I’ll Take a Red with my Ropa Vieja

After my last post, I don’t want people to think all I do when I write about places I have been is complain. I’d really rather write about a great experience and a wonderful meal. And so, let me give you a little secret about reading my articles. If I include pictures of food, I liked it. If you don’t see any photos, it may just be that it wasn’t a good time to take pictures, but more often than not it is because the place I was visiting just wasn’t worth the bandwidth…

That certainly wasn’t the case with the Cuban dinner I had last night at La Plazuela del Bosque Restaurant in Morelia’s Centro district near where Acueducto and Madero come together and the Plaza del Bosques itself.

2012-02-04The name may sound pretentious, but the food and atmosphere is certainly not. It is comfortable, the service is excellent and the menu is well-priced. Main courses are about half what I paid for much less in Centro at the last place I wrote about (ahem). Because this is not near the core part of Centro, it is easy to find nearby parking on the street and easy to access if you are taking buses and taxis like I do. The wine list was not excessively over-priced, like many places seem to want to do, but we didn’t order a bottle because the per glass price was not excessive either.  Two people can easily have a nice dinner with wine, appetizers and dessert for around $20 dollars, total.

Yes, that actually is the shell of a Chevy on the wall in one of the two dining rooms.

As an appetizer, we had tamales and bacalao. The Cuban-style chicken tamale was made with fresh corn masa and was as light and moist as any I have ever had. I was a bit concerned about the bacalao, but it was a wonderful choice. It was mixed with herbs and fried in small cubes and served with salsas. The outside of the cubes is crisp, but the insides are rich and creamy with a nice herbal edge. I could have just gone for plates of appetizers!

Bacalao and a small salad as an appetizer - with salsas...

The entrees we selected were Ropa Viejo and Mora & Christianas – two classic Cuban dishes. Both were well prepared and served, though I must admit a personal preference for the ropa viejo. We finished the dinner with a luscious slice of chocolate cake and espresso. Fortunately, it was a narrow slice of cake. I didn’t really need more food.  The restaurant has been around for a little more than a year now, so if you are near Morelia and haven’t tried it – I suggest you do. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’d really like to try one of their breakfasts…

Ropa Viejo and Mora & Cristainas with rice and black beans.

Since this is a holiday weekend in México for Constitution Day, I decided to try one more place in the same area. A Japanese style restaurant has been highly rated for sometime on TripAdvisor – so I thought I would try it. Unfortunately, it was not a good choice. Kamakura no Daidokoro Restaurante is nicely decorated and the service is good – but the menu has a lot of variations on fried tofu and (yes – fried) cream cheese. If you are a person who enjoys good presentation but could care less about price or flavor – this is the place for you. A simple lunch was more expensive than an entire dinner at our Cuban favorite. Well, you have to try things from time to time to know.  I’ve never paid a lot of attention to TripAdvisor. I’ll pay even less now.

The rest of this afternoon, I walked around the area again, taking photos and enjoying the opportunity to discover new things. I’ve recently taken the plunge with Adobe Lightroom and this was my first real chance to use the RAW format my camera offers. I had a lot of fun developing these photos so enjoy!

IMGP0556IMGP0558IMGP0559IMGP0561Backlit red - hard imagine a richer color

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I love the weathered colors on this building. Yes, it could use some care and I hope it gets it. But I was glad I could catch the details that time has added to the design.

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I finished my walk at El Rincon de los Sentidos, and I was very glad I did. It is a laid-back lounge in the best sense. There is an atrium in the center with a small stage for live music. Rooms cluster around the atrium for conversation. They were playing some easy Latin jazz when I went in and it was nice just to sit back with a cappuccino and take it easy there for a few minutes. They have free WiFi and it would be a nice place to just hang out and write – so someday I may…

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Yes!

Yes!

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5 Responses

  1. Don Cuevas says:

    Thanks for the new info on the Cuban restaurant. I don’t think I’ve ever had Cuban food.

    The bit on the Japanese restaurant doesn’t surprise me. It’s a Sisyphean task to get Mexicans over the cream cheese sushi habit.

    And, in reference to Espadas de Carne La Nueva Brecha, I’d seen signs for a place with that name out on the northwest periférico. Nice to know there’s one more céntrico.

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

  2. Don Cuevas says:

    Mike, a friend asked me about a restaurant he’d heard of called something like “Alma de Campra”, in Morelia. I couldn’t help him as I’d never heard of it before.

    Can you send me a private email. You should have my email address.

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

  3. Ernesto says:

    Mike,

    Yesterday I did try Ropa Vieja in this Cuban restaurant, the food was great; I was interested to visit this place since the first time I read this post, but until yesterday I didn’t have the chance.

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