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It’s a balmy mid-summer evening. The sun is still high and the night young in Clearlake. The day’s warmth lingers, and the evening breeze is still a long way off. But, it’s no bother since La Chilanguita primarily offers indoor dining. Step inside and enter a charming family-owned restaurant where friendly faces greet everyone. Then, it’s choose-your-own-seat casual dining. The building, a once fast-food chain restaurant, is now transformed into a bright, cheery, relaxing environment.
All settled with a basket of tortilla chips, homemade refried beans, and salsa, one begins the tricky part, choosing a favorite dish from a five-page menu offering authentic Mexican cuisine. An order of one of their Molcajete dishes provides enough food to share and still experience the best of the restaurant. The first time I had Molcajete, I was not in Lake County. For me, it was love at first taste. It was comfort in a stone bowl that could put chicken noodle soup to shame and was made with pride. I’ve been on a quest ever since to find this steaming bowl of goodness here in Lake County, and I’m happy to say I have found it at La Chilanguita. Of course, it was no surprise since La Chilanguita first introduced me to their specialty, huaraches–corn flour filled with refried beans and topped with goodness–at last year’s Dia de la Independencia in Kelseyville. Happily, I have more reasons to dine at La Chilanguita!
First, the Tlacoyo de masa is brought. The flat, oval-shaped corn dough is cooked to perfection with a crisp brown outer crust and chewy center and colorfully topped with refried beans, crema, their signature green sauce, cilantro, and bits of cactus. Every bite begs for another, quickly putting an ordinary taco to shame. But this is only the beginning.
At last, the anticipation is met with a steaming dish of Molcajete Mixto, served on a wooden cutting board with a side of beans, rice, and homemade corn or flour tortillas. The flavorful tomato base brings all the flavors together. Fill your tortilla with chicken, shrimp, steak, chorizo, and fried Cotija cheese, cactus, and other accompanying vegetables. Every bite celebrates the spectacular aromas and zesty flavors that fill the dish. The spice is warm, not hot, making the sauce all the more complimentary with every bite.
I think their own words describe them best on social media when they say, “I know, I know. Another Mexican Restaurant?! I promise you a great difference! Our family-owned restaurant will bring you food based from the actual capital of Mexico, known most for its diverse range of delicious food, never canned, never frozen!”
For a happy, unique, and tasty Mexican food experience, take the time to visit La Chilanguita.
15165 Lakeshore Dr, Clearlake, CA 95422
Hours: 11-9 Thursday through Tuesday. Closed Wednesday