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 Restaurant Features-GreenVerde


There are some readers here as well as my circle back home, that wonder why on earther I would holiday at the same place year after year for almost 20 years. Here on Isla Mujeres I have met so many people who have been coming here longer, come here more times a year and many more that stay longer than my cherished month. They get it. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it is a big world out there and I am blessed to say I have travelled to many places and hope to see many more. Isla is not a holiday for me, as strange as that sounds. It is even better. It is where I live; it is my home; it is my happy place for one month a year. You either get it or you don’t get it.

Alba the Chef

Besides the people that draw us here every year (the locals, the ex pats, the other travelers), there is the food! Some of it is excitingly new, especially this year. But equally so, is the fare we have enjoyed trip after trip. I cannot recount the times we have visited Rafael at Greenverde. He waits for us at the entrance of his well-loved restaurant, he lets us choose a favourite table and when we open the menu, we sigh in satisfaction that our much loved recipes are still there.

Since our last visit, Greenverde has expanded their crafted cocktails, created by mixologist Angel. We enjoyed favourites of a mango margarita, a classic margarita and a new concoction called a Mescal Del Sur (I am loving Mescal this visit!) The latter is complex blend of hibiscus syrup, cinnamon, mescal of course and a liqueur called Ancho Chile. To add to the smoky tastes of the creation, a sprig of rosemary is ignited as it is served at the table. Mixologist Angel has 17 years experience and both he and Rafael are proud of his expertise, as they should be.

Since D arrived after me to the island, he hadn’t yet had a feed of ceviche. Greenverde’s mix of fish and shrimp was not swimming in lime juice, but appropriately kissed with it. The sturdy chips allowed for large scoops as the bowl was enormous.

For entrees, D chose his favourite Tricolour moles: chicken in red mole, beef in yellow mole and pork in green mole. I have tried to determine what distinguishes one mole from the next, but I am having difficulty researching it (and the pool is calling me). If you know could you answer on the Facebook IM Food Page?

Newbie Karen was over the moon for her Chicken Chile Poblano. It was gooey and creamy due to the generous logs of queso panela (sometimes called canasta) that were perched on top of shredded chicken in boat made from a poblano chili. She leaves the island tomorrow but with her goes those luxurious taste memories.

I rarely eat beef, in truth because my body doesn’t really know what to do with it anymore. But on Isla because araachera/skirt steak has been tenderized in lime juice, it is far easier for me to digest. The Tampiquena is Greenverde’s take on this tradition dish. The strips of poblano peppers sauteed with corn, onion, cream and cotija cheese ( a Mexican version of my favourite Greek feta cheese) was sublime and although I should have eaten with bites of the tender steak, I could not resist and ate it all at once. That left the skirt steak to be enjoyed in its nakedness. which turned out to be a good thing because I enjoyed the individual ingredients of the marinade.

D was wise and resisted desert. I was foolish and ordered the chocolate cake! Even though I needed a brisk walk after our dinner, that cake was worth every step. It was a flourless cake so I was actually not bogged down by the starch. Each forkful was light and airy and yet deep in rich chocolate tastes as if by magic.

Karen spied the plaintains sauteed in brown sugar and butter and then flamed with smack of tequila. She brought most of it home to enjoyed with yoghurt this mornung.

D did order another artisan cocktail for desert. It started out as an Aperol Spritz but Angel cleverly added lychee essence for a whole new spin. I didn’t mind when D needed help finishing it.

Angel the Mixologist

Greenverde is on that stretch of Medina going south after the airport strip. For more specific instructions, to browse their menu or see their hours of operation, see the mapchick app, the best money you will ever spend.

Kath’s quote: “I need the sun, sand and ocean to rejuvenate my spirit, the food to enliven my body and all of the familiar places, friends and family to revitalize my soul. I go for replenishment. For a kind of love that I truly know. For a place of belonging, always.” -Grace Gealey

Love never fails.

Cafeteria Juanita La Bendicion 


By Sister #3

The other day I was walking down the street in Isla Mujeres and I heard my name. I looked quickly at a fellow I didn’t recognize and said a polite “hola”. As I continued to walk, it occurred to me that I had met him before. That evening I was walking down the same street and again I heard my name. This time I stopped and went into a quaint little shop to confirm how I knew this fellow (know how when you see someone out of context?) You know that you know them, but how, from where?

Then it came to me, it was Francisco. He is the nephew of my dear friend Hortencia.

He and I first met last year when my “Mexican family” had my “actual family” over for dinner.  Marcelino, Hortencia and family are such gracious hosts and we love to be together sharing food and laughs with them. That particular dinner, the extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins were in attendance. And that’s when I met Francisco, his beautiful wife and baby and his siblings.  

Well it turns out that Francisco and his brother Samuel have just opened the sweetest little place called Cafeteria Juanita la Bendición. Named in honour of their mom. You can feel the love through the attention to detail in the place. Drips of ice cream and sparkles are painted on the walls and there is a comfortable seating area, with actual soft furnishings in the front of the place. A great place to have a seat while you enjoy a treat or a coffee. It’s also available to use for gatherings. They have a birthday party booked for this week, by people staying in the apartment next door to them who need a common space to celebrate. 

The Cafeteria is located on Guerrero just steps from the square. They will be open from 7:30 am to 11:00 pm. That evening we had ice cream cones, chocolate and strawberry cheesecake, and my brother promised to be back soon for a milk shake. My sister will be happy to see a place where she can get fries to go. I’m a fan of paletas, a Mexican popsicle of which they carry a variety.

But the show stopper is these dessert waffles. 

So I guess you could say that Francisco, Samuel and I share a family. They, by blood, and me, by friendship. Be sure to stop by to support this new business. And tell them their “Canadian cousin” Susan sent you. 

Kath’s quote: “Family is not an important thing, it is everything.” – Michael J. Fox

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurants-Chile & Maiz


A couple of years ago, our Mexican family (dressmaker Hortenzia and her brood), wanted to treat us to their favourite restaurant. It was right around the corner from their home in La Gloria. Last night as we gave our cab driver our destination, he lit up saying. “Have you been to that restaurant before? Ooohhh, it is good.” After receiving these two unprompted endorsements of Chile & Maiz, here’s mine.

The dining room and bar sit at the top of a steep set of stairs (a heads up to some of my friends with knee issues) but is certainly worth the climb. The room is warm, practical and inviting. Most diners choose the perimeter of the restaurant where cool breezes flow.

The staff were unlike Centro, they did not ponce on us but wamly greeted us and stood back as we settled in. They watched us from the edges and were astute to all we needed. A hamburgesa had been ordered for delivery but before it was put into the to go packaging, it was lovingly videod by the staff. They display so much pride in the food they serve but not in a pretentious way.

The pride was also displayed when I chose a pineapple margarita, and we watched Taica our server jump behind the bar, to pummel the pineapple with a mortar and pestle, and then measure and pour a stream of ingredients. The result tasted like sunshine with a little something to for extra brightness.

Wanting to taste as many items as possible, without over eating for another night, D spied the appetizer platter which contained two flautas, two empanadas and two tostadas for the three of us to share. My most accurate description of all three specialties, would be freshness with a satisfying crunch. The little packets were delicious; completely greaseless and sparkling! They were filled with succulent meats and finished with crema and in one case-queso.

Our friend who is a newbie to the island, had not yet sampled coconut shrimp, so this was her chance. The camarones were perfectly cooked with a subtle snap as you took a first bite. The sweetened coconut clung to every surface and provided a balanced taste when dipped into the accompanying sauce that had just a little bit of heat. She also encouraged us to taste her fresh vegetables. They were prepared el dente with what tasted like a smattering of butter and garlic and the creamy mashed potatoes were divine.

D and I decided to share a arrachera burrito. Taica explained that they were out of large tortillas but could serve it in a bowl with small tortillas on the side. One little sidebar here: you know that a restaurant is serving the freshest food possible when they run out of certain items. I love how at the Loncherias, you see staff coming back from the market next door with a potato because you ordered French fries!

What a glorious bowl of food! The arrachera (skirt steak) was made tender by marinade. I tasted a generous lime squueze because acid is what provides the catalyst for this process. I am sure there is an authentic arrachera recipe out there, but I found a zillion variations on the internet. I couldn’t guess what the chef’s careful choice of other ingredients were, but it was perfect.

This empty bowl illustrates how over the moon we were with this dish.

Also in that wonderful bowl were ribbons of fresh lettuce, a subtly flavoured rice, pico de gallo and the piece de resistance-the finest shoe string French fries crowning it all. I could have been satisfied with an entire bowl of those fries!

I had determined that they served churros from surfing the web earlier that day, so had left plenty of room to indulge. They were not available, but in its place was a luscious grilled pineapple, topped with mescal ice cream and a butter and brown sugar sauce. It was the perfect crescendo to a beautiful day and evening.

If you wish to see the menu, hours of operation and directions into La Gloria, check out the mapchicks app. The best money you will ever spend.

Kath’s quote: “Indeed, Mexican cuisine is a celebration of vibrant flavors, rich traditions, and the love poured into every dish. From savory tacos to spicy salsas, each bite tells a story of culture and passion. So, next time you savor a plate of tacos al pastor or indulge in a warm bowl of mole, remember that it’s more than just food—it’s a state of mind.”-unknown

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Feature-Piacere Restaurant and Beach Club


Right off the bat, don’t let the label Beach Club fool you. This is not a place where Cancun day trippers spend the day. In fact, our cab driver didn’t know the exact location, as you have to walk through Maria’s Kan Kin to find it. Once at Piacere, there is a mix of the persons staying at the hotel, a family who arrived by boat and people like us to enjoy the benefits of a day.

Coincidently, I am reading a novel set in the village of Bella Piacere. “Bella Piacere” was named in the sixteenth century, or round about then, by and Englishwoman who spoke only a couple of words in Italian. Fortunately, though not grammatically quite correct, the two words expressed her emotions on first seeing the the lovely hamlet in the Tuscan hills-Bountiful Pleasure. And, anyhow, the name sounded better than “Bel Piacere.” Piacere on Isla Mujeres is also about beautiful pleasure.

It was explained by Simone, the Chef and Manager of the facility that there are two manners to enjoy the property. You can pay for a Day Pass and order from the snack menu or order from the more formal dining room menu and sit in the dining area.

We were blessed to experience the best of both worlds. We started with cocktails under umbrellas at the beach club-vodka & cranberry, Pink Panther (rum and passionfruit juice) and a margarita.

After which we switched to water, but knowing that there were more cocktails to be had!

Shrimp Tacos were chosen from the snack menu as well as fish and chips. The fish was so fresh that it prickled my tongue.

We had been briefed that Simone had worked Milan, Thailand, Australia, London and Dubai and we hadn’t yet, tasted his fare. We had spied a pizza oven on the way into the restaurant, so we ordered a couple of those to finish our late lunch. By this time, the shade had disappeared from the beach so we moved up to the pool area which also happened to be by one section of the dining room. We had a last round of cocktails as we enjoyed the authentic Italian style pizza with its flame kissed crust, light and uncomplicated sauce and just a smattering of cheese. Had we ordered the Marguerita Pizza we would have been in the Tuscan hills again.

Our server was Adrian who we had met at Amazona last year. We really enjoyed seeing him again. If you want to check their hours of operation or their menus, check out the mapchicks app. The best money you will ever spend.

We would love to visit the restaurant at sunset one day. I predict it would be stellar.

Kaths quote:  “Tuscany is the gentle embrace of beauty in every corner.”

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurants Features-Muelle 7


As we arrived at their lovely locale right on and over the ocean, we picked a corner table where we would get an unobstructed view of the sunset.

Staff under the careful watch of Manager-Jesus, brought out a white table cloth and reset the table for our enjoyment.

From the moment that our water was served with a choice of lime, cucumber or orange, we predicted that we were in for an evening of pampering.

We started with a pina colada and mango/peach margarita. The glasses they were served in were more like bowls! Friend Karen, remarked on how much tequila was in her margarita and slowly sipped it throughout the evening.

Our first appetizer was a ceviche of fish and octopus. I loved it-especially the tender, flavourful octupus. Some people are put off by the texture of octopus, not me. Years ago when I visited Quintana Roo for the first time, I tried ceviche. But it was not ordinary ceviche, as it was made from conch (the meat that comes from those beautiful huge shells that the locals can sometime make a sound like a tuba)! At first I decided that it was like chewing elastic bands but once you got the hang of it, it was so delicious. The same is true of octopus; if not prepared correctly, it too can be chewy. But not Muelle 7’s recipe! It was beautifully “cooked” in the brine of lime resulting in tender chunks of deliciousness. The little swirl of sesame oil that finished the dish, created a perfect balance of tastes.

Next up were a lovely feed of mussels! We especially appreciated the warmed unleavened bread that they were served with so that you could lap up the broth that they were steamed in.

As we decided on our main course, our server brought over their selection of freshly caught fish. We chose a plump red snapper to share. Our next decision was to ask how we wanted the fish prepared. We decided on frying with a side of clarified butter and garlic.

In truth the fish was perfect as it came. Our server assisted us in pulling the ribbons of fish away from the skeleton. The skin of the fish was crispy and we enjoyed it like you would crackling on a roasted pig.

The plates that our fish was transferred to was heaped with a jicama salad in the lightest of dressings, as well as fresh el dente vegetables. The crown on the plate for me was the decadent mashed potatoes. A fork of potatoes and that fish created a satisfying taste and we sure needed that feed of veggies.

A dessert tray came around at the end of our evening.

We shared a chocolate cake that was less sweet than recipes from home. It may be the reason that I saw midnight for the first time on this trip.

I have been considering a subtitle for this post and I think it is-“the greatest show on Isla” that being both the flashy service of Muelle 7 and the locale for an incredible sunset.

Muelle 7 is right on Medina between the ferry and Playa Centro. If you want to view the menu and hours of operations see the mapchick map, the best money you will ever spend.

Kath’s quote: “I am on a seafood diet, I see food and I eat it.”-Dolly Parton

Love never fails.

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