One custom we tend to pack up and take with us wherever we go…or live…is our weekly Friday night out. Usually a couple of cold beers in an interesting place followed by a dinner I would be unlikely to cook at home. When in LoDo, and the weather is good, we often occupy part of the deck at the Wynkoop. From there it’s an easy stroll to Mangiamo Pronto for some fine pasta. Or, to D’Corazon for Downtown Denver’s best Mexican food and arguably the best value in a Margarita. I have never understood why anyone would go anywhere else Downtown for Mexican food.
Living in Mexico presents a different kind of Friday night, especially in tiny La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. By definition, every restaurant here is, in fact, a Mexican restaurant. And, there are plenty of them open, even in this quiet season. You may even find yourself here sometime and you will be hungry.
So, here’s how our first five Fridays in La Cruz have gone. Five restaurants, here in Mexico and, not surprisingly in La Cruz, specializing in seafood.
When we first arrived, Restaurant Week was under way in the Bay of Banderas. It has that familiar Restaurant Week format of a limited menu with app, main and dessert at a fixed price per person. About 50 restaurants n the area participated.
Major difference though is the price. Two levels. Either 229 pesos per person, or, at some places, 349 pesos per person. That’s either about $12US or about $19US for each diner. That’s a good start!
And, to our delight, one of the participating places was in La Cruz. Three blocks away. Next to our fresh fish market. Oso’s Oyster Bar was cool and breezy that first Friday in La Cruz. The beer was cold. The service terrific. Tasty views. And a meal of very well-prepared mahi-mahi which began with an app choice between Fresh Tuna Tartare, Shrimp Mango Aquachile, or Charbroiled Oysters. It ended with a house made chocolate lava cake. 229 pesos each.
The next Friday, we found ourselves in the “middle of town” at the friendly Restaurant La Glorieta de Enrique. Seafood again, of course. Grilled shrimp and a creamy shrimp stuffed avocado salad. That’s where we learned we could get take-away Gelato, which we have done every Sunday since for Sunday dinners. And, it’s the home of that strange local talking bird, Ditto. He doesn’t say much.
Friday number three found us crossing the highway to meet the affable Raul. He greeted us with “We have a bar and we have a kitchen. This is your home.” It was Xocalatl by Roberto’s, a popular destination for Bay Area vacationers. That night, though, we shared the restaurant and Raul with just one other table. No skimping on the food though. It was excellent.
Frascati Restaurante is back closer to home. In the low season, they move up to the airy top level above the La Cruz Yacht Club. Out near the end of the Malecon outlining the Marina. Beautiful views of boats and lights and mountains and towns lining the bay. Mario took good care of us. Ostensibly Italian, the menu had some interesting pasta specialties and fish preparations. You could get a pizza there, too, and we are likely to return to do that. I highly recommend the house special margarita made with some cucumber juice and served in a glass rimmed with Tajin, my new favorite seasoning made up of salt, chile and lime. Goes with absolutely everything!
And, the fifth Friday found us back at the town center, sitting and well served (not over-served) under a big ceiling fan, attended to by Joaquin. Langosta Diez La Cruz fills a large attractive space with a prominent view of the La Cruz cross. There was also a good look at some Marine Federales going by in a truck and two bulls riding past the open windows, circling the cross and cruising by again.
All of these places have been good, and very reasonable. Every waiter has been extremely friendly and professional. And, every one appreciates that we speak some of their language. No doubt, each speaks better English than I speak Spanish, but you can sense their attention to helping you with words. They smile and concur when we say, “Practicamos Espanol.” We try.
Walking home last Friday took us past two bars with bands…and “crowds” as it were. The first place, The Octopus’s Garden featured a band doing a respectable cover of the Doobie Brothers’ ” Listen to the Music”. Then, as darkness was setting in, closer to home, the bar across the fields and across the highway rang with the sounds of George Harrison’s “Something”.
Fridays have been something in La Cruz. We plan to get back to every place we have already tried. Plus a couple more. Practicamos mucho!