My hotel is in upscale Philadelphia, an area known for its luxury shops, smart restaurants and beautiful people. Out for a walk last night, I saw none of these, having turned the wrong way at the hotel door. Sadly, I can always find my own level.
I ended up at a Mexican restaurant called El Rey. The decor is ’60s and ’70s, and the wallpaper is flock. There is a even a flock Elvis and a flock Jim Hendrix. It is divine.
The waiter pressed me to a tamarind margarita, a much better drink than the usual acid-inducing mix. This was followed by esquitas, warm corn kernels bathed in a jalapeno spiced butter. Smoky, crunchy and comforting. Then a goat shank with refried black beans and chunky guacamole. This was served with some limp tacos–best ignored. The meat was tender and flavorful and the lime in the guacamole cut its greasiness of the meat in a very good way.
El Rey wasn’t all that busy when I was there (well, it was a Monday night) but it’s a pretty hip hangout. Camp decor and good cooking.