Friday, September 07, 2007
La Buena Tierra
It's unusual to find a restaurant that focuses on quality, environmentally friendly and organic foods - especially when that restaurant is part of a seven location chain. And since my thoughts and approaches towards food and coffee have been trending that way this past year, it's cool to learn that Ana finds this approach to food exciting enough that we've eaten at Lw Buena Tierra twice in one day.
We started off with breakfast at the Colonia Condesa location (here, "colonia" is equivalent to "neighborhood"). It's a small-ish space with both indoor and outdoor seating, featuring open walls and a large juice bar that dominates the center of the space. It's light earth tones play on the notion of fresh ingredients and a "green" approach. It's inviting and friendly.
The menus are large and pretty exciting for a place that is vegetarian-friendly. They serve meats and fish here too so the vegan freaks will probably find something to whine about, but for this omnivore, I'm pleased to see a balance of foods that are well-executed (not a typical situation for vegetarian/vegan "restaurants). The juice list is extensive. Happily, Mexicans are very serious about their fruit. This means a nearly endless supply of tasty fruit drinks no matter where you go.
Ana starts off with a California - it's a blended drink of melón, manzana, naranja y jengibre. I'm having the Guayabito - also a blend of fruits featuring guayaba, hierbabuena y jugo de limón. Ana's Tia Christina starts off with some coffee. I chose the Guayabito because it's different and something I've never had before, it's pretty good but I find the hierbabuena to be a bit odd. After a taste of Ana's California, I think that was the better choice.
First round is pan dulce or sweet breads. It's something that we seem to eat at the beginning of every sit down meal here. Our server comes up with a big tray of pastries and we choose. Here at La Buena Tierra, they take the organic approach and the pan looks and tastes delicious. I'm having some sort of lightly glazed cinnamon pastry topped with granola. It's light, slightly crisp and tasty without being too sweet.
Since I arrived, Tia Christina has been hanging out with us on most days. She's visiting from Mazatlan and returns home on Sunday. The thing I enjoy most about Tia Cristina is her disposition. It's very warm and welcoming. She was the first person I met when I arrived on Monday and while she doesn't speak English (and I'm speaking a haphazard Spanish), I feel like we get along like old times. It's strange, odd and comforting all at the same time. Like Ana, Tia Cristina loves to laugh and these two (three, when Senora Garcia is with us) laugh continuously all day and all night.
The menu at La Buena Tierra is large and inviting, and Ana has started this habit of asking the serving staff if they have a menu en ingles. At first, I'm slightly annoyed - I mean, I've traveled throughout the world, I've eaten Wagyu in Hiratsuka, bought knives from a non-English-speaking master, bounded through the streets of Ethiopia, eaten from the carts at Soi 38 in Bangkok and managed to get by, so I'm relatively sure I can order without an English version of the menu. Of course, I realize that she's only doing this out of the kindness in her heart and to help this hapless gringo and I'm no longer annoyed - especially since I ordered the Guayabito without really knowing what a "guayaba" really is then realizing that, perhaps, it isn't to my palate...
But you know me, I'm up for adventure. I don't want to think too much about it. Sounds strange and interesting? Give me a fork! But really, when I'm with someone who I trust and that knows the cuisine better than I do, I prefer to let that person do the ordering.
With that in mind, Ana directs me to the Huevos Motulenos, it's got fried eggs, tortillas, frijoles and peas smothered in a delicious sauce and topped with plantain chips. It was amazing. Just the perfect balance of ingredients and since I love fried eggs, I couldn't resist.
While Ana's favorite food is enchiladas, she'd been having a craving for La Buena Tierra's ayuno Universitario, a simple dish of ham and cheese on a pita with lettuce and tomatoes - evidently, the average breakfast for the starving college student.
Tia Cristina had the Molletes Los Tradicionales, it's a popular dish here in Mexico where you take a piece of bread, slather it with frijoles, top with cheese, bake until the cheese melts and serve. This one came with a side of pico de gallo.
One thing I'm starting to drink less of is Coke. Prior to coming here, I had been looking forward to drinking "Mexican Coke" - that sweet and crisp sensation made with real cane sugar instead of the High Fructose Corn Syrup we have in the United States. Instead, I find myself indulging in the many fruit drinks that are ubiquitiously popular here. Ana tells me that she almost never drinks Coke and I'm starting to understand why. The depth and variety of the fruit drinks here are amazing. The flavors are delicious. Visions of a life with Agua Fresca de Sandia float in my mind and I make a mental note to bust out my blender when I get home.
Of course, La Buena Tierra's juice menu is a bit larger and more extensive than the average Mexican joint but it's a promising beginning.
La Buena Tierra