Tu y Yo
by Alex Galimberti
If you attended the YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City festival in either one of the last two years you will remember the delicious authentic Mexican food served by Tu y Yo. This year we are happy to welcome their participation at YUM for the third time. The spirit of YUM and of The Welcome Project is reflected by the hospitality at Tu y Yo, even the name of the restaurant which translates to “You and I” is a reference to the power of connections between people.
On a recent visit I was welcomed by Chef and co-owner Adolfo Alvarado. He shared with us his story as an immigrant who came from Guatemala twenty-four years ago. Adolfo has worked as a cook in some of the best Mexican restaurants in greater Boston and has been working at Tu y Yo for nine years; three years ago he became a co-owner of the restaurant and at this time he also decided to move to Somerville. Adolfo is also a student at The Welcome Project’s ESOL program. He has been taking intermediate classes for two years. With his improved English skills Adolfo now feels like he can better communicate with City Hall and with the Somerville community.
Chef Adolfo is proud that at Tu y Yo he can train his staff to learn responsibility at all roles in the kitchen and thus provide advancement opportunities. The cooking philosophy employed since Tu y Yo opened in the year 2000 is based on elevating a homemade cooking style. This makes Tu y Yo stand out as a place where you can eat classic authentic dishes that are imbedded in the history of Mexico. The menu gives you not only a description to each dish but also highlights the origin of the recipe that they use. Most of their recipes are representative of home style cooking from the Southern Mexican states of Oaxaca, Puebla, and Veracruz, with some unique influences from the North.
Trying out unique ingredients can be a highlight of a visit to Tu y Yo. On my first visit many years ago I was delighted to try tacos de chapulines (grasshopper), they were a delicious dish and a memorable experience that my partner and I talk about to this day. Other unique Mexican ingredients that you can try at Tu y Yo are cuitlacoche (corn mushroom) and nopales (cactus).
After a great conversation with Chef Adolfo and after meeting his staff, my partner and I enjoyed a delicious meal with some of the highlights in the restaurant’s menu. For appetizers we had Crepa de Cuilacoche en Salsa Poblana and the assorted mini tamales. Our main course consisted of two of the more traditional dishes in the menu; the Mole Colorado Tlaxcateca was a superb execution of a traditional red mole sauce with Mexican chocolate, almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and Mexican peppers (chef Adolfo says it takes six hours to prepare the sauce); the Chile Relleno en Nogada is a dish that celebrates Mexican’s Independence, a poblano peper stuffed with ground beef mixed with fruit, covered in a walnut and cinnamon sauce topped with pomegranate seeds and cilantro. We finished our meal with a slice each of Avocado Cheesecake and Imposible, a Mexican flan baked with a layer of chocolate cake topped with caramel tequila sauce. The best way to end your meal at Tu y Yo is to sip on a warm cup of Café de Olla, coffee boiled with chocolate, clove, cinnamon, orange and piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar).
Tu y Yo is located at 858 Broadway on Powder House Square. When you come to the YUM festival on Thursday April 6 make sure to say hi to Adolfo.
To see all the restaurants that will be featured at this year’s YUM event, click here.
YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City is an evening of culinary tastes from immigrant-run Somerville restaurants and local world entertainment, which benefits the work of The Welcome Project, Somerville’s largest immigrant and advocacy organization. The Welcome Project serves over 200 families each year. The event will be held April 6 at the Arts at the Armory. To purchase event sponsorships or tickets click here.