Okay, so it's not deluxe. Mostly the food is average, not much more. But try a Vuelve a la Vida (come back to life), a seafood cocktail with loads of shrimp, crab, calamari, and avocado. Also, the seafood soup or the caldo de Cameron are excellent.
Then there is the view. There is nothing I like better than to pass an hour or two sitting at a Regis table near the action in the Zocalo. One can watch the world go by--the people, the vendors, the musicians, the dancers.
In the early evening one can often watch the danzon being performed to a fine danzonera orchestra: couples of all ages, from the very old to the very young, many of the men wearing the traditional white suit and hat and many of the women dressed to the nines, perform the stately, elegant dance that is emblematic of Vercruz.
You can be sure that there will always be music--good music. Fine marimba bands abound, as do small mariachi bands, lone guitarists or harpists. Sure, they ask for donations, but that's their living, and I figure, don't they deserve some coins for filling my ears with music? For 100 pesos, you can pick out songs to play from their playbook. If you are unfamiliar with Mexican music (and shame on you if you are), ask for three classics by the great Veracruz songwriter, Agustin Lara--"Veracruz", "Azul," and "Solamente Una Vez."
And then there are the vendors wending their way among the tables selling everything from rip-off watches and DVDS to native-made blouses, shawls, and jewelry. (Most of them are made in Chiapas or Oaxaca, by native Mexicans. If you buy any of their exquisitely embroidered pieces you will be helping the poorest of the poor). Others sell huge hand-made galleons, nuts of all kind, gum. One guy sells pieces of freshly made cheese with slices of pickled carrot. Try it. It's delicious.
Some people are put off by all the vendors. I find them interesting and always willing to bargain. If you do not want their attention, just tell them no with that eloquent Mexican gesture--the index finger waved slowly back and forth. (Also good to tell a taxi that you don't need one.)
Above all, you can sit in the Regis, eating your vuelve a la vida and, in my case, smoking a cigarette and drinking a coke, and watch the panoply of Jarochos (as Veracruzanos call themselves) passing by.
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