Sunny lunch trends

Jamaican jerk chicken at Tropixx.

Jamaican jerk chicken at Tropixx.

Photo by David Robert

Tropixx Café
Sometimes keeping up with the trends is time-consuming. For example: It takes 18 minutes to prepare the Chicken Trinidad with orange coconut rum sauce at Tropixx Café. That’s not counting the slushy, snowy drive to the restaurant in the shopping center at Mira Loma and McCarran Boulevard.

If you do have the time, the entrée ($11.95) is worth the wait. A chicken breast flattened and lightly breaded with coconut is stuffed with mushrooms, Jack cheese and red and green peppers. Chef and owner Pio Suarez cooks this up to tender perfection and serves it sliced in chunks and drizzled with orange coconut rum sauce.

I visited Tropixx with co-worker Jenanne Bull, who declared the restaurant’s packets of sugar “trendy” shortly after we were seated. They’re more tubes than packets, actually, kind of long and decorative with the Boyd’s Coffee logo and Web site, I wanted to order coffee just so that I could slit one open and empty the sugar into a mug of hot stuff.

But I wasn’t really in a coffee mood. I ordered the chicken and a bowl of Acapulco shrimp and scallop soup on the recommendation of our photo editor David Robert. David had been raving about the soup and with good reason. The soup ($5.95) is made fresh after you order. The broth is a surprising blend of red onion, tomato, lime juice and cilantro. Chunks of vegetables in the soup complement the perfectly cooked scallops and shrimp.

The restaurant itself has a surprising blend of cuisines: Latin, Italian, Asian, American and Caribbean. You can get ravioli or burgers or Jamaican jerk chicken. Jenanne ordered pork chow mein ($7.95) and a salad with a ginger-soy-mango-balsamic dressing ($2.75). Trendy? Well, yeah. Delicious? You bet.

Partaking in a brief moment of trendiness, she told me, is a rare thing for her. This is a woman, I discovered, who owns more than 20 Yes CDs. Ten are in her car.

“When you’re a teenager,” she told me, “you have to have the right music—lots of different CDs. But I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care what people think.”

Jenanne lives beyond trends now that she is 23 years old.

But she’s not immune. Nor am I. In fact, while we waited for diverse elements of our fusion lunch to arrive, we checked out the fountain that fills up one whole Tropixx wall. Twisted knotty wood lined with viney greenery holds metal lily pads onto which water drizzles down and down and down. This is at least on par with the whooshing waterfalls at the Atlantis. Our admiration sparked a discussion of putting a Japanese rock garden in our office, building a coy pond and doing all things feng shui in general.

Like the hip babes that we are, we stuffed our faces. That’s not entirely true. Jenanne took half of her chow mein back to the office. I finished nearly all my Acapulco shrimp and scallop soup and polished off the Chicken Trinidad with orange coconut rum sauce. I was groaning groovily when the waitress came back to the table.

“Does this mean you don’t want any key lime pie for dessert?” she asked.

Maybe another time, we replied. We thanked her and made our way out past the tall potted palms and into the snowy strip mall.