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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gran San Carlos

After the bicentenario blow-out, there was one last stop for us in Mexico--Monterrey. Having done a bit of reading up on the area, I knew there was one thing I wanted try there, and that was cabrito (roast kid goat). As usual, the schedule was conspiring against it: the day after the bicentenario celebration, the orchestra flew to Monterrey spread over three flights... of course, the last two were late, leaving barely enough to time drop things off at the hotel, get to the concert hall, have a quick sound check, and gulp a few bites of food before the 8:00 concert--and we were returning to the States early the next morning. It was our immense good fortune, however, to encounter an angel named Erica working for the Teatro de la Ciudad Monterrey. Diego, our tour manager, had mentioned to her our desire to try the cabrito there, and she not only advised us which place was the best in town (and which of the two locations she preferred), but called to reserve a table and asked them to wait for us to get there after our concert. She even called a taxi for us at the theater. In the post-concert rush to get packed up, I did not get a chance to thank you properly, Erica, so I'm thanking you now--I hope you read this one day.

We arrived at Gran San Carlos shortly after 11 p.m. to a warm welcome--and a large, practically empty restaurant. Yes, it was a bit late, but I didn't find out until I returned home that everyone in Monterrey was afraid to go out at night because of all the drug-war-related violence. But as they say, ignorance is bliss, and our bliss was two-fold that evening: the food was even better than I had hoped it would be. One orders cabrito here by the desired part of the animal: we asked the waiter which he recommended, and the reply was "pierna" (leg). So, pierna we ordered, and it was wonderful. There isn't much to say about expertly-prepared roast cabrito... crispy skin, juicy, tender white meat (the kid must be less than 40 days old)... perfection. My dining companions were also delighted with their sopa azteca (tortilla soup) starters.

Word among those who know in Monterrey is that El Rey del Cabrito is the huge party joint everyone knows about, but if you want real quality, go to Gran San Carlos. I can vouch for the second part of that statement.

Gran San Carlos
Av. I. Morones Prieto 2803
Monterrey (Nuevo León), México
(+52) (81) 8344-4114

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