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Jury Duty Lunch #1 - Quetzal Cafe

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Jury Duty Lunch #1 - Quetzal Cafe

adamclyde | Jan 25, 2006 05:34 PM

OK, I tried Angelina's deli first, hoping the ecuadorian flag in the window told of good hidden items to be found inside. Not so - at least not at lunch. It's just a normal, bare-bones deli. Worth a try and dinner.

So, I went to Quetzal Cafe on Hope Street. It's a small guatemalen cafe. They don't have a permit for a commercial kitchen, so they make everything off premises, then bring it there to keep warm/reheat, etc. So, they have a limited menu. That said, it's very good.

I had a chile relleno with tortillas on the side, chicken tamale, empanada and a taste of their atole.

The standout was the chile relleno. Very tender, soft batter covering. The chile was filled with a good mixture of carrots, cabbage, tomato, potato, etc., with sauce ladeled atop. Basic ingredients but very flavorful.

The tamale was very bland. If it weren't for the sauce they ladeled on that as well, it would have simply been masa filled with a chunk of plain, dry chicken.

The empanada (4 for $5) is essentially a raw tortilla, filled with a mixture very similar to the relleno, folded over into the familiar half-circle empanada shape, then deep fried. Very different from a chilean or argentine empanada, say, but very good. The deep fried masa was excellent. They are quite small, but at $1.25 each, a good deal.

The lady also offered me a taste of their atole, which is essentiall a corn soup/drink that is primarily drunk in the morning. Think a light, slightly sweet creamed corn soup. Very good.

As for the rest of the menu, they have enchiladas, tacos and something that I can't recall right now.

however, on weekends, they offer three additional items that definitely need to be tried: pupusas, ceviche and mixtos de camarones (a seafood stew/soup).

Sometime next year they hope to install an exhaust and other facilities for a full kitchen. Until then, their menu is likely to be the same.

So, overall, I think it is a very nice little neighborhood-based cafe. The place is cheap (chile relleno is $3.75, tamales are $1.50 and empanadas are $1.25. And a great place for a quick bite. If you want a fuller menu and cooked to order guatemalen, head across town to Antojitos Chapines on West Main.

Tomorrow... either Royal Fish & Chips or Carribbean Bakery on Main, depending on my whims for the day.

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