Chef Johnny Hernandez is keeping it real at La Gloria. This was my first visit to La Gloria, which opened in May 2010 in the Pearl Brewery complex. I had their breakfast tacos at the farmer's market, and they were warm and filling like a good breakfast taco should be on a cold morning in January. La Gloria's mission is to bring the street food of interior Mexico--tlayudas, tacos, ceviche, panuchos--to the people of San Antonio. Having recently spent two years in Asia, I am a sucker for street food. This menu is meant for sharing, bring your friends and be prepared to have your tastebuds tickled by the flavors of Mexico.
La Gloria has a mixture of indoor and outdoor seating--we opted for indoors due to the scorching temps outdoors. When the weather cools it is easy to imagine sitting outdoors enjoying the riverside ambience with a cocktail in hand. Having been on a personal agua fresca kick for most of the summer, I was delighted to try their guava agua fresca. Delicioso! and free refills!
The menu is extensive and grouped by dish with explanations on the reverse. Our server was attentive and provided answers to all of our questions. I was so happy that the ubiquitous basket of tortilla chips was absent--I have no self control in that department. You can order them if you so desire. While waiting for our third compadre (who disdains seafood) to get through rush hour traffic we enjoyed an order of coctel de camarone. Described as a Mexican shrimp cocktail and served with some tostada, it was sweet/tart tomato sauce with pico de gallo and avocado. We ate most of it before I could get my camera out, oops...
For the remainder of our meal, I deferred to my friend Maria's knowledge of all things Mexican, and watched happily as dish after dish arrived at our table.
Tacos al Pastor: one of my all-time favorites in the taco department! Thinly sliced and marinated roast pork with pineapple, onion and cilantro. The pork was a little crispy in places and the juicy pineapple lubricated it nicely.
Cochinita Pibil Panucho: imagine a thin tamale stuffed with black beans and topped with mouthwatering slow roasted pork with citrus and spice notes.
Pollo Negro Panucho: Mole! Sweet and spicy roast chicken topped with avocado salad. Mole is an acquired taste for some--my friend didn't like this one especially but that just meant more for me!
Deshebrada Tlayuda: our server described this as "like a pizza". To me it seemed more like a giant nacho. But in a good way! Corn tortilla covered with beans/cheese/shredded spice beef. This is a crowd pleaser for sure.
Tacos Alambre:El Don De Tacos according to the menu. Grilled beef, onions and peppers, simple and benefitted from the awesome salsa to round out the flavor profile.
Red and green. Feels like Christmas! While I can't promise you will have a table next to Tommy Lee Jones like we did, I recommend you take your friends and family to La Gloria pronto! This is honest to goodness food, done right with quality ingredients. I would expect nothing less from a CIA grad. Looking forward to working my way through this menu.