Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Return to La Mesa de Blanca

La Mesa de Blanca July 11, 2010

Seven of us went in two vehicles to the Mesa de Blanca in Ziracuarétiro.
We left Pátzcuaro in a downpour. For Doña Cuevas and I, this was our second visit; the first was in March.

On passing the Ziracuarétiro toll station, the skies were clearing.

When we drove into the restaurant parking lot, David’s car found the special broken Coke bottle waiting for his brand new tire, which blew out in an explosive rush.

We entered the restaurant, and the line of lovely waitresses waiting arose in greeting. I felt I should ask one for the honor of a dance.

There was a slight setback when the hostess did have any good answers for tire changing possiblities, as it was Sunday and everything was closed. Camille was also told that it was the policy of the restaurant not to admit pets. Her faithful canine compañera, Sweepea, was not allowed into the dining room. But, a kindly waiter volunteered to change the tire between waiting tables, and refused payment. The guests insisted and he finally accepted a propina.

While Camille and her visitors were seated at a low table in the entrance hall, with Sweepea leashed to the table leg, I went off to find owners Chef Blanca and Sr. Rodrigo Lemus to greet them and tell of our problems. Chef Blanca arranged a proper table and setting for the doggy crew and dog, so that they might enjoy a meal without infracting the policy of the restaurant.

Meanwhile, Doña Cuevas, Shirley and I were seated in El Refugio, an upper "loft" dining area, and we proceed to greedily order from the menu while nibbling from a dish of strips of cucumber and mango, with a pool of salsa chamoy

Under Botanas, (really should be called Entradas, as they are far more substantial than bar nuts and chips) we chose tacos de carnitas (a double order), chiles capones and sopitos de picadillo. They were all good, with the generous and luscious carnitas tacos in the lead, along with the exquisite Chiles Capones, made of chiles pasillas (dried) filled with queso fresco, not at all typical chiles rellenos, but beautifully laid out in an oval platter in a salsa verde of tomatillos laced with crema. These entradas would have served very well for a meal, and I recommend that to you.

Top score for the carnitas, which although we ordered them surtida, were not at all greasy.
The not-too-picante Chiles Capones are a don’t miss item for aficionados of chiles. The Sopitos were, umm, "nice".

Doña Cuevas had a bowl of wonderful Sopa de Milpa, a tasty melange of local vegetables.

We drank a pitcherful of the signature agua fresca de zarzamoras, but I started with a glass of Absolut Citron Vodka on the rocks, over which I poured some of my homebrewed ginger beer. Sort of a Moscow Mule. I shared the ginger beer with the restaurant owners and they enjoyed it.

We also sent a media jarra of ginger beer to our friends sitting in the entrance hall. (Probably should have sat there also, as it was less breezy and had little noise from the World Cup Game. Also, their table was across from the line-up of pretty waitresses. (What WAS I thinking?) But we’d already established our perch in El Refugio.

Shirley and I shared a Conejo en Tres Jugos, a light, citric fruit juice sauce for the rabbit. I'd look to Italian cuisine for a parallel treatment of rabbit. It was good and the sauce had a nice balance of sweet and sour. There was some tasty rice and a pleasant, small salad on the plate. The Italian version is quite different, although also sweet and sour. This recipe is closer in style.. 

There was room for a little dessert. I ordered flan and two of us had Cafe Americano, strong and black. The flan was unusually light and spongy. It may have been a Flan Napolitano, lightened with egg whites. Or perhaps it contained cream cheese although it didn't seem to taste of that popular Mexican ingredient.

We were visited at our table by Blanca and Rodrigo, for a nice chat. Rodrigo apologized profusely for the no pets policy. I told him that it was a logical and understandable policy, and they were not expected to make an exception for our friend’s dog, no matter how well behaved. So, in the end, with only the loss of a new tire, we were all satisfied and very well fed.

In my opinion, this meal was better than the good one we’d had on our first visit back in March. Even though there was sparse clientele (Rodrigo told us that they had more employees on duty than customers, due to the World Cup Finals and the weather), there seemed to be more activity this time.

Camille was delighted to find fresh litchis for sale at 3 stands on the main street of Ziracua, at only $35 MXN a kilo.

La Mesa de Blanca
Avenida Ferrocarril
Ziracuarétiro, Michoacán, México
Tels:01 423 59 3 03 55
01 423 59 3 03 56

Renewed Ratings:
Food: **** 1/2

Service: **** Could have been a little more attentive to detail.

Price: $$-$$ 1/2
(Per person. Our total for three was $765 MXN, plus tip.) Prices have risen substantially since our March visit, and while not cheap, the food, service and ambiance make it worth the cost.

Ambience: Campestre Casual and attractive. The TV set with the loud World Cup game on was somewhat distracting.

Rest rooms: Sparkling clean.

These photos were taken on our previous visit. I am temporarily without camera, and depend on the kindness of friends for photos.

1 comment:

Tancho said...

Expensive lunch when you consider the price of the tire. At least now there are more plastic Coke bottles, you don't see glass ones that often laying around, that is, unless they are broken.