12122017Tue
Last updateFri, 08 Dec 2017 11am

Europe as waffles, crepes and omelets – a Grand Tour

Waffles, crepes, omelets, hash browns – pretty standard stuff, right?

Not at Mina La Antigua, a new dining sensation at Lakeside. All these breakfast and brunch favorites are spread across a menu of over a hundred and twenty variations. That’s 70 waffle treatments, 40 crepes, dulce and salado, and 17 variations of omelets. Even the hash-browns come in half-dozen styles, crispy or soft potato weaves with gorgeous toppings from sautéed mushrooms to bacon, cheeses and fried eggs. If that’s not enough, there are superb daily specials that aren’t on the menu. The vast menu also offers lunch plates, sandwiches and baguettes with all manner of cheese and lunchmeat fillings.

Despite the lavish varieties, this team knows how to make ordinary dishes extraordinary.

pg15As a result, La Antiqua, after only a few months here, has caught on as a favorite haunt for a creative early morning or mid-day treat. It sits just off the carretera in Riberas del Pilar on the mountain side just east of St. Andrew’s Church. The setting offers you a bright patio under umbrellas or a comfortable soft-cushioned arrangement of booths and tables inside. The décor says European everywhere, as does the menu themes for every item, but in name only. For instance, waffles range from a dish called Bucharest, which features cream cheese, walnuts, Nutella and the Mexican liquor {rompope}, to one called Essen, containing chunks of Oreo cookie (honest), chocolate and whipped cream. Locals from Bucharest and Essen would say, “Huh?”, but chances are they’d readily approve.

My crepes came cookbook photogenic, designed with the care of an artisan. When you look around the restaurant, you’ll see that each dish is hand-crafted to perfection. The crepes came with a light, sweet vanilla sauce topped with sliced mango wedges, pineapple, coco and walnuts. It represented Portofino and was so good it could boost tourism there. I also had a plate of crispy hash browns, topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions with a touch of curry and needing no condiments whatever.

My companion ordered an omelet stuffed with gouda and sautéed onions on a bed of crispy hash browns. It came as two separate servings, fluffed and seasoned and handsomely presented side by side with a tiny salad in a side dish.  I have also had several of the waffle dishes, once for a nice breakfast and again for an afternoon dessert. I found them not quite as hot as I would have liked, but moist and cake-like nonetheless.

You might be surprised to note that the waiters and kitchen staff hygienically wear surgical masks and headwear, a respectful courtesy to patrons. This is an experience everyone who enjoys exquisitely prepared and presented dining – early, as opposed to evening -- must try.

Before arriving here in Ajijic, you would have had to trek to one of the other three La Antiguas located in Guadalajara. This new breakfast-brunch fantasyland is just about ten minutes from anywhere at Lakeside. Prices are truly modest given the quality of the food, selections, presentations and service. La Antigua is open Tuesday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Possibly running out of menu room, they offered only one juice drink, fresh-squeezed orange juice. I hope they will reconsider this and bring in an Alsace grape juice or an Isle of Elba Napoleon mango.

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