Archives for category: Mexican

Awash in eye-popping colors–from its hand-painted art to glass jugs of tequila infusions–The Fruteria hit the restaurant scene in December with an equally bright bang. The fruteria by day/cocktail lounge by night concept works perfectly: Breakfast with fresh fruit smoothies and loaded tortas or an evening of sophisticated tequila cocktails and creative interpretations of dishes like Chef Johnny Hernandez’s mole blanco. Lunchtime, however, is not to be overlooked. The pescado torta (fish sandwich) is one of the items that keeps bringing me back for lunch over and over. It’s an absolute delight.

The sandwich is anchored by a luscious piece of Atlantic cold-water perch. Reminiscent of the fish caught in the deep waters of Veracruz, the fish is mild and just flaky enough to really melt in your mouth. Yet it holds up really well in the sandwich and is an exceptional choice. The restaurant gives you the option of tempura-fried or grilled, but the tempura gives more flavor and crunch and is the clear winner to me.

The overall flavor is balanced and subtle for such a deceptively hearty sandwich. If you get it to-go, it comes with a tiny tub of red hot sauce. Apply liberally. The pickled veggies inside (cauliflower and green, yellow and red peppers) give a nice crunch and burst of acidity. Hints of Mexican oregano are detected with each bite. Freshly fried ultra-thin potato chips round out the meal.

It’s like a midday jaunt to coastal Mexico.

Pescado torta

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As Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) approaches on November 1 and 2, many San Antonio bakeries–or panaderias–offer up the traditional Mexican sweet bread for the occasion, called Pan de muerto.

A wonderful Pan de muerto can be found at Marioli. While other bakeries can turn out dense or overly sweet breads with too much sugar decoration on top and little flavor, Chef Mariana Oliver makes a beautifully soft, round bread perfumed with orange flower water. Small lines of sugared dough are laid across the top representing the bones of the deceased and the circle of life. They give just the right amount of sweetness in those first bites. I also love that Chef Mariana keeps her bread simple and elegant, and forgoes infusing the top with bright food colorings.

Chef Mariana makes all sorts of other sweets year-round such as cookies and cakes, in addition to wonderful and affordable Mexican dishes such as cochinita pibil, chiles rellenos and other favorites from her native Mexico City. Her to-go concept means you can easily take your orders home with you, or they will happily heat them on site.

Pan de muerto from Marioli, $12.50. Visit marioli2go.com for more info.

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