Saturday, May 25, 2013
dancing at lasagna
I do not like lasagna. Never have.
For two reasons, I suspect. I do not care for cheese cooked into my food. And I really dislike the thick chewy pasta that most people are so fond of using for lasagna. You know the type -- pasta that could be used to re-sole shoes, and it would outlast the uppers.
That is why I was a bit reluctant to try the lasagna at Café de Flores this week. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The food in the Melaque area is not very good. There are a few exceptions, but most of the restaurants fall into two categories. The northern tourist places often emphasize how inexpensive their meals are. And the quality of the food reflects the claim. Most of them close when the winter tourists head north.
The Mexican restaurants are often taco stands or taco stands with pretensions. Not bad. Just solid food.
Anyone looking for high quality and creativity in food will be frustrated. As I said, though, there are a few exceptions. And one of them is Café de Flores in La Manzanilla -- just north of Melaque on a road that is fun to drive.
Alex is serving up meals during the summer that are familiar, but thoughtfully prepared with fresh ingredients. I have traveled over twice recently.
The first time, I had a flat iron steak. Cut thicker than most steaks. And tender. Especially when medium rare. I usually do not eat steaks. But this was a good choice.
My second visit was lasagna night. I told Alex my qualms. She reassured me that I would not be disappointed. And I wasn't. The pasta was fork tender. And the cheese and spinach filling was creamy, rather than the rubber strands I have come to associate with lasagna cheese.
I usually do not like deserts. I am not very fond of sweets, and because I do not like chocolate or cream cheese, my choices are often limited.
Alex came through on both visits. On the first, with a lemon mousse laced with blackberries. And on the second with a tiramisu -- once again with berries. It was light enough to qualify as a trifle. Any restaurant that can find two desserts that I like is bound to get high marks.
Café de Flores will stay open the full summer. At least, until September. Open Monday through Wednesday, 6 to 9 PM.
I suspect I will be making a visit at least once a week. The food is great. And La Manzanilla is always a joy to visit. Even in the heat of the summer.