2011 Richard Sandoval's Cima Opens Then Changes to Maya

We had a wonderful meal at Cima (Cima, Contemporary Latin Kitchen by Chef Richard Sandoval, The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek, Avon, CO, tel. 970-790-5500, web: www.richardsandoval.com). Too bad that Cima became Maya and no longer pleases us.

Our server, Brian, was excellent and brought the level of experience up from very good to excellent. The room in the Westin is decorated in the “trendy mode.” We sat at a table by the windows instead of a booth and the chairs were very comfortable (although the tables are too close together). The booths looked like they were for bigger people than we are. When we arrived the bar in the restaurant was full and the area that is called “Redondo” was also full and very loud with inconsiderate drinkers. The noise level of the bar folk and the music was pretty unpleasant. We asked that the music be turned down and softened and that was done. Finally the bar folk left and our enjoyment went up exponentially. The view of Beaver Creek (and the snow cats working) was good, as was the view of the fire in the pit dancing on the deck outside. The food was innovative and exciting. We shared everything as usual and had one appetizer, one main and one dessert. We opted not to have wine.

For our starter we ordered the “Corn Cachapas” (sweet corn crepes/duck confit/pickled poblano chili/queso fresco/tomato jam) $12. It was a difficult decision because there were other starters that sounded equally interesting. This one was very good. With the starter, we were brought a bowl of bread and crackers. This was worth coming to the restaurant to try all by itself! There were tiny cornbreads with “Mexican truffle” called huitlacoche inside. They were exceptional morsels, made especially so with the cheese and olive oil concoction that was also served. This dish was a light and fluffy mixture of requeson and goat cheese with epezote added. Epezote is evidently a leaf commonly used for flavor in Mexican cuisine. We practically inhaled it. Along with the cornbreads were tiny balls of pan de queso. They truly tasted of cheese which is unusual in our experience and they were good! For our main we chose the “Seafood Mariscada” (lobster/scallop/shrimp/mussels /octopus/ mushrooms/snap peas/coconut-ginger broth/aji Amarillo) $38. An excellent and tasty dish. We wanted a starch and chose to have papperdelle as a side ($5) which we stirred into the broth. It was a perfect addition. By this time, we were totally stuffed and having a great time with the tastes in our mouths. Then we asked our server about huitlacoche and he described the fungus-like substance and then offered to bring us some huitlacoche sauce that is made for the short rib dish. It was yummy. We can’t wait to get to Mexico to find huitlachoche there. Even though we were stuffed, we couldn’t miss having freshly made Churros served with dulce del leche, chocolate sauce and cinnamon-cayenne gelato ($9). They were made exactly the right way—crispy but light as feathers. The cinnamon-cayenne gelato was fabulous—it was cinnamon with a kick! What a great meal! We spent $68.29 plus tip and were very happy.

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