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Exploring 'retro' diners in Latin America

Who says time travel is impossible? In Latin America, it can happen all the time. 

IMG_0497The other night, my wife and I and another couple decided to go to the Covadonga Cantina in the Roma district of Mexico City. This place is widely rated as one of the best traditional cantinas in the city. I had yet to visit.

As soon as one walks in the door, one hears the exuberant sounds of dominoes slapping down on the tables. It’s a huge salon, largely unchanged for four or five decades. At some tables, people play dominoes. At others, they drink and watch football on TVs on the walls. At still others, they eat Spanish (not Mexican) food.

It really seemed to be a blast from the past. The center of our table was discolored from the domino games that had been played there for decades. Although none of us had played in years, we asked for a set and amused ourselves for much of the evening.

Click here and here and here to see what others say about Covadonga. Part of what I loved about the place is that it was packed, and clients seemed to be equally divided between young urban hipsters and oldtimers who'd probably been coming for decades.

IMG_0493I had another marvelous experience of visiting a diner straight out of the 1950s recently. It was in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, at the Skandia Restaurant in the Gran Hotel Sula. I’d been there 15 or so years ago and still remembered the place. I went back earlier this month … and nothing had changed. It was clean, tidy and I felt like I was on a movie set for Grease.

Behind the Formica counter was the Hamilton Beach mixer. The pie stand stood at the ready with the day’s treats. If you like terrazzo floors, grilled cheese sandwiches, waffles dusted with confectioner’s sugar, big slices of apple pie, donuts and milk shakes, head down to San Pedro Sula. 



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Serenity Escapes

an old fashioned cantina is more like a drinking place, no?...urinals at the bar, etc...

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This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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