Maria D’Auria ‘20
Considering I have been doing food reviews in the Andover and North Andover area for a while, I realized that I needed to switch things up a bit. After doing research on local cafés in Lawrence, El Taller sparked my interest. The website is incredibly inviting, particularly the first thing I read: “Drink coffee. Read books. Be happy.” This mantra is exactly what I felt when I stepped foot into the quaint and authentic establishment.
When I walked in, I was instantly greeted by warm, friendly faces. It was clear to me that the employees love their job as they exuded excellent customer service and upbeat yet relaxed energy. I had picked up quickly that the majority, if not all, of the employees spoke Spanish, which I found to make the café even more authentic as the theme of the food is predominantly Latin American, Spanish, and Mexican cuisine.
I am a foodie by nature, so trying new foods is one of my favorite things to do. As I was perusing the menu, I was overwhelmed (in a good way) with the amount of choices I had to pick from. I ended up starting my lunch with tostones, which are essentially double fried plantains; it was served with a mayo ketchup, which is a well known Puerto Rican condiment. I was debating on a few choices for lunch, such as chilaquiles, which is a tortilla, chicken broth soup with monterey jack cheese, salsa, and sour cream. I also decided on bruschetta, which is an Italian cuisine, but it sounded so delicious. As I collected my thoughts and realized that I needed to eat something that was an authentic meal, given the environment I was in, I ended up picking a simple meal: a cheese and veggie quesadilla. However, this was a unique quesadilla as I have never eaten one with sautéed zucchini and tomatoes. It was a great twist on a traditional quesadilla.
I want to dive in on the environment of El Taller. It was so incredibly comforting as there were plants everywhere, plenty of natural sunlight, great customers (which makes a dining experience important), and the coolest part of the whole café: it has a bookstore. The books are mostly centered on themes of activism, feminism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and memoirs of immigrants and refugees. El Taller is such a unique establishment overall and having a small, independent bookstore inside made my experience complete. El Taller is located in Lawrence, MA, at 275 Essex Street.