Angel's Cafe: Where Ireland Meets Mexico
How about some nachos and enchiladas, with some Guinness at the Shamrock House for dessert? In the heart of the Irish Catskills, Angel's Cafe is part all-American diner (serving burgers and omelettes), part Italian restaurant (serving pizza, pasta, and subs), and also an unlikely Mexican spot (serving some solid Oaxacan and Tex-Mex fare). You'd probably have to eat here for a year to cover every item on the extensive menu, but this time, we came for one thing: nachos.
My friends at IU Tripp learned of my love for nachos when I posted about Rough Cut Brewing in Kerhonkson, and they tipped me off on the great nachos right here in East Durham. The dish had the main elements of perfect nachos, crispy-not-soggy chips and a generous helping of melted cheese, plus creamy guacamole and a garnish of fresh cilantro, chopped scallions, and black olives ($8.50). Ours were also topped with roasted vegetables, a combination of caramelized red peppers and zucchini, which would probably taste just as delicious in an omelette from Angel's diner menu.
Also, here in the heart of this Irish resort town, Angel's Cafe is serving chicken enchiladas ($11.75) smothered in mole, a dark, smoky, savory Mexican sauce. The hearty Tex-Mex plate comes piled with refried beans, rice, mild salsa, a dollop of sour cream, and a spoonful of their rich guacamole. The food here is not as spicy as my favorite Mexican fare here in Brooklyn, but hot sauce is available to kick up the heat.
The Mexican specialties comprise just one page of the extensive menu here.
Diners flocked to window seats, the booths along the side of the diner, and a semi-private large table in the back, leaving the center tables empty. As I snapped this photo, a waitress chatted with some patrons about how busy the restaurant was that day. For Pete and me, away from our kids and the hustle of the Brooklyn brunch scene, it was the most peaceful lunch we've had in years.
We loved coffee mugs. We loved the advertisements on the place mats. We appreciated every little mundane thing, all those secret treasures that can only be appreciated by parents whose young children have generously been scooped into their grandparents' arms and swooped away.
But then, of course, we talked about bringing the kids back for quesadillas and chicken fingers on the picnic tables out front.
Outside this multicultural diner, the parking lot blacktop was marked with a shamrock, one of many leading the way to the Memorial Day weekend East Durham Irish Festival. I love the ways that our historically Irish resort town is growing and changing, preserving its past and expanding to include the other cultures who've made a home in and around its emerald green hills.
Angel's Cafe is located at 2373 Route 145, East Durham, NY; (518) 634-2090.