Monday, January 26, 2009

Sopa de Camarones

This bowl of soup, brimming with fragrant broth, nearly a dozen good-sized shrimp plus a plethora of chunky vegetables and a spritz of sprightly lime juice, was the perfect antidote to a gray, misting California winter day. I enjoyed it, or rather half of it, at Cazuelas Grill, a no-nonsense Mexican food restaurant in, of all places, the Hilltop Mall in Richmond.

Hilltop is a sprawling shopping center on the shaved-flat crest of a hill surrounded with brand new housing tracts and apartment complexes and ringed with so many empty acres of blacktop that it would make a great place to teach a kid to drive. I have never been there when even a quarter of the spaces are filled - one wonders how they can keep the place going. They have tenants like JC Penney and Macy's but I think the store that really brings 'em in is Cazuelas. It's a fun place to meet Cookiecrumb and Cranky for a quick bite and a visit.

The soup could have been improved in three ways. First, the shrimp should have been shelled, at least down to the tails. Second, the veggies were pretty soft and should have been cooked a bit less to leave them more integrity. Third, the shrimp should have been slipped into the broth for just the last few minutes as they were a bit rubbery. Still, you'd hardly have guessed that these shoulds were running through my mind if you'd been at the table watching me eagerly spoon up the rich, tasty broth. There was so much, I brought home half to share with My Beloved, who had been there just minutes before we arrived and missed us. Rats!

I've had the posole there and now the sopa de camarones - I can recommend either one to fortify a California wuss for the rest of an afternoon of errands and chores.

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Blogger Kailyn said...

I still remember the disbelief with which I was greeted when I first told folks about Cazuelas years ago. "What? Good Mexican food in a mall?"

Glad to see you're still frequenting the place.

Monday, January 26, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Oh, darn. We lingered too long over coffee!

Monday, January 26, 2009  
Blogger liteluvr said...

Wow... must be something in the air... I did a shrimp chowder last night. Great minds and all...
That looks super good. Much lighter fare than my chowder. Going to have to give your version a shot.

Monday, January 26, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kailyn, it's still very good but this is the first time I've been back - I don't tend to think of Hilltop when I'm hungry as most of the places there are truly fast food joints.

Cookiecrumb, isn't that a bummer?

Liteluvr, I'll have to pop over and see your version. Sounds great!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009  

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