The Simple Joy of Going Out for Breakfast…or Lunch/Brunch/Slunch
by Fern Corraini
Note: Before you read the article, you’ll need to know what a guiso is. Lacking a true English translation, a guiso is a “one-pot main course dish”. There are countless guisos in the gastronomy of Mexico: Papas y Chorizo (potatoes and spicy sausage), Rajas con Crema (poblano chile strips and corn in a cream sauce), Marlin Ahumado (smoked marlin), Puerco con Chile (pulled pork in spicy sauce). Delicious mixtures…some saucy, some meatless, some spicy.
One of my favorite things to do is to go out for breakfast. Not fancy, foo-foo breakfast in a hotel or on the tourist strip. I’m talking about real Mexican breakfast. On a breezy patio. Strong coffee. Fresh orange juice. Screaming hot tortillas. Tasty salsa. It’s a simple joyful activity.
Three of my favorite places to enjoy it are both located on the highway in El Centenario: Cafe La Parcelita, Chata Lonchería and Cafe Exquisito. All three are great casual eating places with loyal, steadfast customers. Take-out or eat-in options are both available at all locations, although social distancing rules currently limit the number of tables available.
Café La Parcelita
Located on Transpeninsular Highway 1, between Calles 16 & 17, in El Centenario
Truckers always know the best places to eat, and judging by the number of semis and delivery vehicles typically parked in front of Café La Parcelita, you know this is one of them. Sisters-in-law, Gaby and Rosie, opened Café La Parcelita in 2009, and their business has been growing steadily ever since.
With help from their grown children, Gaby and Rosie manage to prepare and serve pots and pots of steaming guisos every day, starting as
early as 4:30 a.m. until the food runs out, or until 2:00 p.m, whichever comes first. Their most popular dish is Chicharrónes en Salsa Roja (porkrinds in red chile sauce).
The guisos can be served in many forms, from quesadillas to burritos and tortas. But La Parcelita is best known for its delicious gordita…a thick corn tortilla that is slit open, stuffed and then regrilled. Delightfully messy! The staff at La Parcelita do not speak English, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult to order.
How to Order at La Parcelita:
- Choose your guiso from the blackboard menu
- Choose the vehicle you want to use to get it to your mouth (quesadilla/burrito/gordita/torta).
- Decide if you want to make it even messier by adding cheese or beans (con queso or con frijoles)
- Hint: Once you pick it up, don’t set it down.Enjoy this custom-made comfort food!
La Parcelita also does catering, and the food is consistently delicious!
Contact La Parcelita: 612 149-1648 or 612 104-7151.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CafeLaParcelita/
Located between Calles 1 & 2, KM 14.5, Carretera al Norte, El Centenario
When Maria (Chata) Lopez was a newly single mother of six children, she started making wonderful food in her house, and the children sold it throughout the town. She supported her family for years in this way. In 2009, a new chapter began for this family business when Chata opened her namesake restaurant, Chata Lonchería, on Highway 1 in El Centenario.
After 24 years, Chata Lonchería is still the heart of the kitchen, and Manuel, the youngest son who once peddled his mom’s empanadas, is the manager.
He and his sisters, Mary and Lupita, grew up knowing all about the business of serving good food. Chata taught them her work ethic and her ultra-high standards of cleanliness and quality…and how to make an empanada to swoon over.
Open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., La Chata offers a full traditional menu of homemade Mexican favorites, including chilequiles, omelettes, tostadas, burritos, menudo, pozole, tortas and a variety of chicken/beef/pork guisos. Their daily special (comida corrida) is also very popular. They serve traditional talega (cloth-filtered) coffee, the wonderful Chata family salsa and fresh-squeezed juices. The guisos and salsas are available for sale by the liter as well.
In addition to their original location on Transpeninsular Highway 1 in El Centenario, the Chata Family also welcomes you to their second location on the corner of Calle Jalisco and Calle Alvarez Rico in La Paz.
Contact Chata Lonchería:
El Centenario: 612 124-8280
La Paz: 612 158-3748
More information and some great photos on Chata’s Facebook page.
Located on Transpeninsular Highway 1, between Chametla and El Centenario
Since 2005, Cafe Exquisito in El Centenario has been delighting customers with its pastries, fresh roasted coffee drinks, great breakfasts and sandwiches. The local, family-owned cafe includes both indoor and outdoor patio seating, and offers a menu of coffee drinks, herbal teas, frappes, cakes, pies, cookies, rustic bread, pastries and more. Free WiFi is also available, making it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a treat, get your caffeine fix, do a bit of business or meet up with friends. You can get pastries and lunch catered here as well. Since opening its original location in El Centenario, Cafe Exquisito has grown to include several locations, including one at the local La Paz airport.
Contact Cafe Exquisito: https://cafe-exquisito.com
El Centenario Location: 612 146-2267, email@example.com
Fern Corraini is a veteran traveler and explorer who moved to La Paz from Canada fourteen years ago and is happy to call Mexico home. In addition to her international travels, Fern has been an English teacher in Canada and Guadalajara, a customs officer, a beekeeper, a sandblaster, a travel rep in the Dominican Republic and a motel owner. When she’s not busy keeping Baja Life Realty organized as our administrator, Fern loves to cycle, visit the beach and spend time with her two rescue cats. She loves La Paz and firmly believes that the taco is the perfect food.