When Isabel Cruz opened her first small restaurant in San Diego, she cooked what she loved to eat: simple Latin comfort food spiced with the Pacific Rim flavors she knew from her old Los Angeles neighborhood. Her trademark blend of Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican, Japanese, and Thai cooking allowed her to cut some of the calories and fat so often found in Latin food without ever sacrificing taste. Soon, the nutritious, flavorful, easy-to-prepare meals Isabel had cooked every night for her family took California by storm.
In Isabel’s Cantina, she shares the deceptively simple recipes that make her five West Coast restaurants so popular, as well as many of her own personal favorites. By relying on the boldly flavored ingredients common to both Latin and Asian cuisines—like mangoes, limes, chiles, mint, ginger, coconut, and cilantro—Isabel’s healthful dishes are never bland. She gets things going with starters such as Grilled Vegetable Salad with Sofrito Vinaigrette and Shrimp Bites Wrapped in Greens. There’s Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Jalapeño-Ponzu Sauce, Green Chile Posole with Pork, and New York Strip Steak with Baked Plantain Fries. Gone are heavy refried beans and white rice, replaced by Chipotle White Beans and whole-grain Power Rice. In an invaluable chapter, Isabel reveals how to dress up any meal with healthy sauces and salsas, such as Papaya-Mango-Mint Salsa and Avocado Salsa Cruda. Desserts, drinks, and even brunch dishes round out her collection of recipes for every part of the day.
Blending fresh flavors with an eye for health, Isabel’s signature Latin food with Asian accents is not only good for you but—most important—it’s delicious.
About Isabel Cruz
Isabel Cruz is the owner of five restaurants along the West Coast, extending from Coffee Cup in La Jolla and Isabel’s Cantina and Seaside Cantina in San Diego, California, to Dragonfly in Ashland and Isabel in Portland, Oregon. Isabel, who… More about Isabel Cruz