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Ristras and Rawhide

A Taste of Mexico

Order the Molcajete at LaCava, and you are transported to Guadalajara. Brimming with chicken, beef and pork in a spicy poblano sauce.

Order the Molcajete at LaCava, and you are transported to Guadalajara. Brimming with chicken, beef and pork in a spicy poblano sauce.

Nothing’s more delightful on a crisp, fall day than the smoky, sweet aroma of roasted chilies wafting in the air. And who better to celebrate their distinctive flavors than the chefs at La Cava and The Loop, whose authentic recipes give us a taste of the real Mexico.  

La Cava

Growing up on a ranch in Sonora, Mexico, Patricia Ezrre loved riding horses and cooking traditional dishes with her grandmother. It was that joy of cooking and entertaining that inspired her and her husband Miguel to open La Cava.

 "I wanted people to know the real food from Mexico," she says.

That meant making everything from scratch, using many family recipes. The décor had to be authentic, too. So, for three years, the couple built the interior and collected furniture and artwork from Mexico and the Southwest.

The result is breathtaking.

Dramatic stonework, chandeliers, saddles from Patricia's horses, and multi-colored blankets offer you the charm of a rustic hacienda. While the low lighting and elegantly-appointed tables with bright red and green cloth napkins invite you to linger over dinner.

Weekends are especially lively as guests sip margaritas and sing along with a guitarist who plays traditional Mexican songs. 

Each dish is presented artistically, incorporating the bright bold colors and flavors of Mexico.

The Chile en Nogada is a poblano chile stuffed with shredded beef, pork, and dried fruit. It's smothered in a walnut cream sauce, then sprinkled with jewel-like pomegranate seeds and topped with cilantro to resemble the colors of the Mexican flag.

The Pescado Presidente, made with fresh halibut or salmon, is perfect for seafood lovers. Tender shrimp, langoustines and scallops are stir-fried then added to a creamy mushroom sauce, which envelopes the fish. 

For a steak that's both dramatic and delicious, order the Sonoran Ribeye. It's massaged with Patricia's secret "burned sauce," that delivers layers of flavor.

Lunch is now being served in La Cava's casual new addition, "La Tamaleria at La Cava." 

On a time schedule? No worries. Drop in for Patricia's homemade tamales. Or order them to go. She offers both savory and sweet selections, including mushroom, spinach, pork, beef, chocolate and apple pie.

You can also enjoy typical Sonoran favorites, such as tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, chilaquiles and chile rellenos.

Patricia's dream has come true--to give customers a taste of the real Mexico. Her grandmother would be proud.

 

If you go:

1755 S. 8th Street, Ste D, 80905 (719) 203-4297

 

The Loop

Since 1995, The historic Loop in Manitou Springs has been serving up some of the most authentic Mexican food in the region--with margaritas that have gained a world-wide reputation.   

With its adobe walls and hand-painted murals, The Loop transports you to a Mexican hacienda, where the warmth of the décor is as inviting as the welcome you receive.

"We serve up fun," says Amanda Galloway, General Manager. "It's a party in every glass."   

Head chefs, Heron and Ruben Villareal, have been making magic at The Loop since it opened. From Guadalajara, these two brothers serve their family recipes sprinkled with Mexican-style seafood dishes from Baja.

Their red and green chilies are sourced locally, and everything is made from scratch.

For traditional steak street tacos, you can't beat the Tacos el Carbon. They're bursting with cilantro, onions, salsa and radishes. If you prefer pork, order the Tacos al Pastor. But don't ask for the recipe. It's top secret. The only ingredient they will share is pineapple!

The chicken chile rellenos are a huge crowd favorite. Hand-battered and deep-fried until crispy, these poblano peppers are filled with tender chunks of chicken, oozing with cheese, and smothered in a tangy green ranchero sauce.

For a real show stopper, order the Molcajete. Heads turn around in the restaurant as the rustic stone container arrives hot and bubbling with chicken, pork and steak bathed in a spicy poblano sauce.

Tequila lovers will rejoice. 

The Loop carries more than 40 kinds of tequila. They even have their own barrel of Patrón, which was bottled and labeled just for The Loop.

"Our margaritas are big and bigger," Galloway says with a smile. 

And so is the warmth of their staff.

"It's fun to share a drink and food with your friends," she says.

And that's what customers become at The Loop. 

"We're excited to see them," she says. "That's why our staff stays and our customers keep coming back."

 

If you go:

965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 80829

(719) 685-9344