One of the many things I often miss from my hometown is the cafeteria-style restaurants that we call “cafes”: A place where you can sit literally for hours and hours with your friends over a cup of coffee. A popular phrase in Latin America says: “todo se arregla con un café”, (everything can be fixed over a cup of coffee). You can spend a really good time with your friends, your family, or classmates, like I used to do in my old school days. I really enjoyed having “Molletes” with a cup of coffee for breakfast, or as a mid-afternoon snack with my friends while working on a school project
Some customers will have all 3 of their daily meals at a place like this. The meals are home-style dishes very similar to a diner here in the USA. The prices are all affordable where a regular cup of coffee will cost less than $1.00 and a Latte will cost $1.25. The waiter will bring you a small basket with “pan de dulce” (sweet breakfast rolls) to enjoy with your cup of fresh brewed coffee. Other things that people have as a snack to go along with their coffee are biscuits with butter or “molletes'”. At noon the menu offers traditional Mexican-style meals like “milanesa” (breaded beef steak) served with rice.My hometown has a historic downtown where some of the old Café’s from my school days are still open after many years of serving the local community. Tampico, Tamaulipas used to have heavy maritime commerce trading with the City of New Orleans for many years, hence the influence in the Downtown Architecture. I used to go to undergraduate school just one block a way from the plaza in the picture above.
Above two pictures courtesy of the Facebook page: Tampico HermosoNow, to the recipe for this simple but fulfilling snack or light meal.
2 Crusty rolls or French bread cut in 6 inch length sections each.
2 Tablespoons of butter, softened
1/cup warm refried beans
3/4 cup shredded Oaxaca Cheese or grated Muenster cheese*
1/2 cup of Pico de Gallo Salsa**
Optional: 1 Crumble cooked chorizo
* Any melting cheese will work, like mozzarella or Monterrey Jack.
** You can also use other Mexican salsas
1. Preheat your broiler. Cut the bread in half length wise. Remove some of the inside crumb. Spread the bread with the softened butter and place in the a baking sheet. Broil for about 4 to 5 minutes until they are golden and crispy.
2. Remove from the baking sheet and spread the refried beans into the bread.
3. Top the bread rolls with the cheese. (Add the cooked crumbled chorizo if using now). Place back into the broiler until the cheese has melted. Serve with the Pico de Gallo Salsa or the salsa of your choice.