Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Featuring....Snackbar El Tico

Whenever B and I travel around Mexico, we always keep an eye out for those little out of the way places. The Mom and Pop place. The Hole in the Wall place. The Sense of Community Place. We like being elbow to elbow with the other customers, the owner, the bartender and whatever staff may be working. It is just a pleasant, friendly experience.

Finally, a place like that has opened here on the island.

Meet Snackbar El Tico.




This little place is on Matamoras Avenue, next to Bobo's Fish and Chips and across the street from Olivia's Restaurant. It is owned and run by Christopher. More commonly known by his friends as Tico. If you haven't guessed by the nickname, Tico is from Costa Rica. And, like most Costa Ricans, he speaks fluent English and has that sense of Pura Vida that is so prevalent in Costa Rica. It translates well to his new business.

Although his speciality of the house is michaladas and cheladas, he does have a full range of liquor. So if you want a Margarita, just ask!




Thanks to the Mrs., there are a few little homey touches around too. Like these bar top candelabras.




They look especially nice after dark when lit.




The centerpiece of the back wall is this colorful mirror. I would like to steal it!

But, the main event at Snackbar El Tico, happens on the weekends. That is when you get closest to the cantina feeling of the place. Order any kind of drink on Friday and get free ceviche de pescado. Do the same thing on Saturday and get ceviche de camaron. But, and this deserves a big drumroll, on Sundays you get chilpochole! Homemade fresh and hot that morning and delivered to your bowl.
Here's one of the helpers dishing some up for another hungry customer.


If you have never tried chilpochole, Sunday at Tico's is the time to lose your virginity with this dish. It is basically a spicy, red broth stew of fish, shrimp and crab. Delicious. A good one will be extra spicy since it is traditionally eaten as a hangover cure. Thus it always being on the menu on Sundays.
There is limited seating, but people are happy to stand against the wall, outside or anywhere there is space. Especially on Sundays. Although there are not too many tourists who frequent this place yet, they are starting to discover this little gem.

And the infamous Tico himself!



Given the tiny space they have to work in, the organization is excellent. Not a wasted piece of countertop anywhere.




I think Tico has every song ever recorded in both English and Spanish on his computer. When the place is really busy, the music is kept low and in the background. Never a need to shout over the music. However, once the place clears out a bit, Tico has a ball playing samples of all kinds of music for whomever is there.


Next time you are on the island, stop by. I think you will enjoy this place as much as we do. And be sure to tell him that Islagringo sent you!

13 comments:

Ann said...

So many new spots to try in Jan/Feb--I think I need to stay longer just to eat!

Anonymous said...

He's cute too!

Anonymous said...

I've been catching up on your blog, nice to see you have been venturing out and about! Thanks for the updates on island happenings, can't wait to try the new places, hopefully this fall!
Karen in OH

KfromMichigan said...

I like those kind of homey restaurants too! They always have the best food. Will try it next time I'm on the island.

D and B W said...

Our kind of place and it is right next to where we used to stay when on the island.
Since we have not been to the island for a few years it is nice to get the feel of the Isla that we loved through your posts.

1st Mate said...

I never get hangovers (not from alcohol, anyway) but that chilpochole sounds very good anyway. If I'm ever out your way I'll be sure to give Tico's a try.

Life's a Beach! said...

Thanks Wayne! I totally missed this one in July. I also missed ordering the fish and chips from Bobo's! Hope I don't have to wait until next June/July to try all the new places!

Calypso said...

Now this is more on the line of real latina - I would be there in a heartbeat.

drgeo said...

Thanks Wayne! I thought of you when I read this article in my local paper-

iPhone app helps Dallas couple thwart burglary from 1,400 miles away
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
By JASON WHITELY / WFAA-TV

An iPhone app helped a Dallas couple stop a burglary in their home while they were 1,400 miles away in Connecticut.

On Friday afternoon, iCam – a $4.99 application he purchased two months ago – sent Vincent Hunter a text message alerting him of movement inside his North Dallas home.

"I've got a few webcams set up,” he said. “We could see it unfolding."

With a few taps on his smart phone, he watched a live feed of two men wearing gloves peeking in his patio door. Seconds later, they started throwing a brick at the glass, eventually shattering it.

Hunter and his wife, in Connecticut at the time visiting his parents, called 911 from out-of-state as their home security system did the same in Dallas.

Minutes later, the webcams showed Dallas police officers entering the Hunters' house with guns drawn.

The two men, who remain at large, are suspected in a number of neighborhood burglaries.

Jackie said...

Thank you for writing about this bar. I saw you and a couple of my other friends on FB “liked” it but couldn’t place the bar. I will have to try it when I am back on Isla in October.

Linda said...

Thanks for the scoop on the newest, coolest place on Isla! Will DEFINITELY give it a try when we return!

Linda
Isla Chica

BlueSky said...

I LOVE places like this! Thanks for sharing!

Sanfrancisco Hotels said...

I love such kind of cool places. Thanks for sharing this post with us.