Cafe Society

I miss Sean Yontz's mole -- where will he mix it up next?

I loved the mole at Tamayo, the restaurant I review this week, and it got me thinking about another mole I've loved over the years. Not coincidentally, it was made by a Tamayo veteran, Sean Yontz, who learned the secrets of this complex sauce from a woman in Oaxaca who cooked in a dirt-floor kitchen. See also -- Tamayo: Million-buck makeover needs a service check.

Yontz's last full-time gig was at El Diablo; with El Diablo now closed for good, his mole -- which calls for some forty ingredients, including cloves, plantains and raisins -- is hard to come by. The last time he cooked up a batch for the public was the Willy Wonka-themed Denver FIVE dinner in July, when Yontz served Oaxacan chocolate mole with candied pepitas and braised short ribs.

What else is Yontz up to these days? He's getting ready for the Denver FIVE trip to the James Beard House next month, and says he's "turned down a few job offers here in Denver." And after a space he liked for his own place fell through earlier this summer, the chef continues to think about what to do next. "I thought about doing another Mexican," Yontz explains, "but there are so many Mexican restaurants out there right now, a lot of it depends on location and space."

But some of us would go anywhere for more of Yontz's mole.

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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz