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Cuenca News

News from San Sebastian Plaza: Goodbye to Casa Azul (for now), hello to the Little Taco Joint

By Robert Bradley

There is bad news and good news on Cuenca’s San Sebastian Plaza. Fortunately, the bad news is brief and the good news goes long into the night.

San Sebastian Plaza

Casa Azul Galeria Cafe has closed. I understand the closure will be brief, the vibe will be much the same when it reopens, and that the new owners are experienced in food service in Cuenca. We wish them well and welcome them to a neighborhood with a reputation for fine food and a well-seasoned restaurateurs.

Anchored by the San Seabas Cafe, one of a small handful of “go to” breakfast places for gringos on one end, and Jodoco Brew Pub, an establishment of significant drinking renown on the other, the square also attracts a variety of wheelbarrow vendors offering fresh fruit so ripe it will melt right before your eyes. These all join the great variety of foods on the east side of the plaza.

A traditional bakery competes with King’s Smokehouse for aroma sweeping the street, while Pho, French pastries, sandwiches and hot dogs bark for attention, all great additions to the neighborhood.

What was once a very quiet barrio, is becoming a little more lively and for a little bit later in the night. A tienda near the end of the block recently removed the cage separating shoptenders from customers they serve and have expanded their hours.

Taco man Jules Toribio

However, the best news is this. The boys at King’s Smokehouse opened a little taco joint a few doors down the street.  Managed by Jules Toribio, the place fits the spot so perfectly that Felix and Co. decided that would be the name: The Little Taco Joint.  The second perfect thing they did was sign on to use Robert Gray’s Gran Roca Farm produce. Mexican street food is defined by freshness, and we are all rewarded by Jules commitment to using only the finest organic greens. You can taste the difference in every bite.

I can’t comment on how absolutely mind-blowingly, and fantastically delicious the tacos and burritos are because I am not the food critic — Monsieur begins with that in few days on this site — but, I can say this: If I ever run away from home, look for me at The Little Taco Joint. They are just like mamma used to make.
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The Little Taco Joint — Talbot y San Sebastian Plaza — Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Open seven days a week  – 8: a.m. – 9: p.m. or later cash only  — carry out encouraged (picnic on the plaza)  — animal-friendly.

19 thoughts on “News from San Sebastian Plaza: Goodbye to Casa Azul (for now), hello to the Little Taco Joint

      1. Try this, DId CHL receive “consideration” for this piece about The Little Taco Joint? Are articles about advertisers available for sale?

        1. No and no. Let me add that I am not paid a “consideration” when I write about how much I enjoy riding the bus, either.

            1. You’re probably not aware of it, but newspapers and websites have a long tradition of offering food and restaurant reviews and if a reviewer likes a place, he’s allowed to say so (without compensation). Robert is an excellent writer and I trust his judgement. I plan to try the tacos.

  1. After living in Dallas for almost 30yrs this sounds like it could quickly become my favorite new place to nosh from morning to night. Organic Mexican food is the perfect combo. Thanks for spotlighting?

    1. “Animal-friendly” is why I avoided the pushcart food in Mexico. I’m looking for “sanitary-friendly,” please!

  2. Thank you for bringing these changes to our attention, Robert. Gregory provided a great art and music venue at Casa Azul along with fine food.

  3. Did the health department close Casa Azul? The flocks of hundreds of pigeons being fed right next door is a major health hazard and threw me into a full-blown allergy attack. The birds poop and pee on the sidewalk, the little ole lady feeds them (which is against the law) and their frenzy and wing flapping sends all that excrement and dust flying into the food and faces of those eating and drinking outside.

    1. CA reopened yesterday as I understand it. I’ve spent many a pleasant morning sipping coffee there and have never been bothered by the birds, only the occasional gringo complainer.

  4. FYI – Casa Azul was open this afternoon. I understand the folks running it were part of the original group who worked with Gregory in the beginning.

  5. Rectification on status CASA AZUL GALERIA CAFE: it is open and running, the ownership has changed but the vibe stays the same, great new owners, excelent friends of Gregory (who still comes around daily to see his amigos from Cuenca)

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