It’s all in the name.
El Molino used to be the place in every Mexican village where people brought corn to be ground into Masa (Spanish for dough). Sadly, even in Mexico, the traditional process is used less frequently - most tortillarias use instant maseca. But in Sonoma’s most authentic Mexican hub, Boyes Hot Springs, the food is back to basics.
At El Molino Central the process starts with organic corn from Nebraska, which is then soaked overnight in water and lime and then ground with a stone. Stop by any day around 11 a.m. to watch the process. Ask for a sample and you'll understand the difference.
El Molino Central has been open for about a year now and if the San Francisco favorite, Blue Bottle Coffee hasn’t lured you in, hopefully this statement will: I have never tasted Mexican food so fresh and delicious, not even in Mexico.
The menu is packed with authentic regional and seasonal Mexican classics for lunch and dinner and before 11am, chilaquiles, a traditional breakfast dish made with a base of fried corn tortillas. You can also pick up farm fresh eggs and delicious take-home party food like enchiladas, tamales, salsa, guacamole, and chips.
Like the tortillas, the decor is tastefully basic. The space is small and efficient and only has one table and two chairs, so grab your food to-go or, do as the locals do and eat on the bench out front. There is always plenty to watch in the streets of “the Springs.”
On your way to El Molino Central you will pass a handful of popular local (and much less expensive) taco trucks. But don’t compare them, they're completely different. I love the taco trucks but they are exactly what they are supposed to be - “street food," meaning fast food, not artisan cuisine. What sets El Molino from the rest are the ingredients and the process: everything is fresh and homemade.
Sure, the typical foot-long taco truck style super burrito only costs $6, but shell out $10 for El Molino's Swiss chard enchiladas and you will leave a believer. El Molino cooks by the quality over quantity paradigm; if you partake, your body will thank you.
El Molino Central, 11 Central Avenue, Sonoma. (707) 939 - 1010
Open daily 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.