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