MIJAS…Carlos Londono’s tribute to his daughters

Richmond Restauranteur, Carlos Longdono’s newest offering of Central American cuisine is Mijas Mexican Kitchen and Cantina.  Located in Shockhoe Slip in the former La Grotta location of 1218 E. Cary St., Mijas is upscale without being stuffy.  I loved the white linen tablecloths, chandeliers, and Mexican artwork.

Service is attentive and friendly, but not intrusive.  We started with drinks and Mejas Mexi Rolls.  My husband had a couple Dos XX Lagers and I had the divine Pina Colada.  The Pina Colada was so delicious that I saved it for dessert.  The Mexi Rolls were a tasty spin on a traditionally Asian appetizer.  The cilantro sauce truly made them exceptional.  We leisurely enjoyed our drinks, appetizers and chips/salsa without being rushed into the main course.  We appreciated that our waiter held the entree order until we finished our appetizer, honoring our request to let us take our time.

I was tempted by the delicious laditos (sides), but I am glad that I resisted this time because our platos portions were generous.

My husband chose the grilled pibil (pork cooked in banana leaves) tacos and I chose the pibil entree’.  The fried plantains were especially delicious and the pickled onions atop the rich pork and rice provided just the right touch of bright acidity.  I will say that I took more than half of the plate home to share the next day with our daughter.

Next time, I think we will share an entree and try some of the those tempting laditos, and maybe leave room for Flan, Tres Leches, or Pots de Creme.

Central American Casual Elegance: Maya Grill and Tequila Lounge

Maya Grill and Tequila Lounge’s menu says Modern Mexican, but chef and owner Maria Osequera delivers more than Mexican cuisine.  She brings her native Columbia to the table as well.  For Tequila connoisseurs, she offers several upscale Tequilas that can be enjoyed by the flight if you cannot make up your mind, in several different margaritas,or in exotic cocktails, or a single serving of your personal favorite.  Several beers on tap are offered as well.

Maya drink menu

The atmosphere’s casual elegance makes the dining experience truly special.  White table cloths and napkins, heavy dark wooden tables and chairs, the iron and stained glass lighting and soft latin music create a quiet energy.

The food feeds all of the senses: beautiful to look at, wonderful aroma, delicious flavors and varied textures.  My mom treated my sister-in-law and I to lunch and we all agreed that Maya was a special treat. The meal began with homemade chips, salsa and guacamole tipical( one of the three guacamole choices).  We each made our entree choices:  Vegetable Fajitas, Fish Tacos and the Ancho Spiced Chicken Tacos with Sopa Barracha.

I will definitely have to return during the dinner hour to enjoy one of those exotic cocktails with my meal!