DEFCON Dining: La Guadalupana

Enchiladas Verdes La Guadalupana.jpg
Amazingly, deliciously verde
"Iguana Lupana!" shouted my daughter, Juliette, when asked where she wanted to eat breakfast on a recent Saturday afternoon. We're late risers, to a fault, when the weekend affords us the opportunity. Three O'Clock breakfasts are not out of the ordinary, and so we prize places that serve it all day. Lately, La Guadalupana has been the go-to destination, regardless of whether or not my five-year-old can pronounce it properly.

A meal at La Guadalupana usually begins with my kids (and, more often than not, my wife) ogling the pastry case at the front of the restaurant. It takes a bit of cajoling to get them to take their seats and figure out what they're eating. Nobody seems to mind, though, and the kids enjoy the window-shopping. Plus, they know that their selections depend on their behavior; quiet voices = cookies after the meal.

The meal usually consists of pastries, anyway. At least as far as my kids are concerned. They're obsessed with empanadas, particularly the calabaza variety. I can't blame them, really; the spiced pumpkin filling is delicious. I try to get them to order "actual food" instead of empanadas, and can occasionally convince my older daughter to get a breakfast torta or a croissant. More often than not, though, it's empanadas for both.

While I will surely steal a bite or two of their pastries, I'm usually after something more substantial. Lately, my go-to has been the enchiladas verdes. This was one of the first Mexican dishes I fell in love with when I moved to Houston 18 years ago. It fell out of favor a while back, but La Guadalupana's version has reignited my fervor.

Here, the dish earns its name. The plate is presented to you with a mound of freshly chopped lettuce strewn with a rubble of tangy white cheese. Underneath the greens are a trio of tortillas, rolled around lusciously juicy chicken with a deeply savory character, swathed in an intense green salsa. The sauce is bright with acid, just a bit of heat, and a sneaky undercurrent of funky epazote providing a medicinal counterpoint to all of the other flavors. Buttery avocado and the slight crunch from slivers of sweet white onion add their own charm.

This is, hands down, the best version of the dish I've ever had. Sided with perfectly respectable refried beans and rice, it's also a lot of food. Somehow, though, it manages to come across as a light meal. I imagine it's all the light, crisp lettuce and sparklingly tart salsa. Paired with an earthy-sweet and beautiful Vampiro (carrrot, beet, and orange juices delightfully layered together), it's one of my favorite meals right now.

The kids are almost always too enthralled with their pastries to do much aside from munch happily away, so La Guadalupana is also a great bet for almost any DEFCON level. Empanadas have amazing diplomatic skills. In fact, I'm thinking about getting some to go next time, for deployment during other DEFCON events.



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Location Info

La Guadalupana Bakery and Café

2109 Dunlavy St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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11 comments
rgwalt
rgwalt

I can only echo all of the good things said in this post and in the comments... Coffee? So on point that we buy bags of it to take home and make during the week.  Vampiro?  Fantastic hangover cure.  I love both the red and green sauces, the key is to get there late enough so that you get a basket of chips and two bowls of sauce with your breakfast, without waiting for lunch. I will have to try the Migas the next time I am there, based on all the positive reviews!

Try the Machaca Nortena the next time you are there.  Eggs cooked with tomatos, peppers, onions, and shredded dried beef (basically jerky).  Great contrast of favors and textures.  Soft fluffy eggs, spicy vegetables, and salty, chewey beef.  Awesome stuff.  It is a write in on the side of their breakfast menu. 

Dan
Dan

I went about a year ago and was very disappointed for breakfast.  Food was basically flavorless.  Hot sauce was the only thing I would eat.  Must be on the stuffwhitepeoplelike circuit.

Corey
Corey

That's cool sounds like a nice meal, and nice place, and no hint of questionable parenting logic.. lol.. :)

trisch
trisch

I'm convinced that La Guadalupana's location at the other end of the block is a key factor in the value of my house. Love, love, love everything I've ever had there.

Feldman
Feldman

I love this place and calling it "Iguana Lupana" is one of the cutest things in the world.

thelmavela
thelmavela

Awesome, Printapon saves me time and money! You can see the coupons instantly and don't have to search for ones.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

Oh man I miss the cemitas at that place.  I used to live two minutes from the cafe and ate there three or four time a week.  Super nice people.

csoakley
csoakley

Guadalupana Asada de Puerco es mucho delicioso. Their almond croissants are pretty awesome too.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Iguana Lupana! I love it! Trancito does so many things here better than any other Mexican restaurant: even the jamaica and the coffee are better than you'll get anywhere else. And his migas surpass even my own father's, which is saying a lot.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Plus, he always encourages the kids to practice their Spanish with him. Love that.

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