For 25 years I have been looking forward to returning to Casa Bonita, my favorite restaurant in all the world. I was there in 1980 with our church youth group, on our way to a week of volunteer work at the Navajo Mission in New Mexico. It is not so much a restaurant as an attraction. I have told Alan about it ever since we were dating, even considered going there on our honeymoon! When we first started to plan our western trip, it was the first thing I put on the calendar.
We drove half an hour to get there, through a pretty seedy part of town, including the Big Bunny Hotel, which had vacancy(at least for this hour!). Elly finally spotted it...a great big old castle...CASA BONITA! It hadn’t changed one bit in 25 years, which is a good thing! You go through an amusement park kind of line until you get to the counter where they give you one of about 6 different kinds of Mexican foods, all smothered in lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream & guacamole...adults $10.50, kids $3.50. Then they walk you through the halls of this dark old castle till you get seated near a huge waterfall. You enjoy your food while you watch the shows taking place around the waterfall area. There are pirate battles, western shootouts, and even cliffdivers! Every show has the bad guy falling 40 feet or so into the shallow pool below, to raucous applause from the audience.
Meanwhile, back to the food...whenever you want more food you raise a flag on your table, and within a minute or so your waiter is there, and you can order more of any of the foods you started with (assuming you can identify them, that is)! They bring you as much as you want, each time reminding you to save room for soapapillas, these airy fried dough pastries drizzled in honey. Mmmmm....Then while we were eating a band of mariachis came up and serenaded us for our anniversary, which is May 30...more about that later. We thanked them, "Gracias, gracias" (Note to Dad...learned it from the best!). Then we toured the castle, saw a puppet show, watched Coleman & Caroline try to break a pinata, etc. etc. Entertainment galore...fun for kids and their parents! On our way out Coleman & Caroline got old-time photos done. The thing is, everything is really inexpensive there...the photos were only $6.95 and you know how much you pay for them at the beach! Awesome night, what a perfect way to start our vacation!