Chef Jennifer Jones is one of my top all-time most loved former chefs: for her desserts, to be sure, don’t even get me started, and somehow even more for her positive attitude and calm, focused energy. We are talking about some of the best desserts on planet Earth… I am just underlining how amazing Chef Jennifer’s shining is, that her good energy tops her sweets in my book.
When Chef Wil and I visited her restaurant, Dos Urban Cantina, for the first time (which she opened with her husband the legendary Chef Brian Enyart) we came bearing gifts: tomatoes fresh off the 40 foot vine, and Korean beer of course. The chefs were out on a date, their only night off together, and the kitchen and servers still went above and beyond for Chef Wil and I, even though they didn’t know us from different brands of Korean beer.
The guacamole was just amazing, and their sikil pak (Yucatecan pumpkinseed spread) was fruity, nutty and satisfying… the star of the appetizers for me, which I can still taste if I close my eyes, was the chicharrones and French onion dip, a kind of dream snack for the late night stoner, crispy and rich. Other standouts included the juicy pork carnitas balanced by lime green broth of tomatillo and crispy taquitos of shrimp in spicy, acidic roasted tomato sauce.
There was one savory item that brought me even more pleasure than the items listed above, all of which I want to eat again and am actively salivating over, just writing this. The best thing I had was their corn tamal. I have eaten A LOT of tamales in my life, and this one was so much better than anything I had eaten before it may as well have been Tamal #1. Smoky, spicy, so forward with the flavors of tomato, corn and fire, it erased the memories of all previous tamales like Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black with his pen thing.
And guess what? All the savory goodness (a tough act to follow) was just setting the table for what was literally the best single piece of chocolate cake I have ever eaten in my life. I missed Chef Jennifer’s desserts so much I had to hold back from getting emotional at the table. From the beautiful decor (including so many milagros), flawless friendly service, to the food, oh man, the food… There was the sharp crack of the wooden bat as the ball was driven hard from home base, flying strongly upward, its trajectory carrying it high above the outfielders, beyond all lights of the ballpark, disappearing and gone into the endless night sky. Chefs Jennifer and Brian have crushed a homerun!