Monday, January 31, 2022

Cafe Lula

Cafe Lula, at Jesus 27, occupies the old Nomada space. The space was never a good fit for Nomada’s upscale style of cuisine but it’s perfect for Cafe Lula’s laid back, casual, fare. Café Lula is open air and the very best part is the food is healthy. Not once were we looking for a double side of bacon or Eggs Benedict; although we’d like to see what Café Lula comes up with for a healthier version of that dish. Everything we tried at Café Lula was delicious; many dishes made with sauces that added that extra dimension of flavor. Almost everything is made from scratch, including the tonic, that’s used as a base in one of their drinks. Don’t miss a delicious taste of their orange wine; better than most of the others we tried.
Owner, Paul Guido, relocated here from California along with his wife, Roxanne, who has the Pilates studio in front of his restaurant. Surprisingly, the restaurant was full when we were there; something you don’t find on a cold day in January. Almost every dish was something we would order again; things that we could eat and even order a second helping of and not feel guilty. Paul Guido has worked in the California restaurant business for a number of years. Café Lula is his first restaurant. Paul Guido describes his restaurant as “a wonderful collaboration; a fusion of the talents of the many people that fill in all of the empty spaces. The combined expressions of the artists, sculptors, woodworkers, chefs, baristas, dishwashers, bartenders, managers, servers, musicians (including our host, Johnny Favorite) and of course, our beloved guests, are what make Cafe Lula the unique experience it is.”
Ovier Espinoza Santos is the new young chef, replacing Karina Rivera, who is going back to the states. A graduate of UTSMA, he also studied Gastronomy at Universidad Technologica Metropolitana in Merida. He gained a lot of great experience working for Chef Juan Manuel Galvan Lopez, the Executive Chef at La Dona, and at Vinedos San Lucas and Antonia Bistro SMA. We can’t wait to see what this chef does in 2022. Full of surprises, Café Lula has a recipe for lamb ribs currently in the works.
We’ve started a list of our favorite potato dishes in SMA because now there are two: The ever popular smashed potatoes by Chef Alexandra Gutt at La Prada and Café Lula’s Papas Crocantes, with salsa macha, kewpie mayonnaise and scallions. Funny but Kewpie mayo has been around since 1925. Where have we been? Dining is always an education for us so when we eat, we like to learn something. The menu offerings are full of fresh flavors, made mostly with organic, local ingredients. The small plates, a literal feast, consisted of: A Winter Chicories Salad of roasted carrots, jicama, Granada, gorgonzola and mustard vinaigrette. You can put this one on the list for one of the most interesting salads in SMA; the flavors were divine.
Chilaquiles with Tortilla chips with pork shoulder chili verde, avocado, cream, cilantro, radishes and a fried egg. We love pork shoulder on Chilaquiles and chili verde on everything so this dish was high up on our list of favorites. Japanese Fried Rice: cherry tomato, Japanese baby eggplant, cilantro, salsa de pescado, guajillo chili, lime and a crispy egg. We like rice so much, we even eat it for breakfast. A bowl of colorful chopsticks were provided for the dig. Ensalada Romana: Pickled beets, fennel, cashew ranch, radish, crispy shallot Dukkah. The salads were exceptionally good; we liked them both. We think the crispy shallot Dukkah made this dish. Shakshuka: Roasted tomato and bell pepper, cream, oregano, Ranchero cheese and a fried egg served with gluten free toast. Our least favorite of the feast, we still liked this dish. Add some middle eastern spices to the sauce and a pita instead of toast and it would be perfect. Elote Baby with herb butter, salsa macha and charred lime. A little more complicated than most, Café Lula’s dish was right up there with many of the good elote dishes we’ve eaten in SMA. Tamal with yellow corn grit, watercress, cilantro and Louisiana style shrimp gravy. An adventurous taste for anyone that loves a Tamal, the Louisiana style shrimp gravy packed this one with loads of flavor and was stuffed with the perfect amount of yellow corn grit. We think too many of them are over or under stuffed. The final dish was Waffle de Mochi; a Gluten free waffle, with charred fruit of the day, candied pecans, honey and saffron whipped cream. We loved this dish. It tastes as good as it looks and was a great way to finish off the breakfast. Sweet but not too sweet, we think it’s Café Lula’s signature dish. Café Lula Jesus #27, Centro San Miguel de Allende, Gto. 37700 Phone: 415 167 0112 Owner: Paul Guido Chef: Ovier Espinoza Santos Hours: Tuesday, Friday – Sunday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM Thursday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM All safety protocols followed. Masks required/removed for photographs and consumption Health First certified by the city of SMA

Friday, January 21, 2022


Don’t open a restaurant with a bakery inside. Its double trouble and in the case of TENE Latin Cuisine (the restaurant) and Dulce 1810 (the bakery), we’ve decided it might be easier just to move in. They’ve got you covered when it comes to breakfast, lunch and dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Housed in the new Casa 1810 Parque Hotel, the complex is one of the most beautiful structures in SMA, taking four years to complete. The old house was almost in ruins when the owners bought it. Their main goal was to rescue as much of the original construction as possible, then blend the old with the new. It required a lot of architecture and engineering design. They tried to recycle all the original cantera stone, wood beams, old doors and other materials. A lot of these pieces can be found in chimneys, wood steps and inside the hotel rooms. They got rid of what didn’t convey their message; the hotel design is nearly flawless. The name TENÉ comes from the abbreviation of “Tannery” or “Teneria” in Spanish. They have found that this property was part of a stable and tannery. Casa 1810 Parque is only a small part of the original building.
At first, your attention is drawn to the stunning details of the building and the artwork, all created by Oaxaca artist, Irving Herrera, but then, the food comes streaming out to your table and all you can do is eat with your eyes; the presentation is the first thing to catch your attention and nobody does it better than Chef Irving Cano. The mastermind behind so many different types of fabulous cuisines in SMA, we’re thinking about petitioning him to open a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant next. The Executive Chef at Trazo 1810 on Hidalgo is about to change the menu there too; putting more French accents on the food. We’ve always loved his cooking and with TENE Latin Cuisine, he’s taken his kitchen to the next level. One of the best chefs in SMA, he has that ''sixth sense” that elevates any food he prepares into a sublime experience. We know; we eat with him every chance we get. We know his learning is by no means over; we’ve never seen a chef more enthusiastic about cooking than he is.
Behind those perfect croissants, cruffins and other pastries at Dulce 1810 is Gustavo Mendoza; a transplant from Mexico City who use to work at Bakers in Roma – a bakery we waltzed by a hundred times but were always in such a hurry we never went in. Boy, did we miss out. We savored his chocolate croissant like it was our last; covered with soft chocolate and Pistachios. One thing we know for sure - the croissant challenge is on again in San Miguel de Allende.
The delights at Dulce 1810 are endless and soon, healthy juices, sandwiches and salads will also pepper the menu; available to eat in or take out. Get comfortable for a longer than usual stay because Claudia is there to wait on you and the service happens to be almost as good as the food. Our tasting menu at TENE Latin Cuisine included the following items and if you can’t pronounce the name, just show them the picture:
XIQUILPAC.- Prehispanic pumpkin seed paste with Tomatoes, Habanero and Sour Orange. A delightful way to kick off any meal, this dish was served with chips including the classic blue corn.
BONE MARROW Grilled bone marrow accompanied with smoked tuna, tatemado avocado & handmade corn tortillas. The flavors of the tuna are magnificent; another best in SMA and we’ve tried them all.
AGUACHILE DE CAMARON/ Aguachile of smoked shrimp Smoked shrimp on a corn sheet on a pork rind and cheese quesadilla alongside aguachile sauce made with Guajillo chile, black sauce, lemon and macha sauce. This dish had interesting flavors with an exquisite combination of ingredients.
ALITAS DE PESCADO. Fish wings.- Jurel (mackerel) neck on grilled black garlic, Kombu Salad and Tatemado Habanero mayonnaise. This was a favorite of dinner partner, Claudia Bo.
MEXTLAPIQUE Totoaba smoked with totomoxtle (corn sheet) alongside esquites with White Recado, coriander sprouts and Habanero Mayonnaise. The dish was beautifully complimented by the esquites and Habanero.
COSTILLAS BBQ Huitlacoche BBQ Ribs on a Cacahuazintle corn bed. When you first see the ribs, you’ll be convinced that the sauce is a mole but it’s not. The best we’ve eaten in SMA, bravo to the chef for creating a Huitlacoche BBQ sauce for the finish. Cooked in their wood fire oven, we’d come back just for the ribs.
MAJARETE.- Crunchy corn Foam accompanied with Mascarpone Gelato; a simple dessert to clean your palate. After this, various croissants and rolls were served from the bakery. Amazingly, I was still eating. Many of the accents in this meal were prehispanic; something we haven’t seen from other chefs in SMA.
These days, we recognize that opening a restaurant is an impressive task worthy of a celebration. We guarantee you that TENE Latin Cuisine will be your best celebration this year! Buen Provecho! TENE Latin Cuisine Dulce 1810 Codo #3, Centro Breakfast: 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM Dinner: 2:00 PM – 10:30 PM All safety protocols followed. Masks required/removed for photographs and consumption Health First certified by the city of SMA

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Rustica: Our #1 Breakfast Spot in San Miguel de Allende

How to start your morning off right? With a big hug from Eduardo Perez Calvo of Rustica, one of the best breakfast restaurants in San Miguel de Allende. It’s amazing what an iced latte, a plate of healthy food and a hug can do; all before 9 AM.
We LOVED some of their new choices: Turkish Eggs: Fried Eggs on Jocoque, prepared yogurt, chili butter with olives, salad and pita bread. The flavors were amazing. The Breakfast Pizza: pita bread with tomato and pepper sauce, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, a fried egg, arugula and avocado. We really liked the crunchy taste; it’s one of our favorites. We’re most impressed with all the new dishes Rustica added since we left; both for breakfast and lunch. High praises go to Selva Lampreabe Rosenfeld for some pretty creative recipes that are both healthy and taste so good. Back in 2018, we wrote about 33 restaurants in SMA to get breakfast. After all this time, Rustica is still our #1. Rustica Salida a Celaya #34 Daily 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM All safety protocols followed. Masks required/removed for photographs and consumption Health First certified by the city of SMA