Argentinean Barbeque

September16

If you live on the Canadian prairies, you will know that August didn’t exactly feel like summer. Friends, neighbours and family have been consoling themselves by saying “maybe we will get another little burst of summer in September”. Well, we are in the middle of that burst.

Yesterday might have been a beach day to make up for the ones that we never enjoyed while on holidays. But we had a commitment in the city, so we drove in from the lake early Sunday morning. In the afternoon Doug enjoyed the weather while cutting the lawn (and a neighbour’s too). Typically his reward for yard work is  to plunk down in a awn chair with an icy cold beer. Since a neighbour across the street was cutting his lawn simultaneously, D asked him over for that beer. Our neighbour did one better, he said:” It is such a gorgeous day, why don’t you come over for a barbeque?” D was quick to say yes as our neighbour happens to be from Argentina, a country widely known for their barbeque meat.

I threw some veggies in the oven to roast an D packed up some beer.

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When we arrived we found Adolfo hard at work. He had pork, chicken and sausage all on the barbecue. The latter being a type that we had not seen before. The coals were live and when the lid was closed, there were two chimneys coming out of the top. Soon after there was a knock on the back gate and neighbours John and Jodi were joining us at the lovely table set out in the garden. They had just returned from Italy and since we leave in a month’s time, we were glad to chat.

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First up was a taste of pork. It was perfectly prepared to a succulent doneness and the salt and spice combination (a secret) were just to our liking. The bites of chicken, sausage and beef were equally delicious.

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By this time all the meats had been placed on the table and I added our vegetable dish. I had roasted sweet potato and beets in some truffle salt that had been gifted to me.

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The meal was lightened up with a crisp salad of apple and walnuts contributed by the back lane neighburs.

By this time the strings of patio lights had come one and we lingered over wine and beer with stories of travel and neighbourhood living. It was the perfect night.

Kath’s quotes: “Grilling, broiling, barbecuing – whatever you want to call it – is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.” James Beard

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Lover never fails.

 

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Anniversary Weekend

September7

This past weekend D and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. We were married on the Sunday of a Labour Day weekend because it was the only long weekend we could find that was celebrated in both Canada and the US, where D’s family is originally from. We have marked the occasion in many ways over the years, with trips, weekend getaways or romantic dinners out. This year was memorable for a completely different reason though. We celebrated with our three kids and three grandkids up at our Beach House.

We typically divide up the groceries and meal prep between families but on this weekend J1 and Boo, said to D and I: “we’ve got this”. I was intrigued when J1 got to work early on Saturday morning-cooking bacon and mashing potatoes. I wondered what new brunch meal he was prepping for us. Turns out he was prepping for Saturday night!

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Here is the dynamic duo in the kitchen.

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The Wee Ones were dressed in aprons we purchased for them in Portugal. They told us the specials, took our drink orders and served our first course!

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Since D and I met at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, the kids put together a Keg menu starting with a creamy Cesar salad and the mot decadent garlic cheese toast I have ever tasted.

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There were twice baked potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and Sirloin Oscars made with shrimp, scallops and asparagus in Bearnaise sauce! We are a family who uses food as a love language and D and I felt very loved indeed.

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Dinner was so delicious and we were so stuffed afterwards, we had to go on a family walk!

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The next day we hosted a special Happy Hour so that the extended family could celebrate with us in addition to a couple of close friends who made the drive out from the city. Happy hour extended into a bonfire and we had the chance to reminisce about marriage and love and family.

Kath’s quote: “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” Mignon McLaughlin

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Love never fails.

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Guest Blogger Sister #3-Loncheria Nicol, Isla Mujeres

September4

Each year, when I get back from my trip to Isla Mujeres, the thing I miss most about the food is the ability to pick up a wide variety of unbelievable yummy items to go. Sure, in Canada we can order a pizza, or drive through for a burger, but I miss the corner taco stand, the churro cart, the rotisserie chicken shops. One thing that is becoming more abundant in my home city of Winnipeg is fried chicken. Gone are the days when the option of KFC or maybe Chicken Chef if you happened to be in the right neighbourhood. Recently we have welcomed Jollibee, Mary Browns, and Popeyes. But the best fried chicken I’ve eaten recently was from a little Loncheria in Isla Mujeres called Loncheria Nicol.

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Owner Luis moved six years ago from Akil, a small community in the Yucatán, to Isla Mujeres where he opened Loncheria Nicol. Named in honour of both his Father-in-law Nicolas, and his niece Nicol, this little take out joint has become a new favourite amongst locals and tourists alike. Located on Avenida Jesus Martinez Ross beside the Comex in the Meteorologico neighbourhood, it is pretty central for those in the colonias, but fear not if you are not close by, they deliver all over the island!

This year, on our last day on the island, we thought we would order some deliver to our hotel for a light snack while we packed up our belongings and got ready for the next day’s departure. We ordered from Loncheria Nicol and our delicious food was delivered right to the door of our hotel, fast and hot. So nice after a long day at the beach.

There was much more than we needed for our snack, so we decided to pack the leftovers in a cooler bag to tote to the airport. The time between breakfast on the island and dinner at home once you land is a long one and airport food is supper pricey, so we are in the habit of taking leftovers to enjoy as we wait. I think ordering from Nicol’s will be a tradition from this point forward. The Asian noodles were scrumptious served cold, as was the rice, which was full of tomato flavour. We ate all the potatoes the previous day because they were so amazing and would not have been as good cold as they were hot. The pieces of left over fried chicken were still crunchy and tasty, but my favourite was the BBQ chicken which was glazed in a slightly sweet and sticky sauce. The roast chicken was also really good, juicy and succulent. Luis is an absolute delight and made sure we had everything we needed and was so gracious when we sent him our praise for his wonderful food. It you are on Isla now, be sure to pop by or place a delivery order. If, like us, you won’t be back till next winter, be sure to add Loncheria Nicol to your “must do” list.

Kath’s quote: “Everyone loves fried chicken, Don’t ever make it. Ever. Buy it from a place that makes good fried chicken”. -Nora Ephron

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Love never fails.

 

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Guest Blogger Sister #3-Breakfast at Sesso Loco’s, Isla Mujeres

July31

2018 was my first visit to Sesolocos when I visited them for dinner, which was delicious.  Here is the link to that blog post if you want the details.  This year I tried them for breakfast and I have to say that based on my previous experience, my expectations were high.  We arrived and were warmly greeted by owner Jesus, AKA Seso.  We started with coffee, really good coffee.  You know the stuff, strong but without a hint of bitter.

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We decided to have the banana coconut French toast and the chilaquiles.  Typically the French toast is made with big crispy slices of baguette, but the morning had not gone exactly as planned for Jesus and the bread was not available so it was made with regular sandwich bread.  The results were still great.  The bread was soaked in egg and cinnamon, stuffed with mashed banana, fried to a nice crisp doneness and topped with toasted coconut.  It was served with fresh melon and small dollop of whipped cream.  Overall not to sweet, just right for breakfast.

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The highlight of breakfast was the chilaquiles.  Chilaquiles are tortilla chips with red or green sauce topped with shredded chicken or fried eggs.  Sometimes they can be kind of dry and unexciting, depending on the quality of the sauce and how it is distributed on the chips.  These were fare from boring!  The corn tortilla chips were lightly fried and then cooked in a savory red sauce to the point of being soft but not turning to mush.  We were offered the option of green or red sauce and on the advice of our server went with the red.  The sauce was full of tomato flavor and just the right level of salt.  We topped ours with over easy fried eggs.  The finishing touch of creama and a sprinkle of queso fresco completed what I have to say are the best Chilaquiles I have ever had.  I’ll be back for more next year.

We enjoyed ourselves so much that we preordered a number of Sesoloco pizza to be delivered to us for that evenings dinner on the beach with our Mexican family.

Sesoloco is located on Av Rueda Medina down island a few blocks before Chedraui.  They are open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. for breakfast and lunch, and then again at 5:30 till midnight or 12:30 for dinner. Don’t forget their pizza delivery service.

Kath’s quote: “My Mexican specialty is chilaquiles. I make tortillas from scratch, then add garlic, onions, eggs, chopped-up carrots and peppers, Jack cheese, and salsa”. -Sara Ramirez

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Love never fails.

 

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Isla Mujeres Trip Report-Day 16

July29

When I woke up that morning I thought that I was leaving the next day at 1030 in the morning but it turned out to be that night! Needless to say I was too busy for the sunrise. I got all of the details of my departure sorted out then started the frenzy of packing knowing that my case was going to be overweight and I had guessed correctly. So I repacked everything and then tried to settle in and enjoy my last day.

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There were so many people that I needed to say good-bye to. I started with our dear friends Jan and Bruce.

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These two look like locals but they are my younger brother and sister! They take after my Mom’s side and I take after my Dad’s-fair-haired, blue eyes and freckles!

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Can you spot the Mexican?

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I was so enjoying my last day on the beach, when I spotted these two.
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I understand that they patrol the beach so that the tourists feel safe and looked after. I was wondering why I was coming to a place that requires to put on this kind of show. I booked for 2020 while I was still on the island but sometimes I wonder what I am doing recommending this place to so many people that I love.

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Spotting a Madonna on my way back to the hotel made me feel a bit better.

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I started realizing all the things that I had wanted to do but never had a chance including sampling the tortilla stand almost next door to the hotel.

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One of the many things I love about Xbulu Ha (besides the reasonable price) is the communal balcony right below my window. I love the view of the water even though I am separated from the sea by a parking lot. On this evening I enjoyed my last bag of popcorn with a glass of wine.

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I hadn’t seen Javi on this trip, let alone taste his scrumptious food! We met Javi years ago and cannot be on the island without spending at least some brief time with him.

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But I had to keep the family tradition of dining at Fredy’s for my last island meal. We love Fredy and his wife and family and I just could not depart without savouring another of Fredy’s pork chops.

Brother #3, my SIL and Fredy are all pictured with me here. Fredy was dressed like a cowboy that evening! I was not sure where the rodeo was. My family walked me to the ferry and then with a poof, another visit was over.

Kath’s quote: No llores porque ya se terminó, sonríe porque sucedió.”-Gabriel García Márquez  “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”.

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Love never fails.

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