If chicken soup is the Jewish antibiotic, then pozole is the Mexican one. Pozole is nixtamalized corn, better known as hominy in the U.S., and is traditionally made in many Mexican states as a soup with rich, chile-infused stock, stewy chunks of pork (or chicken), and served with shredded cabbage, diced onions, radishes, limes and often dried oregano. The chile base can be red or green, and there’s even a white version with a chile-free broth. While red pozole is most common, green is also widely available in the Bay Area.
From Richmond to Oakland, these five pozole spots will satisfy your winter soup cravings.
In the midst of ever-bustling Swan’s Marketplace in Old Oakland, Cosecha has much to recommend it, including homemade tortillas, breakfast tacos, vegan quesadillas—and some of the best pozole for miles. Don’t be daunted if there’s a long line; it moves quickly. Cosecha’s green pozole is a light, bright chicken (instead of pork) version, redolent of tomatillo and mild green chiles, kicked up a bit by diced jalapeño and made even lusher by avocado. The steaming, generous bowl is served with cabbage, radishes, onion, lime and cilantro, and to-die-for homemade corn tortillas. Available at lunch only on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, as well as Saturday brunch. Pro tip: At dinner, ask if there’s any left over from lunch. If there is, a server will dish it up for you. But don’t hold your breath.
907 Washington St. [Map]
Oakland, CA 94607
Ph: (4510) 452-5900
Hours: Mon-Wed, 11am-3:30pm, 4:30-8:30pm; Thu-Fri, 11am-3:30pm, 5-9:30pm; Sat, 10:30am-3:30pm and 5-9:30pm; closed Sunday
Facebook: Cosecha Oakland
Price Range: $ (pozole, $10)
El Huarache Azteca
Best known for its namesake huaraches, sandal-shaped fried masa patties topped with meats, vegetables and/or beans, El Huarache Azteca on International Boulevard in Oakland is also a weekend hotspot for pozole (red or green). While both versions are excellent, the red takes the prize for its depth of chile flavor. It’s not spicy, but the slightly sweet, slightly smoky infusion, combined with flavor-saturated pork broth and big chunks of fatty pork is spot on, served simply with red and white cabbage, lime and a stack of crispy tostadas. Pozole is only available Saturdays and Sundays, until it sells out. And it always does. Get there by early afternoon.