Boca de Tomatlan, Mexico
January 22, 2005
We opened the menu, and even though we both speak Spanish, we had no clue what half the items were. We called over our grumpy waiter, who grudgingly gave us descriptions of said items. We still didn’t completely understand but thought it best to take our chances with the food instead of with the waiter.
The menu is long and offers mostly grilled meats but also soups, salads, seafood, snacks, and a large selection of Chinese food. Prices for main dishes run from Q20 for a quarter chicken to Q95 for a large order of shrimp, with the beef dishes somewhere in between. The Chinese food is cheaper, costing from Q25 to Q32 for an entrée.
Our orders were taken and our drinks served. During the eternity it took to get our dinners, we looked the place over. Everything seemed very clean. There were streamers, fake flowers, baskets, Chinese lanterns, and papier-mâché fruit hanging from the ceiling. On the terracotta-colored walls were bullheads. The tables were wooden and the chairs of wrought iron. Overall, it had a festive Southwest feel. Outside, twinkling lights surrounded the place.
Our dinners eventually came. We had both ordered the Pincho de Lomita - a beef tenderloin, onion, bell pepper, and tomato brochette covered in a mushroom sauce. It was served with guacamole and rice. It looked wonderful. Then Libby turned green. The meat was almost raw; some of the outside was still red, and inside it was purple. She had ordered it well done. Mine was on the rare side, but having ordered it medium-rare, I was okay with that. What I didn’t like was that the mushroom gravy was still chilled. It didn’t taste very good, either, so I just scraped it off and dug in. The meat was somewhat tough but not bad. Meanwhile, Libby sent hers back to be cooked some more. When she got it back, it was just as raw and even colder; she tried again. I was finishing my meal when she was served again. It was still just as raw. She ate the guacamole and rice, also not particularly good, and we left.
Could our meal have been instant karma for almost killing Santa? While I was pondering this thought and trying to get into the car, I fell flat on my face. The waiter was watching. He finally cracked a smile. Yup, instant karma.
From journal The Gringa Who Ate Panajachel