A taste of Mexico on the South Shore
~ by Jen Nonenmacher, Photography by Susan Hagstrom
My first visit to La Paloma was over 25 years ago in the original Quincy location. I was a child, it was my mother’s birthday, and Mexican food is her favorite so naturally this was where my dad took us for a nice, authentic, family-friendly dinner. This was the first of many of our frequent visits to this restaurant and part of some pretty great childhood memories for me—it was also the beginning of my love affair with Mexican food. So, needless to say, I am thrilled the tradition carries on in the Quincy location, celebrating 30 years of business this year, and most recently now in Kingston at 114 Main Street.
The Kingston location opened in August of 2010, about two and a half years ago and has been a much-welcomed addition to Kingston and Plymouth’s restaurant scene. The bar is spacious and separate from the dining rooms, so whether you want to bring the kids for a sit-down dinner in a family-friendly environment or sit in a quiet corner on a date night, this is the place to be. Also, for you fans of Keno and happy hour, La Paloma in Kingston is an ideal destination for an after-work cocktail or beer and a few quick games—just grab a stool at the spacious bar, get comfortable and make yourself at home.
One of the things I can always expect at La Paloma is consistency—and I’ve been going there a long time so I speak from experience! The reason for this is probably because the same chef, Cristo Canenquez of El Salvador, has run the kitchen at La Paloma for over 28 years.
Canenquez moved to the United States in the mid-eighties and began working at the restaurant as a dishwasher. Before long it was clear he had a natural affinity and talent for cooking and he has been with the restaurant ever since as Head Chef, now splitting his time between the Quincy and the Kingston locations.
La Paloma features all kinds of entrees and dishes and offers an extensive menu ranging from simple Enchiladas to complex Paella, sautéed shrimp, scallops, mussels, chicken and chorizo with cilantro pesto, onions, peppers and white wine simmered with Mexican rice and served with warm tortillas and sour cream. At La Paloma the philosophy is to present dishes that are flavorful, not merely spicy. The award-winning fajitas are double-marinated and charbroiled, served with rice, sautéed onions and peppers, guacamole, sour cream, ensalada and warm flour tortillas—choose from chicken, pork, steak, shrimp, vegetable or a combination of any three! The Chili Poblano Rellenos, my mother’s personal favorite—two roasted poblano peppers stuffed with your choice of chicken, steak, pork or shrimp and topped with a cheese sauce served with rice and cheese enchilada with chile sauce—are not to be missed. And if you’re looking for a lighter lunch or dinner fare then La Paloma’s menu includes a plethora of delicious salads and sandwiches such as The Santa Fe Salad and the Veggie Wrap. La Paloma also offers a children’s menu (they also give you the option to serve fruit as a side versus French Fries, which I found to be a great option for the kids). For a complete look at the menu go to www.lapalomarestaurant.com, or better yet, stop by in person and try it out if you haven’t already.
La Paloma in Kingston also features a Sunday Brunch Menu from 10am to 2pm every week. Each table will be greeted with a loaf of homemade cornbread and then you can start your brunch with the cocktail or beverage of your choice—whether that’s a mimosa, a Bloody Mary or a Raz Royale, La Paloma’s liquor license allows them to begin serving responsible adults at 11am on Sundays. Now maybe I need to back up a little bit because you may be thinking, “Mexican cuisine and brunch…Hmmm…How’s that work?” Well I’ll tell you what; it works beautifully and is a great concept. For those of you who are die-hard Mexican cuisine fans (such as myself!) order something adventurous off the specialties menu—you won’t be disappointed. Try the Mexican Breakfast Pizza; an entrée consisting of eggs, bacon, tomatoes, scallions and jalapeños layered in flour tortillas, baked until crisp, and topped with chili sauce and cheese, or the Burrito Rellenos con Huevos; a 10-inch tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, bacon, black beans, sour cream, guacamole, cheese and served with home-fried potatoes. For those of you who prefer a more traditional Sunday Brunch or who are bringing the kids, there are plenty of options for you to choose from as well—Texas Style French Toast served with Bacon, Eggs Benedict, or omelettes cooked to order by Chef Cristo himself!
La Paloma carries a full liquor license and makes the best Margaritas north of the Rio Grande. The bar stocks over twenty-five types of tequila and the modern-day twists on the classic margarita such as the Pomegranate Blueberry Rita, the Prickly Pear Rita, the Mango Rita and the Fuzzy Navel Rita ensure there’s always something new to try. The cocktail specials include intriguing concoctions such as White Peach Sangria, Pineapple Infusion, and the La Paloma Colada; a black raspberry liquor, strawberries and the homemade pina colada mix. There are four beers on tap and another twenty-one bottled varieties of beer and the wine list is extensive and reasonably priced.
Co-owners Steve Dwyer and Michael Walsh have been friends and business partners since they met as classmates at Cape Cod Community College over thirty years ago. Steve, who grew up in Scituate and now resides in Plymouth, and Mike, who grew up in Hanover and now resides in Halifax, both have strong ties to the local community and this year will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the grand opening of the original La Paloma location in Quincy! A wonderful and experienced staff joins Steve and Mike in the restaurant—there’s not a high employee turnover rate at La Paloma—another factor that contributes to this establishment’s consistency and success. When I asked what the secret to running such a successful business for such a long time was, co-owner Steve explained simply, “We treat not only our customers, but also our staff, like family. Most of these folks have been with us for a long time and newcomers receive the best training from the most experienced staff—it’s a strength in this business to have a wonderful staff—they are all knowledgeable about the menu and keep the customers happy.” Steve goes on to say, “Here, we want every customer to be happy,” which is surely evident by the exceptional customer service.
La Paloma is a lively place—smiles and laughter fill this restaurant and bar and the décor is completely authentic and beautifully handcrafted. From hand-painted murals to tasteful sombreros on the wall to the valances that are handmade from serapes, the atmosphere at La Paloma is composed of a perfect balance of colorful and tasteful décor. But if you are hosting a luncheon, dinner or any kind of event at your home, La Paloma has the catering and take-out services to suite your every need for a special occasion. Simply give them a call and then just pick up everything you need—including serving platters, plates and utensils for your guests or family.
Stop by the Kingston location of La Paloma at 114 Main Street and see for yourself what a great experience you’ll have. As Steve likes to say, “Try us once and you’ll be back for life.” I suppose my mother and I are the living proof—these days she lives in Tucson, Arizona so there’s no shortage of Mexican food in her neighborhood…but every time she comes to visit, our first stop is La Paloma!
Sunday: Brunch 10am-2pm
Tuesday – Saturday: 11:30am – 10:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm – 9:00pm
Tuesday – Saturday: 11:30am – 10:00pm