| The jewel box-like interior of La Calesa. (Photo by Laura McKenzie) |
The exterior is quiet and unassuming - a small tan building, tucked behind the Uniroyal station on Hildebrand and Broadway. For years, I had driven by the place - occasionally tempted by the sign offering lunch specials - but had never managed to catch it when it was open.
But as luck would have it, I stumbled upon La Calesa at just the right time one day in a hungry quest. And what a magical discovery it was: Inside the unassuming building was a jewel box of Mexican delights - a brightly painted home for delicacies that had been wowing critics since its 1983 opening. Bright Mediterrean blue, canary yellow, and lime green walls are adorned with art both surreal and traditional, and posted on the wall is a yellowing review from our own Ron Bechtol - years before he joined the Current. (As an enticement to visit, note that the review features a humorous caricature of our restaurant critic.)
So, had the years treated La Calesa kindly? Indeed they had - and La Calesa treated us kindly as well. And although the food wasn't quite what we had expected, it was belly-moaning good.
| La Calesa |
2103 E. Hildebrand
Hours: 11am-2pm, 5-10pm Mon-Fri; 11am-2pm,
11:30am-10:30pm Sat, 11:30am-9pm Sun
Price range: $6-17
Major credit cards
La Calesa features a hearty menu of interior Mexican dishes; Chicken Mole, Pollo en Escabeche, and Albondigas all tempted this voracious diner. But it was the Cochinita Pibil that won out - shreds of pork lightly coated in a rust-red sauce
| A plate of Cochinita Pibil with rice and beans, and the astounding green salsa nearby. (Photo by Laura McKenzie) |
But the true write-home-to-Ma dish, surprisingly, was the rice. Rice - the lowly side dish on most menus, a dish written off by low-carb dieters and snobs alike - rice was the most outstanding item on the impressive menu. White, flaked with kernels of canary-yellow corn, and reeking of butter, the rice was delicate almost to a risotto extreme - each grain nearly bursting. Mixed with the accompanying black beans, the dish makes a hearty stand for simplicity in dining - and forced a very hungry diner to polish clean her quite-generous plate. •
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If you were stranded on a deserted island, what San Antonio dish would you want with you?
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