On Friday afternoon one doesn’t eat at home. It’s practically law amongst the young Tel Avivians who fill up the cafés and restaurants from the late morning to late afternoon hours. A heat wave following weeks of rain and cold brought us outside as well, or to be more specific, sent us off towards the sea, to Mexicana, one of the few Mexican restaurants in the country.
While waiting for my friend to arrive I ordered the Muchachos, as usual. It’s a starter made up of crisp familiar nachos – only using some purple corn in this version – tomatoes, black beans and chili, all of which is topped with melted mozzarella. It’s amazing what can be done with nachos and a little imagination. My friend arrived in a storm, grabbed a knife and fork and between bites reminisced with stories from her trip to South America. Good thing I was busy discovering all sorts of new flavours under the melted mozzarella because I’d heard these stories about a million times.
With the end of the final story arrived the main dishes. Fajitas con Carne, special Mexican rice, green, red and yellow peppers and onions that make the dish a celebration of colour. Strips of tender piquant chicken gave off an appetite-whetting aroma. As if the dish wasn’t already massive enough, it was also served with three tortillas and some traditional Mexican sauces: Guacamole with red onion and tomato, piquant salsa and a chive and red onion sour cream. The dish was as tasty as it was large. Like all Mexican dishes, this one was also served with frijoles (black beans). The Taco con Pollo that my friend ordered was as pretty as an advertisement. Strips of grilled meaty chicken with red onion, green, red and yellow peppers, lettuce and tomato in guacamole. All this goodness comes in a tortilla. The chicken is slightly spicy, as is traditional here, and the vegetables and sauces add to the succulence. As a side dish, fried potatoes in Mexican spices were served with a touch of jalapeño.
Then, when we thought we were so full that we couldn’t eat another bite, the churros arrived proving us wrong. We simply couldn’t resist these hot and sweet doughnut-like Mexican goodies, topped with rosemary chocolate or halva. All this sweetness rested on jam that was hidden between two scoops of light and airy ice cream. Of course, we couldn’t resist, and by the time we were done not a morsel of anything was left on the plate.
With so tourists around us, as is typical of restaurants near the sea, I felt like I was on vacation only two minutes from home. I’ve already called another friend, informing her where we’d be meeting for our date next Friday.
7 Bograshov, on the corner of Ben Yehuda, Tel Aviv