The Ruffled Crow

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Aventura followup

Well, it’s been 8 months along and our favorite eatery next-door, Aventura, is going strong.

For the most part, construction has completed on our part of Greenwood avenue. Of great interest in our household was the addition of a crosswalk across the east side of the Greenwood/Holman Rd intersection. This alone has given Aunt B no end of delight and she’s regaled us with not only the progress of its construction but the wonder of its use. Miz Liz and I are certain that she had the crosswalk signals timed to the second during its first week of use. But I digress…

As noted, we were quite worried about a new restaurant trying its oven mitts at a questionable location, during major construction, and in a questionable economic environment just as folks had been cutting back on the little luxuries like eating out.

Well I am very happy to report that Aventuras is going strong and we are still observing our Saturday Night Thing (SNT). My parents continue to join us weekly and often Miz Liz or The Z (occasionally accompanied by The War Goddess) attend now and again. For Mom’s birthday, my lil sis, the unsinkable Lala made her way down from the hinterlands dragging her entire kit-and-caboodle as well.

Anymore, Heron (the owner) can almost anticipate our order and Rudy the bar-man always stops by and says hello. It has become almost as comfortable as our own kitchen table. (if we had one, that is…) Slowly art has crept onto the walls, new employees are added or rotate in to spell Heron’s kids, and the occasional bit of music is heard.

The opening of the bar was rather tough for me though. Had I still been a swimmer I probably would’ve had a reserved stool at the bar, but alas, other than taking Heron’s tour the week before it opened, I’ve not laid a foot in there. On the positive side, it has given Heron some much-needed revenue and traffic and with the competition of a pub next door and an established Chinese restaurant a half block away that is paramount.

As mentioned in my first post, however, it’s the food that’s keeping Aventura alive. We’ve had the pleasure of being guinea pigs for new items coming to the menu. Like the established menu, his dishes are simple for the most part, but well-tested in a family restaurant in Mexico. What many folks forget about true Mexican food is that it includes quite a bit of seafood. They have several dishes from the sea that are most excellent.

Before this turns into a total love-fest I must note the hit-and-miss adventures of the music. At the grand opening Heron brought in a traditional guitarist who serenaded us wonderfully. A few months back, however, he had a trio that did American standards. (Over the Rainbow and the like) They looked like a family; Dad on drums, Mom singing, kid on keyboards. The kid was good actually – could lay down jazz riffs well – but Dad overpowered, and Mom… Well, the Mom could’ve sang Klingon Opera, and may have been a student of it. “Strangling cats” would be applicable as well. They lasted 4 weekends, which I imagine was the extent of their contract. We stopped in during their first performance and had a Flan. Barely made it through one set and it got rather tough to keep the smile in place. It hurt…

To add insult to injury (in my and Aunt B’s opinion) Heron delved into the depths of evil and has began weekly Karaoke to compete with the Chinese restaurant who offers it nightly. Good business move, true enough. This ups the ante to “Throttling rather large felines”. We have not darkened the door during these likely horrific occasions – even for a flan…

It does appear, though, that traditional Mexican music and dance will continue to make appearances at Aventura. (Thanks to all that is Good) We weren’t able to make it to see the dancing girls (yes, I said traditional dance, no poles involved) weekend afore last, but will keep trying when they show.

Anyways, it’s wonderful to see a small, local business run by very nice folks, that puts excellent food out is making it and getting a great reputation while doing it as evidenced here and here, for only 2 examples.

Local Flavorings – Aventura

A new Mexican restaurant opened up next door about a month ago called Adventura. Situated in a small storefront next to the neighborhood delimart. It replaced an Indian eatery that went out of business about a year and a half ago when the economy’s slide hit full-stride.

We were pretty surprised that anyone would try to start a business in this economic climate, let alone a restaurant. Food service is one of the sectors that has been especially hard hit as folks are pinching their pennies and going-out is becoming a rare entry on the budgetary menu.

If this wasn’t Sisyphean enough, our street is being torn up to widen it and put in sidewalks.

Trenches have been dug, steel plates laid over the holes, heavy machinery is crammed into business parking lots, caution tape flutters everywhere. Up and down the road signs are up noting “Businesses open during construction” which roughly translates into “It’s a pain in the ass to get to, and if you dare, good luck on parking”.  In an ironic aside there is an electronic reader-board asking drivers to “consider other routes” approximately 2 blocks after you’ve already committed to said route.

But I digress…

The little eatery, quite obviously family owned and operated, opened at a bad time economically and neighborhoodally.  Hand-drawn signs in the window announce the specials and a carefully stickered sandwich-board stands as close to the torn-up street as it can. A stack of folded flyers on the counter of the next-door delimart trumpets a free dessert when you bring it in. Freshly painted in creme and dusty yellows, bright, shiny gold chickens line the top of the three-quarter wall between the prep area and the seating area. Flower sconces are showing up above the booths in ones and twos every week and we’re told that artwork will begin appearing as well. The owner, Heron, is a small man, thin and balding, a fringe of hair gray and slightly wild. This, along with his painfully polite and overly helpful demeanor strongly reminds me of the waiter in Fawlty Towers.

We went there the first weekend it was open and, for the entire meal we were the only customers in the place. Since then, we’ve made it a Saturday night “thing” and the last few times we’ve had the pleasure of seeing other folks there too.

Originally, our Saturday Night Thing was an excuse for a cheap date night out while supporting a local small business, but the last few times my parents have come along and it looks like they’ll be a regular part of the SNT.

The food is really what’s making this an ongoing Thing. For the most part it’s a pretty standard Mexican restaurant menu; burritos, enchiladas, chalupas, maybe medudo now and again. A wide, varied, and solid menu. They aren’t reinventing the wheel. What they are doing, though, is doing it really well. When the rice and refried beans catch my attention they gotta be doing something right. The rice is nice and light and well spiced and you have 2 other beanie choices besides the ol’ refried standby. The Chili Relleno comes highly recommended.

We’ll see how it goes…

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