Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Two For The Road

There are some interesting restaurants along the Federal Highway 14, between Pátzcuaro and Morelia. On the Pátzcuaro end, the Restaurante El Mandil has moved yet again. It has departed its shared space at Hotel Villa Gardenias, and previously, in the Posada Mesón de San Antonio. Now it is in a building all its own, within a corunda's throw of the venerable roadhouse El Camino Real. That building was most recently occupied by a barbacoa de borrego a la penca place that I never got around to trying.

The location is definitely out of town, in that nebulous frontier zone between Pátzcuaro and Tzurumutaro. Yes! There is parking!
The building is attractive. There are no more plywood partitions for the rest rooms. It's a solid show.

The food is variable in quality. Here's a repost of my review on Michoacan_Net.

"We ate there yesterday in a very pleasant, if under illuminated dining room. The kitchen's strength seems to me to be in salads and vegetables. I really enjoyed a perfectly cooked cold vegetable salad. The pickled vegetables and chiles en vinaigre were delightful, and I went back for seconds.

Salad bar. Unfortunately, only commercial bottled dressings are offered.

The pickled vegetables and chiles are crisp and tangy
Over on the hot foods table, there was considerable variation in quality. Cerdo en salsa de tamarindo was quite good, and hot, as were fair bisteces en salsa. Pescado empanizado was dull, underseasoned and boring. I didn't try the dry looking breaded chicken breasts. There was a very good hot mixed vegetable dish, with cheese, so good that I went back and had seconds. It was my favorite dish of those that I tried from the buffet. The worst dish were dreadful pechugas de pollo empanizadas en mole, served at room temperature. The texture was disagreeable and the mole was inferior.

Cerdo, arroz, frijoles, mole de pollo (ugh!)
We passed on dessert. Capirotada and arroz con leche were offered, and I think gelatin.

Note that you can get a refresco included in the $70 peso price in lieu of an agua fresca.

The employees are cheerful and very friendly and helpful. The room is attractive but the seats are marginally comfortable. The restroom was spotless.

In spite of a few defective dishes, we'd eat there again."

Food: 5 1/2
Service: 6 There is helpful attention to guests, even though it's a self service buffet.
Cost:  $70  all you care to eat. Don't forget to tip!
Ambience: Pleasant, some decor, under lit. Some chairs may be risky. I had one start to collapse under me.

Closed Mondays.
Open for breakfast from 9 a.m.
Comida from 1:30 p.m.

Let's move on down the road.

 El Borrego Veloz Morelia 
Una amiga Mexicana recommended to us an unnamed barbacoa place on the Morelia highway. It later turned out to be El Borreguito Veloz II. It's between Cuanajo and Huiramba, if that means anything. But we never seemed to be going the right direction at the right time to stop. Then we found what seems to be the parent restaurant, the larger El Borrego Veloz, just inside the Morelia city limits. It's across from a salon de eventos, and almost to the Pemex and the Motel Faro. The restaurant is a large yellow building, and hard to miss.

El Borrego Veloz, in the large, yellow building

We ordered the specialty, a plato grande de borrego (surtido).  It was a very good rendition of the dish. The meat was plentiful, there were plenty of garbanzos, and the caldo was rich and delicious. The salsas were above average.

Some of the best barbacoa in the region
The large dining room was curiously empty.

The superior tortillas are made by hand, not by machine.
Food:  7
Service: 7
Cost: under $100 pesos  per person
Ambience: pleasantly relaxed
Restrooms: Adequate
I don't know the days and hours of operation.
Spacious parking in front
We look forward to eating there again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Restaurante Caracuaro, on the Altozano highway, Morelia

Yesterday, we had lunch in Morelia at Restaurante Caracuaro's newest branch, on Blvd Juan Pablo, the highway to Altozano. (There are 3 Restaurantes Caracuaros in Morelia that I know of. We have been to the matriz, on the western periférico, near Pepsi bottlers, and across from tránsito, at least 3 times previously.)

Food is of a hearty, well seasoned peasant sort of cooking, in the style of La Tierra Caliente. La Señora had a hearty Caldo de Res, (photo from an earlier visit) which was too big to finish, and I ate Carne de Cerdo en Chile. It was a dish of cut pork backbone in a medium spicy sauce made from chiles guajillos, accompanied by decent frijoles and rice. The tortillas were good, and we were given free snacks such as totopos and requesón (like ricotta) and three salsas. The intriguing yellow salsa, complete with fruit stones, was dismally disappointing; the not very fresh, roasted tomato salsa had seen much better days, but the salsa verde was more than acceptable.

I started with a good bowl of Sopa Tarasca, made the way I prefer, with a bean puree. It was tasty and satisfying.

It may look like a Mexican TV Dinner, but it's much better than that.
They also offer cortes de res, such as carne asada and arrachera.

We drank three café de ollas and a bottle of agua mineral. The check came to $270 pesos, or about USD $15.

It's a nice place and quite good, apart from two inferior salsas. Service was attentive but not overbearing. The dining room was empty of customers when we arrived, at about 1:00 p.m. As we were finishing, two customers arrived.

Food: 6
Service 7
Ambience: Way down south in Michoacán. The dining room is spacious and attractive; some of the wooden chairs are cushioned, some are not.
Rest rooms: very nice
Parking in front!

1970 Blvd. Juan Pablo II,
 Morelia Michoacán
(Previously "La Carreta")

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