Sunday, March 01, 2009

Yesterday it was in the high 80's and today it was a tad cooler, dropping down to the mid 80's!
Eat your hearts out NorteAmericanos.

Every couple of days on real nice days, it gets boring sitting around in the sun, reading, listening to music and just plain chilling out.
So we get in the old pickup and head out for an excursion for a hour or two.

The road between Tzurumutaro and Tzintzuntsan is normally a 7 or 8 minute ride, except for during the Day of the Dead when it can take a half and hour or more.

Unless you take the scenic route which is great if you don't have to dash home.

The road takes you around the mountain where you get great views of all the islands, lake front ranchos, weekend homes and two small villages.

Today as we were traversing the south side of the mountain we passed a little restaurant perched up on the side of the road overlooking the lake.

As I asked my wife if she had an appetite the sames as mine she this time acknowledged my question. Backing up on the road for about 300 meters, we found ourselves sitting in front of a well placed loudspeaker playing regional Ranchero music.

Ranchero music is a acquired level of tolerance. As the owner came to us to ask what we would like and to rattle of the choices, I put my routine when dealing with blaring Ranchero music.

I reduce my normal speaking volume to about 30%.
This usually will bring to action the twiddling of the volume control a few clicks to the left, both allowing her to finally hear my now normal speaking volume and simultaneously reducing the pain threshold of the ompah music.

After our order was placed the music changed to a nice old fashion ballad and which made the rest of our meal extremely enjoyable.

This was a nice surprise for us.

Where else can you get stellar views and a great quesadilla and a beer for 17 pesos?

Here of course!

The chicken quesadilla was memorable and almost succumbing to asking for a second one, I decided against it since the beer had push my empty caloric count for my lunch limit. The quesadilla was absolutely delicious, moist pieces of chicken, coated with a nice green tomatillo salsa injecting the right amount of heat which didn't linger for hours, moistened with shredded fresh lettuce and some cilantro.
Wow, a keeper place to return to should I find myself taking the long way to Tzintzuntszan.

The return home saw much activity with people out and about, enjoying the typical Sunday.

There are multiple restaurants in Patzcuaro some decent and some not. One of the places that has been popular is a place called Cha Cha Cha. This place is down from the Basillica and was a decent place frequented by tourists.

It had always been pretty middle of the road. We had a guest visiting us and figured it would be a "safe" place to bring them to.

Well, things have changed, as all things in Mexico especially restaurants. From what was once "middle of the road" has dropped to" on the side of the ditch".

From passable service and average food it has been downgraded to very disappointing. From not getting our guest's order correct, to not adding the bill correctly it was a precursor of what I see in my crystal ball, that this place may be shuttered later this year.

The only reason it may not, is that the owner of the restaurant may be the owner of the building and therefore not have to have more than a duo of patrons on a evening..........

You would think that restaurant owners would remember what made their places appealing to their previous patrons............At least in the beginning.
But not so.

The restaurant business is one of the hardest to run and succeed in. Between employees and pilferage to no show help, it's extremely problematic at best. Restaurant have but one time to make a favorable impression on their clients. Should one do a lest than good job on the first visit, it is highly doubtful that a return chance is done. If the owner see that they place is packed they tend to try and skate by, thus making the fatal mistake.....

So here we have a roadside stand that outshines a formal style restaurant for the day at least!


Miguelito said...

Ooooooawwwh, I wonder if the owners of Cha-Cha-Cha read your review. The owners are a couple of guys from San Francisco, one Gringo and the other Latino.

Since I know the Gringo, I will make no observation. He´s a decent chap.

ken kushnir said...

Well maybe there were having a tiff and the night was off. We had been there several times and this one was decidedly the lower rung of the ladder. It just seems they are not trying as hard anymore. Sadly, we can use decent restaurants in town, but when you don't receive adequate value for your peso, you give up!

Anonymous said...

In this region the street food and market stall food almost always outshines the upscale restaurant food.

With very few exceptions, we avoid fancy restaurants here. No valen la pena.
Some of the comida internacional places come up with bizarre concoctions, like salmon in a Gorgonzola sauce. ¡GĂșacala!

At least at the down-market joints, you don't run as a big a risk of disappointment and money wasted.

El Fantasma

ken kushnir said...

For a long time when we first came down here, we were somewhat shy, but no longer. As long as you take a look at basic counter top hygiene and find something that sort of looks half way clean and it appears that they are attempting to do a good job, we have never been disappointed! We have been disappointed at professional places that commanded a pretty peso.
I'll take the street or mercado any day, and besides they turn the product more often thereby assuring freshness!