Friday, September 09, 2016

variety is not the spice of life -- it is life

"The secret of happiness is variety, but the secret of variety, like the secret of all spices, is knowing when to use it."

Or so says Daniel Gilbert. He may be a Harvard professor (enough to make any of us suspect him), but that variety quote strikes me as just a bit too Greek with its "moderation in all things" motif.

I am not moderate in anything. Come to think of it, I am not Greek, either.

Routine is my nemesis. I need variety in all things. Once I have sung a song in church three times, I am ready to remove it from the play list.

The same goes with food. There are foods I eat as staples. Let's call them The Classics. But, most often, I want variety. And, as long as it is something new, I will give the food itself a lot of latitude.

Eating out during the summer in our area of Mexico is a challenge. There are plenty of places to eat. But the variety is limited.

Taco stands. Little family operations out of homes. Even a few international food restaurants. After awhile, though, when you have tried everything on the menu several times, the stomach calls out for something new.

Fortunately, there is a new restaurant in town -- and variety is its mission.

Simona's is located at the same beach-front location Marlena's was located in Barra de Navidad. My experience is that restaurants with views tend to let the quality of their food suffer. That is not true with Papa Gallo's. Nor was it with Marlena's. Nor is it with Simona's.

The menu is creative -- and extensive. The starters include some familiar items: tostadas, cerviche, and guacamole. But they are each offered with a chef's flair. Then there are a series of burritos (mainly with seafood or fish) that could easily constitute a full meal.

And if you want variety in your main course, Simona offers it: shrimp, fish, seafood, pork cooked in a Milanese style with a choice of cream sauces, goulash, rouladen, veal schnitzel, rib eye steak or top sirloin (with a choice of sauces), lamb osso buco, arrachera, filet mignon, duck salad, and fettuccine with shrimp or salmon and either a mushroom cream sauce or a spinach cream sauce.

That is enough choice to keep me coming back for weeks.

I ate there on Wednesday and Thursday evening this week. On Wednesday, I ate the fettuccine with shrimp and spinach cream sauce. Everything was well-balanced. And, best of all, I don't think I have ever eaten that exact combination. Variety accomplished.

My dining companions were equally impressed with a salmon burrito and the fettuccine with salmon and mushroom cream sauce.

On Thursday, I had the goulash. Last winter, I had Marlena's goulash in the same location. But it had been long enough since I had had goulash that it was also something special. The very original potato salad and the shredded vegetable salad were perfect accompaniments.

Best of all, Simona's is a fine dining establishment -- in the same category as Papa Gallo's, Magnolia's, and Vainilla Pimiento. It will go in my summer restaurant rotation along with Rooster's, Papa Gallo's, Froy's, and Magnolia's.

Simona's is a welcome addition. Especially, for my variety jones.

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