Best thing I ate: The pozole at Panxa Cocina in Belmont Heights is a wormhole into New Mexico

Brad Johnson of the Long Beach Press Telegram recently ate at Panxa Cocina and had this to say about Chef Gonzalez’s pozole:

If you’ve ever spent much time in New Mexico, you probably appreciate how incredible the regional cuisine there can be. The enchiladas, the tacos, the chili … it’s not like ours. It’s not TexMex, either. It’s one of the best-kept secrets of American cuisine.

There was a point in my life when I spent a lot of time in New Mexico. It’s been a while, but those memories came flooding back recently when I tasted the Chamayó pozole with beef short rib at Panxa Cocina in Long Beach.

This is one of the best bowls of pozole I’ve found in California. It’s not like most others. It’s made with a vegetarian stock that gets its deep-red color and intense, almost tart flavor from New Mexico’s indigenous Chamayó red peppers.

It is big and bold and powerfully delicious. The beef is added later, yet it feels like it was stewing in the same pot from the beginning.

The chef/owner of this place, Arthur Gonzalez, spent some time in Santa Fe, and the best things on the menu here are the ones under the heading, “New Mexico Favorites.”

This Chamayó pozole has the renegade spirit of a bowl of “red,” aka chili. But it’s pozole alright. And it is incredible. This is what New Mexico tastes like.

Michael Kirkpatrick