The Chicken Ranch
I resisted going to the Chicken Ranch for a long time even though my friends said it was a great place to eat. There are a few of these around San Cristobal de las Casas and I try to avoid chain restaurants as much as I can snobbishly thinking expanding the number of outlets necessarily means a diminution of quality. I also tend to avoid restaurants in non-English speaking places that have their signs in English. If they are actively trying to attract foreigners they must have already given up on the locals, right? Also, was having a loveable cartoon character for a mascot really supposed to make me want to go and eat his dismembered and charbroiled cousins? Putting all this aside I decide to go anyway.
Having a line of locals at the walkup takeaway window was encouraging. I was slightly more encouraged when I noticed that the sign outside the shop is misspelled (unless “Chiken” has some secret meaning in Spanish). Maybe the place wasn’t too slick after all! All hesitation was gone when I saw a rotisserie full of plump birds being cooked over a real wood fire. Below the rotisserie was a griddle covered in onions and jalapeños wafting flavor up onto the birds! The aroma was amazing.
I check out the menu and yes, chicken is pretty much it. I got a whole chicken with fixings, which not surprisingly included onion and jalapeños but also, rice and of course tortillas. The chicken was succulent and tender. The wood fire added great flavor to the skin. I was able to eat about a third of what was brought and had the rest packed up for two more meals at home. Not too bad for about $6.75.