San Agus opens in Palo Alto with Mexico City street food -- for takeout only | Peninsula Foodist | Elena Kadvany | Palo Alto Online |

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San Agus opens in Palo Alto with Mexico City street food -- for takeout only

Uploaded: May 22, 2020
Manuel Martinez of LV Mar and La Viga opened his latest project, San Agus Cocina Urbana & Cocktails, in downtown Palo Alto on Friday, though it's not quite what he envisioned for the debut of his third restaurant.

San Agus, inspired by the street food of Martinez's native Mexico City, is open for takeout and delivery only at 115 Hamilton Ave. The renovated dining room, with a black-and-white tiled bar and playful mural that depicts images from Martinez's two worlds — Mexico and Silicon Valley — will sit empty until Santa Clara County allows restaurants to resume in-person dining with restrictions.

A mural inside the dining room at the newly opened San Agus. Photo courtesy San Agus.

The kitchen is serving about 60 percent of the menu Martinez had planned for the restaurant, which he named for his hometown of San Agustin in Mexico City. He's offering generous soft opening promotions (50 percent off all food and a free drink with each meal) that he likely wouldn't have before the shutdown.

Despite all the challenges facing restaurants right now, Martinez said he wanted to push forward with the opening of San Agus.

"The idea is to create some awareness and start building some followers so by the time things start opening at whatever volume we can, at least people are aware and we have some audience," he said.

"I'm the kind of person — I'd rather do something than do nothing," he added. "We have a lot of people that depend on us to work and to live. If we stay closed, we cannot do any of that."

The opening menu includes a coctel de fruta (a ubiquitous street snack in Mexico City with mango, pineapple, jicama, watermelon and cucumber doused in lime juice and Chamoy sauce), tacos al pastor, torta cubana and gorditas de chicharron (two corn and potato masa fritters stuffed with crispy pork, shredded lettuce, queso fresco and salsa roja). There's also the perro caliente, a bacon-wrapped hot dog with onions, jalapeño and chipotle aioli.

Tacos al pastor with tomatillo and avocado salsa, cilantro, onions and pineapple at San Agus. Photo courtesy San Agus.

For dessert, there are plantain fritters with condensed milk, cookie crumbs, strawberry marmalade and sprinkles.

About the "& Cocktails" in its name -- San Agus is still waiting for its final Alcoholic Beverage Control inspection next week, so for now it's only mocktails, flavored drinks and Mexican sodas. The non-alcoholic "mercadito" comes with cucumber, sugar, water, rosemary, lime juice and Perrier mineral water. There's also a horchata with coconut, dubbed the cocohorchata.

Martinez noted that he technically opened not one, but three restaurants in the last two months. After the Bay Area's initial shelter-in-place order, he temporarily closed and then reopened his two Redwood City restaurants, first La Viga and then LV Mar a few weeks later as he figured out how to best adapt his businesses to a new reality.

"It's not easy but now we know the drill," he said. "We're excited, we're ready and we cannot wait for the government to let us fully open."

San Agus will be open for takeout Tuesday-Saturday from 3-7:30 p.m.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 22, 2020 at 4:27 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

That sounds like a hit.
I want to point out that thereabouts -- and I had to double-take to make sure this is not the former foam-monger -- at corner of Hamilton and Alma was briefly a concert series in conjunction with an art gallery -- as I said in two or three previous posts I think of food and music as on a continuum of culture and I wish the performing arts were covered as well in PAW as Ms. EK is doing with foodies; the concert series circa 2005 included EST the innovative and influential Swedish jazz group whose leader eventually drowned way too young; Steve Poltz, who is best known still as Jewel's boyfriend and partner in her video tho he also platonically we assume is mentoring Palo Alto's Molly Tuttle; Ethan Iverson the founder of Bad Plus and Mark Morris' longtime music director -- he appeared solo on a Sunday afternoon in between Mark Morris Dance big shows at Zellerbach in Berkeley, Papa Mali later a partner with Palo Alto's Bill Kreutzmann for a Dead-influenced project with lyrics by Robert Hunter of Palo Alto Seven Walkers, who did a Jerry tribute, a version of "Friend of The Devil" -- presaging their collaborations; and Jack Walrath a former member of Mingus' last band who likewise -- due to the anticipated Jerry Garcia art show or simultanous to such rather -- played a solo trumpet version of "Touch of Gray".

Does Sangus -- that's how we fluent speakers and former Neighbors Abroad exchange Sister City people to Oaxaca say it -- have gray market margaritas to go? Steal your face is Dia do los muerto fijate so I'm not really digressing, dig?

Also, on my original point but hopefully died it to your theme: Jungle Copy the former Zebra Copy -- and I was briefly their ad guy, for KSJO radio -- used to host numerous concerts of local bands at the site next door that is now lunchroom for our favorite hipster spooks. Actually, splitting the difference and the one or two if you count dabs and milo good thing about P indie rock guru John Vanderslice once did a concert for the company and ironically his original band project was called MK Ultra after the mind control project and no there is nothing unusual in your drink, have another we have a nap for that zzz

Posted by LA Resident, a resident of another community,
on May 23, 2020 at 9:48 am

Web Link in case anyone is trying to find it online and order. Would have been nice to have in the article. Owners need to update google maps with it as well.

Posted by YentaThe Renter, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on May 23, 2020 at 11:17 am

They cook, we dine al fresco, they clean. and wages? For those who will eat cake? Hmmm? I'm Pro-LIFE I guess you'd call it! Livable wages. Minimum guaranteed income. The measure of the strength of a nation is how it cares for its most vulnerable. Your nurses, CNAs gardeners...who is gonna cut your grass, wipe your tush, if all those workers are disappeared? every top needs a bottom, and as with raising children and education, sir, if you don't pay NOW, you pay later! Minimum wage, living wage please - too many of our compatriots work for us for slave wages. Rise Up! Bernie platform - its the Right thing to do!

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 24, 2020 at 1:27 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Out and about and even through a mask I see the spot and confirm what I was implying that the space for the restaurant was part of the art gallery I forget what was there before, flooring?
There is a mural inside on the west wall There is a mural inside on the west wall: A guy in a wrestling mask how prophetic a girl kicking a soccer ball other “Odelay" references.
The Miral also tips its cards: Saint Augustine The Miral also tips its cards: Saint Augustine...San Agustin...San Agus.
It is a bit like a previous poster said let them eat cake yet on some level the people working there need our business so I will give it a try

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 24, 2020 at 1:29 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

OK I see you had the mural already

Posted by Nancy , a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on May 24, 2020 at 2:59 pm

Sounds and looks good, I'm gonna try it.

Former location of Teaquation and Spot Pizza.

Posted by vegetarian, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on May 25, 2020 at 11:53 am

Too much meat...give us some more vegetarian options.

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