I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague
Time management has taken on a whole new meaning since having a child. The day is broken into about five chunks of two to three hours, each separated by a nap that could last anywhere between thirty minutes and two hours. It can be difficult to plan ahead to be somewhere at any particular time. You really just have to go with it and have a rough plan to go somewhere after a particular nap. We’ve been going to the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market for years and have done our best to get there every week between nap one and nap two. Nap three sometimes starts as late as one pm so going between nap three and nap four would be too late. Before nap one would be too early. Whole. New. Meaning.
If I’m at the market early I usually get a breakfast omelet with beans and potatoes. Because we’re there between naps one and two we usually arrive between nine and ten. By any standard I’ve been accustomed to until recently, that would mean breakfast. But my, how things have changed. At nine am I may have already been awake for five hours. By then, I may have even had a couple of cups of coffee and a granola bar or a piece of toast. So I haven’t really been craving breakfast on our Market Saturdays. In fact, for the last three weeks I’ve been craving the Market’s latest offering, La Sazon de Mexico.
I first heard about Charlottetown’s newest Mexican cuisine about eight months ago. They were operating out of a house near Ellen’s Creek Plaza. I tried, perhaps halfheartedly, to try it out, but they were open somewhat sporadically and only offered take out. That didn’t matter though, because the owners, Claudia Deagle and Claudia Rosas, acquired a space at the Market this past spring, and just like that, I’m having Mexican for lunch at breakfast.
My favourite so far has been the chicken enchiladas with green sauce. It consists of three flour tortillas stuffed with roast chicken and covered in green sauce (made with tomatillas, peppers, onion, garlic and spices), sour cream and cheese, served with spicy rice, beans, and if you ask nicely, a side of guacamole. It’s a great meal. The chicken is moist and tender, and most importantly, ample. The green sauce, beans and rice are good too, but the guacamole is spectacular. It’s really fresh and tangy with lots of lime and cilantro. It makes for an excellent contrast to what is otherwise a rather spicy meal. I’ve had that plate three times now and it seems to get better each time.
I also really liked the steak tacos. They’re made with a corn tortilla and strips of beef cooked with peppers and onions topped with salsa, sour cream and fresh lime juice with the same rice and beans, and if you ask nicely, guacamole. I thought the taco got soggy pretty fast but I was warned it would and it was too messy to eat with my hands anyway. Messy and delicious, that is.
I’ve been hesitant to try the fish or shrimp tacos. For some reason they just don’t appeal to me before supper time. The mole enchiladas also look interesting, but again, pretty rich for 9:30. At ten dollars a plate, it’s a pretty good deal no matter what you order.
I’ve asked the Claudias a couple of times whether they’re going to open a restaurant. They’re looking for a space and haven’t found the right one yet. I’m hoping they do. There has really only ever been one authentic Mexican restaurant on the Island. It was in a terrible location and closed quickly. I think La Sazon de Mexico could be a smash hit in the right space. It’s already a smash at the Market.