Saturday, May 5, 2007

El Fortin

Situated in a converted house, El Fortin specializes in Oaxacan food. Everything is made from scratch daily, and they tend to run out of items towards the end of the day as they only make a certain amount of food daily.

I really had my heart set on Mole Negro, but they had run out. Same thing with the Amarillo con Res o Pollo.

I started out with a Tamal de Dulce ($1.50), which is a sweet tamale. The masa was pink in color and had the faint taste of strawberries. It was filled with pineapples and raisins. For those that like sweet tamales, these are very good.

The Tamal de Rajas ($1.25), is a tamale filled with grilled onions, tomatoes, chicken and chiles. Like the Tamal de Dulce, the masa is light and fluffy, not dense like some tamales that I've had in the past.

The special plate consists of a Chile Relleno, Tasajo (thinly sliced beef), Cecina Enchilada (chile paste marinated grilled pork), black beans, fried plantains, fried cheese and guacamole. The Chile Relleno is filled with cheese, battered and fried to a golden brown. It is very flavorful and delicate at the same time. The Tasajo is simply seasoned with salt and quickly grilled, thus allowing the beef to retain its juices. The Cecina Enchilada is also grilled. The marinade has a distinct chile flavor, but is not too spicy. The black beans retain their shape and has a slightly sweet taste. These are the best black beans that I have ever had. The fried cheese, not sure what kind, has a nice golden crust to it, and is soft and chewy in the middle.

The food here is cooked simply to allow the flavors of the dishes to come out, not to be overwhelmed with sauces. Although I did not have a chance to try their mole, I'm sure that it is very complex in nature and very flavorful based on the dishes I did try.

I would highly recommend El Fortin to anyone who would like to try dishes from this region of Mexico.

El Fortin
5368 Riverside Drive
Chino, CA 91710
(909) 464-2227

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