“Try This” is a weekly column that celebrates local businesses — especially eateries, watering holes, coffee shops and the like.
FOOD: Mi Mexico Restaurante: Huarache
I’m a sucker for old-fashioned diners. I love the laid back feel, the large, any-time-of-the-day menus and the friendly and quick service that comes with them. Sadly, there aren’t many in Watsonville. Our substitute for those diners are the numerous homey Mexican food eateries around town that mimic them with a Mexican twist.
The other day I walked into one such Mexican restaurant: Mi Mexico Restaurante at 9 W. Beach St. When I start my lunch I typically wander around downtown Watsonville for a few minutes and let my stomach lead me to our destination. Mi Mexico peaked my intrigue because it offered some Oaxacan and Mexico City food options such as enchiladas de mole and huaraches, which are incredibly delicious but tough to find in our city. I ordered the huarache with al pastor and all the fixings—lettuce, cilantro, onion, queso fresco and sour cream. The plate came with a large side of pinto beans and mexican rice.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with not only how fresh everything tasted, but with the speed in which it came out. A huarache is an oval-shaped fried masa base—a similar oblong shape as the popular sandals of the same name—covered with a layer of pinto beans and then drowned in a combination of meat and veggies. The base—its texture and thickness—is key to having a tasty final product. The huarache at Mi Mexico impressed me, as it was just thick enough to keep all of the toppings intact from the plate to the bite and it still remained crisp despite it being doused in spicy salsa.
Mi Mexico is open Tuesday through Sunday. On Weekdays they are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
FOOD: Pizza Lovers
I had wanted to try Pizza Lovers long before I finally walked in on Thursday. It is a little place tucked behind Starbucks in the Overlook Shopping Center, a short walk from Target.
The restaurant has a small but eclectic menu which, in addition to pizza, features burgers, deli sandwiches, Buffalo wings and breadsticks.
It also offers Filipino dishes such as lumpia—small egg rolls—in addition to longsilog, tapsilog and bansilog, which are sausage, beef and fish, respectively, served with rice and eggs.
For my first visit I ordered a slice of pepperoni pizza, which set me back a whopping $1, along with a cheeseburger combo. I don’t drink soda, so all told I spend about $6.50.
The pizza was really good. For me, a good pizza lives or dies on its crust – if it’s bad, it doesn’t matter what it’s topped with. In this I was not disappointed. It had the perfect combination of tender, crispy and chewy. The pepperoni was great, too.
The burger came with a giant pile of crinkle-cut fries, and the still-sizzling oil smelled heavenly when the cashier handed me the tray. They were perfectly cooked, as was the burger, which I ordered with all of the fixings.
All of my food was great and definitely warranted a return visit to check out the Filipino dishes.
In addition to the aforementioned offerings, Pizza Lovers also offers grilled chicken, lamb chops and salmon.
Open every day from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. 1437 Main Street, 536-5400.