I’d like to underscore two key dining appreciation issues for all Ajijic diners.
First, how many of you know that our taste buds change as we age, and in our 60s and 70s, they may be half of what they were when we were younger. Also, they may not be as sensitive. This is the reason we don’t bring Tang to our get-togethers anymore. But the spices, chilies and salsas seem to be a Mexico plus, although some of the “spiciness” we experience here is not so much a taste as a pain signal.
Second, a time not long ago there was some question of whether Mexican food could be classified as cuisine. By the same kind of people who decide things like where your napkin ring should go. People nobody listens to. Today, there is an internationally recognized Mexican cuisine – what everybody likes to call authentic Mexican, and what I will call gourmex, because of its mix of so many culinary sensations from the country’s distinct and diverse areas. And they can be found in marvelous dishes at Bobby’s La Terraza. The venue opened not long ago at the west end of Ajijic, and has given us a new creative twist on authentic Mexican and its origins in traditional home-cooking. Bobby (Roberto) has been a restaurateur for over 30 years here in Ajijic, which gives him a unique authority on the subject of what is and can be new and exceptional in Mexican dining.
His menu has an interesting pre-Hispanic quality to it, but with a distinct modern culinary flair that offers something new and stimulating to the taste receptors of our senior population.
There are common flavors, spices, sauces and permutations that are Mexican but which create a new category of “gourmex.” For example: a sensational turkey breast mole. The mole is darkly sweet and spiced Oaxoca-style, which is exotic here in Jalisco. It’s served on grilled pineapple and rice. I sipped a nice house merlot along with it. Actually I’m not an oenophile, but merlot and mole go together, trust me. I started with a light clover-leaf salad presentation of pecans and mango on baby lettuce leaves in a honey balsamic and blue cheese dressing. It was perfect.
My companion had an alchemical take on a common salmon with rice and green beans dish. It was one of the specials for the day. With most salmon dishes, it is the sauce that makes it special. In this case, the sauce was a savory delicacy, an artichoke base touched with Parmesan and kiwi. I took dibs on it and found it light and genuinely original, a flavor sensation that stole the salmon show. Other courses that sounded equally exotic were the Chicken Crepe Terraza (a French-influenced dish with Mexican chili sauce and rice) and Chile en Nogada (traditional, but with a stepped-up walnut cream sauce). Lighter fare included something delightfully called The Confused Taco, with fresh tuna, cucumber, rice noodles and crab in an unusual Mexican-Asian inspired sauce. An interesting Torta de Ensalada de Pollo is sliced, roasted chicken breast with veggies done as a sandwich with a light cream dressing, and served with an original poblano potato salad. Desserts, too, were rich and extraordinary, like the rest of the menu, including an artisanal ice cream easily classified as gourmex. The problem here might be the double-edged sword of these distinct and indigenous flavors: Can Bobby keep coming up with exciting new variations? The presentations were crafted with great care and the service was a royal treatment. I hope that Bobby will add music to such an environment. The venue is on the lake side of the Carretera, less than half a kilometer west of Colon. Try the new flavors for your bored taste buds.