Ask a Mexican, ask a Norteamericano: Buenos Dias Café es muy sabroso

Breakfast at Buenos Dias
The Desayuno Hondureño at Buenos Dias Café features two eggs as you like them, a mound of spicy beef strips, Honduran refried red beans, fresh avocado, fried plantains and strips of mild queso bianco Mexican cheese. Breakfast of campeones! Photos by Robin Garr

LEO’s Eats with

If your idea of Mexican food is shaped by Taco Bell or Don Pablo’s, it’s time you tie your taste buds into something auténtico. Real Mexican food sports colorful flavors that aren’t just spicy but tickle your tongue like a mariachi band rattles your ears.

In recent years, we’ve told you about quite a few new taquerias and roticerias brought to town by Louisville’s growing Latino community; just about every new arrival has added gustatory excitement to the regional mix. We thought we had pretty much hit the top of the ladder when a lovable, Mexico City-style taco and gordita trailer, Las Gorditas, rolled up recently in Fern Creek’s Eastland Shopping Center (LEO Weekly, May 28).

But there’s more. Out on another edge of the metro area, in a strip center just off I-65 where Hamburg Pike meets the mysteriously monikered Charlestown–N.A. Pike, the tiny but lovable Buenos Dias Café – open since March but attended with zero publicity – raises the bar another notch.

Buenos Dias
A simple, modern strip-mall exterior conceals one of the region’s most interesting small Latino eateries, the Buenos Dias Café.

Buenos Dias means “good day” in Spanish, of course, and the bold tangerine and papaya-colored walls and pretty blue tables and chairs in this bright, modern strip-mall eatery make it feel like a sunny morning all day long.

The menu is short, but it is affordable, and the dishes are delicious. And what’s more, it’s not just Mexican but reflective of all the Latino heritages of owner Daisy Lucio and her family, who hail from – and offer the culinary delights of – Mexico, Puerto Rico and Honduras. (Moreover, their journey here brought them through New York City, so there’s no language barrier with the staff’s fluent English.) You can flip the menu to the English or Spanish side. Either way, it features no more than a half-dozen breakfast dishes and a similar number of lunch and dinner plates (service is from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily except Sundays).

Breakfasts range in price from $3.50 (for several dishes, including Mexican migadas or a Norteamericano-style eye-opener with eggs, toast, sausage and bacon) to $5.50 (for my choice, the Honduran breakfast, Desayuno Hondureño, a hearty combination of two eggs of your choice with a choice of Latino meats – I chose grilled beef – avocado slices, mild queso blanco and Honduran red beans).

Main dishes remain in the attractively affordable range, from $6.99 (for several dishes including Enchiladas, breaded chicken Milanesa or Guisado de Res Cortadillo, Mexican stewed beef) to $9.25 (for fiery shrimp Camarones a la Diabla). Quesadillas, tostadas, tacos, tortas, gorditas and much more run a la carte in the $1.75 to $5 range.

Small, open-face Mexican-style tacos dressed with onion and cilantro ($1.50) were first-rate, and we easily disposed of a crunchy chicken quesadilla ($3.50) and an open-face sope ($1.75), which is to a tostada as a Chicago deep-dish pizza is to a thin-crust New Yorker.

With Jarritos soft drinks and Mexican Cokes made with real cane sugar, we’ve never been able to push a hearty meal here past the $20 point. Prices like that more than justify the few drops of petrol needed to trek the eight miles north.

Buenos Dias Café
1703 Charlestown-N.A. Pike
Jeffersonville, Ind.
(812) 282-2233
Robin Garr’s rating: 88 points

Cake Flour buzz

Claudia Delatorres
Claudia Delatorres, chief baker and co-owner of the new Cake Flour pastry bakery on East Market, presides over a case full of calorific but organic, naturally made goodies.

Claudia Delatorres loves to bake, and it shows. When Delatorres and her husband, Rafael Veraslavsky, moved here from New Jersey last year, it didn’t take her long to turn her professional baking skills into a small retail shop – Cake Flour – that is already luring both walk-in and drive-in crowds to its small but spick-and-span take-out-only quarters on East Market Street.

A large selection of cupcakes, cookies, tarts, homemade marshmallows, muffins and scones are made with organic ingredients. Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees and espresso drinks and FairTrade Certified hot teas are on tap. Quality ingredients made with loving care and served up by people who seem to really enjoy what they do make this one a winner: Local foodies are already comparing Cake Flour’s pastries to Blue Dog’s breads as a local gold standard.

Cake Flour
909 E. Market St.
Robin Garr’s rating: 93 points