Sunday, February 10, 2013

Xela's Hidden Gems

Last night we picked the Darringtons up in Jaime's taxi at 6:00 when they finished their shift at the temple.  The Granados were coming to dinner with us and since they didn't know where the restaurant was located, they followed Jaime's secret ninja route.  We wound our way through the narrow streets of Xela shortly after dark and I saw a totally different view than on previous occasions.  Xela is a city of walled entrances, very few of them open to view unless you pass by when someone is coming or going.  The heavy metal gates and doors behind them don't offer a hint as to what is inside.  As we're driving I see many new places that are intriguing and they peak my curiosity.  Non of them would compare to what we found when we walked into Sabor de la India, which is across the street from the post office where we pick up the mission mail each Friday.

This is an exquisite restaurant that is simply fascinating.  The pothos plants that climb the walls are meticulously maintained and each plant is 20-30 feet long in double or triple strands.  Someone watches over these with loving care and they grow with surprisingly few sources of light.  We were seated at a long banquet table in a side room and shortly after the waiter introduced himself, the lights went out and it was pitch black.  No one in the restaurant seems troubled by the blackness.  We rely on the light of Mike's camera to read the menus and hope the power will come on soon.  The doors of the restaurant are immediately locked when the power is off...a bit creepy when combined with the intense darkness. But hey, we've been living so far outside our comfort zone for the last 14 months, this is just another tumulo in the road of life. We can see some light appear in the kitchen and our waiter reappears.

Lack of power is no problem for them unless you want the single menu item that is baked.  All the rest is cooked on a gas stove and so we're set to eat.  He provides us with wobbly candles and we select our choices for dinner.  I'm so impressed with whoever established this restaurant in a country where food variety is somewhat limited and electricity is as well.  How clever of them to be able to prepare exotic food by candlelight and in such a quaint environment.  

This is the entrance as seen from the inside of the restaurant.  From the outside, the place has no appeal whatsoever.  Mike and I learned to love these delightful little hideaway restaurants even more when we visited Turkey and my brother took us to some of his favorites, which were not places I would have chosen to try without the guidance of someone more experienced.

Appetizers and dinners were excellent, just as the Darringtons assured us they would be.  Just before our check came, the lights came on again.  We hadn't missed them a bit.

The finishes on the walls would be the envy of any faux finishing expert.  I would lhave loved to be a mouse in the corner when they were preparing the restaurant for opening.  No, I take that back.  Mice aren't welcome in this very clean eating establishment.

It was just lovely, all around.

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