“ Food doesn’t exist, but can only be invented. And reinvented.”
Joyce Carol Oates
Last Friday I received a call from my friend Carolyn Kumpe, who owns Charlotte’s Bakery and Café in Diamond Springs. She called to tell me that the “communal” commercial kitchen she and others had been working on in Cameron Park, was open. And, on top of that, one of the people using the kitchen, Hilda Diaz, would be opening her restaurant, Hay Chihuahua!, there and selling her to-go Mexican food starting this week. So, I dropped by last Saturday to find out more and talked with both Diaz and Kumpe.
Their place is located at 4100 Cameron Park Drive, Suite 117, which puts it between China City Restaurant and the Alibi Sports Bar. When I arrived, Diaz was busy cooking food and Kumpe was giving out samples of her delicious baked goods.
Hay Chihuahua! has quite a menu of great looking food, including soups and antojitos, salads, tostadas, quesadillas, nachos, tortas and molletes, stews, fajitas, burritos, flautas, tamales (her speciality) and desserts. She also has a number of side dishes to accompany your meal. You can get the food to go, eat at one of their few tables, use the picnic tables out back or take your order next door to the Alibi sports bar and order something to go with it (yes, even a soda).
I tried a serving of flautas and Mexican rice and was impressed, especially with her green salsa. She was only serving those and tamales that day, but will have her full menu ready this week. The hours for Hay Chihuahua! are Tuesday through Sunday from 11 until 9. They also cater events and can be reached at (530) 409-3061.
Kumpe will be using the kitchen to bake up more things for her place in Diamond Springs and will also have food to sell there. That should be in a week. You can call her in Diamond Springs at (530) 642-1500 to find out more.
Also using the kitchen is Musarrat Afshan, who owns Pretty Sweet. Pretty Sweet creates custom cakes, cupcakes and cookies for all occasions. So if you are looking for delicious, artisan cakes, cupcakes and cookies for all of the special events in your life, this is the place. Exquisitely hand decorated and made from the finest quality ingredients, their treats are custom made and personalized to suit your wedding, party or corporate event.
Afshan was the assistant pastry chef at Masque in El Dorado Hills and can be reached at (916) 952-3043.
Finally (I told you it was a communal kitchen), also using the facilities is Art Gonzales, the owner of Art’s Hot Dogs. He has been selling dogs for 10 years, has two carts and says he has the best hot dogs around, and lots of different varieties. Soon he will be using Kumpe’s buns for his dogs, which he also has custom made for him. He guarantees his food. He even guarantees that if he does a kids birthday party for you, he will keep the kids happy. His speciality is a “Chicago Mexicali Dog.”
He said he will be in Diamond Springs on Sunday, when the flea market is happening, and can be reached at (916) 672-7276.
“Everyone will be helping each other out,” said Kumpe. “If one of us is not there, whoever is there will help you. We all needed this facility and together we did it. It is tough in today’s economy and we have to help each other to survive.”