Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Frutti de Mare-Isla Mujeres


All through Sicily and our sojourn up the west coast of Italy, we ordered either a mixed seafood pasta or pizza at every opportunity.  The variety of seafood was changeable depending upon what the local catch had produced and species native to the area.  The varieties would usually include: prawns, mussels, clams, calamari, conch and whitefish.

On Isla Mujeres the seafood choices are as plentiful and the chefs as expert.  I can especially commend La Brisa’s Grill right on the beach (off Medina) and Angelo’s on Hidalgo.

I actually got to sample La Brisa’s Frutti de Mare linguine twice.

First time at La Brisas

The first time we were a large table and were able to sit right in the sand on a beautiful evening.  I employed a spoon and a fork to get a perfect bite of seafood and pasta with every bite and used up all my pasta before I could consume all of the seafood-that’s how plentiful the seafood was.  I took home the prawns and got to enjoy them in a picnic lunch the next day.  When my daughter arrived on Isla and heard my ravings about La Brisa,  she requested that we go there for lunch near the end of our stay.

Lunch at La Brisas

Three of us shared the linquine again, along with an order of their Frutti de Mare pizza to compare it to Angelo’s.

La Brisa’s Pizza

Although it was my first time to La Brisa’s, I’ve enjoyed Angelo’s many times during the years of our stays on Isla.  On this night the weather was variable and we started the evening at a table on the street; but as the rain made an appearance, they were able to move us all under shelter in the open restaurant. 


Angelo’s Linguine

D ordered the pasta on this occaission and I the pizza.  Except for the pieces of mussel shell that surprized me a couple of times-I was as crazy for the pizza at Angelo’s as I had been for the pasta at La Brisas’s.

Angelo’s Pizza

I would say that La Brisas won the Frutti de Mare pasta round and Angelo’s the pizza one.  Two fabulous restaurants serving up Italian fare as good as is found on the Italian coast, on the little piece of land known as Isla Mujeres in Quintano Roo, Mexico.  Who woulda thunk?

Kath’s quote:  “Do not overcook this dish. Most seafoods…should be simply threatened with heat and then celebrated with joy.” –Jeff Smith

Turtle Cheesecake


It was B’s birthday this past weekend and I am so appreciative when D volunteers to make the cake.  I am not a baker, as I have admitted in this space before.  D on the otherhand gets a “kick” (his words) out of spending an entire Saturday night on one baking project.  I think that this special gift for our gang, harks back to the days when his Mom used to baked her kids their own pie for their birthday.  They would not have to share it with their siblings and I recall D saying that he kept his under his bed.

The Birthday Girl and her Fella

Pecan Crust

1 1/2 c flour

3 T sugar

3/4 c butter or hard margarine cut up

3/4 finely chopped pecans

Caramel Layer

3 T light cream

32 carmels-unwrapped (this was my only task)

1 c toasted chopped pecans

Cheese Layer

3 x 250 gr blocks of cream cheese, softened

1 c brown sugar

2 T flour

3 eggs

1 c cottage cheese, zapped in a blender

1 1/2 t vanilla


1 c whipping cream

7x 1 oz. squares of chocolate baking squares

toasted chopped pecans (enough for garnish)

Crust: Combine flour & sugar.  Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Add pecans. Stir. Press into bottom of 1″ up side of greased 10″ springform pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until edges start to turn brown.  Let stand in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.

Caramel Layer: Heat & stir cream and caramels in small saucepan on low heat until caramels are melted.  Pour over crust,.  Spread evenly. Sprinkle pecans over top.

Cheese Layer: Beat cream cheese & brown sugar in large bowl until smooth.  Add flour. Beat.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.  Add cottage cheese & vanilla. Beat on low until just combined.  Pour over pecans.  Spread evenly.  Bake in 360 degree oven for about 1 hour until centre is almost set.  Run knife around inside edge of pan to allow cheesecake to settle evenly.  Let stand in pan on wire rack set in a baking sheet with sides until cooled comepletely.  Remove ring of the pan.

Chocolate Glaze:

Heat whipping cream in heavy saucepan on medium low until bubbles start to form around edge.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate.  Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Makes about 1 1/4 c of glaze.  Let stand for 5 mins.  Pour over cheesecakem allowing glaze to drip down side in smooth, even coating.

Sprinkle pecans over top.  Chill for at least 1 hr.  Cuts into a least 16 wedges. 

Note: If you do not serve immediately, refridgerate but remove in time for caramels to soften before serving.

Kath’s quote: “….I can dream away a half-hour on the immortal flavor of those thick cheese cakes we used to have on a Saturday night.”-Mary Antin

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Yougot Chinese Restaurant


This delightful find is off of my beaten track at 1500 Pembina and so it took a lunch meeting in the vicinity of someone else’s office to get me there.  The menu is huge and I will have to go back to try their Ribbonfish Stew, Quail Eggs and Shrimp Cashew, 4 kinds of lamb, a variety of tripe, tongue, heart, etc. etc.  Okay I lied-I might not try the tripe.

I know the nutritional reasons for consuming organ meat and when you think about it, utilizing every part of the animal is a respectful way to eat.  But there may be some who vehemently disagree with this statement and perhaps I should best not go there.

Our lunch: Unexpectantly, we were served a starter of a light egg drop soup. 

We chose Quick-Fried Octopus with Chili and then played it relatively safe with Chow Mein with Chicken and Vegetables. 

The latter was pretty pedestrian on its own but could be brought to life when some noodles or the bok choy were speared with the chilis or a perfectly cooked sliver of octupus.

The place at lunch was absolutely empty which was surprizing with the quality of the food, prompt service and the pleasant surroundings.  Yougot is sparkling clean, filled with sunlight and maintains a pleasant decor.  If it was my neighbourhood Chinese food option, I would be more than content. 

Yougot Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “Tongue: well that’s a werry good thing when it ain’t a woman’s.”-Charles Dickens (Charlie’s opinion-not that of the writer)

Table-Side Ceasar Salad


There was a time in Winnipeg, when dining meant having someone wheel a cart to your table and rub a bowl with garlic to start the preparations for your Caesar salad.  The classic French restaurants of St. Boniface would carve the beef tenderloin and ladle the hollandaise over the variety of vegetables from their Chateau Briand cart.  Crepes Suzette were often ordered for the show of the flaming liqueurs.

When “Six in the City” ventured to New York last summer we loved the fact that table service in the Big Apple is not a thing of the past.  We had our guacamole en molcajete prepped at table side at Rosa’s Mexicana and the expertise and the resulting freshness was truly memorable.

Our son’s father-in-law was one of Winnipeg’s table-side Caesar salad aficionados and we often reap the benefits of his time in the practice.  At Easter dinner recently, when the automatic start for the ham didn’t activate while we were all at church, they decided to add a salad course. 

Don says that his recipe is very “loose” but he has agreed to share it here:

Crush some cloves of garlic with salt (I have a suribachi for this).  Add one or more egg yolks (depending on quantity).  Add fresh lemon juice and a dash of vinegar.  Blend in olive oil (2-3 times the volume of lemon/vinegar).  Season with pepper, Dijon mustard.


Kath’s quote: “Being set at the table, scratch not thyself, and take thou heed as much as thou canst not to spit, cough and blow at thy nose; but if it be needful, do it dexterously, without much noise, turning thy face sidelong.”-Francis Hawkins

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