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It’s Pozole Season in L.A., Here’s Where to Find a Good Bowl: Verde

Welcome to L.A. Taco’s Pozole Week! Every day this week, we are celebrating a different style of the hominy and meat stew that really hits the spot when it is cold out, and share some delicious spots in Los Angeles to try it. For our first day, we are celebrating pozole verde, the jungle-green, herbaceous variation of the hominy and meat stew that originated in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Grab a bowl and join us.

[dropcap size=big]P[/dropcap]ozole season is nigh. 

Studies show (not really, but imagine) that around this time fridges in Mexican households are a game of chance. Margarine container? No. It’s pozole. Sour cream? Nope. You ran out three weeks ago, it’s pozole. Again.

Pozole is a dish that’s usually associated with celebrations, gatherings, and holidays. That’s an improvement (depending on who you ask of course) considering that the origins of the dish used to call for four portions of human meat.

Pozole comes from the Nahuatl word pozolli which translates to “frothy” or “boiled” and was a ceremonial dish. According to Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, in the 1500s, he saw the human-meat-stew (then known as tlapozonalli) offered to Moctezuma at a festival honoring the sun god. But the protein eventually changed to pork because it is rumored to taste similar—effectively destroying the human meat economy. The pre-hispanic dish is one of the most popular dishes in Mexican gastronomy. There are several iterations throughout Mexico: red, green, and white. The differences are seen regionally through variance in proteins, spices, and chiles.

Each pozole on the list has its own distinct identity.

There is no better dish that signals the end of the year better than pozole. The bounty of pozole housed in a huge pot is a symbol of unity in my family. There is always enough for everyone.

Note: Most of these locations only serve pozole during the weekend, so plan ahead.

Verde

A bowl of pozole verde at Chicharroland.

Chicharroland

Contrary to what the name might suggest, it is not a theme park dedicated to fried pork skin. This charming restaurant in South Central specializes in, you guessed it, chicharrón. On weekends they offer two different pozoles: rojo which is pork-based and their verde which is chicken-based. The pozole verde has a formidable broth that is more subtle than what you’ve probably encountered. It leans more on the strength of the chicken broth with a subtle taste of tomatillos and cilantro. Little greenish beads of rendered chicken fat swirl after each hearty spoonful. It can probably a little spicier, sure, but it’s nothing some chile flakes on the table can’t fix.

4714 S Main Street, Los Angeles, 90037. Pozole is only served on weekends.

A bowl of pozole verde at Cacao Mexicatessen.

Cacao Mexicatessen 

Cacoa Mexicatessen is a few years shy, if not already, from becoming a classic L.A. restaurant. They were the first on the scene to bring duck carnitas back in 2010, and their pozole verde is equally enticing. Just from a glance, you can sense the weight of the pozole. The caldo is cloudy green with a spicy punch. It has a strong porky presence and barely any hint of the grano (hominy). Speaking of granos, there’s plenty hidden under the broth, and they are cooked just right—slightly firm and not overly gummy: al diente. This place gets bonus points for offering a super-solid local craft beer list as well as Mexican wine.     

1576 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles, 90041. (323) 478-2791. 

A bowl of pozole verde at Pez Cantina.

Pez Cantina

Pez Cantina has a fantastic pozole verde. This place flies low, mostly catering to downtown power lunchers and executives blowing off steam after work via their enticing happy hour menu, but don’t sleep on their pozole. The broth is on the thicker side and there are moments when you wonder what percentage of the caldo is just salsa verde. (If you’ve caught yourself with tendencies to sip on your taqueria’s salsa verde cups, this pozole is for you!) It is a smaller portion but don’t let the size fool you because it packs a punch; slightly acidic from the tomatillos but spicier than expected. While it’s not ridiculously spicy, the heat builds with each spoon of the thick green broth. It’s a chicken-broth but not overly chicken-y one. The hominy is well-cooked but barely noticeable in the bowl. In many ways, it feels like a version of pozole verde distilled into a powerfully small bowl.

401 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071, United States. (213) 258-2280. Pozole is only served on Saturdays.

More pozole variations covered this week and where to find it in Los Angeles.

Rojo (Red)

Pozole blanco (White)

Vegan

Pozole taco

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