Pillowy Soft Albóndigas. Only @nopalitosf 9th Ave. Albóndigas al Chilmole to be exact. Though it sounds totally foreign (actually, it is) albóndigas are meatballs. We used to make these at our location on Broderick, but…then we didn’t.
Now they are back at 9th Avenue. There are very few foods that are this strikingly dark. Make no mistake, these meatballs are black. Like over-steeped French press coffee. Like the color of my true love’s hair. Very black.
The color can be credited to the char of ancho, pasilla negro and árbol chiles. The chiles are then ground into a paste and seasoned. As for the surprisingly soft texture of the meatball, it is explained in the incorporation of egg into the meatball. It makes the whole thing really fluffy, and that surprise, is what makes the dish so charming. Even after enjoying it many times over, the gentleness of the grass fed beef and deep and nuanced spice, just doesn’t match up to what you’d expect to taste upon first glance. It is all tied together over a mound of puffy rice, pickled onions and warm tortillas. Play around and add a squeeze of lime and see the interplay of these elements.
The Wall Street Journal must’ve been digging it too, because they used a photo for a recent online piece about Nopalito 9th Ave.