A few days ago it was my great pleasure to meet Jorge Saldana, owner of Cancun (Berkeley) and Tlaloc (San Francisco) restaurants.
Marissa of Bay Area Green Tours, whom my husband I. is working on a new website for, invited us to spend the afternoon on Jorge's farm, Sabor Mexicano, near Guerneville on Russian River. Jorge gave us a guided tour of his magical place (a farm with redwoods on it!) while enticing us with stories of the rich, diverse flavors of his childhood in Ciudad Guzmán (my son B., the true foodie of the family, promptly decided that Ciudad Guzmán is our next family destination) and the 150 types of salsa his mother used to pair with each food she cooked (Jorge has bottled a mere 6 of them, which he sells online and at Whole Foods). The farm's organic produce supplies his restaurants year-round, and will soon include a retreat center in a house on the property that dates back to 1800, as well as a commercial kitchen to facilitate his growing business but also cooking classes on site (hint, hint!).
After the tour and some down time in the shade with fresh lemonade and Jorge and Carmina's delicious homemade chips and salsa, we shared a meal made from the farm. Summer squash, rice, corn with green onions, a summer salad, corn tortillas, and grilled chicken and meat; most of the ingredients home-grown, everything prepared on premises, a lot of it right in front of our eyes by Jorge himself. The cooling Mexican flavors -loads of cilantro- helped relieve the heat of the summer day (that and a dip in the Russian River, a stone's throw away).
Jorge's own warmth and passion for his work nurtured our souls enough to send us home happy, with full bellies and awaiting our next visit to Sabor Mexicano. We met lovely people and I hope to make my way into that kitchen -or maybe prepare a paella on the field- very soon.