Do you ever wonder why people open restaurants? Is it because they think they can make a lot of money? Is it because they think they can turn something they do well into a profitable activity? Is it truly because they think they can provide an excellent, unique product? Do they love food, flavors and cooking?
There are basic restaurants, fancy restaurants, and all kinds in between. There are chain restaurants, usually with an institutional look, and there are individually owned places, some with the owners’ touch, and some just as basic as possible.
What makes us return to a restaurant? I think it’s quality and taste, ambience/comfort, cost, consistency, hygiene and attitude. Some places are big on some of these qualities but not others.
Here are my ideal qualities in a restaurant:
- the very freshest ingredients
- food with rich, well-seasoned sabores
- innovative dishes and new combinations, imagination
- consistency from one visit to another
- the feeling that someone really cares about the product quality
- very tender steak
- a variety of vegetables
- Danish or American butter
- booths and comfortable chairs
- subdued but adequate lighting
- low level music, preferably not jumpy
- other happy cusomers
- reasonable cost
- pleasant layout and ambience, a view, a garden, art
- helpful but not pandering waitpeople. I don’t want to know their names.
- peaceful enough to talk but with enough sound to be lively
There are some low-price basic food places that are amazingly good, like Tacos de la Curva. It has its own ambience, it’s upbeat, everyone is having a good time and the food is the very best. And then there are the upscale and arrogant places with amazingly bad food. (I’ll be nice here.) We are lucky enough to have Rosas & Xocolate, where every dish is a delicious work of art and they make their own bagels, and we have some places that are chains but the franchises here in Merida are superb, like OneBurger and Italianni’s in Gran Plaza (where you can often find Arrugula). We have very bad chain restaurants, among them KFC, where the chicken is scary. There are the would-be Asian restaurants that should all shut their doors. And then there is the old standard, Trotter’s, which is comfortable, classy, consistent and almost always has arrugula. And tender steaks.
This section contains my opinions on restaurants, the MexicChica and remixto.com cooking classes, and Monique Duval’s Slow Food Market. Feel free to recommend your favorite places. Or places that are so bad, it’s fun to go there just for the experience.
This spectacular dish is actually from a Denny’s restaurant near Mt. Fuji, Japan. It is a “western” dish and is a hamburger crowned by a hardboiled egg with a lovely red sauce all around. And artistic yellow stuff.
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