My mouth’s been watering since May of this year, when I discovered the incredibly appetizing photos that Jaime Llanos has been posting on Facebook. He is a Mazatleco-born, Los Angeles-trained chef who was working out of his grandmother María’s home in La Juarez. Trouble was I was traveling so much, I couldn’t check him out. But, oh! The food! It looked soooooooo good! So completely different than anything we normally see here in Mazatlán and yet, at the same time, so typically Mazatleco. (Photos in the set below are all Jaime’s. Click on any pic to view larger or watch a slideshow.)
Then, in late August, he started titillating us. “Coming soon!” “Próximamente!” “Cada día estamos más cerca!” What? What was coming soon? What was I waiting for?
I could tell from the pictures that he was making wine—his own label, artisanal wine. As if great food weren’t enough?
Despite the fact that he never said, “We’re open!”/”Ya abrimos,” I got Greg to head up towards Marina El Cid with me today to check out Jaime’s Casita María in the new food truck area, La Trockería. Luckily for us, Jaime was there, getting set up for his soft opening this evening.
He was embarrassed to have me take his photo, as he wasn’t dressed for work; we caught him setting things up. Even though his kitchen wasn’t ready, Jaime greeted us, explained his menu, and gave us a tasting of his white and red wines. They are both sweet but so refreshing; the red is a mix of Cabernet and Tempranillo, the white a blend of Chenin Blanc and uva de mango. There is nothing “mango” about the white wine, so I assume that is just the name of a grape variety. The wines are made for Jaime by a friend who owns a vineyard in the Guadalupe Valley.
Despite not yet being open, Jaime proceeded to cook us up a cazuela of mushrooms. OMG! They were awesome!
His food truck menu is obviously simpler than the full Casa María menu. He’s aiming for that homemade Mexican taste, with two different cazuelitas or casserole dishes, one with octopus and the other the mushroom dish we ate; and a tuna tostada with Moroccan spices. Jaime gave us a taste of the spiced tuna that goes on the tostada, which he explained was not yet fully marinated. Even half-marinated, it was GOOD! He will change up the menu regularly, and he’s planning to add more of his artisanal wines, as well.
Casita María officially opens at 6:00 this evening, and will be open evenings Wednesday through Sunday (Monday and Tuesday off). We had the honor of being his first customers! It is located in the new food truck area just south of the bowling alley, across from Marina El Cid. The official address is 1802 Marina Mazatlán (Camarón Sábalo).
Also in the Trockería food truck area are 4to Burguer from the Machado, the hot dog van that used to be in front of Gavias on the malecón, a shrimp place, hot wings, and a taco truck. Provecho! And mucho éxito to Jaime and Casita María!