After a walk around the Martinez Marina to enjoy chilly but sunny New Year's Day weather, we decided to treat ourselves to an early dinner at La Primavera Mexican restaurant located at 1311 Pine Street in downtown Martinez, California.
Hubby had eaten their refried beans and rice and said they were the best he's ever tasted aside from those we found at Cholo's in Haleiwa on the north shore of O'ahu. Since we're always on a quest for the perfect beans and rice, I was anxious to taste them as well as the rest of the fare.
We were pleased to find La Primavera open on the holiday. Hubby's impression upon entering La Primavera was, "This is the cleanest restaurant!" And it is! It's a real joy (and relief) to enter a small "mom and pop" establishment and have that be one's first impression.
We were also charmed by the atmosphere of casual Mexican dining that was enhanced by brightly colored wall and ceiling murals; vintage style boothes and counter stools in red green and yellow vinyl; and the traditional Mexican music playing over the stereo system. It felt like we had stepped off Pine Street into Mexico.
We were greeted and seated promptly and cordially by the waitress that would then be our server for the evening. She brought us chips with two kinds of salsa: mild and not-so-mild (a real nice kick with a good smokey edge). The chips were obviously made on-site and were very fresh.
After perusing an extensive, but not overwhelming, menu we chose carne asada for our New Year's meal (the prices are very reasonable even for the steak). We were pleased to see that the menu includes some regional Mexican selections for those that want a taste of Mexico. The menu also includes an extensive breakfast menu with a Mexican flare.
Our meal was wonderful. The carne asada was seasoned to perfection. Hubby was right about the beans and rice. The flour and corn tortillas were fresh as can be served in a charming hand-embroidered and carefully pressed and starched cotton cloth with handmade lace edging as if we were sitting down to eat in a relative's kitchen. We could see the tortilla press behind the pristine counter where they had been made. It was all so impressive.
To add to the wonderful ambience, a gentleman (probably the owner or manager) sat at one of the counter stools rocking his baby girl. Once she was asleep, he placed her in her baby carrier with a pink blanket over it to shield her eyes from the light, and then proceeded to check on us and the other diners periodically, even bussing our plates. He continued to check on her and then the diners throughout our meal. That's impressive! It showed a commitment to the restaurant that one doesn't find in chain restaurants. It also added a quality that is hard to put into words.
We went away having dined sufficiently on superb Mexican food. I went away with a not only a wonderful memory of delicious food, but a wonderful memory of a dining experience. Will we go back? Most definitely! And we've probably started a New Year's tradition that we will continue to keep from this year on. Thank you La Primavera!