Sunday, January 10, 2016

San Miguel's LA CANICA, open only a month hits the firmament with Street Food by two Michelin Chefs (1-3-16)

Just weeks before leaving for Mexico, I spotted a small article about two Spanish Michelin starred chefs opening a small joint in San Miguel de Allende called LA CANICA. I emailed the concierge and he had no clue, but after persisting, we got a reservation and what a treat it turned out to be. We were welcomed at the door by Chef Bruno Dominguez who had moved from Madrid and joined with another Spanish Michelin-star winner, Paco Roncero, and ushered to ur table in an adorable courtyard.
Alas the chairs were quite tinny and uncomfy though saved by a thinnish cushion, and the tables had rungs across where your legs went, so it wasn't actually a place you would linger for hours. But then, the live music started with Mexican/American entertainers alternating all night and it wasn't loud, just pleasant and real mood setting; the huge antique fountain at the center didn't hurt either. We loved the modern artwork, especially a number of art mirrors which we ended up buying on of.
Our super server Cesar, helped us decipher the simple menu of street food combining Mexican and Spanish flavors, but before this he brought over shot glasses of amazing house made herbal/guava infused Oaxacan Mezcal  with spiced orange slices. The orange arrived after I had gulped down the wondrous liquor, so he quickly refilled my glass. YAY! we ordered Mezcal Maragritas with chili-salt rims made with the special herbal mescal, and it was so good, I had a second. I asked if the drink had a name and they said no, so ia sked the name of the woman at the bar making the drinks; within seconds we dubbed the drink the Mexcal Perla! Popcorn arrived instead of bread, making it easier to order more alcohol! We asked Cesar about the wine list and he asked, "red or white." after choosing red, he brought over 5 or 6 bottles and we chose Incognito, 2013 Valle de Guadalupe made from Merlot, Cab & Syrah which was a nice wine to go with everything.
Plastic plates and small napkins are the norm here, which was fine as we had a napkin holder on the table to keep grabbing more as this was big time messy finger food.
I started with the rich creamy Iberian Croquettes made from potato, Jamon Iberico (from Spain), pepper puree and micro greens on top. Will went for the Grilled Pizetta with smoked salmon and goat cheese, which was a huge tortilla-like pizza that could have served two as a starter, and Samuel bravely chose the awesome Tempura Asparagus with Bacon (spelled "beacon") cream and teriyaki; it may sound off the wall, but it tasted great.
Sam went on to have the Thai Burger which was a monstrous beef burger with Asian recipe spices, onion, ginger on a monster bun served in a Spider man lunchbox with chips. We noted all the burgers came in these adorable lunchboxes as Hello Kitty was at the next table. Will had Fish Tacos & Panaengnuu Sauce, which nobody could pronounce and they simply declared it was red curry; another hit.
My Beef Chamorro Poboy was the biggest sandwich I have seen since a NY deli loaded with corned beef. Smothered with caramelized onions, guajillo chilis and a ginger crema, the dish had to be a pound of bbq meat that was smoked perfectly. There were some bits of gristle, which I was wont to spit out to be couth, but I had to, and I still left a ton as doggie bags don't work when you stay in hotels. This came with amazing homemade potato chips as well. We have come to love the local chip ladies on each corner...our favorite are the cheese-chili chips which are bagged covered with lime juice and then sprinkled with hot salsa which you can eat on the go--what fun!
We were way too stuffed for dessert, but this little find is a new star in the Mexican heavens.