I am now firmly convinced that any restaurant that falls into the category of having its food choices come from a country other than the United States — invariably my favorites — are always better restaurants when they are owned, run and feature recipes from generations of the same family. That is certainly the case with the beautiful Colibri, featuring Mexican cuisine on New Broad Street in Baldwin Park.
The fact that the décor is beautiful, with a special view of Lake Baldwin — complete with accompanying patio — is a given considering its special location and family-friendly environment. But the fact that the food is authentic and served in such generous portions has everything to do with the fact that it is owned and run by Omar and Fabiola Martinez; it is managed in a warm and welcoming way by brother Ricky Galicia; and many of the recipes are overseen by mother Marialena Morales. And they even get together — on a daily basis — to do a “family tasting” to make sure that Ms. Morales’ creations are consistently special. We’re talking about the pride of a family that serves authentic and consistently delicious food in a welcoming atmosphere.
For example, cheese is used in many Mexican recipes and everything at Colibri is made with traditional Mexican cheeses, adding to the authentic tastes. As to the common question asked about Mexican food — “How hot is it? — most dishes aren’t too spicy in comparison to many Mexican restaurants, but if you want it hot, Colibri offers six different styles (and levels of heat) of salsa.
A perfect example was the incredibly delicious appetizer called Queso (cheese) Flameado. It’s a melted cheese called Chihuahua (from a region of Mexico with that name), and yes, the little dogs come from there as well. This cheese is topped with mushrooms, chorizo and pico de gallo, which you may then wrap into a flour tortilla (or not). Trust me, this appetizer is reason enough to visit Colibri.
Colibri, which means “hummingbird” in Spanish, is located at 4963 New Broad St. in Baldwin Park. Visit colibriorlando.com or call 407-629-6601.
I’ve already mentioned that the portions are “generous,” and you may read that as huge. For my entrée, I had the Tortilla Oaxaca, which begins with a 10-inch tortilla which is topped with cheese, black beans and steak and/or chicken breast. Calling this a tortilla is like calling the Eiffel Tower a tinker toy. It came out beautifully plated with lettuce, tomato, avocado and sour cream, and I ate and ate till I was full and still had enough to take home for a substantial lunch the next day.
I’m also a fan of ceviche for the simple reason that I love everything that goes into this always-fresh dish of shrimp and vegetables, and I’m very happy to report that Colibri’s ceviche is superb. The traditional limejuice is not an added flavoring here. No, Colibri’s shrimp is first cooked with spices and then marinated in limejuice pushing this dish into the “highly recommended” category. It’s so light and refreshing — perfect for a warm summer day in Central Florida … and when the seasons change, I’ll find a good reason to go back and have the ceviche then as well.
Guilty pleasure time came as I had heard about Colibri’s special dessert of Fried Ice Cream. The secret is that the ball of ice cream is covered with corn flakes (yes, corn flakes) and lots of cinnamon before being placed in the fryer. This wonder of nature is then placed in a crunchy flour bowl and buried under mounds of whipped cream and chocolate sauce. It’s amazing and worth every guilty calorie — and I almost finished mine.
The great news is that we expect a restaurant in Baldwin Park to be good; the thrill is when the good becomes great, and Colibri comes very highly recommended. And if you’ve read this far, you can tell your server that “Josh sent me,” and throughout the month of August, Colibri will send a special appetizer to your table when you do. And don’t be surprised if you find me at a table near you enjoying the ceviche (or the fried ice cream).