Twists on Southern Mexican Classics, at Estrellita Restaurant
- Kristen Evans
- 3 Min Read
Since Estrellita, a family owned Mexican restaurant, opened its doors in Los Altos, California, almost 60 years ago, the city has transformed. Old giants like Hewlett-Packard have made way for newer tech companies like Google and Apple. Rents have crept up, too, making it harder for restaurants to keep their doors open. Especially as restaurants now compete with the steep discounts and convenience of tech company cafeterias.
Still, Estrellita restaurant and catering remains a beloved gathering point for Bay Area locals. Even retirees from HP who want to celebrate a milestone over mole go there. Children who once visited the restaurant with their parents return as full-fledged adults with children of their own. And while Estrellita’s menu and offerings may have expanded, the restaurant’s commitment to community and quality are the same as ever.
Inspired by the Chiapas region of southern Mexico, Estrellita’s catering menu offers Bay Area diners interesting twists on classic dishes. Their mole, for example, contains 38 ingredients and simmers for hours on the stove. Unlike the chocolate-black mole of northern Mexico, with its distinct peppery flavor, Estrellita restaurant has carefully crafted its pueblo mole, which is a dark, brick red color. Thanks to the presence of chocolate, the mole is slightly sweet. But it still retains a complexity of flavor due to dry-roasted chilies and other ingredients. Served on boneless chicken, Estrellita’s mole poblano has earned the restaurant die-hard fans.
Then there’s the chiles en nogada, a departure from chile relleno, or stuffed peppers. Throughout the long history of Estrellita restaurant, the now-beloved menu item was reserved for special occasions, and the chef brought out the dish only once a season. Now, however, the rich vegetarian dish is on the dinner menu every night. Stuffed with apples and raisins, a chili pepper is then topped with pomegranate seeds and a sweet crema. It’s one of the restaurant’s most beloved vegetarian dishes—and guests no longer have to wait for the yearly special to dig in.
If you’re looking for maximum flavor, try the cochinita pibil, a traditional Mayan dish from the Yucatan. The chef wraps pork in banana leaves and slow cooks meat until tender—about eight hours in the oven. Simmered with orange juice and other spices, this is a flavorful dish that falls off the bone. Estrellita Restaurant’s pipian, yet another pork dish, is equally popular among guests. Served with green mole, this dish is nutty and spicy in equal measure.
Portion Size Guide
If you need to feed an army of hungry office workers for a weekend training session in the Bay Area, Estrellita’s catering offers flexible buffet and hot entrée packages.
Popular buffet items, like the street-style taco bar, make ordering and cleanup a snap. For only $5 per person, Estrellita delivers tender taco fillings, like al pastor, grilled chicken, or carnitas, along with enough onions, cilantro, and salsa to go around. For a crowd with a bigger appetite, opt for a hot entrée. Popular items, like enchiladas or pipian, serve between eight and twelve.
Adding salad or sides to an Estrellita catering order is a snap. With plenty of extra sauces, salsas, beans, and guacamole to choose from, you can add more flavor to your order with a just a click of a button. In need of dessert? Their churros with Bavarian cream and coconut flan are an indulgent finish to a traditional Mexican meal.
What to Order
Estrellita’s stands out in Bay Area catering for its ability to feed medium to large office gatherings. It’s an affordable way to help your office branch out into global cuisine, too.
Celebrate closing a large account with a tray of steak ranchero, chicken Oaxaca, or homemade tamales. Piloting a work happy hour? A street-style taco or fajita bar will fill everyone up, and help you stick to your budget.
And if you’re worried about feeding your vegetarian colleagues, the catering team at restaurant Estrellita has got you covered. Extra rice and beans are a snap to order, and many of their entrées are available with grilled vegetable filling. And don’t forget about their prized chile nogada, the festive stuffed pepper that has vegetarians all over Los Altos swooning.
Hungry for Estrellita’s street-style taco bar?