Saturday, December 13, 2008
First, some background information. I was raised in the Los Angeles valley area and all I knew of Mexico as a kid was Tijuana. We would take a weekend and go to the San Diego Zoo and then go to "Mexico"
We certainly never ate there (sugar cane was an exception since my parents knew I wouldn't like it much and it was only a dime) and would browse the stalls looking at all the cheap, brightly colored junk. Sometimes we would buy something just to say, hey we were here. I remember a plaster of paris piggy bank, three piggies on top of each other with a grinning painted face and big painted eyelashes. The top pig had "we" on it, the second pig said "love" and the third pig said "money!" There were also some tin masks vaguely aztec in design that actually hung on the wall of the living room for several years.
So, back to present day. On Revolucion, between Legaspy and Marquez de Leon across the street from Gorillas grill and next to where Katty's was, is a new place called Rincon Chilango. I always pass by thinking, how vulgar, cheap and garish. What a stereotyped insult to Mexicans this place is! I will never go there...
From the driveway to the very depth of the property bright splashes of color assault you. The entrance, including a standpipe sort of arrangement is painted pink, orange, green magenta, yellow. Even the cement walkway out front is painted. Two tables loiter under the arch, covered in screamingly bright checks, in case you missed the idea that this is a place that serves food.
Primitive murals adorn the walls. Painted hibiscus, lizards, bougainvillea in pots in impossible colors. A low palapa roof shades the dining area. Bright paper lanterns are hung from the beams. A giant stuffed red pepper doll wearing a moustache, holding a beer and wearing a sombrereo proclaims along the brim, "viva Mexico!" Next to the restrooms is a crooked mirror, its frame brightly painted and across the face of the mirror in spanish says, what'cha looking at.
A clothesline strung from some tree branches outside the kitchen has clothes drying in the breeze. Some tattered and saggy bottomed jeans. Paisley knickers. A white bustier with black trim. A collection of brooms, mops and rakes lean against the wall and an altar to the virgin. One of the dingier undergarments hanging on the line has words written on it Este rincon es parte de la decoracion...this corner is part of the decoration.
Suddenly I get the joke. Everything is just over the top exaggerated and the Chilangos who run the place are just having fun.
Chilangos, by the way, is what folks from Mexico City are called. To those not from Mexico City, it is meant as an insult, derogatory. Chilangos embrace the name and use it with pride.
What about the food and such? Pambazos, tlacoyos, tlayudas, quesadillas made with blue corn, all the popular foods from the mainland. Reasonably priced and served hot, well seasoned. Refrescos and aguas but no cervesa. Can't explain how they got so many Pacifico tables and chairs.
Open from 8 in the morning until 11 at night. Go. Have a laugh. You can even try some huitlacoche. With or without cheese.
Rincon Chilango. Between Legaspy and Marquez de Leon on Revolucion.
Click on the title to link up to a list of Mexican taqueria food definitions.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Already thirty-eight years old and so well camouflaged that unless you knew what to look for you never noticed.
This has all changed with the expansion of the dining area and a new facade for restaurant cafe El Faisán on 16 de Septiembre just past Isabel la Catolica.
The son, Jorge runs the place now and has plans to introduce an expanded graphics intense color menu, breakfasts and table service in January.
At the moment, the restaurant is an interesting mix of homemade and fast food. Coffee drinks are available as well as malts and other ice cream drinks. A pastry case displayed generous cuts of german chocolate cake and flan.
Hamburgers come single or double with cheese or no. Burritos are stuffed with a guiso of carne deshebrada (shredded meat seasoned with vegetables and herbs) or pulled pork and there are quesadillas, stuffed quesadillas and breaded chicken nuggets seasoned with oregano. French fries. Ranch dressing. There are Bimbo bread sandwiches and tortas as well.
Order at the counter and grab a table or booth. In a few minutes a tray with your orders is brought to the table. Dishes are white foam trays. An array of condiments are offered, including ketchup in red squeeze bottles that used to hold barbeque sauce, crema in a bottle conveniently labeled crema and hot sauce in an unlabeled former mustard squeeze.
Coffee drinks, bottles of iced teas, Penafiel soft drinks and waters are available.
Can't wait to go back in January. El Faisán restaurant cafe since 1971. 16 de Septiembre between Isable la Catolica and Meliton Albañez. Open from 8am until 10 pm.
- 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.