Tuesday, December 27, 2016


When we got to Californios in our Lyft, we were greeted by a dark storefront without even an obvious sign (the circle-triangle thing is the sign). We thought maybe we had the address wrong.

But inside, we found a small and cozy restaurant, with an open kitchen behind the bar.

I asked whether Michelin provided the restaurant with this guy when the restaurant was awarded a star, but no such luck.

We started the meal with agua fresca (in a manner of speaking), enfrijolada (pureed black beans in a crisp black bean shell) and a little beef tartare sope.

Here's a closer look at the enfrijolada.

Next, we had a cachete taco—the world's cutest taco, with a tiny slab of beef cheek on top.

Queso fundido came served in a cast iron pan with miniature tortillas. This is also where the wine pairing (which I did) started, with a Peter Lauer sparkling dry riesling (which was really quite amazing, and bore little resemblance to most rieslings).

We had a tiny bite of a masa sorbet (hielo) as a palate cleanser.

Then we moved into seafood, with a white Bordeaux. On the food side, first came agua chile, which featured crab.

This was followed by langosta (lobster) taco, in a delicate, crisp shell.

The next wine was actually a cider, accompanied by a "fruit cup," which here refers to a "cup" made of thinly sliced apple.

The fideo (pasta) was a cute ravioli...

...in a carmelized chicken broth.

Next up was three-layers of frijoles, with a touch of caviar, topped with flaked gold, and served in this volcano plate. This was paired with a Spanish still wine made with pansa blanca grapes, which are most commonly used for cava.

The frijoles were followed by a seared scallop, over cabbage and grapefruit, with some chipotle in there somewhere. To match the heat from the chipotle, this was matched with a spätlese riesling (sweet, but not as sweet as an auslese).

From fish to fowl: mole poblano quail.

Carne asada—A5 wagyu, served a cabernet franc from Loire.

Limón—dessert number one.

Cacahuate (peanut) ice cream with a chocolate sauce—think peanut butter cup!

Manzana ponche (apple punch) to finish things (or us) off.

The bathroom has lights that cycled through many colors (or at least did for me; Sigrid and Elizabeth didn't notice this feature).

Happy diners.

The menu.

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