From the blond, to the brown, to the broths tinged with red, to those as clear as consomme, it seems as thought there are more than fifty shades of pozole found throughout Mexico. Far from the glitzy coastal resorts on the Pacific, through the mountainous valleys of the Southern state of Guerrero, is Tlapa de Comonfort, Tlapa, for short, where an uncommon bowl of pozole reigns. The family that operates Sabor a Mexico, a matchbox of a restaurant in the East Village, is from Tlapa, and they serve their hometown version in a deep ceramic bowl, a steaming pozole verde ($12.95) in an appetizing shade of olive green.
There's an array of condiments on the side: tortilla chips, flakes of Mexican oregano that crush like autumnal leaves under the thumb, lime wedges, diced white onion, julienned radish, finely chopped jalapeno for a green spark, and half of an avocado, crosshatched and ready to tumble into the soup.
The soup is really wonderful on its on, deeply seasoned and savory, with a rich body from stock fortified with pork bones. A purée of toasted green pumpkin seeds (pepitas) enrich the soup and release a sheen of nutty oil that rests on the surface. Tender kernels of hominy add heft, along with large shreds of lean pork meat. Dark green bits of pulverized hoja santa float throughout the bowl; the heart shaped, velvety green leaves smell of licorice and sassafras, adding depth to the steam.
In My Mexico, Diana Kennedy mentions a similar green pozole served at midday on Thursdays, only. Luckily, at Sabor a Mexico, you can have it any time you like.
Sabor a Mexico Taqueria
160 1st Ave., NY 10009 (map)
About the author: Scarlett Lindeman wears many hats a food-writer, recipe editor of Diner Journal, a food/arts quarterly, and a doctoral student of sociology. E-mail her at email@example.com.