Ed Ward's Blog Leaves Europe After 20 Years and Returns To The U.S., Another Foreign Country. Currently, This Blog Is In Transition.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
La Comida Mexicana...en Montpellier?
Big shout-out to Barry for this one. I read the Languedoc Pages' expat forum each day, and some months ago, before I moved down here, he mentioned that there was a scrupulously authentic Mexican restaurant in town. Now, I happened to know that Barry is British, so I filed that under "yeah, sure."
Then I was walking down the Avenue de Toulouse and saw, in the parking lot of the Casino supermarket, what appeared to be a Mexican restaurant. By now, I was well aware of what passes for "Mexican" in Europe: paella, chicken wings, and made-up dishes. There are almost never any tortillas involved, and when there are, they tend to be flour, since they're easily enough made from locally-available ingredients. So I didn't investigate.
So last week, Barry came over here to help me with a computer problem, he being a Mac user. The problem wasn't solved, but we spent lots of time waiting for stuff to not happen, and I asked him about this tossed-off comment. "It's in the parking lot of Casino," he said. "On the Avenue de Toulouse." He also swore an Americn friend of his loved it.
Today being nice, and me being at loose ends, I decided to go check it out. The menu was incredible. Chile relleno, chicken mole, enchiladas, tamales, tortilla soup, sopa Azteca, pico de gallo, salad with nopalitos, all manner of things. No chicken wings in sight. I stood there so long that the lady who runs the place came out and asked if she could help me. Well, yeah, but I wasn't even a little hungry. We started talking and I told her I was very impressed by the menu, that it was all authentic and I was eager to try the stuff. Her French stumbled quite a bit, and finally she asked if I spoke English. She told me she'd been in business 11 years, but would probably retire once the building she was in was sold, although there was no hint of when that might be. She said she opens at 7 in the evening (she's also open for lunch) and stays open as long as there are customers. This Friday, there will be a big party and then she'll close for two weeks and go on vacation.
"People come in here and ask for tapas," she said. "I tell them we don't do that. Botanitas, yes, but that's a different thing." I told her there wasn't much on the menu with corn tortillas, and she smiled. "Those are for people who know what they are. I have them."
I said I hoped she found another location, but she said "Oh, if I retire I'll still do catering. Just call the number on my portable, and I'll cook!"
So, for a limited time only, this exotic cuisine is available here in Montpellier. I figure by the time she gets back from vacation, I'm going to be very ready for a visit. We did most of our talking inside the restaurant, and the smell was out of this world. Thus, I have high expectations. Anyone else want to join me?
Luna y Sol Restaurante Mexicano, 4, rue François Mireur, 34070 Montpellier. Phone 04 67 27 60 25. Free parking in the Casino lot.