99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Cacao Mexicatessen

photo by Anne Fishbein

There are so many glorious things crammed into this small, cozy shop in Eagle Rock that it’s hard to assimilate them all in one visit. There are the much-lauded duck carnitas tacos, the huge mugs of cocoa for which the place is named, the vat of mole fries (mole fries!), the outstanding plates of chiles rellenos, and whatever awesome daily specials are chalked on the menu by the cashier. Since you’ll probably be standing in line for a while to order, getting hungrier and hungrier as you watch somebody make the tortillas by hand right in front of you, you’ll have time to get a handle on things. If you’re lucky enough to live in Eagle Rock, Cacao Mexicatessen is the quintessential neighborhood spot, a place where you could happily eat most nights without getting bored, where you can pick up freshly made tortillas and containers of mole, where you can stop by for breakfast and then go shopping at the Trader Joe’s next door. Maybe it’s time to move to Eagle Rock.

-- Amy Scattergood