Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrating modern Mexican cuisine

Hispanic Heritage Month

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – For Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re giving you a sense of Hispanic culture with a taste of the incredible cuisine.

We take you to Californios in San Francisco for modern Mexican cuisine.

It’s named for the people of Mexican heritage who lived in California back in the 1800s.

Californios is a Michelin star restaurant with Mexican food and drink you have to taste to believe.

“We had two Michelin stars two years in a row and that’s the highest that any Mexican restaurant in the world has been awarded, so it’s a huge honor,” said Val Cantu, the award-winning chef from humble roots.

“My favorite comment from diners is it reminds them of eating something that their grandmother made.”

He should know. Chef Cantu grew up a small Texas town.

His family had a Mexican restaurant and his Nani Rosa provided recipes and inspiration.

“I don’t know, it was really a magical experience. My whole family worked there. I was very young but I remember playing with tortilla balls.”

That’s what brings us back to the pristine kitchen at Californios.

Chef Cantu’s favorite dish is the vegetable-based tlacoyo.

In this recipe, fresh corn masa is used, filled with creamy Montezuma red beans, cotija cheese, salsa macha, fresh cactus, pickled red onions, and more.

It’s fun to make, quick and easy, and quite the sight.

Would Nani Rosa approve?

“I think she would… there’s lots of roses in the restaurant and my daughter Rosa is named after her as well, in her honor.”

You can check out the recipe for Chef Cantu’s tlacoyo and other recipes to try here.

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