Food Musings

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

Isla Mujeres 2024 Trip Report-Day Two

Just barely morning.

That morning I was filled with a sense of gratitude. Thankful that I was healthy and had the resources to be on the island again. And equally thankful for what I left back home-five grandkids! As I gazed at the Isla sign, I realized that all their first name initials were included in the sign. Well, except for my lone grandson whose name starts with an “F”.

So I had to use some artistic license.

Loved my morning sunrise walk and then it was home for a bit to catch up on my writing.

Am I so blessed to work from anywhere.

While I was out, the apartment manager asked if he could borrow my extra bed! I kid you not. There was a Mexican family also staying in the compound and beds were at a premium. Eric had been sleeping with his baby boy who took up the entire bed. I had only been using the bed to climb into the hammock, so I said “By all means”. Unfortunately I didn’t realize how much the bed actually assisted me. I had a heck of a time getting my short legs swung over and into the the hammock. Good thing nobody could witness that comical sight!

SIL Lorraine and my brother Kelly were joining me for breakfast at Grill Garden. As I was walking, I heard a “Kathryne”? It was Brenda one of the owners of Grill Garden, so we walked the rest of the way together. I had never met Brenda IRL and she was exactly as I expected-soft and gracious with a uncanny sense of food and hospitality. Breakfast was better than I remembered it. For all the details check out my Restaurant Feature

I was home for a couple of hours and then off to meet the gang of Manitobans on a sunset cruise. My sister Sue had given me this as my Christmas present. What a great gift! She and her friend Donna had won the cruise as a scholarship fundraising prize, the year prior.

We cruised the west edge of the island all the way to Garrafon and then headed back to North Beach for sunset. In the mean time, Our trusty captain fixed us a fresh and sparkling guacamole snack.

There was a reverse sunset that evening.
Happy Manitobans-4 Newbies and 7 Islaholics

Sister Sue and I were heading out for dinner later, but when that got postponed, I moseyed home, and had leftovers and a glass of wine with my lady neighbours. Another perfect day.

Kath’s quote: “Sail away and let the sunset and the waves be your soundtrack”.-authour unknown

Love never fails.

Trip Report Isla Mujeres 2024-Day One

My first walk down the malecon.

My first sleep in a new bed was amazing and that never happens! I left the drapes open because I only see walls from the apartment anyway. That way, as soon as I realize that the early morning light is changing, I am awake to catch the sunrise. I put my jean jacket on right over my pjs, grab a cup of coffee and I am out the door for my half a block walk to the malecon. I see so many familiar faces. Yes I am home!

The sunrise is spectacular but I do not linger as I am meeting the rest of my family at a new restaurant on Hidalgo for brunch. It is called the Raw Bar but has since been renamed to El Mexicana.

Here is the Restaurant Feature I wrote about it.

After brunch, Sue walked me to a TelCel store to buy a Mexican Sim Card for my phone. I was happy to have it but never actually used any of the data during my month long stay. Oh well, the $15 investment for peace of mind was worth it. I also stopped in at the Super Aki for milk for my coffee and another couple of must haves while on the island: lime mayo, cucumber and cilantro to make my favourite sandwich. But with leftovers for a mid afternoon snack, I didn’t need them anyway.

Although it sounds crazy, I spent the rest of the day in my little apartment. I strung up my new hammock and got back into my fabulous book. I had a malignant sore on my back removed since my last trip to a sunny destination so I didn’t want to rush my exposure in the sun. That was a great excuse to while away the afternoon in my hammock.

Later that day I joined old acquaintances downstairs at what we call the “compound” for Happy Hour and then one of them accompanied to dinner. There were three other solo women as well as a couple, (all of whom I had met previously) also staying in the apartment units. This was the primary reason that D was okay with my going to the island alone, because I wasn’t alone at all!

But first, we detoured to North beach to see the sunset.

That evening, we tried a brand new restaurant (new since the previous year), that was fantastic! It was called The Point (Punto Norte). See that Restaurant Feature here.

I always try to write a feature while it is still fresh in my head and spent the time until bed, writing. Three fabulous restaurants in three days! Yes, Isla is still an amazing food destination.

Kath’s quote: “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”– Luciano Pavarotti

Love never fails.

Trip Report-Isla Mujeres 2024, Arrival Day


Arrival Day. The wait hadn’t seemed as onerous as other years. Maybe it was the lovely mild weather at home, maybe time is ticking away more quickly as I age. Who knows, but I wasn’t desperate to escape winter and my cozy home.

The flight was uneventful. I was engrossed in my book and before I knew it we had commenced with our descent. The new immigration process was easy peasey and it felt like we would be ahead of schedule. I spoke too soon. The wait for our luggage was unreasonable. I was concerned because I was a fifth wheel, hitching a shuttle ride with a group of fellow Manitobans. My friend was so gracious to ask me along and I didn’t want to slow them down. They were with newbies that were very excited to make the final stretch to the island. But as luck would have it, my bag was one of the last to arrive. Our WJ flight had been delayed due to pilot minimum sleep regulations so our CARM van wasn’t waiting for us. It made the cervesas that we preordered taste that much better!

Another delay met us at the ferry terminal. Arriving at 610 led me to believe that we would be on a 630 ferry. They informed us that there wasn’t a 630 crossing (huh?) so we waited until 7. It gave us time to purchase more Modellos at the port. Luckily, there is free wifi at the ferry so I got caught up on messages from home and from the island! And a special surprise of seeing my Mexican friend Sara and her Pappy who were also heading home after dental work in Cancun.

There was a lovely welcoming from family at the port. Lorraine and Kelly had waited for 1 and a half hours for us! They had been on the same flight a week prior and we were that much later than them. Kelly lugged my 50 lb suitcase through the streets and then up a flight of stairs to my little apartment.

I changed shoes and was right out the door with Sister #3 as we were expected at Jax by my lovely friend Jackie. Sister Sue had already been on the island two weeks and even though I am thrilled that she got to do so, I had missed her at home.

The food at Jax was amazing as always. Sister Sue wrote this fabulous Restaurant Feature. Read all about it here:

By this time I was getting pretty strung out, but when I arrived home I wanted to unpack a bit and get back into my book. It was at least midnight (my time) when I turned off my kobo.

Oh Isla, how I have missed you, my second home.

Kath’s quote: “If you know that you are going home, the journey is never too hard”.-authour unknown

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Features-Jax for Breakfast


Everything is bigger in Texas, and that is most certainly true of the huge heart full of generosity that is contained in a tiny little Texan gal named Jackie Walker, owner of Jax Bar & Grill. 

Jackie is so supportive of island charities,  residents of the island, her loyal staff and those of us who visit. One of the many ways in which Jackie is generous is by providing her beautiful 2nd floor space for Island Worship each Sunday in January, February, and March. 

It’s one of the things I really enjoyed about my time on isla. This great ministry is provided by Ken Wonavich and his lovely wife Debbie. They are very clear that they are not trying to create a new church, but provide a place for those of us missing our home churches to gather and worship together. 

It’s tradition for many in attendance to stay for breakfast after the service. And this Sunday I decided to do just that. Jax is open for breakfast every day of the week and has an extensive menu with everything from toasted bagels or avocado toast to some of the more indulgent dishes, which we chose to check out. I tasted all the dishes brought to the table and everything was super tasty. 

The ham with eggs and spinach was a yummy scramble and a favourite of regulars. Served with home fries and toast, it was just the perfect portion for breakfast. But of course I didn’t stop there.

I also ate half of a breakfast taco, filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheddar cheese, an ingredient I miss during my winters in Isla. Three tacos stuffed to the brim and served with guacamole and pico de gallo.

My friend D is a big fan of eggs benny and there were three options for her to choose from. The classic, poached eggs served on actual English muffins with genuine Canadian back bacon and topped with a delicious hollandaise sauce. My family will tell you I’m a hollandaise snob, and this sauce was just perfect. The Jax style is the classic eggs Benedict with the addition of spinach and tomato. Besides the classic and Jax versions they also offer the Royale, featuring smoked salmon and capers. 

I was thrilled to try my first ever Chicken fried steak to which I may now have a slight addiction. Jackie told us about explaining to her cooks how to prepare this southern specialty.   The looks they gave her when she explained that they were to deep fry a piece of breaded steak! Sounds crazy but oh my goodness! Served with a great gravy, this Texas staple is served with eggs at breakfast, in a sandwich, or along side mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables for lunch or dinner. 

Like all the dishes on Jax menu, it comes down to the quality of the ingredients. The bacon is thicker than you often find on Isla. When you order sausages, you get American style breakfast sausage. It’s not uncommon to be served hot dog pieces that are listed as “sausage” on some Isla menus.  Every dish was perfectly seasoned and beautifully presented. The service provided by the Jax team is top notch and I love to dine and look out at the turquoise waters. I can’t help but be thankful for the beauty of creation, of good food and great friends. 

Kath’s quote: “The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.”-James Faust

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Features- Grill Garden


I commenced my month long stay on Isla Mujeres with a visit to North Garden, so it seemed appropriate that I concluded it with an evening at Grill Garden.

To start, our female newbie Debbie and I started with Spaicy Mango Margaritas rimmed with Tajin as well as a generous shake into the concoction for good measure. They were different and delicious! She has three granddaughters so I suggested that she take the paper parasols that adorned the drinks, home for the girls. We did so last year and our grands loved them!

You may have an impression that Grill Garden is too romantic/upscale/expensive to drop in for a quick bite or take your family out for dinner. In fact, the night that we dined, there were mostly families. Oh sure you can still get those amazing “cooked and carved at the table” rib eye or tomahawk steaks, and there were a couple of gentlemen also enjoying them that evening, but Grill Garden’s menu and value quotient has gone up, way up!

This came about with their latest menu changes. Owners, Fernando and Brenda made a trip home to Argentina recently, and Fernando came back to Isla, inspired to work on a revised menu, preparing the dishes he always wanted to have listed on their restaurant’s offerings.

As well, Grill Garden also takes advantage of their on site bakery, delivering two appetizers that are served in a hollowed out loaf of bread! The Shrimp and Artichoke Dip and the Mushroom and Ribeye Dip (the later of which we sampled). It was ooey gooey as a result of sautéing the mushrooms and ribeye strips in red wine and cream cheese. The meat was so tender and each forkful a delight!

Of course we also had to have my favourite Crispy Cilantro Cheese, where the crispy is created by covering mozzarella cheese in panko flakes and the cilantro shines through a tomatillo sauce. I dream of this Grill Garden’s appetizer in the bleak midwinter.

For entrees, one of the Newbies ordered Fruiti de Mare on freshly made pasta noodles. Calamari rings, octopus, shrimp and fish were grilled and presented in a full bodied sauce of butter and white wine. She loved it!

I too, was tempted by fresh pasta and chose Chicken Alfredo, but not just any Chicken Alfredo.  The process started when our fabulous waiter Javier wheeled over an enormous disc of Grand Padano cheese and started heating the sides under a flame and then scraping away the gooey cheese. This was repeated many times. Then, he hailed an assistant to bring out a bowl of freshly made noodles which was added to the cheese and butter. Lastly a bowl of grilled and sliced chicken came out of the kitchen and all the luscious ingredients were assembled in front of me. It was the most decadent bowl of alfredo I have ever eaten! When I had to ask for a “to go” container, it must have weighed a pound!

The guys both decided upon the Argentinan specialty of Milanesa. Both dishes started with a breaded flank steak. Carbonara distinguished it from the other options and the cheese and bacon sauce was baked on top. The portion, overflowed the plate and was too much for either guy to conquer, in spite of best efforts. It was so good.

Portions are huge! Presentation is exquisite and the service is top notch. When our waiter Javier teased Newbie Joe about taking home his leftovers, Joe said “For sure, they will go great with eggs tomorrow morning”. Quick-thinking Javier delivered these with Joe’s leftovers.

Javier also delivered these parting gifts. He called them mini-beers but they were actually shooters that we had remembered from a previous visit. So delicious!

The options are now so varied and affordable that you can dine for any reason at all. We saw three hamburger-sized sliders get delivered to another table. All three were only $16.67 USD! They could have fed 3 teenage boys.

Check out hours and prices on Mapchicks App.

Kath’s quote: “Life is batter with a sprinkle of love!”-unknown

Love never fails.

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