La Posada: The beginning

Henri falls for established Paradise Mexican restaurant

“The Inn” roadside on The Ridge.

“The Inn” roadside on The Ridge.

Photo By kyle delmar

La Posada Restaurant and Cantina, 5742 Skyway, Paradise, 877-3478, Serving dinner & lunches daily from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

La Posada Restaurant and Cantina

5742 Skyway
Paradise, CA 95969

(530) 877-3478

Despite the recent inclement weather, Colette and Henri have remained steadfast in our commitment to venture outside our comfort zones and get to know the Chico area better. In fact, my ingenious sister has discovered a way to print maps from our computer and even, in very un-Bourride-like fashion, to read them.

One day last month, claiming that her driving skills were sufficient to handle what she called “moderately wintry” conditions, she even convinced me that a drive up into the mountains was not a completely foolhardy notion, in spite of the looming clouds and predictions for all manner of precipitation.

I did make her promise, of course, that in the event of a blizzard she would return us to the relatively halcyon valley floor.

“I do not want to end up trapped in the snow for months like those people in the wagon train,” I told her.

She shrugged. “I thought you said you liked The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

Very funny.

At any rate, we found ourselves famished in Paradise that evening and, as the sky cleared, stopping at La Posada Restaurant and Cantina, where we had a lovely dinner. We’ve returned twice since, impressed each time.

Neither palatial by measure nor elegant by character, La Posada might be described as a hole in the wall. If there were a wall. Instead, it’s a cozy roadhouse (La Posada means “The Inn” in Spanish) just steps off the Skyway, with a neighborhoody bar in front and a dining room in the back, access to which is gained by a steep set of stairs from the dirt parking lot below—you can also enter through the bar.

The restaurant’s menu includes classic Mexican entrées, from tacos and tamales to chimichangas and chile rellenos, as well as house specialties, including borego (marinated lamb shanks, baked and served with pico de gallo) and tostadas de pulpas (octopus).You can also get ceviche, fajitas, carnitas and a wide range of other appetizers and entrées. Dinner plates, which include very generous helpings of rice and refried beans, run $7-$12, and many items, including tacos, tamales and enchiladas, are available à la carte, some with choice of chicken, beef, shrimp, or fish, for $4-$6. Appetizers run $5 (chile poppers, cheese quesadilla) to $15 (the combo platter). The lunch menu includes smaller portions of most of their dinner items for $3-$8.

Our waitress greeted us with a large bowl of warm, crispy chips along with some of the best salsa we’ve had—onions, green onions, and cilantro, swimming in a perfectly picante jalapeño-spiced tomato base.

We started with a half order of taquitos ($4.95), a chimichanga-sized flour tortilla stuffed with chicken and cheese, cut into four pieces, and served with lots of iceberg lettuce and diced tomato and topped with Parmesan cheese—and big dollops of sour cream and guacamole. Delicious, especially with the salsa.

Colette ordered the seafood molcajete ($12.95), a sort of Mexican bouillabaisse, seasoned with jalapeños, which came with lots of shrimp, scallops and white fish, as well green onions and sliced mushrooms and onions, with avocado slices on the side. She liked it, although thought it a bit too sweet, the source of which we could not discern (and of which our waitress was unsure). I ordered à la carte—two carne asada tacos ($5.95), overflowing with meat, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, and which were very good, and a chicken tamale with green salsa ($2.95) that was even better.

We left very satisfied, and quite full, and have since returned for their fajitas, chicken enchiladas, and chile rellenos. The latter were especially good, huge egg-coated pasilla peppers stuffed with cheese and topped with Parmesan shavings. And we’ll definitely be back, especially now that the warmer weather seems here to stay.

We’re even thinking of going up some Friday night for karaoke, although Colette suggested I do something besides “Las Palabras de Amor.” “I’m not sure how well your Freddie Mercury would go over up there,” she said.

I just smiled. “Que será será.”