Food Musings

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

Dinner at Bahama Mama’s, Isla Mujeres


We were walking to the Colonia’s to visit Bahama Mama’s when friends of ours drove by on their golf cart en route to Basto’s. When they heard that we were off to try Bahama Mama’s they decided to join us. Bahama Mama’s was another new place which had opened on Isla in our absence and we were excited to give it a try.


Our friend and chauffeur for the evening ordered this hearty soup, chock full of a variety of seafood.


D tried the stuffed fish and couldn’t believe all of the food on his plate-Mexican rice, rice and black beans AND a baked potato! He loved that he had enough forkfuls of carbs to go with the huge portion of the stuffed fish.


When I dine at a new spot on Isla, I often order the Coconut Shrimp, so that I can compare and contrast and then make special note of my favourite place so that I can recommend it to the many, many people that asked me for dining suggestions. Bahama Mama’s was plentiful, lightly battered and greaseless. Was it my favourite? Ten more days of trip reports will tell the tale.


Our other friend chose the Cuban Meatballs which was hearty and savoury. I don’t often order beef on Isla. Do you?

Jan and Bruce really enjoyed the restaurant and they should know. They have been visiting Isla for years and stay an extended length of time each visit which means they have eaten many places on the island, many times. They got a chance to look over the $5.00 breakfast menu and knew that they would still have their golf cart in the morning so they headed back to Bahama Mama’s for their very next meal. We would return (a couple of times) for breakfast, tempting other people to sample it with us. It was a hit for everyone!

Kath’s quote: “Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.” –Mark Kurlansky


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


Ruben’s, Isla Mujeres



Our breakfast visit to Ruben’s had been long anticipated. We had seen many Facebook posts about a great new restaurant that had opened since our last visit. All the accolades were warranted.


I loved the Heuvos Montuleños. The tomato sauce was so delicious with the breakfast rice. I also really enjoyed the plantain.


But it was the dish that D ordered that actually was the star of the show. I made the mistake of taking this photo before he had a chance to cut into it with his fork, because when he did there was a veritible explosion of shrimp inside. He offered me a bite and I wished that I could have switched our plates because the tender eggs, goey cheese and crunchy shrimp were sensational!


It was more than two weeks later when I had the opportunity to visit again. By this time D had returned home and I spent the morning with a friend from Winnipeg who now lives on Isla for a part of the year (at least I think that she is returning this year). My breakfast was SO good that I was hard-pressed to share it with her as I delighted in every single bite. I understood better, D’s hesitation to share his with me.


She had an omelet too and although she said that it was tasty enough, I couldn’t imagine that it compared to mine. We lingered that day so we could chat about the island and home as well. We agreed that we loved Rubens, loved Isla and loved Winnipeg.


The toast we ordered seemed to agree.

Kath’s quote: “Merlin’s beard, what is Xenophilius Lovegood wearing? He looks like an omelet.”-J.K. Rowling

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


Cafe Carlo


Cafe Carlo was one of the very first restaurants of its kind in Winnipeg (established in 1989) and I am happy to say that I was a fan of the “rummage sale chic” cafe way back then and I am still a fan today. For the restaurant creators (and for me) it is not about the decor, it is all about the food and this neighbourhood cafe delivers!


On this day we made a late reservation for lunch and arrived as most of the other lunch patrons had departed. This gave us an opportunity to choose a window seat and get caught up before ordering. My lunch date on this day was the Mom to one of Winnipeg’s top Chefs, so we took a while to decide on the most taste-optimum dishes. While deciding, we sampled the bread and butter which set the stage for the rest of our lunch. The butter had been pureed with caramelized onion, bacon and sour cream!



In the end we shared a couple of contrasting plates. She encouraged me to sample the Fish Tacos where house made taco shells (the crunchy variety) were overflowing with greens, crispy tilapia and chipotle tartar sauce. Tastes were light and fresh and reminded me of Caribbean vacations.


On the other hand, the Butternut Squash & Ricotta Ravioli was anything but light and we loved it! Little square pockets of premise-made pasta luxuriated in a sage and hazelnut brown butter. Tendrils of freshly grated parmesan adorned the top. The tastes were deep, rich and earthy and “oh my goodness”, I will crave that taste until my next visit.

I was so satiated by lunch that all I could manage for dinner was a cup of soup.

Cafe Carlo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quotes: “One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”-Laurie Colwin


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

The Story of a Kitchen


We once had a family home in the Wolseley neighbourhood of Winnipeg. I loved the schools, the shops and the friends we knew and made in the neighbourhood. This was over twenty years ago and the community was not as gentrified as it is now and D was often concerned about our safety and was just as happy when we made the move to River Heights. The Wolseley kitchen was a do-it-yourself job with white cupboards and black hardware, white appliances and pine ceiling and walls. There was a door to the back porch, a door to the dining room, a door to the front landing and a door to the basement. J1 who we called “crash” as a toddler, once hit one of those door jams which forced his recently exposed front teeth, back up into the tooth sockets. Overall, it was an awkward space and poorly laid out and we would not miss it when we moved.


Our River Heights kitchen was smaller but had a more efficient footprint and was relatively new. At that time I was overjoyed. There was no designated dining room in the house but it had a built in kitchen table and it was perfect for our young family. Perfect, that was, until our border collie-cross puppy ate off all the legs to the chairs for the kitchen table! Over the years, things went down hill from there.

When J1 became a young man, he and D backpacked through Europe. Back home, for no apparent reason, the tempered glass on the front of our stove imploded into a million little glass shards. D and J1 redesigned the kitchen footprint on the back of a napkin in some European pub along their route. By this time, we had reworked a little TV room into a dining space so we no longer needed the kitchen table. We did a small redesign to move the stove where the table had been and replace the flooring which was very much the worse for wear.


In more recent years, we had run out cupboard space and the cupboard doors would literally fall off their hinges on a regular basis. We were disgusted by our popcorn ceiling and the grime that had accumulated there from our constant use of the stove. I had suggested a modest face lift to fix the cupboards and ceilings and create some more space. D want to start from scratch and so we waited until we could afford the reno.

In the mean time, my Momma had moved out of our family home and shared the proceeds of the house sale with my siblings and me. The kitchen dream, came back onto the front burner, so to speak! We researched some very grand plans of creating a doorway into the living room and going back to the bare bones with the help of our designated contractors-DAB Building and Renovation.

In the end, our plans had to be scaled back without the access and retaining the flooring and appliances, or we would have to continue to save. We chose the former and moved ahead. The guys from DAB are friends of our offspring and had some appreciation of our casual lifestyle. They suggested a beach-like kitchen decor and I was SOLD! The only thing that we modified was replacing a laminate counter top with a granite one. Otherwise, we accepted every one of their practical and design suggestions.


The majority of the work was scheduled to be completed while D and I were up at the Beach House on our August vacation. We emptied the cupboards and moved the contents of the city fridge to the lake one. Right on schedule, the demo and rebuild began. We got regular up-dates from the guys and I remained up at the beach house for some extra time to stay out of the guys’ hair.

A custom-made window took a bit of time to be completed and installed, but otherwise, the job took about three weeks.

Here’s a tour:


D prepared our first dinner at our dining peninsula. We wanted butcher block surfaces but was cautioned about surrounding the sink with wood, so we mixed it up with the granite top on the cupboards opposite. (This photo also illustrates that we should probably pour less hearty wine portions in the future).


We had never before had a spice drawyer. This one is right next to the stove top and D was thrilled with how easy it was to season everything up before the grilling that he did that evening.


In the drawers directly opposite the stove are all of our utensils. These three drawyers were newly acquired and much needed space. I seem to have accumulated way too many gadgets, given as product samples at blogging events. I itentially placed all of the plastic items in the bottom drawyer so that the Wee One could open it up by herself to help me unload the dishwasher or just play. The granite gives me a place to work with dough and is very “organic” looking in appearance.


The shelf to the left was added so that there would be clearance by the stove which allowed for a bank of open shelving. We had one of the shelves removed so that our tall bottles of various oils could be readily available at the stove top.


The open shelves serve a number of purposes: I never before had the space to place my much-loved cookbooks. Having a place to display a couple of decorative items means that it is less tempting for me to “clutter” up the counter as D likes clear counter tops. I think that we have found a number of good compromises between form (me) and function (him).


In our previous kitchen a double lazy susan (Sister #3 has always wondered why Susans are labelled in this manner), was full of packaged goods. Now one shelf holds all of our stove top cookware and another, all of our small appliances.


In addition to the lazy susan space, the pevious cupboards that occupied this space, right down to the floor, was full of food packages. These days, we find that we depend on hardly any packaged foods and so we were able to incorporate almost all our food stuffs and ingredients into this one space. We retained the wire baskets from our former kitchen so that we could pull out the shelves and see all of the ingredients so that nothing would get lost and forgotten about at the rear of the cupboard. In addition, I categorized each pull out, so if I am baking, I just pull out that entire basket and place it on the counter for easy access.


We do not have a stove hood or vent in the kitchen so it is so lovely that the window now opens to let steam and cooking odors out and the fresh air in.


The plant shelves by the south window are for growing herbs in the winter. The glass fronted cupboard is a great place to display some glass and pretty coloured serving items.


We have tripled the lights with numerous pot lights, strategically located. The pine that serves as our backsplash was white-washed to cover the popcorn ceiling. The double farmer’s sink is great for rinsing on one side and allowing supper to defrost in the other. The floor matt was out on our back deck and I initially brought it in just to have a place to put it over the winter but I love it so much that I will not want to give it up. I think that it ties everything together and really contributes to the beachy decor that we were going for.


Now here is the ironic thing, a detail that I do not think that D has even remembered: the white cupboards with black hardware and the pine on the walls and ceiling are exactly the decor of our first kitchen those many years ago (the one that we couldn’t wait to leave behind)!


Kath’s quote: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”. –Joni Mitchell

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.








London House – Gordon Ramsay, Hong Kong


When I heard that a friend of ours had recently dined at one of ordon Ramsay’s restaurants (in Hong Kong, no less) I asked if he could be a guest blogger in this space. He and his wife include their favourite restaurant suggestions in their annual Christmas letter, so I was pretty sure that he was up to the task. He apologised for his photos as he didn’t know about my request at the time he dined. I thought that it would be fun for you to get a glimpse inside hell’s kitchen.


London House is located in the trendy area near the Shangri-La in Kowloon, not far from the ferry terminals and Nathan Rd.

I was an accidental diner in Mr. Ramsay’s restaurant. The previous night, a German supplier, friend and myself had gone to Brotziet, a German pub style restaurant to watch the seemingly unlucky Stuttgart Football club out play and out chance a Schalke club that made the most of its chances and defeat the home team by a score of 1-0. A discouraged group we were, but having only had beer that night and having seen much of the food that came out of the kitchen, I endeavored to eat a meal there, perhaps to make up for the lack of success the previous day.

Mody Rd. is lined with two storied restaurants, where the main floors typically have walk out patio style eating areas. As a result, you can walk down the sidewalk and feel as though you are walking through each restaurant as you go. This favours the first few restaurants on the road as most of the foot traffic arrives from the subway and the Shangri-La Hotel. I happened to pick-up the menu for the London House as I walked past, not even realizing that it was Mr. Ramsay’s, and it looked interesting (my general rule is to not eat twice in the same place while in Hong Kong – so this fit), so I decided to make a quick change of plans and sit down.


The menu in the bar where I ate was rather uncomplicated. The appetizer list included what you would find in many pubs today, with a few seafood options, wings and some tapas style items. I ordered the Onion and Cider soup with Gruyere cheese. This is not something I typically order, but I certainly didn’t regret it. I quite like these types of soup and the cheese and cider flavor was excellent.


For my main course, I ordered what seemed like the right thing to order for a London style pub in the harbor of a former British colony – fish and chips. It came with three large pieces of battered fish, a large portion of crispy French fries, homemade tarter sauce, and a homemade crushed pea side. The fish was quite tender and not too heavily battered. As with the soup, the portion size left little doubt that you were only going to need to eat in one place in order to have a full stomach. To those of us in Canada, this may seem somewhat redundant, but be assured this is not always the case in Hong Kong. The rest of the menu featured a few sandwich options, salads and a several mains consisting of a variety of meats.

For a beverage, I ordered an Orchard Cider, something that added a nice compliment to my meal and dessert for after it.

Overall I quite enjoyed the experience. The meal was pricey by Canadian Standards – about $90CDN – but in line with most of restaurants in this area. I was fortunate to get a seat at the bar as reservations are needed to get a table (the lounge/patio is first come first serve, but quite busy).

One final thought. This restaurant is located about a 5 min cab ride from the Ozone, the highest bar in the world. It is at the top of the Ritz Carlton. On a clear night, I would highly recommend this open air rooftop patio on the top of the tallest building in Hong Kong. 116 stories up.

Kath’s quote: “I don’t like looking back. I’m always constantly looking forward. I’m not the one to sort of sit and cry over spilt milk. I’m too busy looking for the next cow.”-Gordon Ramsay

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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