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Eating Out Is Fun!

by John Williams
March 2002
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So where did Ben and John eat this time? Always trying a new spot or two, as well as returning to some old favorites, of course.
We led off with Fonda Doña Tomasa. This spot is located upstairs on the Zócalo, 701 Bugambilia, in La Crucecita, and advertises Oaxacan cuisine. The décor is considerably more casual than the Oaxacan cuisine mainstay, Sabor de Oaxaca. But there is a nice view of the Zócalo. We tried an assortment of traditional Oaxacan dishes; I found the Empanada to be especially satisfying. The Caldo de Pollo was also quite good. They make a great mole. I don't think that Sabor de Oaxaca runs any risks of being supplanted as THE Oaxacan place, but with the more modest pricing, you may be able to eat here with more frequency.
Downstairs and across the street, you'll find Los Portales, which is part of the Iguana Bar complex. Its location may be the best in La Crucecita, at the Southeast corner of Bugambilia and Guamuchil. Last summer, I wrote some rather harsh things about a rib steak I had that was a little tough. My good friend Luis took a little well-deserved umbrage at my comments and challenged me to try it again. I did, and it more than made up for any shortcomings of the previous efforts. Delicious. Tender. And Ben said that the grilled chicken breast he had was the best of the trip. Plus, the owner, Luis, is one of the most outstanding personalities in Huatulco. I was pleasantly surprised that he's been able to hold onto his waiter Roberto after all these years. Roberto does as good a job of making you feel at home as any wait-person in town. Hit Luis up for his free sample of locally distilled mescal. And if you're celebrating any sort of special occasion during the trip, Luis and his wife have a nice flower shop upstairs!
Up the Carrizal between Guamuchil and Blvd. Chahue, is Pollo Imperial. Still superb marinated rotisserie chicken served with excellent boracho beans and macaroni salad. Priced right.
We also HAD to go to Marisqueria El Pata for the seafood stuffed pineapple. It was more than enough for two; was served with salad, guacamole, rice, and caldo de mariscos (seafood soup); and was just delicious! El Pata is located on Chacah between Bugambilia and Carrizal, just a little over a block from the Zocalo in La Crucecita.
In the residential area in Sector R, across from the hospitals on the way to the beaches is nestled Restaurante Santa Clara. Their specialty seems to be large platters of mostly grilled meats served for groups of two or more. These specialties are described on wooden signs hanging from the ceiling. I am certain that these must be great; however, my son has eschewed red meat. The specialties will await my next trip. Instead, he had an adequate fish filet and I had an average Tampequeño. The enchilada was covered with a VERY good mole. This is another of those spots you'd probably be well-advised to stick to the specialties.
We visited one very upscale restaurant in Santa Cruz, Meson Los Flores [one of tomzap's favorites]. It's located just off the Zócalo in Santa Cruz near the corner of Monte Albán and Mitla. Superb décor. Great service. I had a delectable octopus dish. Ben had the frijoles-stuffed chicken breast, which was quite good. He had some regret over not having tried the frijoles-stuffed sea bass, but that just leaves something to try on the next trip! I had ordered the ceviche de caracol, but the waiter came back to warn that the conch (locally referred to as "snail") wasn't fresh and advised against it. I really appreciate wait staff that takes that kind of care.
Back in La Crucecita, headed down Bugambilia headed south from the Zócalo you'll find a late-night hotdog vender in front of the park. Mexican style hotdogs come with chopped tomatoes and sliced chilies. His is a welcome dish after a hard night at the clubs.
And of course, Lalo's pizzas at Bar La Crema are still in a class by themselves as far as pizza in Mexico is concerned. The especial la crema is well worth your time.
I also introduced my son to Panaderia Alejandro on Flamboyan just east of the Zócalo in La Crucecita. This is one of the few places that demanded a second visit. If you have a weakness for sweets and/or a desire to restrict carbs, don't even look in their window. It can destroy the strongest of resolves and torpedo all thoughts of sticking to your diet!
Our universal beverage was the limonada by the pitcher. More often than not, this limeaid is prepared with Club Soda and I've never seen it prepared with anything but the sweet local limes. Try it at least once!
All I can say is come to Huatulco with an open mind, prepared for an exquisite and unique culinary experience. And stay far away from anything that even hints at a buffet line!

John Williams

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