‘Well I have had my fill of Continental, Italian and Pan Asian food,’ I grumble aloud to Joe, ‘is there any other cuisne worth trying out?’ If the topic was anyother subject, other than food there would be definitely no response. What is it that enthralls men, that they cannot hear the ‘beseeching’ need in their better-halves voices, when they are reading the newspaper? Guess it must be some sort of…I better not put it down- ‘syndrome’. But like I mentioned earlier-talk food you get response. He raised his head from the ‘printed’ barrier and drawled ‘what about Mexican….’ I looked at him slowly…only one restaurant of its kind in Goa, many had started and closed shop, but this had withstood the ‘palates’ of time and was still going strong….POCO LOCO.
It was Friday night, and the ‘wet’ spells and terrible ‘pot-holed’ by lanes did nothing to calm my nerves. Joe gives me a ‘under the eyelid’ glance. He is well aware of these moods. ‘There is music tonight, it’s a Mexican fiesta,’ he states, and after a ‘hump’ and ‘jump’ over the pothole of course, we arrive. The environment is warm and inviting…and it was packed to capacity…a heady murmur of voices having fun and strains of jazz music.
‘I wonder what’s great about Mexican cuisine,’ I say in an undertone, ‘perhaps this is one of the ‘entertainment’ variety places we find in the North Belt.’ Joe hastily ‘Shhhed as we met with Chris Diplock the warm and friendly General Manager of the Resort.
Tonight was buffet, but I was informed by the Chef Kundan Jha that all the preparations were from the menu. Joe had as usual stayed back at the watering hole….Margaritas were flowing like the Rivers of Babylon…Gosh Babylon had nothing to do with Mexico. the land of Corn and beans. I took a look at the spread, attractively laid out…the salads or starters...Nachos/Tacos/Bean salad/ Mexican en Saladas fiesta and Mix lettuce with the varieties of Guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese and a delectable tarragon flavored red wine vinaigrette.
Now we have all tried the Nachos with salsa…those corn and flour crispy chips but Chef kundan had added on the Tacos to this menu. Now Tacos are made of corn and they were the diet of Mexicans even before the Spanish reached there. The people of the valley ate Taco filled with fish and the first taco feast was enjoyed by Hernan Cortes who had a variety of these preparations laid out for his captains filled with chicken, beef, beans and cheese. Why the name ‘Tacos’ was still retained remains a mystery but here was the ‘dish’ evidently a legacy of that feast…duplicated with chicken or beef….Ole! I took in another one standing right there at the counter. Let Joe remain at the ‘Toro Loco’ watering spout…I remained at mine. Each man to his own!
Who said that? I wondered as I tried a little of that red wine vinaigrette on the mixed lettuce salad. Joe later confessed that he would not mind swapping a jug of that vinaigrette for ‘booze’ it was ‘fantabulous’ he hiccupped! Hold your horses…not drunk but in that pleasant state of euphoria.
But let me move on. The Seafood Quesardillas….now what is this preparation? You see it is very important to do some homework on the food you are going to savor. It gives you an insight into the preparation. Now Mexicans make it primarily of cheese inside a folded wheat or corn tortilla and it is cooked till the cheese melts. The word comes from Spanish which literally means in to‘cheese in tortilla’ and some people even call it a cheesecake. I had mistakenly ‘supposed’ it to be an omlette till I spooned a morsel into my mouth. Chef Kundan had filled it with seafood and those people who had mistakenly called it a cheesecake were absolutely right. ‘Soft…fluffy…savoury not to be mistaken for an American cheesecake but with definite traits.
By now Joe had joined me at the buffet. ‘What’s good?’ says he. I ignore the comment. There is so much more to discover. ‘Try our Fajitas’ says Chef Kundan, ‘it is our USP (unique selling Preaparation).’ There was a choice of chicken and Beef marinated in Mexican spices, sautéed bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. Now while this is served sizzling in the a la carte menu, on a buffet we had to work on our mix. So I picked up a flour tortilla, put in the mixture of chicken fajitas added a dollop of sour cream and fresh tomato salsa.
Now this preparation is very famous especially in Dallas, Texas in fact some refer it to Tex-Mex food. I overheard some tourists mention about the authenticity in the taste. Wow! While I could not vouch for authenticity the taste was ‘palate boggling’ In fact although basic preparations of bean, corn, guacamole and sour cream played an important role in all the preparations they were driving me ‘plain loco.’ Every dish tasted different, everyone had its own identity. So if it’s a ‘La fiesta’ you are looking for remember to do it Mexican style at Poco Loco.
Address: The Royal Goan Beach Club @ Monterio,
PO. Calangute- Baga,
Tel no: 0832 2277178-83