A bowl of warm pozole verde de pollo
It didn’t have to be a cold and wet winter for me to seek out a pozeleria, but it hasn’t hurt to have the added motivation. In this case I first found myself driving through an evening rain to find soup in Logan Heights, and its month-old restaurant Pozoleria Acapulco.
130 S 30th St, San Diego
The name pozeleria suggests pozole is the house specialty, and in fact there are two versions of the hominy soup: rojo and verde. By default, the rojo is prepared with pork, the verde with chicken, but they will switch it up if you ask.
Regardless, your $8.95 bowl will be swimming with toothsome hominy kernels, topped with shredded cabbage, and served alongside a plateful of other add-ins including avocado, cilantro, onions, jalapeños, radish slices, lime wedges, a crispy corn tortilla, and fried pork rinds, a.k.a. chicharrones. As if all that weren’t enough, there’s a potato rolled taco, great for dipping.
A plate of toppings to add to pozole
The big surprise for me was that neither red nor green pozole relies on chicken or any other animal stock as a base. Instead, the father-and-daughter team behind the new eatery ply recipes from his native Acapulco. The rojo broth shows a rich terra cotta hue, swirling with deeper red chili oils courtesy of a trio of red peppers, led by guajillo.
The verde broth starts with a green mole, made with ground pumpkin seeds and green chilies, and though its shade resembles salsa verde, there’s no tomatillo in it. But there is spinach and nopal cactus.
A new restaurant for Logan Heights
Without animal fats to enrich the broths, they wind up lighter both in flavor and body than most meaty soups. The nice thing is they’re neither over salted nor over spiced, so it’s up to customers to load their soup bowls with toppings to taste. A squeeze or two of lime brightened the earthy spices, and when the chicharrones softened in the hot liquid, they added a welcome, chewy dimension to the dish.
Each version presented a warming and healthful ward against the damp chill outside. I’d give the edge to the rojo over the verde, but it’s close. Either way, my preference would be the succulent and flavorful pork neck, an excellent part of the pig to find in soup.
Good sit-down restaurants are too rare a find in Logan Heights, and it’s great to see that, even when the weather warms up, Pozoleria Acapulco will stay relevant. Its signature soups are only two items on a larger menu that includes terrific flautas (potato or chicken), burritos, tortas, breakfast dishes, and a shellfish-laden, $20, two-person serving of paella Valenciana.