Last night the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I went to No Way Jose for our Valentine's Day dinner. The place was packed, but we only had a short wait for our upstairs table. As we walked into the place this lady gave me a kiss on the cheek and said "So nice to see you again." I was searching my atrophied brain trying to figure out where I knew her from. A friend of Bella's, perhaps. Nothing clicked. I just mumbled something like "Nice to see you again too, it has been awhile." Only later did I realize she was the greeter, Mrs. Jose, perhaps, and treated all of the customers like long lost friends.
We were escorted to our little table right next to the band. Maybe a bit too close, but no complaints. The place was packed, mostly with larger groups, so we were happy to get our table for two.
We had just ordered our wine when this guy in a bright pink flowered shirt came over and wanted to take our picture. After he took it he showed it to us (aren't digital cameras wonderful) and then said if we didn't like it we didn't have to pay. I kind of taken back for a moment and then he laughed and introduced himself. It was, of course, Jose himself. And then he was off, spreading his infectious good cheer to the rest of the packed house.
The Mysterious Chinese Woman, My Valentine
The place was decorated for Valentines day with flowers and hearts and candles and red balloons and, for some reason a stuffed Teddy Bear, or a monkey, or something.
Not The Monkey
The romantic setting must have set the Mysterious Chinese Woman's heart aflutter because she just couldn't keep her hands off me. Or maybe she was just afraid I would run off and stick her with the bill.
I Prefer To Think It Was A Romantic Gesture
They had a special Valentine's Day menu but we opted to just order off their everyday menu. Sometimes you don't have a choice on special occasions so when there is a large crowd the kitchen staff can concentrate on just a few dishes. Being able to select from the full menu is always an option I like to see.
The Mysterious Chinese Woman had the red snapper, Vera Cruz Style. She said it was delicious and, her biggest concern, the fish was not over-cooked. In New York I never order salmon in a restaurant and seldom order tuna because it is invariably cooked to the point where it is dry.
I ordered the flank steak, advertised as thick and juicy. And they didn't disappoint. This was one of the nicest flank steaks I have ever had, and prepared just the way I asked, medium to medium rare. Quite a large piece as well, really filled me up.
And then the multi-talented Jose surprised us by hopping up on stage and joining the band to seranade the full house.
All The Way Jose
We had a great time. The food was excellent and the service was very good, even though the place was packed and everyone was busy. The waiter apologized because he thought he was a bit slow bringing us our wine but I didn't think he was slow at all. I am certainly planning on coming back again. Although we had a very nice Valentine's Day dinner, I suspect I will enjoy myself even more when it is less crowded.
Okay, now for a complaint. But nothing to do with No Way Jose. I love deviled eggs, or huevos diablo as my friend Bella calls them. We had people over for dinner the other night (more on that latter) and I decided to make a batch. I also make them for our deck parties here where I stay, and have been making them here for years. And I always have the same problem. I love the eggs here, beautiful golden yolks and much more flavorful then the factory produced ones you get in the United States.
But, no matter where I buy them here, no matter how I roll them, lovingly repostion them for days, do everything but hatch them, I always have the same problem. I can never get the yolks centered. In fact there are usually three or four eggs in every dozen where the yolk actually protrudes through the white and I can only use half of the egg.
A Herniated Egg
Does anyone have a solution for this, or is it just the price one must pay for trying to make huevos diablo down here?