We were once again at INAM in the process of renewing our FM3s. It was Wednesday and we were weary.
Our FM3s had been delayed due to circumstances which I prefer not to go into here. So during a lull, we retreated to the Auto Lavado/Internet café on the corner, presided over by the affable Sra. Myrna. I did some Internet time, while Doña Cuevas snoozed in a corner.
We were getting hungry, and asked Myrna for restaurant suggestions close by. She mentioned Iguazu, a Brazilian meat-on-a-sword place; and Infierno, a taquería/carnes asadas. She told us that they were nearby. But I'd noticed earlier a flyer on the counter, advertising the newly opened La Cocina de Betty, and when I asked Myrna and Marí, her hija muy bonita, they responded enthusiastically. Myrna offered to lead us to it, an offer we gladly accepted.
María and Myrna of the Auto Lavado and Internet Cafe.
It was just a half block down the street that runs behind INAM and angles over from Camelinas to Ignacio Chávez. A sharp right on the first side street to the right, a cerrada, and we were there.
Betty herself came out, and with others of her staff (whom I think are mostly family), they explained the program to us. That day, at least, you got a choice of chicken, beef or pork chop, cooked on the charcoal grill. There was a sidebar of salad ingredients and a hot table of guarniciones, including a tasty rice, cauliflower fried in egg batter in a tomato and lightly picante sauce, and herbed spaghetti. Spicier salsa stood ready nearby.
The salad table included the usual salad bar items; not a broad selection, but good. The broccoli and cauliflower were lightly cooked but served al tiempo, and didn't have that raw green taste I associate with these vegetables. Betty brought out a homemade salad dressing based on flor de jamaica. It was excellent, and neutralized the negative points I'd given for spotting bottled dressings on the salad table.
We were given a choice of two aguitas: mango or melón. We chose the refreshing melón, and a generous glass lasted through our meal.
Almost as an afterthought, Francisco, the grill man, asked if we would like soup. His English was earnest but limited and it was unclear from his description.
After visiting the salad table, we started to eat but flies were coming on, so we moved inside to a small area where there were two tables.The fly situation should be dealt with by the owner.
The inside dining room was decorate in good taste and gave a hint as to the affluence of the owner.
The waiter brought us a beautiful lentil soup with bits of ham and pork chop. The soup was delicious; the highlight of the meal. We were offered tortillas, but passed. Bread, de horno de leña, is mentioned in the flyer, but was not available that day.
We were offered coffee, and I accepted. It took a while, and it turned out to be a cup of boiled water and a dish of instant. However, it tasted better than NoEsCafé Instant.
Dessert was optional, at a surcharge of $15 pesos, and in the interests of research, decided on the pastel de tres leches. It was obviously homemade, and wasn't bad, but not fabulous, either. There was also a pink blob of gelatin available as well as something that looked like stewed prunes, but might have been figs.
The beef was nice and also tender, thin and cooked well done, seasoned with garlic and black pepper. The pork chops were o.k. and came with two slices of grilled pineapple. Salsas were available near the salad bar. My impression was that you could take and eat all you wanted, except for the meats, all at one price. That price was only $60 pesos a person. An excellent value, in my opinion.
I would try to describe the address, but we are traveling, and I can't locate either the flyer or Betty's business card. However, I think I can map it. Betty's location map
Price:$ (less than $100 pesos per person. We paid $60 each, plus $150 for a dessert.)
Ambiance: Genteel, upper middle class home; patio dining optional. Very friendly, sincere staff. Above all, "nice".
Rest room: spotlessHours: 1-?, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday ONLY
In my opinion, it's not a revelatory gastronomic experience, but an extremely pleasant one and just the right place to soothe your nerves and have a nice meal. The price is a very good value. Owner and staff are all affable and charming.
Betty gives cooking classes on Saturdays.
At the time of writing, Betty's had been open only a week.
Sra. Betty Zamudio