As I headed down PCH recently after a trip on the Blue Line, I saw a small shack called Hole Mole. I was of two minds–was it a hidden Oaxacan gem, or was it a gimmicky pun, like Absolutely Phobulous?
It's the latter. They don't sell any Oaxacan food at all–and I'm not at all inclined to believe that they had a moment of Aztlanista pride in which they decided to name their restaurant after the Nahuatl word for sauce. What they sell is fish and shrimp tacos, and potato tacos, cheap.
Sure, there's plenty of stuff on the menus, but the signs all pointed to this being a fish taquería.
The fish tacos were middling; certainly better than the Rubio's and Wahoo's of the world, but not the best in the region. The fish were better than the shrimp, which had too much batter for the protein involved.
No, what I liked was the potato tacos. They're 49 cents each, and while they're made with taco-sized tortillas (meaning small, 5-inch corn rounds), they're quite filling. What makes or breaks a potato taco is the sauce. Because the filling is so bland, the sauce needs to pack a real punch–so go for the spicy-hot chile de árbol salsa. Next time, I'll need to remember to ask them to stuff some cheese in the tortillas after they come out of the fryer; my own personal way of trying to replicate the Chronic potato taco.
The name, though, has got to go–it's just this side of false advertising.
Hole Mole, 421 Obispo Ave., Long Beach, (562) 439-2555; www.holemole.com. Also: 1327 E. 4th St., Long Beach, (562) 437-0878; 2125 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 597-7171.