Chilaquiles Clash: La Tolteca vs. Comedor Guadalajara
|Chilaquiles with machaca and eggs at Comedor Guadalajara|
The Setup: Founded in 1968 by Magdaleno Sanchez, this windowless and equally boxy restaurant doesn't look promising from the outside, but inside, it's clean, comfortable and tasteful, thanks to a remodel three or four years ago. No Mexican kitsch here, just soft brown walls, a massive armoire and a few decorative pieces, which lend a modestly upscale look. The place has long been a South Phoenix standby for Mexican breakfasts and grilled dishes, including a seafood platter. So stop being a ninny about the location and get yourself in here. The old school AZ-Mex food is awesome.
The good: Now we're getting somewhere. This is the sauce I dream of when it comes to chilaquiles -- luxurious red chile with earthy undertones. Its subtle heat builds on the tongue but doesn't compete with accompanying machaca, an ultra-rich juicy version cooked with tomatoes, onion and sliced jalapeño. There's a lot going on here and it's all good, including creamy refrieds topped with a melt of cheddar and jack cheeses. Like I said, AZ-Mex as we know and love it. I should add that the chips are a tad bit softer than those at La Tolteca, but you won't hear me complaining. When the chips get just a wee bit soft, they take on a meaty texture.Topped with two over-easy eggs (my request), whose soft yolks ooze over the chips, this is pure heaven. Some commenter on the internet said Comedor didn't know what chilaquiles are, to which I would respond, "You, anonymous sir, are a dolt." These are super-traditional, no-frills chilaquiles -- spicy, starchy Comfortus Maximus -- and I love them.
The Bad: Nada, Amigos.
The Price: $9.95 but you're getting a mound of excellent machaca in the deal.
The Verdict: Look, we're comparing apples to oranges here (that's the nature of chilaquiles), and you're probably going to be insanely happy either way. In fact, some of you will actually prefer La Tolteca's busier, sexier version. But for me, the hands-down winner, the dish I've dreamed of for days since, is the simple, satisfying plate of chilaquiles and machaca at Comedor Guadalajara.