Friday, December 21, 2012


Twas the Friday before Christmas, and all through the house, we were HUNGRY!  Where to go? We decided to head toward Penfield, which we really rarely do, to go to Itacate.  I first read about the owners of Itacate in an article earlier this year about their Mexican restaurant in the back of a gas station in Chili.  Always meant to get there but never did.  Then, I heard they opened a second place in Penfield; this one had an actual dining room.  We were cold, wet, tired from oh so much life this week, so off we went.

When we arrived, well after 6 pm, there were only 2 other cars in the lot--not a good sign.  But, there is that saying about judging books by their covers, isn't there? So, we pushed on.

Turns out we were the first diners that night.  And, then within 15 minutes of our sitting down, the whole place was full!  Must have been us :)

We started with chips, salsas and guacamole.  Big raves for the guac from the family (I am not a fan of avocados).  In fact, we got 3 refills!  The chips were light, crisp and salty.  Red salsa and green salsa were both good and not overly spicy/hot; they are thin, though--be warned.  We also asked for and got the homemade roasted habanero sauce, which did bring the heat!

It was a rainy/sleety/snowy night, so soups all around as starters.  My daughter got the Arroz Con Pollo, which she proclaimed as delicious!  My husband got the Sopa de Tortilla, with lots of queso fresco and avocado and more raves!  But, I think my soup won.  I defaulted to the last soup left unordered on the menu: Frijoles Charros.  Rich, smoky beans in a deeply flavored, thick broth that combined a good heat with bacony awesomeness.  I would eat this by the bucketful.  So very yummy!!

For entrees, my daughter ordered a chicken taco, which she didn't like and my husband did.  She, instead, snacked on some of my plentiful Carnitas de Puerco.  The pork in this dish was mildly seasoned and wonderfully crisped in places.  I skipped the tortillas and just ate the pork topped with some green salsa and limed onions and ate it with the chips and some beans.  My son devoured his chicken burrito in about 4 minutes flat, and then also ate some carnitas.  My husband and I swapped dishes--initially accidentally and then on purpose.  So, he took my Asado de Puerco.  The pork in this dish was shredded, not chunked, and served in a richly flavored red sauce with a nice sized portion of rice and beans.  Safe to say, nothing, not-a-thing, was left on our table.  Not a drop of salsa, not a crumb of a chip.

Plus, the service was fantastic: friendly, welcoming, funny, generous.  And, the chef came out and chatted with everyone in the room for a while.  Love it!

Look out 2013 ... we've found our favorite Mexican place, and it's only about 10 minutes from the house!

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