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Sitting at the bar that day, I polished off every drop — I had to use my spoon, since I ran out of corn tortillas, which Pingarron gets from a local guy — and then asked for jericaya, another Jaliscan speciality, for dessert. The custard is almost indistinguishable from flan, except that it's served in a custard dish instead of dumped out on a plate like a jiggling mountain.
That meal alone would be enough to keep me coming back to El Olvido. Over the past few months, though, its offerings have grown to include some of the dishes that Denverites expect to find on a Mexican menu: tacos, enchiladas and a chicken tostada. The enchiladas suizas, which have been on the roster from the start, were disappointing; the sauce tasted a little like wet earth, the gloppy sour cream added nothing more than rich regret, and the chicken inside seemed to have been boiled without seasoning. The biggest problem, though, was the side of watery black beans, which further diluted any taste on the plate.
Another one of the original menu items, the huachinango en el olvido, was much, much better; Pingarron clearly knows his way around a fish. The red snapper had been cooked perfectly (even if it was hard to wrap my mind around the soy sauce that clearly had been part of its marinade), then served skin-on with a pile of spinach sautéed with sliced cloves of garlic, a crisp cabbage salad doused with sweet mango dressing, and fluffy white rice. I also liked the Mexico City tacos, layered with peppery cubes of steak, crisp bits of bacon and stringy muenster cheese, as well as plenty of white onions and cilantro.
But still, I don't need anything more than the carne en su jugo — and maybe more jericaya, and a couple of micheladas — at El Olvido. Even if the broth doesn't start with a cow's head.
Photos: In the kitchen at El Olvido
Hmm.. Well, I spend half of the year every year in Jalisco so I think I know something about the cooking of the region. Had lunch here last week and was not impressed. Salsas had no spice whatsoever (chips were good though). I had the vaunted Carne en su Jugo and found it bland and the meat tough and dry (how that is possible when served in broth is hard to comprehend). In Mexico it is usually served with savory herbs and chiles on the side to spice it up. She had the enchiladas Suizas which were basically inedible (Laura got that right). Margaritas (Cadillac $8) were a color green not found in nature and tequila was not detectable. Not impressed with this place - not at all.