In fact the barbacoa was so great--and the rest of the menu so promising--that after eating it on Friday night, I was compelled to return the very next morning. The rays of sunshine were barely creeping over the horizon when I was snoring away in dreamland envisioning the bounty that the Farolitos buffet would offer me. Yes, the heavy and rich barbacoa had me sleeping like a baby, but when I did crawl out of bed at the respectable hour of a quarter past ten, had a shower, made some coffee, sipped it slowly while sitting in the sun-- I was raring to go.
The buffet, besides being proudly advertised outside, occupies the entire entry room of Los Farolitos. When leaving the night before, it was nothing more than empty metal trays, unlit burners and dark shadows; in the light of the day, it was overflowing with Mexican goodies of all kinds.
There were a lot of options that day and the kitchen kept rotating out the trays with different dishes, so it was really a non-stop morning-turned-afternoon of joyful eating bliss. There was one buffet table full of savory Mexican delights, another table with three different hot soups, a third table with dressings and condiments, and a fourth-- clearly neglected table-- with things like fruit and granola. Ha.
Needless to say, I hovered over tables one, two and three for the next couple of hours. Instead of trying to go through each tray, let's take a look at my first plate of food.
This mountain of food was topped with a tamal, which was moist and delicious. Under it were some excellent albondigas (meat balls) that were sitting in a watery tomato broth. They were moist and tender, packed with homemade comfort. The rice was good, but with a spread like this it is only good for sopping up sauces and drippings (which it did quite well). The vegetable medley of zucchini, and the other with green beans were also good. Refried beans made it on the plate because that is like the milk on your cereal that is the Mexican buffet-- you just must have them.
Plate two was more albondigas, and some incredible pork bits in a fantastic tomatillo salsa/mole. Behind them were some beef short ribs in a thick and smoky red chile (guajillo?) sauce. Tucked in the back there was a very good chile relleno doused in a traditional tomato sauce and sprinkled with queso.
Close up of 2
Then it was time for thirds.
As you can tell from this picture, the beef ribs and pork were my favorites. I also picked up some chicharrones in salsa verde just as they were being brought out from the kitchen. The latter is one of my all-time favorite dishes. Chicharrones, if you don't know, are pieces of fried pork skin. That is good enough on its own, but when bathed in a tomatillo salsa until they are soft again, it is truly a treat. I like to make little tacos--which I did with a few of the warm tortillas from the buffet.
I also hit the soup line and had some pozole. There really wasn't much in the broth (no hominy, some bony pieces of meat), but like the borrego broth from the night before, it was another excellent homemade comfort broth turned out by this kitchen. The following photo is a good indication of my slowly declining vertical position by meal's end.
My wife was absolutely enamored because of the tray of pig's feet. They were not pickled and served on a tostada how she prefers them, but they were the feet of a pig nonetheless and she was happy. I have to say that while I don't much care for the pickled version, this boiled pata served with salsa was indeed quite good.
Ten years ago on a good day I could have caused Los Farolitos to close early with a buffet like this. Now older, wiser and with certainly less stretch-room in the stomach, three plates, a bowl of pozole and a horrible plate of bread pudding later (didn't want to scare you with the picture and I can't believe I ate the whole plate), I was ready to get right back in bed.
If you haven't eaten at Los Farolitos after my first post then hopefully this will get you there. It is well worth the trip and full of great food and friendly people.