March-April 2019 | Food & Drink

In the Mood for Mexican

Here are 10 offerings that highlight the crunchy, cheesy, citrusy, picante deliciousness of Mexican dishes and the food inspired by them

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Photo by Deb Lindsey.


Enchiladas De Mole at Tia Queta

At Tia Queta, a Bethesda mainstay since 1980, owner Roberto Montesinos knows most guests, sometimes three generations’ worth, by name. A signature dish at the restaurant is enchiladas de mole—folded corn tortillas stuffed with roasted chicken that are sauced with traditional Oaxacan black mole, topped with Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese and broiled until the cheese is bubbly. Raw white onions and chopped fresh cilantro are final adornments. (Montesinos hails from the Mexican state of Oaxaca.)

“To make the mole, we mash mulato, ancho, guajillo and pasilla peppers using the same wooden mallet we’ve used for 25 years,” says Andrew Montesinos, Roberto’s 31-year-old son, who manages the business now. “Then we simmer that with a sauce made with charred tomatoes and white onions, peanuts, sesame seeds and raisins, and then blend it with an immersion blender until smooth. We add roasted plantains for sweetness and then, at the end, Mexican chocolate spiced with cinnamon and cloves.” It takes a full day to do that. Then they let the flavors meld overnight and cook the sauce even more the next day to concentrate its bold, complex flavor, evident in every bite.

Tia Queta, 4839 Del Ray Ave., Bethesda; 301-654-4443;