Sunday, March 20, 2005

Balmy Palmy Sunday

A very nice day but I wasn´t sure what I would find open because it is Palm Sunday. There were a few places closed, but not too many. I think Monday might be some kind of a holiday as well, but I am not too sure.

322) Las Brazzas Grill

From the south-side of town you take the little swinging bridge to the far end of the Isle Cuale and you end up at this small, very unpretentious place. It is the only place on the island that isn´t super fancy and very expensive. Just a small cement building. The bar is a small L shaped affair with a rough brown and gravel top and a narrow dark blue overhang. There are 3 glass blocks with a kind of swirling and bubble design embedded in the top of the bar. The wall behind the bar is made of large bricks. The side walls are kind of a mustard yellow and deep orange. Just room for 3 wooden chairs with a curved sun design on the backs and woven seats. The floor is white ceramic tile. A huge black iron bouy or something with a small Christmas tree on top dominates one side of the room. There are just two blue wooden tables, each with three painted wooden chairs in the inside area. The roof is orange tile and a single overhead fan and three beehive lights hang from the ceiling.

Outside along one wall is a narrow area that is covered by a blue vinyl canopy. There are about four wooden tables out there with four chairs each. Kind of a nice spot to stop on the way home from shopping or whatever on the north-side of town.

I had a Pacifico.

323) La Tia

A fairly large curved bar at the back of a decent sized restaurant located on Cardenza across from the small park that appears to be headed for destruction to make more room for parking. The bar has a thick cement top covered with large yellow ceramic tiles except for the front edge which has a single row of dark-green tiles. The front of the bar as well as the fairly massive structure behind it is somewhat difficult to describe. Rough dark concrete embedded with orange bricks, stones, edges of bricks, and narrow straight and curved ceramic pieces the same orange color as the bricks. These were arranged to give it the flavor of some kind of Aztec design. The ledge at the bottom of the bar was dark concrete embedded with dark stones and small pieces of brick. The big bad wolf is certainly not going to be able to blow this bar down.

The structure behind the bar had three tiers of shelves holding a decent selection liquor. Above the bar was a large copper pipe affair that held a large number of margarita and wine glasses. It had decorative copper agave plants at each end and in the middle the copper was formed to say ´Azul Tequila.´ ´Azul´is spanish for blue and all of the best tequila is made from 100% blue agave.

The area behind the bar had a three-story high atrium topped by a skylight. Hanging from lower beams were an elaborate model of a multi-masted sailing vessel and a large mobile made out of driftwood and seashells.

I had a Pacifico and headed back home to pick up my wife and head out to the north-side of town.

324) de Santos

On Moreles street, one block behind the malecon after the malecon kind of angles off a block is this fairly modernistic looking place. It has a long white marble topped bar with a smooth plaster front and a heavy pipe bar rail. The barstools were of a modern design and made out chromed tubing with brushed aluminum seats. There were a lot of lights hanging over the bar with cylinderic parchment shades. The overhead lights in the rest of the place had large cone-shaped shades made of the same material. The floor is tan marble-like tile. Behind the bar are rather plain looking wooden shelves holding the liquor supply and a large espresso machine.

To the right of the bar and separated by large sliding glass doors is an outside eating area with four white linen tableclothed tables and bright metal chairs similar in syle to the barstools. Behind the eating area was the kitchen that had a large open window so you could watch your food being prepared.

The inside area had about sixteen wooden tables with white linen tablecloths and wooden chairs. The eight tables against the back wall sat up against a long white settee above which hung a large mirror. Two stone and brick arches divided the interior into three sections. They are obviously trying to be a fancy, upscale place but not succeeding very well. Only one other couple in the place when we got there. There prices a quite high too, some of their specialty martinis going for $14.00 (that is U.S. dollars, not pesos).

My wife ordered a chocolate martini and it was $9.00 and one of the worst I have ever seen. Gin in a glass with Hershey´s chocolate syrup squirted into it that just kind of settled to the bottom in a lump. When I finally found someone who spoke English well enough to explain this wasn´t the way they were normally made they gave my wife a frozen margarita instead. To make amends they really loaded it up with tequila so she was pretty much tipsy the rest of the night, even though she didn´t have anything more to drink.

I had a gin and tonic and it was decent enough.

325) Blue Shrimp

Right next door is Blue Shrimp and it was as packed as the de Santo´s was empty. Just a small bar with only one stool but the hostess arranged to have another one brought out so my wife could have a seat too. The bar-top is smoothed cement with a finish to make it look like tan marble. The front of the bar is white cement with brown stripes. The whole bar is rectangular in shape but just the one short side is for ¨special¨ customers. Brightly colored margarita glasses hang above the bar. The shelving above the hanging glasses have sliding glass doors and hold the liquor.

The restaurant is decorated to give the feel of being underwater. Coral hangs from the ceiling and walls with brightly colored wooden fishes flitting about. A diver´s helmet sits on a cupboard in the back. A large, bright-red lobster-claw flower and a large wooden lobster sit in the window. The new-age music that was playing when we came in added to the dreamy, underwater atmosphere but that changed when a wandering mariachi band stopped in to seranade the customers.

I had a gin and tonic.

326) Los Xitomates

Headed out and we walked past de Santos which looked like it managed to add one more couple to their ¨crowd.¨ Nice looking place, but they need to do something. We walked about three blocks down Morales to Los Xitomates and it too was packed.

The bar is a nice L shaped, dark-wood with a lacquer finish. The front is white cement with decorative tiles embedded. Only three wooden bar-chairs with rattan seats at the short end of the bar. Hanging over the bar are lights with cylindrical shades that look to be made of copper and have cutout Aztec style patterns. On the walls are mounted lights with half-cylinder shades of the same style.

From the ceiling above the eating area behind the bar hang groupings of three lights with cone-shaped shades of the same metal as the other lights, but with no cut-outs. The ceiling is quite high with dark wooden beams. The front eating area has a lower ceiling but their is a stairway leading up to a small seating area above it. The wooden staircase is covered with muslin, presumably to keep the people sitting below it from looking up the skirts of the women as they ascend and descend.

I had a gin and tonic served with a glass stir-stick with a little red tomato perched on top.

Not a bad day, 5 bars to bring my total to 326 leaving me only 674 to go.


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