Tuesday, July 29, 2008
It's mentioned in the travelers reference books-Moon handbooks, triple A, the Let's Go guides, Diver magazine and Lonely Planet and its time you discover it for yourself.
Located at the corner of Revolucion and Bravo, La Fonda remains difficult to find because of the configuration of the two entrances. On Bravo, the entrance, masked by virginia creeper, a fast-growing easy to maintain vine,leads directly to the patio.
The entrance on Revolucion is a bit better marked with an awning above the door. What disguises the doorway is the fact that an herbal remedy store sits on the corner and it is easy to walk past the doorway without realizing it.
Once inside, choose between patio or inside dining. Hint: during the summer or when it is slow, choose the patio. Witertime head straight inside. You may have to do some musical chairs after you decide which table to sit at. The chairs are very heavy wooden chairs with stretched leather seat bottoms. Some of them are tall and others are low to the ground. They don't mind you exchanging one seat for another. It's part of the charm, actually.
The restaurant is open from 730 in the morning until 1030 at night. Comida corrida starts at 1. Five or 6 plates go for 45 pesos, another five are 10 pesos more, and the executive comidas include a glass of whiskey for 65 pesos. Breakfasts are delicious and ample. Scrambled eggs, beans and tortillas go for an astounding 18 pesos. Bacon, or chopped tomatoes, peppers and onions "a la mexicana", ham or salsicha added to the breakfast is only 24 pesos. Diane has either the chilaquiles 'La Fonda" with chicken and salsa roja or a shrimp and cheese omelet with rajas, strips of peppers in a tomato salsa. I've been known to order molletes, an open-faced sandwich filled with beans, cheese and avocado.
The menu is diverse, well prepared and economically priced. Coffee, la negrita brand is 10 pesos, with free refills. Sylvia is the full time server and is quite professional. It usually takes two or three servers to cover the same number of tables on her day off.
Restaurant La Fonda, since 1999. Bravo at Revolucion. Hours, 730 to 1030, Daily
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Cafe Olympia is just up the street from the hidden bakery (post May 1, 2008) http://eatingthroughlapaz.blogspot.com/2008/05/would-you-like-cooke.html
and going there takes you through a time portal and lancs you into a classic diner, circa 1948.
Okay, no I am not old enough to remember what diners looked or felt like in 1948 and there is a bit of exaggeration involved in saying it's just like an old diner, but except for the chrome and neon, this is the closest I've found yet to that kind of experience.
One does find a tabletop juke selector mounted to a wall post, a few beer signs and a charcoal of Marilyn plus a couple of waterfall scenes painted on framed mirrors. The coffee was served in milk glass cups and saucers, the plates were also milkglass. Some of the chairs were fiberglass and all the tables are real-as opposed to the omnipresent white resin tables.
Open from 730 until 5 Monday through Saturday, the menu has machaca de res, hotcakes omelet with ham and cheese plus eggs served a variety of ways. The egg dishes are accompanied with chilaquiles and frijol and come with coffee and SunnyD. For $35.
Lunch is comida corrida for $45 and the blue plate specials are varied and well put together.
The Cafe Olympia looks as if it has been there forever, but has only been around for a bit more than a year. The present owners sister had a restaurant before with the same name over by 16 de Septiembre and when they opened, decided to keep the name.
Café Olympia, Marques de León at Revolución, Monday to Saturday 7:30 to 5, Mexico time.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I had a lot of fun doing research for this particular hole in the wall. It started while trying to choose a catchy title that would make you want to read more about the little place on Revolucion street that deserves to be discovered.
Why canela for the name? I think of cinnamon skinned women of South Asia and somewhat exotic sexy music when I think of Canela. Today I found out Canela Cox is an American R & B singer and songwriter whose appearance epitomizes the look that the name Canela conjurs for me.
I also discovered that the cinnamon found in Mexico is of the Ceylon variety as opposed to the Saigon kind. Ceylon cinnamonbark is soft with the "redhot" taste and Saigon cinnamonbark is the flavor in cinnamon rolls.
Perhaps canela means something other than the name of the spice in Spanish. Did you know there is a tribe of indians in Brazil called Canela who paint their bodies and the men pierce their earlobes? Click on the word Canela in the title to visit the tribe and witness a young man having his ears pierced with a sharpened wooden stick.
The interior decor for the eatery is white with orange accents, the tables are clothed in a watermelon color scheme and the menu is painted directly on the wall.
The restaurant itself is clean and simple. The menu is not complicated nor surprising. Eggs al gusto, chilaquiles, burritos, the usual antojitos. The prices are quite reasonable. The have some creative and quite tasty comida corrida. Dessert if you must have it is a package of cookies. Drinks come in 12 oz cans or 20 oz plastic.
Speaking of drinks, another link I found gave the explanation and a recipe for Tepache, a drink sold from a three wheel cart person. To see the list of recipes and links for tepache, biznaga, acitrona and esquites plus more than 100 others, follow the link to www.gourmetsleuth.com, here
See the place for yourself. Cafe Canela on Revolucion between Reforma and 16 de Septiembre near the Cathedral de nuestra Señora de La Paz. Open 8 to 8 Monday through Saturday
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Hiding in plain sight on Revolucion at Allende street is a delightful little restaurant called La Tortuga.
Open Monday through Saturday from noon until 8, or 9 if there are customers, La Tortuga offers a very small menu consisting of 4 soups,(shrimp, fish, mixed or crab), four seafood coctails served in goblets, and 5 platos fuerte, or main dishes. In case you prefer to skip seafood, there is a plate of bistek de res.
Beverage choices are easy, dos equis, tecate or soda. Easy on the pocketbook, cool and comfortable inside even on a very hot day, friedly service
La Tortuga Restaurant. Revolucion and Allende. Noon to 8. Or 9
Monday, July 14, 2008
To honor the upcoming release of a new Wallace and Gromit movie, a matter of loaf and death and to help the hapless cheese connoisseur in La Paz, I've compiled a list of Mexican cheeses one will readily find at the grocery store.
For those who can not go without cheddar, bleu, parmesan or wenslydale, the major supermarkets plus tienda gourmet Sapore (on Abasolo between Encinas and Marquez de Leon) all carry a selection of imported cheeses.
In no particular order, Mexican Cheeses
Queso Blanco-creamy white cheese from cows milk with rennet. Softens when heated but does not melt. Best use: stuffing enchiladas
Queso fresco-spongy grainy white cheese, crumbles well. Usually a blend of cow and goat milk, it is similar to a mild feta. Best use: sprinkle over snacks like taquitos or enchiladas, cube and toss into a salad
Panela-also called queso de canasta because it is made in a plastic basket mould and whole cheeses still bear the imprint of the basket. Soft white cheese that absorbs other flavors easily. It also does not melt when heated and makes a wonderful base for a vegetarian sandwich with onion, avocado, tomato and peppers. You will often see a bit of whey in the package. This is normal. Try to buy panela as fresh as possible.
Requesón-A loose, ricotta like cheese that does well in making a cheese spread. Often seen mixed with green onions and herbs.
Queso añejo is an aged version of queso fresco. Becomes firm and salty as it ages. It is primarily used as a garnishment, crumbled or grated over a variety of dishes. Can also be found enchilado, or covered with chili powder
Oaxaca-also called quesillo is the Mexican string cheese. As a whole cheese, it looks like a ball of yarn and is often sold pre-pulled apart. It melts very well and is most popular for quesadillas.
Queso asadero is Oaxacan cheese made into a loaf form for slicing. This is the best cheese for melting and is the base for queso fundido.
Chihuahua or queso menonita is pale yellow instead of white and can vary in taste from mild to nearly cheddar-like sharp. It is especially good in making queso frito or fried cheese sticks. Tipo chester is menonite cheese that has been aged a minimum of 15 days(!)instead of the 7 days given chihuahua cheese.
Edam and Gouda cheeses- although certainly not considered Mexican cheeses, they have gained such popularity in Mexican regional dishes that they are worth mentioning and are widely available.
Manchego is a buttery pale yellow cheese wonderful for melting, for serving with fruit or with crackers. This is the go-to cheese for making cheeseburgers.
Queso Amarillo-processed American style cheese in slices, this cheese should be avoided if there are any other cheeses to be had. Best served between a couple of slices of bimbo bread.
Cotija-the parmesan cheese of mexico is a sharp crumbly goat cheese usually served over beans or salads.
Crema- similar to crème fraiche, only Lyncott brand in La Paz is pure 30% butterfat content cows milk cream that has been allowed to thicken. Other brands are 25% butterfat and have salt added, sometimes gums, thickeners and stabilizers. Read the labels carefully. Even if you don’t know a lot of Spanish, the fewer ingredients listed, the better.
Crema Agria- sour cream. Thicker than crema and with a tangy finish.
Doble crema- Mexican style cream cheese. The creaminess varies from cheesemaker to cheesemaker, so inspect the cheese carefully. Cream cheese usually has gums or thickeners added, so rejoice in finding doble crema and use it wherever you would normally use Philly. By the way, if you do want cream cheese and don’t see it, it is called filadelfia in Mexico.
Click on the word cheese in the title of this post for some fun with Wallace and Gromit
This charming eponymously named restaurant on Madero street between Marquez de Leon and Benito Juarez opens its patio door at 8 in the morning, beckoning one inside.
A zaguán is a covered patio or hallway adjacent to a house that leads directly to the street, hence the name...
Once inside the patio area, framed artwork by local photographers and painters are on display, giving a colorful counterpoint to the cloth tablecoverings and the blooming plants.
Absorbing more of the detail lovingly selected one sees a woven living fence that helps screen the kitchen from the tables.
Absorbing the menu takes a touch more time. One may choose from a small selection of filling for tacos, or opt for eggs with, omelets, hotcakes, chilaquiles and other light breakfasts. Coffee of course, or you can opt for beers or say, a bloody mary if you need something more substantial to greet the day.
El Zaguán restaurant and bar, recently opened, on Madero next to Dr. Tomas the vet. 8 am until 3pm
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Soriana joins the other supermarkets who will cook your meat for you while you wait. Click on the word flames in the title of this posting to read my May 2008 post about getting your food cooked for you.
The Soriana supermarket at Colosio and Forjadores, part of the Soriana empire of stores that include City Club, Hipermart, Soriana, Gigante and the franchised mini-super, Super City sets up a little spot in the parking lot across from the entrance to the store where three mesquite grills turn your selection into dinner, ready to eat.
The service is available Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from noon until 7. A sign warns that if you want more than 2.5 kilos of meat cooked (a tad under 5 1/2 pounds)you will have to give them an hour.
Just purchase your Soriana meat and present it, along with your proof of purchase, and grab a stool. Oh, remember to tip the cook
Offering a complete blue plate special Mondays through Fridays, Antojitos Chilangos is proud to be in two places at once. Open in both locations from 9 in the morning until 11 at night, on Colosio near Aquiles Serdán or on Colima at the corner of Héroes de Independencia.
Click on the title of this post for an explanation of the word "Chilango" then come back here for the menu and locations.
Food from "Chilangolandia" is better tasting, hotter, spicier, and more filling than food found anywhere else in Mexico should you ask someone from Mexico city. You will need to decide for yourself whether or not you agree.
It is also said of Chilango food that sooner or later every vegetable becomes the base for a sauce. Be brave, be bold, try the sauces...but don't ask
The menu is certainly different from the fish taco. Sit down to a meal of Tlacoyos, Huraches, Pambazos or wonderful Pozole
OOPs, we're out of that
It is said that the tlacoyo was invented when, while making tamales, the cook ran out of corn husks. Tlacoyos are oval shaped fried or toasted cakes made of masa. Tlacoyos are stuffed with refried beans, cheese, chicharron or other ingredients. Most traditional tlacoyos do not have lard or salt in the masa, and if not eaten immediately after they are cooked, they become very tough and dry, even if reheated.
The pambazo is what happens when you take a torta ahogado and forget to drown it first in the tomato/beef broth and go directly into the chile sauce bath. Pambazo is made from special bread dipped in a red guajillo pepper sauce and filled with a guiso (filling) like papas con chorizo (potatoes with chorizo), frijoles refritos (refried beans) or longaniza (similar to the portugese linguiça). It is then garnished with shredded lettuce, salsa (sauce), cream and queso fresco (fresh cheese).
Antojitos Chilangos, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Colosio near Serdán and Colima at Independencia.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
What to drink to keep hydrated? The simple and best answer is water, of course, but water just doesn't do it all the time.
Used to drink coffee all day long when working in kitchens but the side effects made me cut back to one or two coffees a day.
Can't drink milk except what comes in those brick cartons because of the intolerance factor (I can eat what passes for ice cream here, too, because if you read the labels, you will see that they use powdered milk and mix it with non dairy butterfat substitute.)
Carbonated beverages must be served icy cold. They go flat unless you drink the whole thing at once and have way too much sugar for my body to process safely.
Of course the obvious answer is beer, but being alcohol intolerant as well, I am happily driven to the powdered drink aisle for an envelope of B or C light.
C light is made by Kraft Mexico. Kraft Foods up north makes Crystal Light and markets the product for dieters. Here, there is no marketing and the flavor options are quite impressive. Limeade, rosehips, mandarin breeze, grapefruit, orange, cinnamon rice beverage, tamarind, watermelon, pineapple, piña colada, strawberry, green apple and my absolute favorite, guyabana.
Guyabana is a tropical fruit that is about the size and shape of a medium potato, with a green spiky skin, pale white flesh inside and limabean sized black seeds inside. It is related to more widely known soursop, custard apple or cherimoya fruit. Best of all, it tastes, to me, exactly like a white nectarine.
Just tear open the envelope and add the powder to 2 liters of water. The package says to add 1 1/2 liters but the result seems a bit too powerful. Anyway, stir or shake and enjoy.
To learn more about Guyabana, click on the word "beverage" in the title of this post.
C light or B light, available at all the supermarkets, 2.9 to 4.5 pesos per 2 liter envelope.
Down the street from the Patio,between Dominguez and Madero, one comes to a fish restaurant called Mc Fisher.
One of the unique offerings is a shrimp burger. Simply delicious!
Mc Fisher opens early and serves breakfast: Omelets, eggs and chilaquiles as well as unusual combinations of ceviches, seafood burritos, tostadas and cocktails.
There is full bar service and takeout too
Open daily from 8 to 3, Mc Fisher pronounced mac fisher is on Hidalgo between Dominguez and Madero.
I invite you to leave a comment about your experience at Mc Fisher
- The Bread Guy
- La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
- Before gaining control of my life, I created pastries for some cool places in California: San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, Brix Restaurant in Napa and The Lodge in Sonoma. Now I am the chef/owner of Pan D' Les bakery in La Paz. My personal favorite is the Multigrano loaf, full of crunchy seeds and a nice chewy crust.