My parents are going home to Mexico this November
and sadly because I start school this fall, I cant go
. Im horribly jealous of the fact that theyll be sipping café de olla on the chic cafes of la Zona Rosa, feasting on fresh huitlacoche in Tuxla Gutierrez, and the savoring amazingly fresh ceviche in Merida. In order to console myself of this news, a dear friend and I decided to hit La Huasteca, a contemporary Mexican Restaurant anchoring Plaza Mexico, right off the 105 in Lynnwood.
First off, Plaza Mexico was a shopping center created by a Korean developer. His idea was to create the feel of a Mexican Zocalo, complete with confusing traffic circle, gazebo for dancing and bustling Mercado stands.
Yeah, it looks pretty cheesy and manufactured, but it still oddly comforting for this homesick girl
The moment I walked in, my eyes zoned in on the great tortilla chip basket. Thin super crispy fresh tortilla chips drizzled with a great red sweet mole and sesame seeds. There was also a container of potent smoky salsa, but I love the mole so much it was pretty much left untouched.
To go with my awesome snack, I ordered a coconut margarita. It arrived in a large milkshake style glass and was wonderfully creamy with little flakes of fresh coconut, so yummy, but still with that wonderful tequila sting I love so much! :)
To start I ordered the ceviche with octopus, fish and shrimp and my friend ordered the Cesar salad. My friend said the cesar had lots of anchovy flavor and she enjoyed it. And my Ceviche, although not the prettiest ceviche, it also packed lots of flavor. There was plenty of sharp lemon juice and a nice mix of fresh seafood flavors, so its a bit of a toss up which Ceviche I love the best, the one from Enriques, which is mild, one note, but with plenty of avocado and very pretty, or this one Hmmm
For our entrees my friend had Pescado a la Veracruzana, which was two pan friend fish filets over veggies and mexican rice. It all covered with a thin, but spicy sauce. The fish was done perfect, moist inside but with a crisp edge.
I have been pouring over the menu for months and have day dreamed about the Medallones Quetzal, a filet, sliced and smothered in a sauce made of Huitlacoche on top of Meshed potatoes flavored with poblano chiles and vegetables.
I know I know Mashed Potatoes in a Mexican food resturaunt! Actually, potatoes are a new world crop and are used in all regions of Mexico (Mashed potatoes are actually a key to the Yucatecan stuffed cheese dish!). And the entire dish was as wonderful as I expected, the filet was soft and tender and the Huitlacoche sauce, thick and flavorful! Huitlacoche is a fungus, which tasted earthy, almost like truffles (I think Truffles taste dustier though), so it can be a bit muddy for some folks. In fact, even though I was speaking a bit of Spanish to the waitress, she still asked me if I had ever had huitlacoche before. LOL! And of course, the mashed potatoes, which were on the lumpy side (Just how I like them) were also wonderful!
Having absolutely stuffed myself, I could not even begin to think of dessert. However, my first visit to La Huasteca was for a traditional breakfast (Which they did wonderfully!) and from that first visit, I knew they had café de olla. What is café de Olla? Well if Starbucks ever decides to sell this, BUY STOCK Its coffee brewed with cinnamon, orange peel and other spices (Some use Clove, some use anise ), which naturally infuses the coffee with flavor. It comes to you BLACK, so its not sweet or creamy, unless you want it that way. So its the perfect flavored coffee for everyone! Very few places do it even fewer places do it well. La Huastecas is rival to the ones served on La Zona Rosa! Its almost worth visiting the restaurant alone! :)
Finishing up my coffee, chatting with a friend in their large room with artisan tables and murals on the walls, I suddenly stopped feeling so jealous about my parents I started to feel sad for them, afterall, I could have my own rich Mexican experience complete with café de olla without spending several hundred dollars on a plane ticket, or several hours in a stuffy plane :)