Friday, November 20, 2015

El Remedio Pátzcuaro

menu cover
El Remedio was recently brought to my attention by our friend Ron. It's on Calle Ahumada, very close to the northeast corner of the Plaza Grande.

El Remedio began life not long ago as a mezcalería located in a two story, semi converted Colonial building. The management recently expanded their menu with breakfast items and comida foods. The building is quite grand, but when I entered the dark corridor to the back patio, I wished I'd brought a flashlight.

My impression is that most of the areas outfitted to accommodate diners as well as drinkers are on the first floor, up a couple of stone staircases. The ground floor looks more dedicated to musical entertainment events.

dining room
Our friendly, helpful waitress (who might be the proprietress) gave us each two menus; the drinks menu listing a nice selection of locally made mezcales, Tequilas and nifty, creatively named cocktails. The second, a single sided card, holds the food offerings.

food menus
To their credit, El Remedio makes an effort to do food and drink in a more creative way than is usually found in Pátzcuaro restaurants. But as you shall read, the execution of these dishes sometimes leaves something to be desired.

drinks menu
Our waitress discussed with us the unusual, mezcal based cocktails. I was frazzled from dealing with holiday traffic and crowds, so I ordered a refreshing Coctel "Remedio". This had lime, cucumber and orange with a mezcal base. It was just what I needed, other than it was a little short. However, the prices, usually $40 to $50 pesos each, were so reasonable that it was no pain to order another drink.

coctel "El Remedio"
Our friend Mark is an aficionado of mezcal, and he had a locally distilled one, whose name I can't recall. (Probably from the effects of my coctel.)

The food menu is somewhat limited in scope, but with representatives from land, sea and air convening on the carta.

I was somewhat surprised that for a mezcalería, the entradas (appetizers) were limited to three options: Tiradito de Blanco, a marinated white fish appetizer; Tacos de Camarones en Una Costra de Chicharrón, which Señora Cuevas ordered; and Bocados de Torta Estilo Santa Clara. The menu description of the latter is "a traditional torta filled with tostada, carne apache, ham and head cheese. (What an unusual combination!)

Soups were listed as Capuchino de Sopa Tarasca, Crema de Elote Bicolor and Sopa del Día. When I enquired as to the Sopa Del Día, I was told "Crema de Elote Bicolor".
Since I'd had Sopa Tarasca a couple of times recently, I chose the Crema de Elote.  Ron had the Cappuchino de Sopa Tarasca. 

The Sopa Tarasca was an attractive presentation, with a "foam" of queso Cotija on top. Despite that, Ron said it was lacking depth of flavor. (Forgive me if I quote you imprecisely, Ron.)

Capuchino de Sopa Tarasca
Doña Cuevas said her tacos of shrimp with chicharrón on tortillas de nopal were "o.k." but the shrimp weren't especially tasty.

Tacos de Camarones en Costra de Chicharrón
My Crema de Elote  was nothing I couldn't whip up in a blender at home, out of a couple of cans. The taste was bland, although not unpleasant. But it was notably tepid, not hot.

Crema de Elote Bicolor
Nancy had a modestly sized Ensalada César, which she liked very much, stating it was dressed perfectly, just as she prefers.

Ensalada César

At least one of my companions had as as a salad "Gazpacho Moreliano", an attractive combination of fresh fruits.

Ensalada "Gazpacho Moreliano"
Mark got Salmón Purenchecuaro, grilled and in a sauce of xoconostle, a variety of nopal cactus fruits, with a tangy flavor. I'll encourage Mark to comment, as I don't recall his opinion of that dish.

Salmón Purenchécuaro
Ron also had a shrimp dish, Camarones El Remedio, with sliced mushrooms, accompanied by strangely yellow colored "saffron" spaghetti, and a section of corn on the cob.

Camarones Remedio
I'm a sucker for rabbit dishes, so I had Conejo al Tumbador; grilled, and served on a bed of salad.
Unfortunately, this dish failed on several counts. It was served tepid; the rabbit was small, bony and not meaty. The seasoning was underwhelming. I am used to much better grilled rabbit, as, for example, at La Mesa de Blanca. I couldn't eat more than a small amount of it, and the remainder eventually ended up in our garbage pail.

Conejo al Tumbador
A redeeming highlight of the meal was the trio of house made salsas, served in an attractive glass "boat".

Trio of salsas
I had a second cocktail, this one a "Happy Fresh", which was fair, but somewhat garishly colored with blue Curaçao and based on mezcal (as are all the cocktails) plus strawberries. I liked the Remedio cocktail more.

Of our group, only I ordered dessert, a homey Pan de Elote and a café Americano. The Pan de Elote  was pretty good, with good flavor and pleasant, coarse texture, not too sweet, and nicely warmed. (If only they didn't use that dessert cliche of squiggles of Hershey's (?) chocolate syrup on the plate.) But no real harm was done. At least the syrup wasn't on the Pan de Elote.

Pan de Elote
The coffee was fair.
In a private communication, fellow blogger "Felipe Zapata" suggested that it might be better if I deferred reviewing this restaurant until I made another visit. While it's true that multiple visits to a specific restaurant would be fairer before reviewing, I'm neither a professional reviewer nor do I have pockets deep enough to afford that. So here it is, for better or worse. I just tell it as I see it.

RATINGS. On a scale of 1 to 10
Food: 6
The kitchen has potential, and I credit the chef for creative efforts. But the dishes need further refinement. Most of all, hot food should be served HOT.

Service: 8
Amiable and knowledgeable. Don't expect speed, as all the food is prepared "al momento".

Price: $$ (with several cocteles and mezcales)
Inexpensive to Moderate

Ambience: Old Pátzcuaro Colonial

Restroom: Fine

Would we return? Yes, maybe. As I write and edit this post, my memories of El Remedio become more positive. So, yes; I would try it again. But I would ask that hot food be served hot.

Location: Calle Ahumada #13, Centro, Pátzcuaro, across from TelMex.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Breakfast at Camila's Morelia

Image from Camila's website
It was after 1:00 p.m., a rainy day in Morelia, and I wanted a substantial breakfast, having missed it that morning; in a nice place with comfortable, indoor seating. Camila's filled those needs very nicely.

Image from Camila's website
There's "free" valet parking, even though the parking lot is immediately behind the capacious restaurant. What the hell. Why not?

Camila's is well staffed and the personnel were very courteous and welcoming. We were asked if we wanted desayuno or comida, and we were pleased that desayuno was still being served into the early afternoon. (In reality, the comida buffet was still being set up and wouldn't have been ready until about when we were finishing breakfast.)

There are several dining areas and we were ushered into what I think is the largest. It's casual but nicely appointed. It has the feel of a non-formal dining room in a contemporary hotel.

The breakfast menu has attractive paquetes on one side and more varied a la carte options on the others. The paquetes almost all are $135 but go up to  $205 for Carne Asada a la Tampiqueña. The a la carte menu lists a number of dishes ranging from mostly $85 to $155 for Cecina con Chilaquiles.

Breakfast package menu
The paquetes include pan dulce, pan salado (nice looking rolls that we didn't eat), jugo and plato de frutas, café americano, or chocolate or (I think) tea as well as the plato fuerte. These paquetes are a good value, depending on which you order. The table adjacent to ours got a Carne Asada that looked luscious.

Breakfast a la carte menu

Doña Cuevas ordered Huevos Motuleños, an attractive and elaborate egg dish. I tasted a dab of the underlying tomato sauce and it seemed to be made from crushed fresh tomatoes. O.k; so the beans were brown, not the traditional black, but they were good.

Huevos Motuleños
I had Trapo Viejo, scrambled eggs with seasonings and shredded beef. It was o.k. but not memorable. Our platos came with tostones, disks of fried plátano macho, which were o.k, although not one of my favored foods.

Trapo Viejo
The table salsa was thick, tasty and medium picante.

We both had jugo verde from a choice of orange, carrot, verde and grapefruit (which was out.) It was pretty good.

Other than the papaya and watermelon, the fruit on the fruit plate was underripe.

Coffee was just acceptable but not great.

Service was good overall, but we did have to request more coffee and tortillas, but then they came promptly.

Restrooms were nice.

Here's a rating summary. (I have decided to start rating on a 10 point, rather than a 5 point scale, for more precision. With this new system, a "1" is very poor, a "5" is average, and so on, up the scale of merit to a nearly unattainable "10")


Cost: Average $135 PP plus tip

Ambience: Casual Contemporary Mexican

Restrooms: Clean, spacious and functional

WiFi: Open network, no password needed. What a pleasure! However, the signal faltered in the later part of our breakfast.

We would eat there again, trying something other than breakfast.

There's a Comida Buffet offered, served from about 2:00 to 6:00 I took a passing look at this, especially the cold items. The hot foods were awkward to photograph because the steam table inserts were covered with plastic lids. A small but nice looking salad bar, then hot foods, pescado en salsa, pork, chicken, etc. There were plenty of carbs and less protein, in my quick view. But you could make a quite satisfactory meal from the buffet. The buffet line ended in a modest selection of desserts. Buffet price is a modest $115 pesos.

There's also a separate, a la carte list of grilled meat cuts. Naturally, those items are more expensive.

Grilled meats and fish menu
Address: Calzada Ventura Puente 1661, 58290 Morelia, MICH
Phone: 01 443 315 5062
Hours: Open today · 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Web site