Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I tried El Palmar in San Rafael for dinner yesterday evening. I had passed it when in the area before, but there is something about bars on the windows that makes one feel unsafe. And I don't really think the area is unsafe, it's just in an industrial area that is rather deserted after normal business hours, so I'm supposing that this makes places with big glass windows a little more vulnerable. It was worth the stop.
EVERYONE in the restaurant was speaking Spanish. Fluently. I took that as a sign of authenticity. The woman who took my order and served me was so sweet, and translated some of the menu, naturally it was in Spanish for the most part. And we had a cute interaction were I would ask her what "x" meant, and after responding she would point to something like a canister of straws and ask me what the English word was. She let me sample the red agua fresca which she said was made from a red flower called Jamaica. It was rather sweet, and it seemed similar to hibiscus. There were chips given me immediately, and there was a clean, well-stocked salsa bar to choose the accompaniment.
I ordered shrimp tacos. The plate was beautiful. There was style in the twist of the orange, the countertwist of the tomato and the artful arrangement of fresh avocado slices. And oh, the beans had flavor! The rice had flavor! The refried beans were creamy, and the rice had flecks of vegetables in it. The shrimp reminded me of the little brine shrimp that are served on tomato halves in Belgium or Holland. Small but with big flavor, and lots of them. I loved my tacos, and although I'm no judge of authenticity of Mexican food since I've never eaten in Mexico, the whole experience felt authentic somehow. It is a little hole in the wall, but well worth finding and enjoying.
Restaurant Inspection Results