I kinda grew up with Sylvia Casares.
Well, I didn’t really grow up with Sylvia (I’m much older than Sylvia), but as a fourth-generation Texan, with relatives sprinkled all over the Rio Grande Valley, I spent my youth chasing down excellent Tex-Mex (and Mexican) food in the Valley. Sylvia was “living Tex-Mex” and learning to cook this unique cuisine while growing up in Brownsville, Texas. She left the Valley at the age of 18 and later, entered the food service field in Houston. 10 years in the test kitchen of Uncle Ben’s Rice may be the reason that her Mexican Rice is fluffy and not stuck together in a blob, as it is in many Mexican/TexMex restaurants. Her experience is all history that has been written about in the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Press, Texas Monthly, USA Today, et al. I’m here to talk about her food and her restaurant in my neighborhood, on Woodway at Winrock.
Pancake Station at Brunch Buffet
Fake Photo of Fake Name Change
As one who fell hard for a publicity stunt (during National Pancake Month) that fooled me into thinking that she was changing the restaurant’s name to “Sylvia’s Enchiladas and Pancakes”, Sally and I decided to drop in for Sunday brunch (as we have for years and years).
Huachinango a la Veracruzana (Snapper Veracruz)
Although, on this visit, we had only one of the excellent regional Mexican dishes that are faithfully prepared in her kitchen, they deserve mentioning. Her moles are superb and pure. My favorite, however, is Sylvia’s Huachinango a la Veracruzana
(Snapper Veracruz). For my blog, Jack Tyler’s Mexico
, and magazines I have published, I have traveled Mexico for decades writing about indigenous people there and their cuisines. Sylvia’s Veracruz sauce is as I was taught to make it in Veracruz in classes in the eastern Mexico state. Her version is an excellent authentic dish and worth ordering here. My photo is from a previous visit.
So, back to the pancakes. I ordered pancakes on the brunch buffet and presented them to Sally to try. Her first comment after seeing them was “The reason I never order pancakes in restaurants is because they never look like THIS.” The pancakes were delicious and when piled high with butter, maple syrup and the perfectly cooked bacon available on the buffet line, this stack is MY stack. Also, bacon and maple syrup is a match made in Heaven.
A word about Sylvia’s Caesar Salad (pictured below). I know that Sylvia is well-aware that the Original Caesar Salad was invented in Mexico (ca. 1923) by Caesar Cardini in his restaurant in Tijuana. That’s where I was taught to make the salad. The Caesar Salad is authentic and genuine Mexican food. While Sylvia’s “Mexican Caesar Salad” is delicious and I ate every bite, I always like to see something like that served as the original dish.
We also sampled some of the Tex-Mex items that we Texans ALL grew up with and below is a Gallery of photos:
Galerie du Cuisine
“Mexican” Caesar Salad
Cheese Enchiladas (My Staple When Growing Up)
Spinach and Chicken Enchiladas
Beef and Chicken Enchiladas
Houston, Texas 77057
Houston, Texas 77077