Rincon Gourmet



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Our prime directive with this column is to search and find restaurants in La Paz that are family operated and contribute to the local gastronomy. For such a small place La Paz is an amazing foodie destination. I moved from a Megapolis to La Paz and I am not suffering one bit here!

For the restaurants I review, I like to see the owner in the kitchen. Something magical always happens. This is the hardest business to be in; only a determined passionate fool would ever venture in this world of slim margins and long hours. But for the ones who jump in and try hard and actually make it work, they deserve this paper’s attention and support. We like to see them thrive and want to help in ay way we can. We are a small community and reputation counts.

The owners of Rincon Gourmet are Octavio and Gabriela Macedo. Gabriela from Ciudad Constitucion and Octavio from Toluca. She studied Culinary Arts in Mexico City. He is an architect.

They came to La Paz on vacation 3 years ago, and fell in love with Baja. They came back to plant roots here and opened their restaurant a little over a year 2 ago.

This is a breakfast/lunch place. “Comida Corrida” it literally means “running food”. Keep in mind that the Mexican lunch goes as late as 6PM! You can always disguise your late lunch as a 4PM early bird special dinner. Just like in Florida! Just kidding! I call Baja Sur “Florida West”.

Everything is 69 pesos. You get a soup or salad, a main course and a dessert. Accompanied with an “agua”. It can be anything from passion fruit water, jamaica, mango, mint or today it was cucumber and lemon. It was divine. They will keep bringing it on if you happen to run out.

The first course is usually a simple homemade vegetable soup or a mixed salad with a tasty homemade dressing. They make their own stock and salad dressing by the way. No 55 gallon drum/vat of gooey shinny sweet stuff here. It disappoints me to no end when someone bothers to open up a restaurant and ends up serving from “freezer to the fryer” slop accompanied by “bottled, massed produced food/like products”. Frozen french fries are my most intense pet peeve! Don’t get me started.

It is like a bad science fiction movie. Why do people eat that stuff and think it is acceptable is beyond my comprehension. Growing up juvenile hall? Degenerating tastebud disease? Fungal spores on pleasure centers of the brain? I am looking for an answer to this baffling disorder. But I digress…

OK, the architectural aspect. The restaurant is very well done. Not surprisingly. The decor is sober but lively with color and the attention to details are impressive. It is small but there is a second story with more tables making it actually bigger than you think.

 

No prison issue tableware here. Nice china, little dipping dishes. Details, details. The restaurant is impeccable. Clean is good. I keep reminding myself that the meal costs 69 pesos!!! How do they do it???

Gabriela runs that kitchen well. Nothing comes out that she does not look at. She is dressed with a proper chef’s uniform, not a hair out of place. Small restaurant entrepreneurs like Gabriela and Octavio are the back bone of the industry. I admire them so much. They choose to work directly in the community instead of working for a large corporate entity. They take a lot of risks and success is not an option, their children’s welfare directly depends on how well they do.

The food: There is a menu with about 8 items to choose from. It changes everyday. Lunch includes a soup or salad, a main course and a small dessert. A pitcher of a home made “agua” accompanies it all. They don’t serve alcohol.

They get you started with a smooth black bean dip, home made tortilla chips, habanero devil sauce, watch out!

Today Gabriela served us some vegetable soup that was just like my grandma’s. A simple chicken stock with chunks of fresh veggies. Funny how tastes and smells bring you back in time.

The chicken in mole is divine! Gabriela tells me that she keeps that one on the menu daily because her clients would riot if she did not. It is aromatic and just warm enough with chile heat.

The chicken in chipotle-cream sauce is another favorite of the clientele, tender chicken with a slightly spicy cream sauce, served over noodles. I will be back here for more!

The pork roast “al pastor” style was tender and juicy with roasted bits on the edges. I have wanted so many times to have that kind of meat NOT in a tortilla standing on a street corner! This is it, it is the same kind of meat but presented elegantly on a proper plate.

The “albondigon” (meat loaf) made with pork and beef was impressive. Very juicy and seasoned perfectly.

The meals generally come with salad and white fluffy rice.

There was a salad on today’s menu that was a nice spin on the classic Italian caprese. Gabriella served tomato slices, fresh basil, locally made “queso fresco” and topped it with grilled chicken breast. It is a nice touch to use the local cheese, it is not mozzarella but I much prefer ultra fresh ingredients to expensive, tired cheese that has had to be trucked for a thousand miles through the desert under dubious conditions any day! Not to mention that at that point my salad would probably be $169 pesos!!!

The breaded chicken, with honey sauce was tender inside and perfectly crispy inside. The sweet honey sauce was excellent. I looked around for people watching and discretely cleaned it all from the dish with my finger…

Today’s fish dish was served with lemon sauce. Very fresh fish. It is a perk of living in Baja after all! It came with a light tangy lemon sauce. Easy as can be.

The chicken curry was very good. It is not a traditional curry with lots of sauce, instead it is chicken breast with curry scented clarified butter. I’ll be back for that one too!

For dessert we had a choice of a home made “membrillo” gelatin (I love anything gelatin), cheese cake, rice pudding that was saucy and spiced to perfection, cold cake or a mousse of lemon and “requeson” (local ricotta cheese).

The waiters and waitresses are efficient and friendly. No one is standing in the corner texting on their phones. You are going to get your plates hot and the whole table served at the same time.

I have found the restaurant where you get the absolute best food for the money. Bar none. Take my word for it.

Monday to Friday from 8 to 6. Breakfast and lunch.

M. ABASOLO E MICHOACAN Y JALISCO, PLAZA CIRIOS L-6, 23090 La Paz, Baja California Sur
Phone: 612 146 3300

They cater. Lots of parking.

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