor heaters made this a very warm and cozy dining area. We did not see any waitresses so we asked some fellow diners how to order our food. They told us to proceed through the door and walk right through the kitchen back to the front and order. They would bring the food to you.
It was a little strange walking through the kitchen. You definitely get up close and personnel to your future meal. We place our order and bought several menu items to share. The menu was titled “Early Spring Menu”. El Molino is famous for their tamales so one was ordered. Chips and Salsa was an extra cost but very worth the expense. We went back through the kitchen and believe it or not the Great White Hunter was on good behavior by not sampling everything he passed by.
Our food was brought promptly. One dish was a “Chile Relleno” with three cheeses. The sauces covering the egg battered cheese stuffed chile was fantastic. A lot of layers of flavor; pepper, cheese, egg and finally sauce made this almost a great dish. Unfortunately the egg batter was a tad greasy. We shared some fantastic lamb tacos. This lamb was tender and mild in flavor. The tortilla was also a key player in this dish.
We ordered a large portion of guacamole. It may have not been necessary because our dish came with a generous scoop of guacamole on the side. We also ordered chips and salsa. The salsa was a roasted chile and tomatilla mixture. It was a little on the sweet side but very tasty. The tortillas chips were very thick and also on the greasy side which made them not so desirable. I ordered a side order of tortillas which also was in excess because the entrée included these wonderful discs of masa wonderfulness. Chalk this up for future ordering procedures.
The tamale was the star of the show today. This tamale was packed and I mean packed with spicy tender pork. What really made this dish shine was the masa that surrounded the meat. It had the fresh corn flavor with a smooth lovely texture with just enough richness from most likely lard that made me swoon with tamale bliss. It was accompanied with a cabbage type slaw to cut the richness.
El Molino Central is warm welcoming hand shake of fresh masa and fresh ingredients for a wonderful Mexican meal. Walking through the kitchen is a little quirky but the tamale trumped all transgressions. (Greasy egg batter). “I shall return”, said this Mad Meat Genius. There are more menu items to explore. I will be sure to order another fantastic tamale too.