Tag Archives: fat

The Casual Restaurant Critic Slumming at KFC

With all the culinary options out there, why the hell would anyone go to KFC you might ask. Well, a lot of people do, at least at the one located on the Avenida Itzaes, next door to the Merida’s hospital for the clase acomodada, the Clinica Merida. There was a lineup on this particular day when the Critic made the fatal mistake/decision to stop for lunch.

Interestingly with all the fuss about obesity in Mexico and junk food and the like, the closest restaurants to the hospital, where they must be dealing with a lot of obesity related illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems etc., are Burger King and KFC. And both are packed with folks in regular clothes as well as several mestizas with hipiles, which seems to indicate that this is the informal ‘waiting room’ for family members of patients at the nearby hospital where the cafeteria is probably an overpriced disgusting and depressing option. Just guessing of course.

Anyway, the Critic was driving along and suddenly had a hankering for some crispy KFC.

I don’t know if this is your case as well, my dear 18 readers, but the Critic has fond memories of Kentucky Fried Chicken – remember when the crust was tasty with just the right amount of spice and salt and crispiness, and the chicken inside cooked just right, not too dry and not pink either?

Well, it seems you can’t go back. The food ain’t what it used to be. And service sucked big time.

The cashier was a robot dressed in khakis and a polo shirt embroidered with the KFC logo.

Some sample snippets of conversation from the people ahead of the Critic in the lineup:

“Can I get 3 pieces?”

“Can’t do that. Chicken comes in 2, 4 and 6 pieces.”

“I just ordered two packages of 6 pieces each. Can I change that to the giant bucket with a dozen pieces etc.?”

“Nope. Already rang it into my cash register.”

“OK, I’ll have an orange soda.”

“We’re out of orange soda.”


Someone picks up their tray and the large order of fries is strewn across said tray. No one seems to mind. One of the mestiza ladies asks where her chicken whatever is. The robot answers “you didn’t specify which chicken whatever you wanted” To his credit the robot does change the order for mestiza lady.

Anyway. Critic gets his order – the tray has a mountain of at least 20 small packets of chile, jam and ketchup – and goes to the table. Sits and bites into a piece of chicken which pops open and sprays table and Critic with hot oil. Well, it’s comforting to know that at least the chicken has been cooked recently, as he wipes oil off the various surfaces and items of clothing now permanently ruined.

But the chicken inside is rubbery, soft, like those horrible marinated arrachera steaks that have the consistency of ham, not actual meat. It’s flavorless too. And that crispy, perfectly seasoned crust? Not happening. highly unsatisfying, to say the least.



Asadero Grill, Gran Plaza

In the food court of the Gran Plaza, where the Critic found himself yesterday feeling hungry, there used to be a Subway sandwich shop, where the sandwiches were bland and the employees wore plastic gloves to protect themselves from germs as they handled both money, utensils and food with those same glove covered hands. But, RIP, Subway, because they just weren’t making enough money or the rent was too high or they ran out of plastic gloves or something; the thing is they closed and well, we shouldn’t beat a dead horse.

Why is the Critic even mentioning the sandwich shop? Because in it’s place, a new and exciting food option was opened to the public, something so novel that it deserves a mention here. Ladies and gentlemen, Asadero Grill is serving up tacos. Yes indeed, tacos; something the Gran Plaza hasn’t seen before if you leave out La Parrilla and Los Trompos who are there in the old section of the food court plus Sport Tortas and Tacos and Arrachera Grill (plus yet another taco place that opened just recently) across the way in the new section. In their efforts to provide more culinary diversity, the Gran Plaza folks have decided that since people are lining up for tacos when the mall is full, why not allow another taco restaurant to open?

The Critic is not going to get into the whole mall exclusivity thing which means about as much in Mexico as the constitution of many modern countries ie nothing, but concentrate on the usual, nit picking critiques he has become so well known (and loved) for.

Someone mentioned that the nachos were good, and since the Critic has tried the nachos at Los Trompos, this seemed like a good place to start. A combo, featuring those nachos along with a refillable refresco and a mini styro bowl of frijoles charros (a bean soup for the unenlightened) will run you $64 pesos or about 5 dollars USD. You get 300 grams of meat; either bistek (beef) pastor (marinated fatty pork) chicken and something else. You can combine two meats if you like. The Critic ordered pastor and bistek, got a plastic cup and a number and waited a few minutes for the order to come up.

Once the Critic had his tray, with the salsas and the onions and the lime wedges and the soup and the nachos and the plastic cup and the cutlery and the napkins, he sat down to enjoy this giant Mexican lunch.

The thing that strikes you about Asadero is that it seems like an exact copy of Los Trompos, a well known and very successful operation that has restaurants in strategic locations around town and in the malls.  Asadero has everything on their menu that Trompos has, including pizzas and stuffed baked potatoes. All the tacos and combos are there as well. The thing is, their prices are lower and this is bringing in the crowds, apparently.

Back to the nachos. These are the deep fried thick corn chips favored here, bathed in a rather earthy tasting black bean sauce, with a tasteless melted cheese, and covered in meat; chunks of bistek on one side, strips of pastor on the other. Somewhere in between is guacamole, along with some tomato slices and pickled jalapeno pepper slices. In other words, an exact copy of Los Trompos nachos, down to the placement of the tomato slices in the corners of the rectangular plastic plate!

Comparing the two, the Critic would say the Trompos version is a little tastier; the pastor meat and the refried brown beans are more flavorful. But the cheese is tasteless in either version and the salsas, which should be good, thick and zesty in a taqueria, are always disappointingly watery and bland.

Both make excessive use of disposable plastic and Styrofoam – their plastic cutlery is identical and useless for cutting or picking up a chunk of meat – and it is truly phenomenal the amount of garbage generated by not only the taco places, but all the restaurants in the food courts. Perhaps that will be something for another article in the future.

On a scale of Wow to Ew, this one rates Whatever.

Oktoberfest with the Rommels

As the kids would say, the Rommels “Oktoberfest” was, es tut mir leid, nada que ver.

The parking lot ambiance. The Corona plastic cups, Coca Cola tables and chairs (gratis, woo-hoo), just alright food, a low fi sound system aka grabadorcita playing tinny German party music and a 9:30 PM closing time (strictly and unceremoniously enforced) were a sharp contrast to the over the top effort made over at the BierHaus by lederhosen-clad Jürgen.

The Critic endured this little soiree thanks to the insistence of his paisano dentist buddy who thought it was fantastic because it was so cheap. Cheap, yes, definitely. Fantastic? Hardly.

Luigis for Breakfast

A friend whom the Critic shall call Lincoln told him about this place where he goes for breakfast regularly; a breakfast that is tasty, hot and most importantly (the Critic suspects this to be the case) cheap.

It’s called Luigi’s but before you get all excited, the place is about as Italian as a Ticul-made pump. There is a fellow there by the name of Luigi, but he is Yucatecan and his place somehow lacks the glamor of, say, a Milan eatery. In fact, this place is a hole in the wall practically on the corner of 56 and 43 streets, identifiable by the official Coca Cola colors and hand-written menus on construction paper taped unceremoniously to the walls.

The tables and chairs are also Coca Cola, but the ambience, such as it is, is very neighborly and friendly with everyone commenting ‘buenos dias’ and ‘provecho’ as they pass your table. There are some food pictures below, the first is of ‘huevos a la Mexicana’ and the second of the giant bread basket. The accompanying refried beans are terrific and there is no coffee, just Coca Cola.

Total for two people having full egg breakfast? 58 pesos, or about 5 dollars. Can’t beat that.