When it comes to comfort food in Mexico, few items come as close to heaven as Molletes. Think of them as a sort of Mexican pizza, but keep in mind that pizza is nowhere near as comforting as these treats are! In their most basic presentation, molletes are bolillos (a traditional Mexican variation of the French baguette, but smaller and rounder) sliced in half with a layer of refried beans and a one of shredded cheese (Chihuahua, Monterey Jack, or cheddar) placed on top of the beans. They are then thrown in the oven long enough for the cheese to melt, and served immediately thereafter. Frequently, they are served with a bowl of pico de gallo salsa (coarsely chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro and lime or lemon juice).
Molletes bring back memories of skipping class during high school in Mexico City, and dashing to the nearest Sanborn’s or Vip’s, where they are commonly offered, for an early morning serving of molletes and a hot cup of coffee… long conversations with friends and loved ones, not to mention movie nights at home, for molletes are easy to prepare.
Where can one find and enjoy such a delicacy? When my friend Debbi Egan was trying out new menu items for Banana Cantina, her popular restaurant, and I learned that they were considering molletes as one of the options. I nearly fell off my chair! To the best of my knowledge, there was no other restaurant south of the Rio Cuale serving them, and when I took a bite into the chef’s own take on them, I knew they were onto something.
Molletes frequently include different toppings beyond the basic beans and cheese layers, giving them a unique identity wherever you go. Banana Cantina has personalized their version with an additional layer of finely chopped pieces of grilled beef, a touch of sour cream for flavor and ornament, and a hearty portion of guacamole, making them either a complete meal, or a great entrée, after one of their soups. And the best part of it: they are just as tasty for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Banana Cantina is located at the corner of Amapas and Pulpito, right above Choco Banana.