I feel bad about posting a review about Mi Viejo Pueblito in the Highlandtown area of Baltimore now because just in the past week, the chef-owner Iveth who made all this great food has moved on. I see this now as a tribute to her former restaurant. I certainly wish good luck to the new owners.
I was lucky to have eaten a few times at the place for lunch. I really enjoyed their tortas and tacos. My favorite was the Tacos Árabes, braised fatty pork & skin wrapped in tortillas and dipped in Árabes sauce, a spicy chipotle based sauce with a lot of smoke and heat.
I also really liked their Oaxacan style tamale filled with chicken and delicious mole sauce.
Last month, I helped organize a dinner for local Chowhounders, and Iveth pulled out the stops. I told her to make authentic Mexican cuisine and she introduced us to some amazing new Mexican dishes.
We started with some snacks including Chapulines, grasshoppers fried up with just lemon and salt. It was my first time trying this traditional Oaxacan snack. They reminded me of small shrimp and had an earthy spicy flavor. We also tried some homemade Mexican candies that were chunks of dried fruits.
Chef Iveth was excited to make Esquites, a favorite dish for the winter. I is a soup made with kernels of corn, butter, and lime served with a glop of Mexican mayo and chili powder. It was like a soup version of the Mexican style roast corn on the cob.
We had picaditas, which are corn tortillas topped with different salsas, queso cheese and crema. They were like Mexican pizzas.
For the mains, we had several items: Lengua (tongue!) with your choice of salsas, an unforgettable Mole Poblano and Chicharron en Salsa Verde. The chicharron was soft and reminded me of the texture of tendon in pho.
I also had my first taste of Moronga, Mexican pork blood sausage, served in a tortilla boat.
I've been in touch with Chef Iveth, and I will be sure to let readers know when she returns to the kitchen, hopefully soon.
Wherever Iveth lands, I hope it's in Baltimore. That meal was phenomenal.
Just an FYI, the new Mi Viejo Pueblito is utterly mediocre. It sounds like I really missed out on a great restaurant back in its glory days but now it is nothing but generic americanized Mexican food.
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