Once again Cafe Lavanda had to be scratched from our brunch plans – on our walk to Centro last week we noticed a sign on the door stating they would be closed this past Friday, apparently part of a week’s vacation. So, once again we had to come up with a difference place for our weekly brunch date.
We hit the jackpot with Raices, a small outdoor restaurant located close to our apartment that had been independently recommended by two of our neighbors. Raices, we were told, served Oaxacan-style dishes and did a great breakfast. Servings there would be generous, the prices low, and the service gracious.
We went out to eat a little bit later than usual on Friday because our housekeeper’s schedule had been changed to later in the morning. Situated on a small covered patio between two other restaurants, Raices has only ten tables (ranging in size from a couple of two tops to one six top). We were greeted warmly and seated immediately a couple of rows back from the sidewalk, for which we were grateful because our table was shaded. There didn’t appear to be any other expats or visitors during our time there; all the other patrons seemed to be local. Not long after we arrived every table was full.
The menu was simple; just two pages of dishes available for order and a third page with drinks. I ordered a fruited ice tea sweetened with piloncillo, unrefined pure cane sugar native to Mexico. Brett ordered a lemonade made with fresh peppermint (herbabuena). Both drinks were very delicious and very refreshing.
Our meals at Raices were AMAZING. Since we were eating close to noon, I chose enchiladas verdes (chicken enchiladas with green salsa), and Brett decided on chilaquiles embarazados (“pregnant chilaquiles”), a traditional breakfast dish made from fried tortillas, salsa, shredded chicken, cheese, and onion. Both of our dishes were topped with pickled red onion and beautifully presented. Initially I told myself there was no way I was going to finish the four enchiladas on my plate, but they were so good I had to eat all of them and left a nearly clean plate. Brett polished off his chilaquiles in a similar way. We saw a couple of other tables order a stack of pancakes for dessert, and at one table guests ordered a second round of main dishes, but we were satisfied and full by the time we were through.
While we were at the restaurant, a few people wandered in off the streets, some selling something, some asking for money, and even one man who came in with a guitar and sang a couple of songs (poorly) and then left. Other than the guitarist they were all quiet and respectful. We gave some coins to a small (adorable) boy asking for help, and others dining there were also generous with him, but for the most part the vendors and requests were ignored, and the people quietly left without incident or complaint.
The total for our incredible brunch including a tip was $17.30 USD, and once again we left full, happy, and with no desire to eat again until later in the evening. We can’t wait to go back and try more of the delicious cooking that happens at Raices. The waitress hoped we would make Raices our second home and I think we may take her up on that offer!
RAICES: gas Mobil, Salida a Celaya Frente a 5 de Mayo, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico