Tenangos: A Culinary Adventure Through México’s History
On a roundabout voyage out of Havana, Cuba, on her way to Miami, Florida, Liana Hernández landed in México City. There she fell in love with the open-air markets with their huge displays of fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish—all organic and beautifully displayed.
Although she had earned a mechanical engineering degree in Cuba, Hernández had always had a passion for cooking. So she became a self-taught chef and opened her first Tenangos restaurant in Miami. Her images of the Mexican markets drew her back to Cabo San Lucas, and, three years ago, she opened a second Tenangos Restaurant, this time in the Shoppes at Palmilla.
Not only did the Mexican markets’ products attract her and become her staple of ingredients in the kitchen, but the idea of indigenous ingredients that sustained Mexicans for hundreds of years became a signature for some of her recipes, what some would call unusual or intimidating: For centuries, it wasn’t meat that sustained Aztec warriors but rather protein-rich insects. Hernández has worked in similar ingredients in dishes like guacamole with grasshoppers and scorpion quesadillas.
“If you are an adventurous eater,” she says, “place a small order and try a different dish with a foodie friend.” Outside of México, caviar is prized and used as a byword for expensive cuisine. But in places in México, specifically Puebla, it’s ant eggs that make mouths water, a longing for the buttery nutty flavor of the eggs, sautéed with garlic, onion, and butter, which burst in the mouth. Hernández’s version of the Mexican caviar, escamoles, is served on melted cheese as an appetizer.
Not everything on the menu features insects or arachnids, but all are a testament to the old way of life in México. Many patrons return time and again, saying it’s like going back in time to enjoy the dishes their grandmothers used to make. One such tribute is Hernández’s recipe for chiles en nogada, a traditional Oaxacan dish. Ceviche is popular, too, especially the mixed Yucatán version with octopus, fish, and shrimp. Entrées include Veracruz fish, slow-roasted pork belly, and several mole dishes with different colorings and thus, different flavors: short ribs with red mole, flank steak with green mole, and duck in pink mole with pine nuts.
Various steak cuts are offered, along with oxtail beef stew, pork carnitas, and pork ribs in tamarind sauce. Sides include plantain medallions, charro beans, creamy rice, and organic vegetables, which Hernández hand-selects at the farmers’ market held at The Shoppes at Palmilla each Friday. Her purchase on a spring day may include ingredients for her red fruit gazpacho made from all fruits red, a great summer starter. Desserts may include mango cheesecake or chocolate cake with black mole. There is no doubt that she is having fun in the kitchen doing what she loves to do by creating dishes out of local resources.
Tenango is a style of embroidery that originated in the Tenango de Doria municipality in the state of Hidalgo. Beautiful examples of the craft hang on the walls of the restaurant, from which the logo was derived and is used on custom talavera plates. When the bill is requested, it comes in a beautifully decorated, hand-crafted wooden box from Guerrero. Everything in the restaurant is Mexican oriented—except for the authentic Cuban cigars. They are housed in a walk-in humidor. A wine cava and 50 mezcal options round out what can only be described as a great experience on any given day.
Tenangos is located at the Shoppes at Palmilla, km 27.5, San José del Cabo, (624) 144-5128, www.tenangosloscabos.com/en. Mon.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. and Sun. 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m.—
Written By Sandra A. Berry
Fore more Information take a look at their Contact Page
The Shoppes at Palmilla
Address: Tourist Corridor. KM 27.5, Palmilla, 23406 San José del Cabo, B.C.S.
Phone: +52 (624) 144-6999