The Casual Restaurant Critic is not always snarky and occasionally has good things to say about a place. One recent restaurant visit elicited such a response. The place? Pico de Gallo, at the San Angelo condo complex, where you can also find the oh-so-serious Kuro Uma as well as that pizza place that has the best reviews online. Not the best, but really entertaining to read.
This restaurant is just a few tables big inside and outside, with a really friendly hostess/manager/server who is from CDMX and knows how to serve a table. Some of the tables are quite long, so community dining can be enjoyed if you like talking to others while devouring your taco and sucking back that heavenly horchata.
The reason the Critic ended up here was thanks to the always lovely Better Half, who suggested the place when the Critic had a hankering for a good pozole during the recent Mexican independence celebrations.
A really good pozole is hard to find and Pico makes one that is absolutely amazing. Highly recommended and substantial with a broth that kicks butt, the pozole is loaded with chunks of pork and chickpeas. The soup is so chunky that the Critic asked for an extra helping of broth, which is delectable entirely by itself. What really blew the Critic away, was taking sips of the most delicious horchata to dampen the spice of the pozole. But, don’t get your hopes up. It is the Critic’s understanding that this feast in a bowl is only available during the fiestas patrias.
Horchata (ore-CHAH-tah) is the rice drink with a cinnamon twist that practically everyone who has ever been to a Mexican restaurant anywhere in the world, is familiar with. Served alongside its red cousin Jamaica (hah-MY-cah) it is a staple drink and ubiquitous to a fault. Both drinks are often made from a commercial concentrate and Merida’s horchatas are usually of that variety but the Pico version is so thick and sweet and intense, that it must be savored to be believed.
If you are in the San Angelo area or perhaps City Center visiting La Europea to stock up on decent mezcal and wine, drop by and have a taco (they are delicious) and drink some of this very recommendable horchata.
Ahumadero means ‘smoker’ in English and that is the premise of this taco place, located at the glorieta in Francisco de Montejo where the ‘mestiza’ statue is.
Parking is a challenge, but if you drive around the block where the OXXO is, you will find plenty of street parking.
The menu is simple, a few cuts of pork, served in tacos or in tortas, and all smoked. The BBQ sauce is delicious and everything is home-made. There are regular and blue corn tortillas that accompany the melted cheese aka queso fundido, which is made with a tangy cheese and not the bland tasteless glop that so often passes for queso these days at other taco places. The frijoles appie is also delicious, hearty and on the sweet side like you would find at a BBQ kind of place.
In keeping with the September, mes de la patria theme, there will be pozole, also featuring smoked ingredients, available from today on and possibly to the end of the month if the demand is there. The Critic got to sample this pozole and it is fantastic, thick with chunks of meat and hominy corn and a tasty, satisfying broth.
No alcohol, just homemade regular and in-season fruit horchatas, jamaicas and the usual assortment of refrescos embotellados.
Prices are very reasonable and a filling meal can be had for a couple hundred pesos, for two to four people, depending on your appetite.
Fantastic seafood! The first photo: pozole rojo but not pork, lobster! The second photo, a selection of Baja style tacos, all featuring seafood of course, the most interesting a sope with chorizo made of shrimp and a taco of pescado al pastor, which tasted a lot like tikin xic and was served on a red corn tortilla.
The overly ambitious Critic ordered ‘1 of each’ from that section of the menu, but this would have been 9 tacos and the waiter, somewhat alarmed, advised paring it down a little. The Critic heeded his advice and still was unable to completely finish all of this delicious assortment!
This restaurant was recommended as an alternative to the well-known, and apparently tradition, seafood institution known as Los Arcos, which according to some locals in the know, was becoming a bit dubious since some of their clientele included people possibly involved in northern Mexicos burgeoning drug trade. It is within walking distance from the Novotel Valle in San Pedro and located under large palapa roofs behind the Sirloin Stockade, a place you wouldn’t want to spend money or time in, based on the Merida version anyway.
The room was packed, there was a smoking section (gasp!) and an outdoor deck lounge scene complete with thumping electronic music by a D.J.
Not shown in these photos is a ‘shot’ which is a large, salt and chile rimmed tequila shot glass, filled with warm cocktail sauce, tequila and one whole oyster. An interesting opening act!
Pacifica is highly recommended by the Casual Restaurant Critic!