Carole and Jorge De La Fuente owned a scuba diving outfit and spa in Cozumel, Mexico, for more than 20 years. Jorge had grown up in Mexico, and his family ran restaurants. Carole says around 15 years ago, the couple began dreaming of opening their own eatery, but had to shelve the idea until a later time, which has come now in the form of Provecho (3240 Centennial Blvd., see Facebook page soon).
After a move to California, the De La Fuentes came to the Springs four years ago to finish raising their children. Carole says she and Jorge continued to cook together at home, as they had always enjoyed doing together, and recently felt the timing was right to revisit that dream. So they began work on the former Borriello Brothers location, a 2,000-square-foot space that will seat around 100, plus another 50 on a patio that enjoys a mountain view. She plans to take on the GM role, while Jorge will handle chef duties, along with a sous chef arriving from Mexico. They anticipate a mid-September opening.
"The food we ate in Mexico is very different than what people have come to know 'Mexican' food as here," she says. "It's really Tex-Mex here. In Mexico, my husband never ate a burrito. Mexican culture is the second most diverse culture in the world behind Indian, in terms of dialects, regional differences and different foods."
That said, don't expect heavy cheese items at Provecho, as even chilies will be stuffed with meats instead of goo. Instead of rellenos, look for items like chiles en nogada, a mix of meats, apples and almonds stuffed in a pepper with a topping vanilla cream sauce flecked with pomegranate seeds. When you see quesadillas on the menu, don't expect the American norm, but instead, quesadillas de flor de calabaza, made with squash blossoms sautéed in the pungent herb epazote.
Huevos rancheros will be made "fresher, with more distinct flavors," she says, and utilizing corn tortillas, and much less cheese. Breakfast will also bring chilaquiles (salsa- or mole-soaked tortillas with crema garnish), and huevos albañil (bricklayer eggs), scrambled eggs with tomatillo sauce cooked into them, atop fried tortillas and beans. Pair them with agua de fresa (fresh fruit water) flavors like watermelon, pineapple or mint-lime.
Provecho plans to open with just breakfast and lunch service, likely to expand to dinner later, she says. So the fruit drinks and coffee will turn to a fresh margarita menu midday. Items like traditional mole enchiladas will star then, and mole over chicken breasts. Carole points out the many different varieties of mole — only the one we're most familiar with uses chocolate — and says Provecho will introduce guests to them via specials.
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