Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sabrosas de Guanajuato
6825 San Pedro
(Just south of Oblate)

The very first time I ever heard the word "chilaquiles" was a small restaurant at the back of Jardín Unión in Guanajuato. A friend of mine, wanting to expose me to the local culture of his city, took me to El Penguis and ordered my breakfast. What I had this morning at Sabrosas de Guanajuato looked, smelled, and tasted exactly as I remember that breakfast many years ago.

In the interim, I've tried chilaquiles in perhaps three hundred different places, in Mexico and the US, and have learned that there are major regional variations in the dish, so that if you order it in Guanajuato, or Mexico City, or Laredo, or Bismarck, North Dakota, you may not get anything like what you expect.
What's that mean?
Last city inspection: November 2015
10 demerits

But the dish I had this morning was, like I say, exactly like what I would have gotten in Jardín Unión. And, style and memory aside, it was delicious. The fried tortilla chips (the actual "chilaquiles" for which the dish is named) were so perfectly cooked that you could cut them with a fork, yet still feel the crispiness when you bit into them. The salsa verde was piquant and tangy. The shreds of chicken had been slowly cooked for a long, long time and gave way readily in the mouth. And there was a generous dollop of sour cream to mix in, giving the dish that last bit of complexity in flavour, texture and temperature. It was served with good refried beans and two homemade tortillas (I chose flour because, well, ya soy gringo.)

If I had to choose between these and what I had all those years ago, I'd choose these; but only because the coffee at this restaurant is better -- that is, more to my liking -- than anything I ever got in Mexico. As was the service. Otherwise, I'd much rather be sitting in the Jardín.

Las Sabrosas de Guanajuato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

No Improvement Whatsoever

La Gloria
100 East Grayson Street
(at the Pearl Brewery)

The last time I reviewed this place, five years ago, I was reasonably well-satisfied with all aspects of my visit; another visit a couple of weeks later confirmed that opinion. This time, I went with my wife on a busy Saturday night, after the Pearl's tamale festival on the night the riverwalk lights of the Mission Reach were lit. It was busy, and the crowd was lively and yet not overly loud. The line to be seated wasn't overly long, and other than the slack attitude of the girl taking names at the door, the first impression was favourable. Our waiter was brightly welcoming, and cheery. 

We started with margaritas. My wife's was on the rocks, mine was frozen. Hers was fine; mine was essentially a thick lump of margarita that couldn't be stirred with the plastic straw. Its taste was fair, and once it started to melt the texture was acceptable. It was also fairly large, which would have made the $9 price tag seem reasonable if I had liked it enough to actually drink it. I drank about half.

We ordered tlayuda callejera and an order of tacos al pastor. What we got was a tlayuda tradicional, though I didn't realize that until the bill came. I just thought it was uninteresting; I didn't realize it was wrong. 

The tacos were basically just alright. My wife thought more of them than I did; to me, they were, in the parlance of Weight-Watchers, "not worth the points." They were of course small, served on cold four-inch corn tortillas, with cubes of well-marinated pork and an assortment of not terribly interesting other things. 

Last city inspection:
August 2015
10 demerits
The tlayuda -- a large crisp corn tortilla topped like a pizza -- was also cold, as though the heat lamp over the service counter was either nonexistent or nonfunctional. (I don't honestly know if there was a heat lamp there, but judging from the food we got, there needs to be.) It was smeared with black beans and topped with lettuce and a couple of slices of tomato, and a couple of slices of avocado. If there were other ingredients, they didn't present themselves. It was also made difficult to eat by not being cut before it was served to us. Cutting a lettuce-topped chalupa with a table knife makes for a certain degree of mess.

The draw of this place, still fairly high on the trendiness meter, is the ambience. A cool, not cold Saturday night at hipster central makes for a good time with friends. Of course, you could have the same kind of good time with them at home, or at a park, or at a really good restaurant. Somewhere else, perhaps.
La Gloria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato