|Cilantro brings authentic Mexican to the beach
REHOBOTH BEACH -- Growing up in Mexico City with her grandmother, Gladys Fernandez was introduced to the cuisine of Puebla, one of the states in southern Mexico where her grandmother grew up.
|The ceviche is made with tilapia and shrimp, marinated with lemon and lime juice and served with onions, tomatoes, cilantro and avocado at Cilantro in Rehoboth Beach. / JON BLEIWEIS/DELAWARE WAVE|
Fernandez is now sharing those culinary experiences in Rehoboth Beach, a place she frequently vacationed while she lived in Washington, D.C., at her new restaurant, Cilantro, which opened in June.
At the restaurant, Fernandez said guests can find a family-friendly environment that offers authentic homemade Mexican cuisine made from fresh, high-quality ingredients. Many of the dishes were inspired by Fernandez's grandmother.
"I think a lot of people like to try authentic food," she said. "Everything on my menu is my family's recipes and it's different than most other Mexican restaurants."
Fernandez said each state in Mexico has its own intricacies when it comes to food. In Puebla, for example, the dishes tend to be spicier, as many different types of chilis are used, and corn tortillas are preferred over flour tortillas.
One of the popular dishes at Cilantro is the mole poblano, which features a sauce that Fernandez said is "very hard to make" and features five types of dry chilis along with chocolate, almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds, plantains and cinnamon. The list of ingredients makes the dish unique from the rest, she said.
"The mole from Puebla is more sweet and it's spicy at the same time," Fernandez said. "In other moles, some are more sweet and others are more spicy."
Another dish that has received many compliments is the chile relleno, a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with pork, pecans, apples, raisins and fried plantains. It's an original recipe and can't be found anywhere else.
"Believe it or not, it's a hit," she said.
The ceviche is another top pick at the restaurant, Fernandez said. Made with fresh tilapia and shrimp marinated with fresh lemon and lime juice, it's served with red onions, tomatoes, cilantro and fresh avocado.
Fernandez said what makes her restaurant stand out from the rest is how she makes the experience of eating cuisine from a country miles away just like eating at one's own home in Rehoboth Beach.
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"If you eat at Cilantro, it's like eating at home," she said. "I know people enjoy the food because they know it's fresh and it's different than what you'd find at other places. As a chef and an owner, I make sure everything is perfect."
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