Sunday, October 31, 2010

Yes you can have a good meal for 3 bucks!

Comida Corrida is Mexico's answer to fast food. It is food on the road or food all the time, kind of convenience food.
This is a place in Morelia that we often go to to grab breakfast if we are in town early enough or a lunch.

I usually always get the same thing.
My wife floats around to two or three choices.
We always have fresh squeezed orange juice.

None of that pre-made, from concentrate in Mexico, at least not at these type of places. You can get your fill of phony orange juice at many of the fast food places like McDonalds or VIP's, Sanborn's and a myriad of other americanized style places.

We opt for fresh since it is not loaded with sugar and all that other stuff.....

The food is prepared while you wait, usually will take 7 to 8 minutes, sometimes faster, sometimes longer. Hey I didn't say is was lightning fast food......

Our tab for two dishes which include a small salad on the plate consisting of tomato, cucumber, lettuce and red onion. There is some refried beans and the meat sits on a mound of freshly made rice with corn in it.

My plate the Milanesa, which is a cut of meat thinly sliced dipped in egg batter, tossed in bread crumbs and fried. Mind you it doesn't come drenching in grease like the US Chicken Fried steak, which really is deep fried....

The meal is fresh, tasty and sufficient.
Ok, not if you are a lumberjack or Iron worker.....but come on, you shouldn't be stuffing your face that much..

The tab for two,including OJ, is 70 pesos. Another 5 pesos for the tip and you have lunch for 75 pesos.

At todays exchange rate that is about 6 dollars, or 3 bucks each....

Now if you didn't want OJ, that would be about $2.50 each.

Or you could have the Comida Corrida, which is whatever the cook prepares that day, includes rice, tortillas, bread, the main entree, a drink and dessert for $ 35 pesos...

Not bad.

And yes you can go out and spend hundreds of dollars on dinner if you have the motivation and funds to do that...... But considering the purpose of having a meal, what's the big difference?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

No more fresh squeezed OJ at Sanborn's?

William

Bob Mrotek said...

I'm with you Tancho. I generally eat better than a king and for less. I have had some wonderful meals in little tucked away places for relatively few pesos and like you I have my favorite spots.

Don Cuevas said...

I read your post with great interest, because 4 of us ate at Fonda Mamá Lupe's, in Pátzcuaro on Friday. It cost a lot more than $30 pesos each; in fact, it was $50 pesos. But it all was good. There was even a nice touch of "plating presentation", without going overboard into the realm of twee.

Basically, we had a very small ensalada de nopalitos, a choice of soup (we all chose Sopa Tarasca, which was fine.); a guisado or main course, and some nice rice; a shared pitcher of agua fresca de piña; and a small slice of cake for dessert, which I skipped.
There are a few photos of that meal down toward the lower right.
http://tinyurl.com/24x9ggm

I think I recognize that place where you ate in Morelia; it's within a few doors of the INM delegacíon, on Avenida Camelinas. Unless those comida corrida places have a common central distribution center, including the menus.

Why pay more? You can if you want cute little caps on your food and goat cheese slices with candied jamaica flowers; that sort of thing. But at the other end of the spectrum, I don't think I've ever had a truly extraordinary, memorable meal at one of those cocina económica places.

Saludos,
Don Cuevas

The Secret Wprd is "gestripr".

Tancho said...

Well William, for some reason Sanborn's runs hot and cold, or in your quest to learn Spanish caliente y frio... I think it depends on the location and time of day, the last time in Morelia at breakfast time they had a whole myriad of fresh squeezed juices, then later we ordered it and it was obviously premade or from concentrate. (The juice lady must have gone home) I always ask, that way you can at least make the decision....

My philosophy Bob, is that these little hole in the wall places are nothing more than eating at someone's home..many times it is just that... You can get excellent authentic meals for relatively cheap prices as long as you are not overly picky on selection. I have only been disappointed once or twice doing it that way. I have been disappointed a whole bunch more times at places that were a heap more expensive...There, you seem to raise the "bar" to a higher standard, so most of the time I tend to seek out the authentico style eats...

Sr Cuevas, you win the prize for correctly identifying the joint. I have found that 30 to 50 pesos is the range I am willing to pay for a "cheap eats" style, sans the cutesy crap on the table. Then again, I don't go to these places for a "truly extraordinary, memorable meal ". I never raise the bar that high. You gotta spend a few more shekels to guarantee that kind of a experience. My last one was in Mazatlan at a local hangout that was one of those places that you walk away saying, Wow, that was one hell of a good meal!!!! No fancy foo-foo or ingredients imported from Swaziland...it was a work of creativity from a talented chef that appreciates fresh ingredients and makes a memorable savory experience from it!

Sadly there is nothing like that around Patzcuaro.....other than someone's private dining room...
I have had hot and cold experiences at Mama Lupe's... then again I never had real high expectations because of the relatively common menu....

Don Cuevas said...

Tancho wrote: "I have had hot and cold experiences at Mama Lupe's... then again I never had real high expectations because of the relatively common menu...."

Yes, agreed. When expectations are lower, disappointments are less frequent.
But Mamá Lupe's price is right, in the Pátzcuaro context.

One thing that disappointments me more than anything else is lack of consistency from one visit to the next. That has happened at the Camino Real (which exceeds your price ceiling by $5 pesos) where it had been good, solid traditional cooking and suddenly, not so good. It has happened even on occasion at my favorite mariscos place. (GASPS!).

But those fluctuations of consistency are nothing compared to paying muchos pesos for an upscale meal, only to feel we are the butt of a joke. That's why you will rarely see reviews of upscale places on my blog. It does happen, and only when I've chosen carefully.

Saludos,
Don Cuevas

PS: FYI, a very cheap breakfast can be had at Wal-Mart Cafetería, Plaza La Huerta, Morelia: Chilaquiles, 2 eggs, frijoles, pan y café for $30 pesos. The employees were ordering that in great numbers.

I didn't have that, but instead, a Torta Cubana caliente, with jamón, salchicha, queso Americano, queso blanco, letchuga y tomate, only $29. Salsas a su gusto, A gut bomb cheapie, for sure.

DC

Tancho said...

Funny you mention Camino Real ( the Patzcuaro one) we stopped there for a CC meal the other day. The service was good, I hadn't been there in awhile, and was surprised when our 2nd course was brought out. A plate of rice with a few minuscule carrots chopped up in it on the plate.
Then about 10 minutes later the main came, I fail to understand or comprehend the logic of eating the rice ( while warm ) by itself with no sauce or anything to sop up or add to the rice other than the table salsa, ( no thanks ) I can attest to the place being packed on weekends, and also fail to see the attraction other than price. Over the years the food quality and prep has progressed in a downward spiral. The food must be good, since the few waiters were eating there, or maybe because it's included in their wages....
You bring up consistency..... I don't believe that word exists in the Mexican Restaurant 101 book. You can spin the wheel and find more variations in the same menu item at the same place...I cannot understand that one....
On the disappointing note, I also see many places like your favorite, expanding and opening up too many joints without understanding the staffing and kitchen capacity... point in case the twin La Guera... we stopped there last Sunday, made the wrong decision to sit in the open dining room which was staffed by two waiters.
Busy time, two waiters and the kitchen is divided into to locations? WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING OF? I pitied the waiter and didn't hassle him, but even with two more waiters it wouldn't work right. Sometimes basic conceptual understanding of logistics escapes ones concept of reality.
I'll keep going back to the place on Federico Tena, at least the kitchens within walking distance.....

Don Cuevas said...

Re: Mariscos La Güera Campestre.
It does strike me as an overexpansion, but obviously, they know something we don't? I love them in spite of their little foibles, and wish them the greatest success.

We ate only once in the outdoor dining area, which I think was built to capture a share of the faster food drive-in trade. Our cocteles there were fine but it wasn't at a busy time.

Obviously, the big, semi outdoor "beer garden" behind it is designed for those bodas, quinceañeras and the like.

Inside opinion was that the food was better at the campestre location. Seems about the same to me, but sometimes they add special touches to our food, because they appreciate our support????

Some special touches I can do without, like the lime juice in the bottom of my glass, when all I ordered was a cerveza, not a michelada. They try hard to please.

Overall, the food is fine. There are a few exceptions, but I should do that critique on my blog, if at all.

The cavernous space of the campestre location is a little off-putting, but if I concentrate on looking at the cute waitresses, the space doesn't bother me much.

I prefer to sit facing the kitchen. I miss that at the matriz location on Tena, when they enclosed the kitchen a few years ago. I saw the other day that they were adding on to the kitchen, extending it out into the corridor back to the Pirate's Cove Party Room.

(By the way, you can join the R.O.M.E.O. breakfast group on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 9:00 a.m. for a special reserved breakfast at Mariscos La Güera.)

About rice at Camino Real: "la sopa seca" is the traditional second course after "la sopa aguada" in a Mexican sitdown comida. That's why El Camino Real does that. Try the macarrones con queso next time if you go. Or the crepas. Have you had the Ceviche de Hongos?

Buen provecho,
Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

Our beach bargains cost a bit more, but they are a world away from the costs here in Oregon. We had snacks at the movie tonight. $34 US. No wonder families can no longer afford to eat the movies.

Don Cuevas said...

Re: Mariscos La Güera Campestre.
It does strike me as an overexpansion, but obviously, they know something we don't? I love them in spite of their little foibles, and wish them the greatest success.

We ate only once in the outdoor dining area, which I think was built to capture a share of the faster food drive-in trade. Our cocteles there were fine but it wasn't at a busy time.

Obviously, the big, semi outdoor "beer garden" behind it is designed for those bodas, quinceañeras and the like.

Inside opinion was that the food was better at the campestre location. Seems about the same to me, but sometimes they add special touches to our food, because they appreciate our support????

Some special touches I can do without, like the lime juice in the bottom of my glass, when all I ordered was a cerveza, not a michelada. They try hard to please.

Overall, the food is fine. There are a few exceptions, but I should do that critique on my blog, if at all.

The cavernous space of the campestre location is a little off-putting, but if I concentrate on looking at the cute waitresses, the space doesn't bother me much.

I prefer to sit facing the kitchen. I miss that at the matriz location on Tena, when they enclosed the kitchen a few years ago. I saw the other day that they were adding on to the kitchen, extending it out into the corridor back to the Pirate's Cove Party Room. (Where they will do breakfast as well as lunch/comida for groups, with prior reservations.)

About rice at Camino Real: "la sopa seca" is the traditional second course after "la sopa aguada" in a Mexican sitdown comida. That's why El Camino Real does that. Try the macarrones con queso next time if you go. Or the crepas. Have you had the Ceviche de Hongos?

Buen provecho,
Don Cuevas

Tancho said...

Steve, I hope the $34 dollars included the price of the tickets too?
Just think of all the money that is being tossed away with runaway prices...I think this is just the beginning...though. No wonder I see people sneaking in snacks...

Sr Cuevas,
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy La Güera, they do a good job and ( at the Tena location) most of the time the wait staff is good. Unlike you , I don't receive the red carpet treatment every time..
I thought it was me receiving the bad service, but when the locals next to me get up and start trying to get the waiter's attention to bring a few limes to the table..I know it's not just me.... I attribute that to a poor manager, not constantly looking at the flow of the guests and service... they just seem to have invited the perfect storm of bad service by having to run across driveways to deliver food and drink to the "forgotten land"

I understand the concept of sopa seca, but I usually see it being served pretty close to the entree if not at the same time ( most of the time) but this time it was brought at the same time as the soup was, to sit there getting cold as we were eating the generous portion of soup.. Again a management or timing issue.

Felipe said...

Cheap eats. One of the best reasons to live in Mexico. Cheap other stuff too.

Steve Cotton said...

Nope. The $34 was for food -- for two. The tickets were $20.

Nita said...

Sounds like my kind of lunch. Thank you again for answering my email about the Tortilla Soup.I appreciate your input.
Nitawas