(This restaurant is closed temporarily due to a fire.)
There’s a temptation, when writing about Rocio Camacho, to focus on her hop scotch across the Los Angeles landscape, landing in three different restaurants in slightly more than that same amount of time.
Clearly, I haven’t been able to resist that temptation.
I first met Rocio Camacho through her cooking during her year-long stint at La Huasteca in Lynwood CA. I instantly proclaimed her mole to be the best I ever tasted outside of Mexico. Lynwood is a bit of a schlep from where we live, but we made the journey several times. I love mole that much ever since I learned to appreciate it when I spent a lot of time in Mexico during my single years a long time ago.
I was disappointed when I learned Rocio had left La Huasteca. Disappointment turned to glee, however, when she opened her own restaurant in Sun Valley CA, just a 20 minute non-freeway drive from our home.
The new restaurant is a long way from La Huasteca in a lot of ways beside just their addresses. La Huasteca is in the vibrant Plaza de Mexico with its dramatic fountain, surrounding shops and weekend crowds of families. And the restaurant is big and lively with wonderful mariachi music. Rocio’s Mole de los Dioses is next to a gasoline station in a commercial neighborhood.
The mole made the journey from Lynwood to Sun Valley in great shape. The menu lists a dozen different moles at any given time, some sweet, some spicy, some a combination of the two. Mole Oaxaqueno is prepared with 31 ingredients; Mole de los Dioses is the restaurant’s signature; Mole poblano is a sweet mixture of three different types of dry peppers. Rocio claims to have some 100 moles in her repertoire. The moles are served on plates of pork, veal, chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon, or white fish, all with steamed white rice and vegetables.
I’ve stuck with the mole dishes each time we’ve been there. Jennifer recently ordered Enfrijoladas Oaxaquenas – two tortillas filled with cheese and covered with black bean sauce service with grilled skirt steak and guacamole. She loved it; my taste from her plate was wonderful.
Among the many appetizers is a terrific guacamole served mild, medium or spicy. Rocio also does a wonderful ceviche. Tortillas a green, made from cactus.
You can find carne asada, enchiladas, tacos, and quesadillas on the menu, but you have to sort through a hefty array of other items that you won’t find in traditional Mexican-American restaurants.
The first time we were at Rocio’s in Sun Valley we were one of only two parties there for dinner on a Friday night. Over the months the crowds seem to have grown and last time we were there, also on a Friday night, the restaurant was about half full at dinner time.
Before opening the place in Sun Valley, Rocio opened another place by the same name at 6242 Maywood Ave., in Bell.