Sunday, November 29, 2009

Zi-Wha Eats? Part 1

Zihuatanejo offers visitors eating options from very cheap to very high end. Call me codo if you wish, but I prefer not to risk my retirement income pesos on high cost, resort area restaurants with a fusion cuisine and a view. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that prices in Zihua tends to be more expensive than for similar fare elsewhere. This is especially true in the well trodden tourist corridors.

The evening of our arrival, we walked a few blocks to Rufo's Grill, on Calle Adelita at the corner of Calle Remedios.

It's a pleasant little place, under a palapa roof. The focus of attention is the charcoal grill in the backyard kitchen, which gives off enticing aromas. Fresh fish, either mahi-mahi or tuna was the catches of the day, but since BBQ ribs were on the menu as well as Chuleta (pork chop) al Pastor, we chose those.

The trio of three table salsas and a dish of chiles was pretty good. The flour tortillas were o.k. (Noted that almost every place we samples (well, not that many, it's true.) had flour tortillas, not corn.) There was a dab of passable guacamole and a dab of ordinary frijoles on the plate. I asked to have my frijoles swapped out for French Fries, which were good.

The ribs were succulent but few in number, although the pork chop was large and meaty. The grilled vegetables on the side were good, although the carrot chunks were still raw.

We had a beer and a couple of limonadas. Overall, a pleasant meal, but needing a bit more attention to the sides. I don't have a note on cost, but I do recall that the chuleta was $95 and the costillas perhaps $70 (all costs in pesos.) The total may have been under $350.
Rufo's Grill is open only in the evening. In the morning, it's the simple Patio Mexica, whose breakfasts we did not try.

We went a second time to Rufo's on Thursday night. I had a decent cheeseburger and fries for $40 and Doña Cuevas a Grilled Vegetable Plate. I should say that we make that at home fairly often, so our standards are high. The Rufo's version, in our opinion, is overpriced at $85. It's a few slices of grilled zucchini (the best part), some sweet red pepper (o.k.), a slice of undercooked eggplant, and no seasoning whatsoever. It's a dish that cries out for some pesto, or aiolí. We got olive oil and vinegar at the table.

The next morning we walked about 2 blocks farther west on Calle Adelita, passing several bargain breakfast places, but we aimed for American-owned La Casa Cafe, as I needed an Internet fix. La Casa Cafe not only makes good coffee, the breakfasts are inexpensive, and for the most part, delicious. The plus is the free Wi-Fi, which I accessed on my iPod Touch.

There's a couple of different daily special menus which offer amazing deals. "Chuleta en Salsa Verde; hot cakes, chilaquiles, all at $20.
On the table was a laminated specials menu, among which was the amazing Papas Con Chorizo, dos huevos estrellados con frijoles y tortillas, $45. That was a good choice, although I was a bit mystified when the English speaking waitress asked me how I wanted my huevos estrellados cooked. I'd always believed that "estrellados" meant "sunnyside up". At any rate, it was a very tasty and generous breakfast. Even the salsa verde was particularly picante. The beans were extra tasty.
Doña Cuevas had a fruit plate with yogurt and granola.
Here's the regular breakfast and lunch menu.
Here, the Specials Menu.

We enjoyed the Casa Cafe so much, we ate there three times.
The second time, Wednesday morning was less successful. There was only one waiter when we sat down, and he was "covered up". These situations arise and all one can do is be patient.

I was foolishly daring and ordered Huevos Poblanos, a sorry disgrace of a dish when it arrived. Instead of two eggs in a creamy Salsa Poblana, a name which implied Poblana chiles in the sauce, instead was a poorly concocted white sauce with nary a speck of chile. Unless you count the squirts of bottled Salsa Valentina on top. Even odder, it was on a base of French Toast, which to me was a bit grotesque. Shameful, especially since it's the most expensive thing on the breakfast menu, at $55.*

Doña Cuevas had the more successful Papas Con Chorizos; finally got her orange juice. I never got mine, although it was on la cuenta, which our waiter cheerfully corrected.

We are forgiving (plus I needed that free wi-fi), so we returned on Friday morning, before checking out of the hotel and heading for the bus station.
We both ordered Omeletas, one Southwestern and one Northwestern, but they were the both Southwestern when they arrived. Bacon, avocado and cheese filling, covered with a mld Ranchera Sauce. We ate them without a fuss, and they were good. It was a pleasure to have a properly folded omelet. Even the whole grain toast was good. The espresso before the Cafe Americano was very good.

Overall, La Casa Cafe is a fine spot for breakfast, low prices, usually good service, very tasty food, free wi-fi.! (We didn't have lunch there.)

* I paused in my blogging, to make Huevos Poblanos as I think they should be made. Later, that simple recipe will appear on this blog.

To be continued


Bob Mrotek said...

I'd always believed that "estrellados" meant "sunnyside up".

Amigo Don Cuevas,

Calamte hombre :)
She was asking you if you prefer the sunny side up eggs "bien cocidos" or "tiernos"...with yolks well cooked or soft :)

Don Cuevas said...

Hola, Bob;
I failed to mention that she asked if I wanted them over easy or scrambled.

Don Cuevas

Tancho said...

Just add a nice formatted mast head, a directory of towns, and a one to 5 star rating, and you have your new mission in retirement.
Add some banner ads and viola!, income for that cocteles de camarones with cilantro that you enjoy!

Don Cuevas said...

Tancho; I await your return so that you can give me personal guidance as my Business Manager.

Don Cuevas