Silvia Barbosa asks only two questions when presented with indecisive customers at Sabrosa Barbosa: "Are you a vegetarian?" (No.) "Do you like spicy foods?" (Yes.) If those are your answers, you're given two sample cups. In one hand, a red mole. In the other, a green chili.
If you're still indecisive, order both. The chicken mole bowl and the chicken green chili bowl (each $6.50) are served over rice and fat, white Peruvian beans.
Barbosa says the chicken mole is a traditional Oaxacan recipe from her grandmother, passed down in the family and only slightly modified to accommodate her cart's gluten-free aspirations. And it's everything you'd expect a mole to be: moist, fork-tender chicken, and a sauce rich with a smoky blend of chocolate, peanuts, garlic, onions, bananas, honey and tomatoes.
The green chili, however, is another story. Among my friends and family, I'm usually the one ordering spicy dishes and laughing at weaker constitutions. But I was only able to relish the cheesy rice and chicken through the first bites before being overwhelmed by the kick of those green jalapeño and serrano chilies.
Barbosa and her husband, Matthew Knight, hand-peel and roast peppers in their commissary kitchen before simmering the chicken and pork in the sauce overnight. Since the green chili is one of only a few things on the menu, Barbosa is constantly tweaking the recipe. She tells me the chili recipe has been toned down since I visited. I just might test my luck again.
- Order this: Chicken mole bowl ($6.50) and the quesadilla ($2).
- Iâll pass: Chicken green chili ($6.50)
EAT: Sabrosa Barbosa, Southwest 10th Avenue and Alder Street, facebook.com/sabrosabarbosa. 11 am-3:30 pm Monday-Thursday, 10:45 am-6:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-4:30 pm Sunday.