Ivan López, head chef and owner of Casa Piquin, dishes up modern Mexican cuisine that fuses techniques he honed in French kitchens with authentic flavors he learned to weave as a chef in Mexico. Ivan ensures the freshness of his vegetables by purchasing them himself before crafting colorful salsas and sautéed fajita bell peppers worthy of being served in an eatery whose name means "House of Peppers." Signature molcajetes—traditional hot lava-rock bowls—cradle marinated and grilled mixed vegetables, meats, and seafood, and traditional dishes are sauced in a choice of five salsas, from a rich, sweet salsa mole made with dried peppers to a piping salsa arbol that lights mouths aflame so molars can lead campfire sing-alongs. Pitchers of sangria cool down mouths, as does flambé-fried ice cream, which is torched tableside.
Monsignor’s has a fondness for crafting quality Italian entrees such as sausage and peppers over pasta and eggplant stuffed with ricotta. However, the menu also saves room for Spanish-inspired meals: flour tortillas envelop quesadillas, and sautéed meats bulk up burritos. Diners can take their meals inside the bistro-style cafe, or head out to a garden decked with grape and fig trees and birdbaths that bubble over with vinaigrette for robins with sophisticated palates.
For fifteen years, the bakers at La Boulangerie Lopez have served up a menu centered around fresh hand-rolled artisan breads, gourmet pastries baked on the premises, and time-treasured Mexican family recipes. Take advantage of the noble tomato's unfamiliarity with SPF by biting into a warm sun-dried tomato baguette ($2.35), or indulge a traditionally minded tastebud with artisan sourdough loaves ($2.25 for a small, $4.25 for a large). Homemade plain or chocolate cannoli tease tongues with their rich, creamy filling and dead-on crepe impersonations ($2.75), while fresh fruit tarts ($3.25) exchange the latest Gérard Depardieu gossip with warm cups of café au lait ($1.75–$2.75).