Finding Cafe Camino was the culinary surprise of the year for me. As an ex-line cook and kitchen manager, I've had my fair share of bison burgers, blueberry mustards, secret sauces, and homemade buns. I love a good burger, so naturally I ordered Cafe Camino's. Our server who was attentive, hardworking, and bilingual told us that the meat was all locally raised as he brought us a delicious round of drinks.
What he didn't tell us was that every single piece of every single plate would be treated with the utmost care and respect. When the plates arrived, each one was as beautiful as those you'd find in an award winning restaurant in the states. Clearly, no expense was spared and no corner was cut.
I can't speak to the flavor of the other food. But as soon as I bit into the hamburger, I knew I had found something truly unique. The bun was house made with beetroot to give it a red exterior. Inside the crumb was soft and delicious. The vegetables were fresh, the fries were wide thin slices of potato- perfectly crisp. Even the sauces were house made and delicious.
However, above all the incredible things I could say about that meal, the burger itself is what really blew me away. I wish I knew how they did it. The meat was unlike any I'd ever eaten. A mixture of complex seasoning (not just powdered, but with little bits of crunch-- maybe seeds?) and a lower fat content made it feel in my mouth like a falafel made of meat. And I mean that in the best way.
The portion was perfect (definitely big enough), although I would have eaten myself into a coma if I'd had the extra Quetzales to do it. My two companions were equally impressed and cleared their plates before I did. I was apprehensive about the gringo prices to be found in San Marcos. After eating, I would gladly pay twice the price to eat that burger again (it only cost Q50 or about $7)
If you're in San Marcos, stopping at Cafe Camino is an absolute must, whether you're a meat eater, a vegetarian, or a vegan, you will not be disappointed. Don't worry if you have to wait a minute for your food, you're not being served something pre-made from a pot. They're taking their time, preparing something incredible which you won't find anywhere else in the world.
It probably sounds like I'm being paid to write this, I'm not. My friend just joked that I'm trying to get a free burger, not even. As long as I can help their business keep doing what it does so that I can come back and order that burger next year, I'll be a happy man. Thanks Cafe Camino for an incredible meal.