Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 27: The BEST meal

Saying goodbye to Arizona we traveled on Route 40 heading toward California.  For a lunch stop we found ourselves in Kingman, AZ roughly 100 miles from the CA border.  Kingman is one of those sprawling nondescript dessert towns that has the feel of a ghost:  gas stations, fast food, peach tinted motels and closed down diners.  The restaurant pickings were slim, and it seemed that we might find ourselves out of town and back on the highway before locating anything resembling edible food.  Just when we were disparing I noticed an "open" sign on what might be a local Mexican restaurant. I suppose we could manage a burrito, I thought, unhappily.  The Mojave stretched ahead so it was now or never.

Parking and then entering a nondescript white succo building we were ready for the worst.  To our surprise, however, when we opened the door of this place we found the restaurant brimming full of happy diners, locals we figured, who knew about the place.  The walls were decorated with garlands of flowers, the tables were colorful and clean with a four page menu of specials and wide ranging southwestern cuisine.  Even before we ordered a brightly clad waiter brought us giant glasses of ice water with fresh lemon, a basket of just cooked homemade corn chips and three salsas, including a warm refried pinto bean sauce.  I order the #5 special: a chile reano and a spinach and cheese enchilada.  Ron ordered the chicken and avocado tortilla soup.  HHmmmmm, let see.

Well, the food was extraordinary!  The enchilada had what must have been a pound of fresh steamed spinach and a tasty cheese rolled inside.  The sauces were delicate and everything seemed like it was prepared with great care and the freshest ingredients. The chile reano was light and heavenly.   So often Mexican food is greasy and flat.  This food was delicate and perfectly seasoned.  As the waiter brought us our bill he put a bowl of freshly whipped cream and two cinnamon sopapillas on our table.  Divine.   And, we nearly fainted when the bill came to $9.49 for the two of us!  

The restaurant's name is El Palacio 401 East Andy Devine Avenue, Kingman, AZ 86401-5826. Such a wonderful surprise. A treasure of a place hidden next to the Amtrak station in Kingman. Our lucky day.

1 comment:

  1. Stan, Reese and I had such an experience on the trip home from the west coast last summer. Stopping in the little town of Las Vegas, New Mexico we stumbled upon a hole in the wall Mexican food restaurant with fabulous food and delightful owners. We had braced for the worst, and received the opposite.