I suppose I have fallen into “food block”. I have not put up a bite for weeks. I have even been to Babita recently and couldn't find the recipe for writing a post. So here I am finally, with a main course of words.
Ahh. The journey to Babita has a story behind it. My SO and I had been dating not quite 1 year when we realized that in a week or so the day we first stared into each others eyes over some margaritas and lousy Mexican food would be upon us. We decided to honor the event, to celebrate, and this time to find some delicious Mexican food to do so with that was worthy of the occasion.
Well we didn’t have to look or even think about it as I had wanted to try Babita for months! So thanks to my chow hounding friends no search was needed.
The restaurant is on San Gabriel Blvd right next to Saint Anthony’s Church; it is on a corner, and from the outside you could never imagine the tastes, smells, and the culinary adventure that being on the inside will take you on.
The reservation was for 8 and we brought a bottle of 1997 Stags Leap Merlot. We were seated by none other than the chef himself, and I immediately engaged him in a dialog about his menu. He joked quite a bit with me and told me that he wouldn’t order the soup, which I had inquired about, and then went on to describe it in such a matter my mouth watered. I get it he is playing with me! When he opened the wine he poured it he then proceeded to pick up the glass and take a very deep sniff of the bouquet, he was so obviously enjoying it that we offered him some. “No, not while I have to work”, he declined. And then when I asked him for recommendations he told me to close my eyes and pick! He was such fun, we enjoyed the banter immensely!
I noticed he circulated among the tables that had all been seated about the same time. Then disappeared to cook, and his wife took over. It is almost as if they arrange the seating, since they did not have a 7:30 reservation available, but the resturant was far from full when we arrived and during our meal it did not fill up. It was nice.
The Shrimp Topolobampo was on my must try list, but I was discouraged to order it by our waitress as I had indicated I didn’t want anything too spicy. I ordered a ceviche instead and it was amazing. Fresh, light, tangy, not fishy, it was red snapper and perfect We also shared a Cesar salad. I know, who orders Cesar salad at a Mexican restaurant, but this was an incredible blend of flavors.Probably one of the best I have had, you could tell the dressing was just made; it was rich and had a strong bite of anchovy perfect.
The lamb shank was what my SO wanted, but they were out of it when we arrived so he settled on the Barbacoa. I ordered the Cochinita Pibil. My pork was melt in your mouth and 2 tangy cold salads of one of red cabbage and one of onion accompanied the pork. The beef cheeks, which neither of had ever had were very good. My SO thought a little fatty, but I assume that the nature of the dish. Fresh tortillas were on the table and we finished everything!
The evening was perfect, for every reason. I suppose the only complaint I might have is that there was a long wait between courses the evening being a bit of a slow process. It seemed that Roberto and his wife were the only ones there.
I want to go back and try one of his seafood or fish dishes next. Or maybe get daring and get the Shrimp Topolobampo