Thursday, July 25, 2013

Living Large in Lambertville New Jersey at El Tule Restaurant

me and my tacutacu at El Tule
For a town of around 4,000 souls, Lambertville, New Jersey has a  lot of restaurants, thirty six to be exact.  From luncheonettes to four star palaces of gustatory delight, Lambertville has it all, and as you can imagine, the competition is fierce.  Did I mention that Lambertville is where I live and that I like to eat out?  Oh well, you get the picture.

 In the twelve years that I have lived in Lambertville, what is now El Tule  Mexican Peruvian Restaurant has had at least three incarnations,  El Tule is just the latest, and for my money it is absolutely the best.  It has quickly become a town institution and a destination for visiting foodies from New York and Philadelphia.

 I've been going there almost since it opened about two years ago.  Peruvian cuisine is a whole new world for me and at El Tule, where the food is great and the friendly staff even better, I get to explore it at leisure.   In summer I eat outside, usually with a group of friends,  in  a cozy patio,  under the protection of a big umbrella. At night there are twinkling lights and often a cool river breeze. But, indoors or out, summer or winter, there is a wonderful, informality and welcoming feeling projected by the family that owns and runs El Tule.  They clearly love what they are doing.  There is both a Mexican chef and a Peruvian chef. Both are excellent, but dine at El Tule one or two times and you will see that  these two Latin cuisines are as different from each other as, let's say,  French and Greek cooking.  Learning about both cultures and cuisines at El Tule is like being invited into a family home for dinner.  It's a marvelous experience.

  I find it hypnotic. I'm fascinated by tacu tacu and ceviche and the use of unfamiliar and delicious varieties of corn, peppers and delicate herbs in the Peruvian dishes.  I love the robust, more familiar flavors of the Mexican platters as well.  They bring back wonderful memories of visits south of the border.

A couple of months ago I met a friend there on a Wednesday night for an early dinner.  The place was packed as usual and there was a guy with a wildly professional looking camera walking around videotaping the place.   What's up?  I asked the owner.  Turned out they were from Wildemedia TV News  doing a segment for a feature of theirs called  Latin Flare  and guess what, they ended up interviewing me and my friend Karen, the foodie, for the segment.  I'm in heaven. I finally got my big 15 minutes on  YouTube.

 What more could a girl want.  THIS is living large in Lambertville, for sure

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