My bright yellow, happy-face bowling ball was headed straight down the middle of the lane toward a magnificent strike when suddenly it swirled inexplicably to the left and went straight into the gutter.
So much for my short-lived, renewed career as “Queen of the 10 Pins.”
Ah, but it was a lot of fun, and brought back fond memories of my misspent youth (okay, maybe not that fond, since I vaguely remember my 10th-grade boyfriend dumping me at a bowling alley).
But, at least, I proved I could still manage to get a spare or two and that I still knew how to hold a bowling ball.
Penny Lane, a combination restaurant, bar and bowling alley located inside the Arcos Bosques shopping mall in Bosques de las Lomas, is all about combining comfort food (both Mexican and American) with family-style fun.
And while I may not have shined brilliantly in my feeble attempt at bowling, I did delight in the varied and downhome menu at this elegantly casual, one-of-a-kind bistro.
The décor of Penny Lane is homey and inviting, with unclothed wooden tables surrounded by shelves of books and knickknacks (including bowling pins and other sports paraphernalia) that give the place the lived-in feel of a personal library in a stately mansion.
There are two fully working fireplaces in the restaurant (which are always on, even in the dead of summer), and two bars, one for the semi-outdoors smoking section and one for the nonsmoking section.
In the back are the bowling alleys, with eight automated lanes and cluster tables where you can eat or drink between turns at rolling your ball down the alley (or, as in my case, down the gutter).
If you have kids, you can send the youngsters off to snack at the alley area while the grownups relax in one of the conventional dining rooms.
Penny Lane’s bill of fare runs the gamut from marinated tuna tacos served on wonton tostados and grill-smoked octopus in paprika olive oil to mile-high hamburgers dripping in Monterrey Jack cheese and topped with crispy strips of bacon.
The barbecue spare ribs are as about good as you can find this side of the Rio Grande, and the pizzas — which are one of Penny Lane’s biggest draws — come in a range of options that run from simple margaritas with fresh mozzarella and basil to gourmet versions with serrano ham, arugula and black truffle oil.
Beef eaters will be impressed with the USDA Choice Black Angus sirloins and rib eyes, and those who are seeking a taste of home will want to add a side order of mac and cheese or frijoles charros, depending on which side of the border their home is on.
But it is the desserts menu where you will find Penny Lane’s ultimate ticket of U.S. comfort food: a make-your-own s’mores package for the entire table that includes a flaming hibachi, plenty of big, puffy, white marshmallows, slabs of Hershey’s chocolate, crispy, where-did-they-find-them-in-Mexico graham crackers and little wooden spears to roast your gelatin confection before squeezing it Girl-Scout-style into a gooey, tasty, nostalgic delight.
Penny Lane also has an impressive mixology team that is eager and ready to create whatever intoxicating potion may suit your fancy.
The restaurant makes a mean margarita and the house special drink is a potent and very visually attractive Bailey’s martini (which may be responsible for my aforementioned gutter ball).
Penny Lane is open daily for both lunch and dinner, and bowling is optional.
Penny Lane is located at Paseo de Tamarindos 90 inside the Paseo Arcos Bosques shopping mall (tel: 9135 0234, 9135 0235 and 9135 0399).