La Cafeta del Sindi

By Jade Arroyo

El Recreo is one of the main venues for culture in town, located within the former Workers Union (Sindicato in Spanish) building on calle Recreo. This place was born from the desire to create a forum for popular culture and bring it closer to the San Miguel community, through the keeping of traditions, courses and workshops in several art disciplines and live performances of music, dance and theater, everything inclusive and affordable.

Now, La Cafeta (located on the terrace) is a part of this perspective of cultural wholeness: its goal is to offer alternative entertainment, such as acoustic concerts, readings, theater and, above all, literary workshops.

The cafeteria is infused with literature: even the menu has a prologue to explain itself and the dishes are named for famous authors. A notice establishes that they don’t have calorie-free sweetener, soy milk or other such food items.

La Cafeta is run by Oscar (you can recognize him by his hat), a musician and writer who also has other talents, such as chef, barista and host. He shared with Atención the recipe for chilaquiles.

For those who are unfamiliar with this very Mexican dish, chilaquiles consists of tortillas bathed with sauce and topped with cheese, cream, onions and cilantro. In Mexico, chilaquiles are served as a breakfast dish, and it’s an excellent way to start the day with energy—and to ease a hangover.

La Cafeta is open Monday through Friday, 9am–pm (meals only until 4pm).

Chilaquiles with red sauce
(2 servings)
2 tomatoes
2 chilis guajillo
1 chili de árbol
1/2 onion
1 clove of garlic

8 tortillas
Oil for frying
2 generous slices of fresh cheese
2 tablespoons of crema
1 sprig of epazote
1 sprig of cilantro
Salt and pepper


When making chilaquiles, the tortillas are fried to enhance their flavor. Cut the tortillas into triangles and fry them in a hot pan with 1/2 cup of oil for two minutes, turning them regularly with tongs. Place the fried tortillas on paper towels to remove the excess oil. Set aside. Tip: use dried-out tortillas from a previous day, rather than fresh ones.

Red sauce:

remove the seeds and veins from the chilies with a knife, then boil them in a little water along with the tomatoes for four minutes until the chilies are softened. Put this is the blender with 1/4 onion, the garlic and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pot and pour in the sauce and a sprig of epazote; when it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook it for three minutes until the sauce thickens. Lower the heat and add the fried tortillas very carefully, so they don’t break. Cook for three more minutes and remove the epazote sprig. Serve the chilaquiles topped with chopped cilantro, sliced onion, cream and crumbled cheese. If you like, you can add a fried egg, cooked chicken, or slices of avocado. Chilaquiles are usually served with refried beans as a side dish.


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