Sublime Mexican desserts

MOST PEOPLE FILL UP ON TORTILLA chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants and are too full for dessert. But Mexican desserts are a treat worth waiting for, with recipes dating back to the Colonial Era.

Flan is a famous Mexican dessert—cool and creamy and ideal for summer. It is a simple but rich custard, topped with soft caramel.

Las Katarinas in Nevada City dishes up some of the best Mexican desserts in the foothills, including flan. “Ours is the real thing,” says Chef Delia Gutierrez, a native of Mexico City.

The restaurant’s flan is made from a century-old recipe, including homemade caramel. All of Las Katarinas’ recipies are made from scratch.

Popo also is a popular dessert. It includes a Spanish brownie, infused with Azteca chocolate and secret spices. It is served with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with walnuts, pecans or
pistachios.

“It looks like a chocolate volcano,” says Delia, who uses her mother’s recipe for Popo. Delia’s favorite dessert is Bananas Borrachas. It is fresh bananas served in a home-made rum sauce over vanilla ice cream.

She is also proud of Pastel de Zanahoria, authentic Mexican carrot cake. It is light (no cream cheese or raisins) and not too sweet.
The desserts are reasonable—priced at $5 or $6 each. For $11, you get a sampler of the carrot cake, flan and Bananas Borrachas. Las Katarinas’ desserts are a draw for theater goers who stop for dessert after the show, says co-owner Dave Francis.

We all scream for ice cream!
Summer means ice cream, and the choices abound. Two of our favorites are the Chocolate Shoppe in Nevada City and Tootsies in Tahoe City.
The Chocolate Shoppe features hand-dipped chocolates, candy, ice cream and frozen yogurt on Broad Street in the historic downtown. It looks like an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and candy store.
Tootsies opened this summer in the Safeway Center in Tahoe City. It dishes up ice cream, sundaes and frozen yogurt, with 30 different toppings. Tootsies also offers classic hot dogs and veggie dogs. It is just steps from lakeside picnic tables.

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