Last week, Mark and I spent a considerable part of the day in Migraciones in Montevideo, working on getting our residency papers. Like any country, there’s some bureaucracy and line-waiting involved, but probably less so than other countries. Nonetheless, having been there since 8:00 in the morning, we were hungry, and ready for a good meal. Strolling along Avenida 25 De Mayo, we came upon the Big Mamma Cafe & Bar.
The billboard advertised a lunch special. Priced at 279 pesos, about $13.60 U.S., it included a main entree, a choice of wine, soda or mineral water and desert. Once inside, our exceptionally friendly waitress sat us down and brought over a basket of herb-flavored bread, along with two special spreads. She was delighted to discover that we spoke English, a language in which she is quite fluent. We soon learned that she is owner Sandra Burcatovsky, or Big Mamma herself!
Truth be told, the Big Mamma Cafe and Bar already had me at the Art Deco interior, characterized by a bright red and wood decor and accented with Deco lighting glass a mirrors. Black and white photos fill the room, especially in the upstairs balcony. I latter learned that many of the pictures were of Mario Benedetti, the Uruguayan poet, writer and journalist. Apparently, the Big Momma was one of the places where he would hang out and write. I wonder if he took advantage of the free wifi? Benedetti lived in exile from 1973 to 1985, when the military dictatorship ruled Uruguay. He returned to his home country after the restoration of democracy.
As a former tour guide for the town of Breckenridge, Colorado, historical references always get me high, but little did I know that the meal I was about to enjoy would be one of the best I’ve experienced in Montevideo. The Thai Curry came with a healthy portion of rice and vegetables. Sandra kept us happy with frequent aqua con gas and bread basket refills. Desert was a deliciously sinful white chocolate mousse, drizzled with chocolate syrup and served on a brownie-type cookie. After a lunch like this, the hours spent in Migraciones were a vague, distant memory.