Boca de Tomatlan, Mexico
January 22, 2005
We went in and were surprised. It was charming. How had we not noticed? Upon entering, what used to be a driveway is now a dining area. It is surrounded by lush, flowering vegetation. The tables, covered in blue-and-white checkered tablecloths and each with an umbrella, have candles on them. The accent lighting is perfect, dim enough to be soothing but bright enough to see the food. Inside the house is more seating; the setting is equally soothing. Off to one side, in what used to be the garage or more likely the servants quarters, is the kitchen, where two women were cooking up a storm. I had a peek; it was spotless.
We chose a table outside. Soon the owners came over to greet us. They explained the menu and described that night’s specials. Our drinks were served while we pondered the menu, which was short and sweet. There were a handful of appetizers offered, ranging from Q7 to Q18. For the first course, there was soup of the day for Q10, mixed salad for Q15, and spaghetti with pesto or tomato sauce for Q20. The main dishes were all charcoal-grilled. There was chicken (Q25), breast or quartered; Argentinean chorizo (Q48); beef tenderloin (1 pound, Q90, half-pound, Q48); and ribs (Q30). There was also fish, but I’m not sure if it was served grilled.
I started with the soup, chicken vegetable. It was incredible! It was the best chicken soup I have ever had. It was chock-full of many kinds of vegetables but still tasted very chickeny. Libby had none. For my main course, I had the beef tenderloin, also incredible. The meat was tender, juicy and very flavorful. It was served with delicious buttered potatoes, a small but beautiful fresh salad, and potent garlic bread. I was in hog heaven. Libby had the barbeque ribs; they were tender and delightfully tangy. They came with a pile of french fries, the same crunchy salad, and garlic bread. In a town of mediocre food, the Bear’s Cave was paradise. Actually, in any town it would be paradise.
From the corner of Calle Santander and Calle Real (the heavily trafficked street and the tourist street), head towards the lake on Santander. Turn right at the second street (Monterrey, which might also be signed 15 de Feb, is probably not signed at all). Go about a half a block; it will be on the left.
From journal The Gringa Who Ate Panajachel