This weekend I miraculously managed to brave the blistering heat and make my way to a restaurant I've been meaning to try for quite some time: The Flying Chicken. The Colombian eatery had been calling my name since I laid eyes on it a few years ago, and I finally reached the point where my body needed some chicken. How did I justify slamming down a quarter-chicken in about a minute flat? It all started with my never-ending quest for the perfect sailboat...
I had woken up that morning totally delirious and happy at the same time. In my first real moment of freedom all week, I'd gotten on the horn with my dad, who was raving about a great website that has a sailing simulator on it. Cut to an hour later and I'm still whipping that boat through the ocean. When I finally noticed the time, I slowly backed away from the computer and attempted to release myself from the wild potential of being sucked in even longer.
No such luck; I spent the next few hours flying across the net searching out real sailboats in Mexico. I've wanted to buy another sailboat ever since I sold mine last fall and all that's been holding me back is the finding the perfect marina. I'm not into L.A. anymore and Baja lacks really good facilities. Plus, I want it to be somewhere that I can drive to (albeit a long one) during the hellacious Chicago winters. Today, I might have found my place. Enter San Carlos, Mexico, a picturesque village on the coast of Mexico.
Once I happened across this tiny town, I started doing mad Mexico research, which caused me to think about simple Mexican food like the flame-licked chicken, rice and beans I'd had at tiny Pollo Bollo in Yelapa, Mexico a few years ago. That's when I remembered The Flying Chicken, with its sign that touted a quarter chicken, rice and beans for less than $6—the perfect thing to ease my belly wanderlust.
I walked out into a blanket of heat but stood fast in my decision. I was gonna have some chicken and beans with a ton of fresh-squeezed lime no matter what it took. I merrily sauntered in to the deserted dining room, a bright yellow space with a cool draft lingering about. Delightful.
The waitress brought over the menu (in Spanish and English) and I ordered up some arepa con queso (cheesy corn cakes) and the especial de cuarto (1/4 chicken special). I was thinking of slamming down a margarita, but it only serves them on the rocks and I'm a blended type of gal, so I stuck with water instead.
A few minutes later, out rolls a fat, grilled arepa. I love these oozing cheese corn cakes laden with deep grill marks. I swear I could eat them any time of the day. Toss on a bit of maple syrup and you've got breakfast; throw in a bit of veggie turkey and a smear of mayo and there's lunch; pour on a little homemade tomato sauce with a few tears of fresh basil and viola, dinner is served.
After wolfing the corn cake (make sure to ask for the green salsa, a spicy little pot of cilantro, onion and green pepper to dunk it in), my tidy platter of food arrived. A huge hunk of juicy, white meat chicken, a bowl of soupy pinto beans, a round of fluffy white rice, a deep-fried potato and some fresh limes.
I promptly proceeded to reconstruct my Mexican meal from years ago with this simple Colombian fare and succeeded terrifically. In every bite, I could taste the scent of the ocean and hear the crash of the waves. The only thing missing was an icy-cold pitcher of margaritas. That's cool, though. I'll save that full reconnection for when I have my new sailboat and am actually in Yelapa, downing a 'rita and tearing off big hunks of chicken with grilled corn tortillas. Soon, very soon.
The Final Rave: Next time I head to the Flying Chicken, I'm definitely trying the tropical guanabana shake. I had this sugary sweet fruit in popsicle form last time I was in Mexico and was blown away by its flavor.
Keep It Going:
Read it: Secrets of Colombian Cooking
I bet this book holds the key to making arepas, my absolute favorite South American appetizer. How hard can it be to make a little corn cake, you know?
Drink it: Homemade margaritas
I just bought a full bag of the cutest baby limes at Whole Foods today and I can tell you one thing, I know what I'm making.
Eat it: Feed
I've been meaning to try the much-touted chicken at this joint for ages, as well. I hear its Southern-style sides are out of this world.
Get crazy with it: San Carols Marina
Check out Yacht World's plethora of sailboats for sale in San Carlos, Mexico. This sort of intel can consume a daydreamer for years on end.
Fatcake Misty Tosh explores back-alley eateries, holes-in-the-wall and seedy ethnic joints as she treks the city in search of the next raving dish. Join her in the quest.