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Chef Barbara Sibley Talks Pirates, Prohibition & La Palapa

If you're looking for an authentic, home cooked Mexican meal, let your weary feet and growling stomach take you to La Palapa, chef Barbara Sibley's East Village Mexican home-away-from-home.

Sibley, who was born and raised in Mexico City, found her way to The Big Apple to attend Barnard. She got her first taste of the restaurant world as the coat check girl at the La Tulipe restaurant and eventually worked her way up in the restaurant chain (while earning a degree in anthropology), from restaurant menu to chef to owner. 

At La Palapa, you'll find genuine Mexican cooking, the kind that Sibley herself grew up with. Even as her restaurant grows in popularity, she sticks to her roots, making her mole from scratch and not bowing to the trend of serving salsa and chips at the table.

“I still have to explain to people that chips and salsa are not Mexican,” Sibley said. “The salsa is served to accompany your food and just as you wouldn’t ask for a piece of bread and have it with ketchup on your table, the salsas are condiments, they’re not meant to be eaten with chips.”

Sibley talks about what's up next for her...

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