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 2014-Departure Day for the Kids

April3

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The day started with a gorgeous sunrise and

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early morning guests to watch the Olympic men’s hockey finals on our TV in the spacious living room at Luna d’Miel. I cooked up a batch of Canadian back bacon and eggs to celebrate our team’s victory.  By 9 am the kitchen was all cleaned up and we were ready to start our day.  D had to head into Centro to arrange to have the golf cart looked at, where it had stalled the night previously in the Colonias.  Lucky for us, they compensated for our break down by giving us another day with the cart.

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The gang did not all get up to join us for the game/breakfast and since they had access to the cart, they headed to Mango for brunch because they were all hankering for a fix of Polo’s breakfasts before they left the island.

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Everyone had the yummy Coconut French Toast

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with the exception of J1 who went for the Breakfast Quesadilla.

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When you are at Mango, have you ever been drawn towards to beautiful church on the opposite side of the street?  The church attendees had just departed and so I knew that if I went to have a look around, I wouldn’t be disrupting anyone’s worship.

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The sanctuary is absolutely exquisite and I very much want to attend a service the next time I am on Isla.

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I can only imagine what it would be like to worship here on a regular basis, with the beauty of the sea just behind the altar.

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D and I went back to fetch more ribs for lunch from the Rib Man.  This was the busy scene as I waited for D in the golf cart.

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We went back and forth a number of times to deliver the kids and all their luggage to the ferry with the  golf cart.

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It was very hard to say good-bye to the kids as I was so sad that their time had gone so quickly.  But like the ebb and flow of life, while we bid farewell to some, we said hello to others.  We had a second task to perform at the ferry, as my brother, his wife and the Wee One’s other Grandma were arriving that afternoon!

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We had a brief time to while away between ferries so we headed to the Fisherman’s Co-op with J2 and the Wee One to sit in the shade and enjoy a cervesa.  The latter were staying on the island for another five days and moving into the Roca Mar with J2’s Mom.  After we delivered them to their hotel, we made one last trip around the tip of Punta Sur before returning the golf cart.

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After wandering around Centro for a bit we decided to see if J2 and the Wee One had settled into their new digs okay, but the room was silent and we didn’t want to disturb the baby if she was sleeping.  We headed towards the marina and Playa Sol to catch the sunset and were drawn into Marina Muelle 7,  a place that we had walked by many times but never stopped.

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Even though we love our Sol and vino tinto, these cocktails were calling our names.

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I opted for a mojito served in what I call a fishbowl chalice (just the way I like ’em).  I even eat all the smashed up mint.  D gabbed the camera and took this rare photo of me because he said that my drink matched my dress.

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We felt very luxurious, sprawled out in beach recliners and watching the sunset with no plans for dinner, no plans for a rendezvous, no plans for anything except savouring the moment.  And just when we thought we had enjoyed the most amazing sunset and it could not possibly get any better….

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…it went and did.  So it is, on Isla.

When I am back home and in the city, I sometimes have popcorn for supper.  This is when I have no one at home to cook a nutritious meal for, D is out of town and I am feeling particularly worry free.  A popcorn supper is symbolic for not really needing to give a !@#$ for anybody but me.  D and I were feeling this way on this evening.  We toyed with the idea of going many places for supper and in the end decided to pick up some papas fritas at La Lomita and share them on the walk home.

Lo and behold, Veektoria (the way the Islanders love to pronounce Wee One’s other Grandma’s name), J2 and the Wee One were waiting for an encore of La Lomita’s Garlic Shrimp that J2 had enjoyed so much on our first night on the island.  So we got to have a little visit with them after all, only to find that they had been steps away from us the entire time, enjoying the sunset over mango margaritas at Bally Hoo.

We meandered back to our fabulous little apartment and enjoyed a glass of wine, all alone under a canopy of stars, so different from our northern sky back home.

Kath’s quote: “Second star to the right…and straight on ’til morning.” -Captain James Kirk, Star Trek

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Love-that is all.

Isla Mujeres 2014-Day 5, Chuuk Kay

March28

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I was wrong, I thought I hadn’t missed another sunrise but there was nothing on my camera from this particular morning, so I must have.  Today was golf cart day! D researched and negotiated and got the best price for the version that has both seats facing forward and a big box on the back for our extra gear.  Here we are at Punta Sur.  This was where I would watch the sunrise on my first trip to Isla in 2005.

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Isla Mujeres 2005 Pictures 002

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The most beautiful sea colour that I have seen anywhere (in the world!)

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2005

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Daughter #2 and the Newbie enjoying the vista with us.

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Rear view mirror shot.

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As we zoomed along Sac Bajo, we had to stop and show the Newbie the floating island.  Before heading back to the casa we nipped into Centro because it was Rib Man day!

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After lunch we were off to Chuuk Kay to see a set by Javier and his band with no name.  D had to make two trips and take us in batches.

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Our niece “Legs” who was just laxin in the sun.

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Our beautiful Daughter #1.  We ordered buckets of Sol to while away the afternoon.

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Daughter #2 and the Newbie were engaged just before Christmas.  Don’t they make a gorgeous couple?

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It is not hard to see where the Wee One gets her beauty.  Here are J1 and J2.

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D and the Wee One (we think she’s going to be a dentist).

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And Sister #3 and the Wee One.  Dona was joined by best friends and extended family too.  There were so many of us that we had to stretch over a couple of long tables.  Everyone joined together on the dance floor though, especially to dance the twist with the Wee One -“Shake it up baby, twist and shout!”

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D and I wanted to share one of our fav little Colonia spots with the family and since we had the golf cart, decided to head over to Bastos for dinner.  We were surprised that we were the only table there and hope that they are staying busy enough to support their family.

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D and I love the bright spin that Basto’s puts on everything.

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At our end of the table, Legs and I were waffling between a couple of items so we decided to share the Burger and yummy fries and Garlic Shrimp.  Both dishes were as exceptional as I had remembered from the previous year.

The golf cart sputtered to death on the way home and so traipsing around the island was done for the evening.  The gang was departing the next day, so we assembled on the oceanside patio of the casa where we reflected over cocktails on the highlights of the week.

Kath’s quote: (From National Lampoon’s Family Vacation)

“Clark Griswold: Could I do your back, honey?

Ellen Griswold: I’ve already done my back.

Clark Griswold: Could I do your front?

Ellen Griswold: Go do your own front.”

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Love-that is all.

 

 

Osborne Village Cafe

March26

“You should not judge a book by its cover” as the saying goes, but I must confess, I was worried that I had shown up at the wrong place when I arrived at 160 Osborne St. to find that it was the Osborne Village Motor Hotel, a place I had always referred to as “the Zoo”.  I had made arrangements to get caught up with a friend at the Osborne Village Café and had imagined something altogether different.  To be honest, the décor is very modest (nay I say a bit on the shabby side) but I witnessed our server scrubbing the floors and scouring every other surface, near closing time and I can attest that the place is as clean as can be.  Besides, shabby is in, right?

The star of the show is definitely the food and we were not disappointed.  In fact, both of us were equally blown away perhaps because our expectations were low.   This as an error on our part as owner and Chef Leighton Fontaine has extensive restaurant experience and it shows.

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There are occasions when diners choose spaghetti squash to obtain a healthier alternative to plain white pasta.  In this case, the spaghetti squash was not merely a stand in but an essential ingredient of the dish as a whole.  All the components including red wine mushrooms, red peppers and avocado, tasted sparkling fresh and each individual strong flavour was not overpowered by the seasoning of the tomato basil sauce.  The dish typically arrives with a topping of mozzarella but my acquaintance tries to go easy on dairy.  She was happy with her decision because she believed that the sensation would have been overwhelmed by gooey cheese.  Her highest compliment was that the dish was reminiscent of meals she had savoured while traveling in Italy-high praise, indeed.

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Our server (the Chef’s sister) recommended the Perogies.  The hand-made dough is absolutely tender and when the enormous half circles were stuffed with maple poached bacon, potato, cheddar and dill, they reminded me of decadent gnocchi recipes which I have relished.  The plentiful crescents are topped with butter sautéed onions and sour cream.  Since I typically chose 0% BF sour cream, I declined and was so glad by my own determination as the delicate tastes would have been masked by rich cream.  Instead, my decadent treat was to enjoy a side of Winkler farmer sausage.  There is also a vegetarian version of the perogies available stuffed with celery root, potato, parsley, mozzarella and roasted parsnip. 

I may chose these next time, but then again, the server also recommended the Potato and Beet Latkes-crowned with two poached eggs, sautéed white wine spinach, brunoised red pepper and dill studded crème fraiche.  I have learned my lesson and will not judge this gem by its unpolished exterior.

Osborne Village Café on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention.”Christopher Morley

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Love-that is all.

 

Isla Mujeres 2014 Day 4-Date Night with the Wee One

March25

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After our late night of birthday celebration, I missed another sunrise.  I vowed to not make a habit of this and I don’t think that I missed another thereafter.  We ventured down to the beach before the day got too warm with the Wee One in tow.  I had already had a chance to introduce her to my Isla G.F.s- Jean and Jan, both Grandmas themselves (although it is hard to tell by their sexy figures in this photo).  Only other Isla-loving Grandmas could understand just how excited I was to be sharing the island with our first grandbaby and she with them. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with these ladies but they are good friends none the less.  We connect on Isla every year and by Facebook throughout the rest of the time. Say what you will about the evils of social media, I am grateful to be able to keep in touch with friends all over the world.

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Do you know that the popsicle man who appears on North Beach has pulled his cart all the way from one of the south colonias?  When we were in the vicinity of Limon we saw where he parked his cart in the evening and many days we watched him push his cart past our apartment on the airport road.

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Here’s a photo of him in 2013.

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And another in 2012.

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So too, I recognize this hard-working vendor from previous years.

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Here she is in 2012.

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Ah North Beach, this image gets me through our long winters.

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I love the wispy clouds in this shot.

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I did eventually pull myself away from the beach, to stop and see how things were going with the Canadians playing the US in the Olympic hockey game (Dona, Sister #3 and Daughter #1 were there a head of me).

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That evening, we had agreed to babysit for J1 and J2 who had postponed the celebration of their wedding anniversary until they could spend it together on Isla.  They chose Limon and Sergio had saved them a cozy table in the corner of the garden.

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They started with what looks to me like bruschetta, toasted over an open fire, just like they prepare it in Italy.

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Glazed pork.

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I know that this was a decadent lobster dish and that they raved about absolutely everything they tasted but especially about Sergio’s stellar hospitality.

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We could have had a little something at the casa but we thought, what the heck and walked into town for dinner with the Wee One at the Fisherman’s Co-op.  The sun was just setting as we arrived.

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Although our dinners looked very similar, mine was parmesan fish

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and D’s was almond crusted fish-both delish.

As we reflected on another lovely day on Isla, we felt very blessed that we could spend the evening with our precious granddaughter, while giving her hard-working and sleep-deprived parents a much needed break.

Kath’s quote: “Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.”- Welsh Proverb

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The Wee One, hours after she was born. 

Love-that is all.

Jessie’s Kitchen Ukrainian Restaurant and Deli

March24
 jessie1The residents of the apartment tower at 60 Whellams Lane are very fortunate indeed, especially throughout this past winter.  They didn’t even have to put on their winter boots to dine at one of the tastiest restaurant and delis in the Kildonans.  If you have never been to Jessie’s Kitchen before, you will need to pay close attention.  The restaurant is located in the lower level of an apartment block and you are required to buzz in and then follow a maze of hallways to  obtain a prized visit.

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We were immediately greeted by a vivacious woman who I assumed was Jessie.  When we inquired, we were told that Jessie had moved out East but that we were still in good hands.  Jessie left her scrumptious recipes and the restaurant in the care of married couple Bruce and Margaret.  Not only had both worked at Jessie’s over the years but their daughter is married to Jessie’s son, so they are “kooms” (as such relationships are referred to in Ukrainian).

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My lunch date appropriately started with a bowl of borscht.  The beet soup was only one of three offerings that day.  In fact, Margaret shared that in any given week they go through 30 L of soup “to go” on top of what is served up in the bright and pleasant surroundings. 

 

This was followed up with a Ukrainian Reuben (at my urging so that I could taste a bite).  Winnipeg Old Country Kolbassa is grilled on rye bread with mozzarella cheese, an unusual sauerkraut including carrot strips and a lively dressing.  The resulting sandwich is juicy and delectable.

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I opted for another spin on an old favourite and chose the Potato Pancake Pizza.  The enormous pancake was scrumptious enough but made even more so when topped with kolbassa, sautéed onions and a cheese blend.  The tomato sauce made it closer to an authentic pizza, but I loved the other tastes so well, that I could have happily done without it.  Margaret noticed that I hadn’t used the accompanying sour cream.  I sheepishly responded that I was trying to reduce my calories and fat.  What a crazy notion, at a Ukrainian Kitchen!  Ukrainians have faced hard work and adversity throughout history and they needed this kind of sustenance to weather their hardships.

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My companion ordered an enormous slice of strawberry/blueberry pie to go.  Margaret divulged that they had picked the strawberries themselves and kept them in the deep freeze.  She and Bruce utilize fresh local produce wherever possible and the sparkling tastes from their kitchen are confirmation of their philosophy.

Jessie's Kitchen on Urbanspoon
Kath’s quote: “You cannot fight fire with fire, so what makes you think you can overcome hatred with anything but love.”-Unknown

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Love-that is all.

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