Friday, 13 March 2015
La Frontera, San Miguel de Allende
Homey, Fresh and Filling!
by Nancy Snipper
American and Mexican Flavours Merge into Food Favourites
La Frontera San Miguel de Allende is famous for its hands – hands that make the best food that true down-to-earth cooking that no schooled chef can create nor duplicate. Co-owner, Noren Leigh Cáceres has a superb talent. She was born to cook and to care about others. This comes through in the food that lies on your plate. You can see her in the kitchen working hard, looking out over the counter to say hello and talk to her kitchen helpers every step of the way.
Her calm manner and mother earth gentleness is admirable, considering the countless foodie fans that have been coming to La Frontera for more than three-and-a-half years to enjoy her dishes. She doesn’t follow recipes; she doesn’t imitate, and she doesn’t do cuisine concoctions that overcome essential flavours.
It Takes Two to Form a Frontera
La Frontera’s other half is Jerry Harper who makes you feel you have entered your second home – the moment you step into the interior of vivid burnt red and turquoise wall colours, further enhanced by Mexican folk art and some film posters. Noren and Jerry are always there for you; the warmth of the staff can melt your heart as much as the mouthwatering dishes satisfy. Is it any wonder, La Frontera has served the likes of painter/skater, the late great Toller Cranston and L.A. actor, Michael Cory Davis! But people come here not to be seen; they come to eat.
It’s hard to find in San Miguel a breezy menu that has matzo ball soup and tortilla soup on the same page – one line below the other.
It’s hard to find a place where huge fabulous hamburgers share the same “frontier” as taco salad. The Tex-Mex food styles create a magnificent mix.
What’s cool about this place is – aside from its trusty menu – every day of the week also offers specialties. It might be meatloaf on Monday, shrimp taco on Tuesday and so on. Of course, the menu offers nachos, fajitas and quesadillas filled with your choice of chicken, shrimp, arachera, ground beef or veggies Variety is the spice of life at La Frontera, and yet nothing is overly spicy or overly rich. Hearty and healthy, everything is freshly prepared and generously portioned.
Bring on the Brisket
I ordered brisket my first visit. Wow! How many places in this town offer that, and was it ever tender and tasty! On the same plate was a glorious assortment of grilled veggies: red pepper, mushrooms, zucchini and onions. This mixture was as momentous as the meat itself.
I watched Noren make my margarita in the back of the kitchen. I saw her squeeze the lime and put the salt on the edge of my glass. The result was so wonderful, I ordered another margarita. As I waddled out of the restaurant I was already planning my Frontera “come-back”.
My Big Fat Burrito
I returned the next day to feast on the Drowned Burrito. This flamboyant Fontera favourite is huge, and it hosts a hunk of hunger-solving ingredients: creamy sauce salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo, ground beef, rice, tomatoes and carrots. It was so filling; I convinced myself I would never eat again. Then again, “never say never”, doesn’t apply to La Frontera. It’s simply too hard to resist.
La Frontera’s Big Heart
La Frontera hosts the Passover Seder for Shalom San Miguel and most recently, the staff held a fabulous chili cook-off – the proceeds of which went to San Miguel’s hospital for the mentally challenged – another action demonstrating La Frontera’s kindness and caring soul. Take a look at Noren’s moving poetry and witty writing in “Under the Table”: https://guavatales.wordspress.com.
La Frontera is also on Facebook.