La Sandia – Mole Festival

November 25th, 2011

Before you say it, I know. My blog is called Indie Eats, and I focus on independently owned restaurants. While La Sandia is owned by the legendary Richard Sandoval and his restaurant group, which has restaurants all over the nation, it still maintains an extremely high standard of food and also does great things for the food community of Denver. Case in point: the Mole Festival, which has been going on for the past month or so.

The Mole Festival is designed to introduce people into flavors that they're not aware of, which is something that I try to do everyday. I have to admit, I really didn't know much about Mole to begin with. I didn't know that it was Mexico's national dish, and I also didn't know that there were so many different types of Mole. To be able to sit down with the Chef who engineered this menu, Ana Luisa Almazan, and enjoy course after course of completely different Moles, was a truly enlightening experience.

The experience had a perfect ambiance for an authentic Mexican experience, sitting at a long table on Dia De Los Muertos. Each course was paired with a beer, or wine and the food, conversations and experience as a whole was incredible. Check out the dishes below. Once again, I need to apologize for the level of photography. Believe me, these shots don't do this meal justice. Maybe it's time to step up my food blog game with a nice camera.

Mole Almendrado – Grilled Shrimp, Green Olives, Capers, and Chile Guero salsa. – This mole was made with almonds, and no chocolate (which most people expect from a Mole), and it was paired with La Victoria beer. A beer which I had never known, but am now very familiar with. :)

Mole Negro – Red Snapper Filet with a Sweet Corn Tamal – Pan seared goodness served with a Rose. This particular kind of Mole was the only one that I had before. Rich, warm, and complex flavors worked well with the Snapper and sweet tamal.


Mole Rojo – Chicken Enchliadas with Shaved Yellow Onions – Served with Pinot Noir, and was probably my favorite dish. Beautifully simple and amazing.

Mole Pipian – Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Refried Beans – Perfectly cooked tenderloin served with Tempranillo. This mole was made with fresh chiles, and was served with some of the best refried beans I've ever had.

Shared Dessert Tasting – As most of you know, I'm not a dessert person. My guest on the other hand, was, and pretty much took down a shared platter to himself. His tasting notes? "I just ate that entire thing of flan. It was soooooo good."

I've always been a fan of Richard Sandoval's restuarants. I love Zengo, and eat there on a regular basis. I had never been down to La Sandia before, but I assure you, I will be down there again. The atmosphere and decor of the actual building is breathtaking. They have an amazing view of the front range, as well as a killer menu, and top-notch libations.

The Mole Festival itself is really incredible. Not only for the eye-opening flavors, but also for the history involved. I highly recommend that you get down there and check it out.