Hitting up outdoor food markets, exploring restaurants, and breaking bread with those living in another country may sound like the stuff of a culinary travel show, but for Azucena Tovar, it's real-life inspiration.
Each year, the chef and owner of Los Sombreros, the nearly 20-year-old Mexican restaurant in South Scottsdale, takes a trip to her childhood home of San Miguel de Allende, in central Mexico. There, she gathers ideas to bring back to the Valley, enhancing her menu of Mexican comfort food with new dishes and flavors based on her journey.
Here's what diners can expect.
For lunch, expect three new taco plates of crispy potato, hibiscus, and beef picadillo tacos (also available as starters on the dinner menu) as well chicken enchiladas with mole poblano (enmoladas) and chiles rellenos with choice of chicken picadillo, beef picadillo, or cheese.
At dinner, start with appetizers like queso fundido made with huitlacoche (a savory fungus), crispy picadillo beef quesadillas, or mushroom and bacon or crispy hibiscus taquitos.
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There also are five new dinner salads: shrimp and papaya; fig and panela cheese; shrimp hicama tostada; jicama and orange; and greens with a choice of grilled chicken or beef, apples, dried cranberries, Oaxaca cheese, pumpkin seeds, and jalapeños.
Dinner entrees inspired by Tovar's journey include a grilled chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and huitlacoche in a chipotle tomato sauce (pechuga rellena); salmon with mango pico de gallo; trout with almonds in lemon butter; rib eye with chipotle cream sauce, onions, mushrooms, and jalapeños; and pork loin served with tamarind mole.
Here are the menus (new items highlighted in blue):