Monday, June 6, 2022

Cafe Lula Going Ethnic...

Living in Chicago for 30 years, we were never lacking for ethnic food. If we were hungry for Greek, we wandered down to Greektown at Halsted for Gyros, Saganaki and a Greek Salad with 2 bottles of Roditas - one to drink at the restaurant and one to take home for the Greek dinner we made the following night. Oft times, it took not one but two days to get rid of a food craving. Within Chicago's diverse neighborhoods lies a global food scene where you can taste flavors from all over the world. In addition to restaurants, there are hundreds of ethnic grocery stores like Eataly and Chef Richard Sandoval’s majestic Latinicity Food Hall. For 30 years, I cooked a different recipe every Sunday and never once had an ingredient I couldn’t find. It usually meant hiking half way across town but I always made the trip into an adventure. Ethnic grocery stores are one of my favorite places to hang out; you can get a crucial part of your culinary education there. We were also lucky to have access to top cooking schools like Williams Sonoma, The French Pastry School and The Chopping Block. In 2013,we moved to San Miguel de Allende, where there were no ethnic restaurants to be found; you had to fast track it to Mexico City any time you were craving something other than Mexican food. We once spent $260 on a private car to Mexico City just to satisfy an Asian craving. When you think about it, it wasn’t all that long ago. Now, nine years later, we’re more than excited that Paul Guido intends to turn Café Lula into the go-to place for ethnic food. Armed with a new head chef, Braulio Santiago Gallegos, who use to work at Bruno with his GM, Luis Zavala, they plan to introduce a lot of ethnic dishes to the menu. They’ve already created three, new ones:
Italian: Potato Gnocchi with Slow Braised Oxtail Ragu, fresh herbs and young Parmigiano Reggiano.
Vietnamese: Fried Rice Ball Salad with Vietnamese Pork Belly Sausage, fresh Thai Basil, Mint, Sambal and Vietnamese Dipping sauce. The dish is meant to be eaten with your hands in Chinaberry’s lettuce wrap cups. The red Serrano chilies on the plate are for heat and color.
Thai: Thai Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Shrimp and Baby Spinach. This dish can be made with tofu instead and has Sambal, Fish Sauce, Lime, Sugar and Sesame seeds with just the right amount of spice. Paul Guido grew up with ethnic food too and said “our mission is to make the most exciting dinner menu in town to accompany our well-loved brunch menu. We go to great lengths to supply our kitchen and bar with hard to find ingredients from around the world and we're making the kind of things that we love to eat and drink every day.” In addition to interesting food, there’s live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, featuring some of the best musicians that San Miguel and the surrounding area have to offer including Johnny Favorite. While you’re there, feed Paul Guido with your suggestions for global dishes that you really miss eating. I hope he’s prepared for mine: a long list of ethnic foods I’m craving now and another one he’ll get next week.
We sing high praises to Paul and his staff for opening Café Lula in the middle of the pandemic and ultimately turning it into one of the best café’s in town for fresh, healthy and now ethnic food. Don’t miss Café Lula’s one year anniversary celebration on July 16th.. Café Lula Jesús #27, Zona Centro, Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto. Phone: 415 167 0112 Hours: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM daily except closed on Wednesday Chef: Braulio Santiago Gallegos GM: Luis Zavala