In the Mixto

We practiced pronouncing 'Molcajete Mixto' the entire day in preparation for dinner at the newish Mexican outpost in the Italian Market of the same name. (For the record, it's mole-cah-heh-tay meex-to.) A molcajete is an ancient mortar and pestle from Apocolypto times made of volcanic rock, and molcajete mixto--"grilled skirt steak, cactus strips, chicken breast with an ancho, tomatillo chile sauce"--is the signature entree at this tangerine-colored white-tablecloth hotspot that's somewhere in the Mexican spectrum between the grab-n-go no-Inglese taquerias dotting every South Philly corner and El Vez/Xochitl/Lolita. We were geared to get this dish all day, but succumbed to a late lunch of carnitas comfort at El Jarocho, and couldn't put away that Mexican monster for dinner. Instead, dinner went Kate Moss style: soup and ceviche. An earthy moss green color, the lip-singing chilatole soup made from roasted poblano peppers and masa embodies what we love about Mexican food: its in-your-face flavors and fearless spice. The shrimp and tuna ceviche could have used more heat and citrus, but it was still tasty and very fresh. Of course, there was still room for dessert (isn't there always?). The crisped cigar-shaped blintzes stuffed with Philadelphia cream cheese and crowned with a thick blueberry compote sounded like they got lost on the way to Honey's Sit 'n' Eat, but they were delicious anyway. We inhaled them, a portrait of a woman who looks like Frida Kahlo observing with unibrow-shaded eyes. The sheer awesomeness of Philly's Mexplosion means more great south-of-the-border cuisine more often, but we'll most definitely be back for that Mixto.

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