Food Musings

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

Fredy’s of Isla Mujeres- Cilantro Shrimp

December13

This will be the very first time (in my entire life) that I will not be having a traditional Christmas dinner in Winnipeg on December 25.  Instead: we are co-hosting 35 for an early dinner this weekend for D’s side of the family and will be assembling with the 40+ members of my side on Christmas eve at Brother #3’s home.

But on Christmas day, we will have arrived on our precious Isla Mujeres-our home away from home.  It was not a difficult decision, to know where we wanted to have Christmas dinner as Fredy is a member of our Isla family.  I already know this far in advance that I will be ordering his famous pork chop.  But in the mean time, I have managed to find a recipe for his Cilantro Shrimp.  This comes from the cookbook entitled Cocina Islena-a fund raiser for PEACE Isla Mujeres.  If you are a Mexican food lover-you MUST have this recipe book.

Fredy’s Cilantro Shrimp

20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

7 ox. white onion, finely chopped

2 T cilantro, finely chopped

lime, salt & pepper to taste

1 t worcherstershire sauce

4 sliced jalepeno chilies

1 t olive oil (important)

1 t garlic

7 oz. manchego cheese (like mozzarella)

In a baking dish, place a layer of cilantro, add a layer on onion, a layer of shrimp, then another layer of cilantro, another or onion and a last layer of shrimp.  Season with lime, salt and pepper to taste.  Add worchestershire sauce, olive oil & garlic.  Once seasoned, add grated cheese covering the entiure surface.  Bake for approxuimately 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Remove from the oven and garnish with sliced chilies and serve immediately.  Serves 2.

 

Fredy does not have a website but click here for his Facebook page.

Kath’s quote: “Some writers say the leaves [cilantro] are used for seasoning, but this statement seems odd, as all the green parts of the plant exhale a very strong odor of the wood-bug, whence the Greek name of the plant.”-Vilmorin-Andrieux, ‘The Vegetable Garden’ (1885)

More Questions than Answers

December12

Last night, I did not sleep a wink because of all of the details floating around in my head.  This happens almost exactly at this time every year and particularly about this number of days before Christmas.  It occurred to me at about 4:30 this morning that I would love to know way, way more about my readers, so here goes (I know it is a busy time but I would love to hear from you):

If you could travel anywhere in the world, to taste the food, where would you go and what would you sample?

If you were to prepare a single dish to express to someone, how much you love them, what would that be (and would you be willing to share the recipe)?

Conversely, if someone were to do the same for you, what would you hope, the dish would be (and would you be willing to share the recipe)?

What dish most brings back fond childhood memories and when was the last time that you ate it?

Have you ever volunteered at a soup kitchen or food bank?  Would you?

If you could work alongside one cook or chef, living or late, who would it be and what dish would you most love to learn  how to make?

What recipe are you glad that one of your parents taught you how to cook?

What cuisine do you consume most at restaurants?

If you opened your own restaurant, what would you name it and what cuisine would it be?

What restaurant type is missing most from the city you live in?

Have you ever done a cleansing fast?  Do you fast or eliminate a food from your diet for any reason?

Is there a food that you have never tasted and do not have any desire to ever try?

What is your favourite food-themed book or movie?

Which cookbook is your most used and loved and why?

What single kitchen utensil is your most used and loved and why?

If you were to travel anywhere in the world to distribute food or ensure safe water and sustainable food sources, which place would it be?

I can’t wait to hear from you.  Rest, peace and love be with you.

Kath’s quote: “One can never know too much; the more one learns, the more one sees the need to learn more and that study as well as broadening the mind of the craftsman provides an easy way of perfecting yourself in the practice of your art.”-Auguste Escoffier

 

Elements

December9

Elements is the long awaited bistro and dining room created by Chef Ben Kramer of Diversity Foods.  I’ve been for lunch, twice now.  The first time was a number of weeks ago.  While I awaited my lunch date. I saw a table of people that I recognized.  It was their first time as well.  They invited me to sample the bowl of Spicy Bacon Carmel Popcorn that sat on the middle of their table.  Simultaneously salty and sweet, it was a yummy treat.

My date sampled the Baked Macaroni & Cheese made with more bacon, chevre and cheddar (not exactly lo-cal).

But her salad offset the indulgence.

I chose the linquine with onions, garlic, feta and hazelnuts.  I topped mine with chicken.  I found mine to be heavy on the onions which dissuaded me from trying it a second time.

Yesterday’s lunch started with a yam and peanut soup and then two shrimp tacos.

A friend choose this combination as well but opted for the onion soup and had her taco stuffed with chicken.

The third member of our klatch, slurped (in a polite way) the 3 step Raman noodles: choosing egg noodles, hot and sour sauce and shrimp as well.

Since there were three of us to share dessert and we were in a festive mood, we ordered the vegan chocolate cake.  I am assuming that this meant it was eggless and they went unmissed.  The cake was rich and moist and the combination of blueberries and the dark chocolate was divine.

The room is light and airy and has windows along two walls.  On my second visit, there was such a blustery wind blowing outside that we were able to watch passers by hang onto their hats!

The restaurant is a welcome addition to a fairly lengthy strip of Portage Ave. without an upscale eatery.  The constant expansion of the University of Winnipeg, will certainly change this over time.  Elements has set the bar high for future prospects.

Elements on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “What science demands more study than Cookery?     You have not only, as in other arts, to satisfy the general eye, but also the individual taste of the persons who employ you; you have to attend to economy, which every one demands; to suit the taste of different persons at the same table; to surmount the difficulty of procuring things which are necessary to your work; to undergo the want of unanimity among the servants of the house; and the mortification of seeing unlimited confidence sometimes reposed in persons who are unqualified to give orders in the kitchen, without assuming consequence, and giving themselves airs which are almost out of reason, and which frequently discourage the Cook.”-Louis Eustache Ude (1813)

New Restaurants for Winnipeg in 2011

December8

Winnipeg has a vibrant restaurant scene and always so many choices from which to declare the year’s best new entry.

 I was introduced to business partners Kyle and Marc when I visited Unburger Restaurant/Café at 472 Stradbrooke Ave. for my first time. The little place has a fresh, crisp and clean design.  I sampled the “Unburger”-grilled pineapple, balsamic onion & tomato relish, caramelized onions, bacon, cheddar, herb mayo & a sunny side up fried egg!  The addition of pickled beets was just my cup of tea. 

The newly relocated Deseo Bistro is at 696 Osborne St.  There was some debate as to whether Deso should be considered new as they were formerly located on the main floor of the Royal Albert Arms.   But since Deseo was the hands down winner when I asked my cyber-circle for their favourite, I declare it to be Winnipeg’s best new restaurant.  I’ve been twice -once for a savoury lunch of sweet and sour figs and chorizo sausage and a second time for a cozy dinner when I sampled Chef Scott Bagshaw’s BC Clams tossed with pancetta and brussel sprout kim chee, and Caramelized Pork Belly accompanied by sour pear, crispy chicken skin and succotash.  Deseo’s small plates are nothing short of exquisite. We were warmly hosted by the other Deseo partner and lovely gentleman-Alejandro Moro.

I was surprised when no one remembered or (faced up to) loving Smoke’s Poutinerie which drew such a crowd when it opened in the Exchange this past summer.  Being the poutine aficionado that I am-I was duly impressed by the savoury gravy and real cheese curds.

 

My Blogging friends had this to add:

Carbone Coal Fired Pizza on Taylor is my new favourite pizzeria. The coal-fired oven creates the best crispy-thin crusts that cook in as little as 3 minutes. The peppino is a must-try with cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, arugula, parmigiano and a splash of olive oil, and keep room for the ferrero dessert pizza topped with nutella and roasted bananas.

The new Stella’s at Plug In 460 Portage Ave. in the Buhler Centre across form the University of Winnipeg is the perfect place to grab a big fluffy cinnamon bun and coffee on the way class or work. If you have time to sit down in the sunny dinning room enclosed in floor-to-ceiling windows, order the Mexican Breakfast. www.sucrefarine.blogspot.com

My new fave restaurant isn’t really a restaurant per se, but a coffee shop.  Parlour Coffee at 468 Main Street has finally filled Winnipeg’s need for a place to get an incredible cup of properly prepared coffee.  Its simple design and warm, friendly atmosphere (and staff) will definitely have you fixin’ for your daily cup of joe. www.thefood-online.com

Kath’s quote: “If you never try a new thing, how can you tell what it’s like? It’s men such as you that hamper the world’s progress. Think of the man who first tried German sausage!”-Jerome K. Jerome (1889)

 

Most Romantic Dinner Spot on Isla Mujeres

December7

I have many friends on Isla Mujeres.  Some I have shared a dinner or lazed upon the beach with and others I have met “cyberly” and then eventually met in person.  Such is the case with this friend who is a US ex-pat now living full time in paradise.  I have asked her opinion of the best place to go for a romantic dinner for two on Isla ( I happen to know a couple who could use one).

“Greetings from Isla Mujeres!  After some chilly weather (for us) it is finally a beautiful beach day!  The Island is quickly getting decorated for Christmas & it looks festive.  We just put our tree up on Sunday with the kids.  Now the count down for Santa begins!!
 
Sunset Grill is a pretty spot but I have heard mixed reviews about the food & the beach seating (they charge extra to sit on the beach).  By the time you arrive Fenix, an Asian Fusion restaurant should be open.  That is on the beach at NaBalam looking towards Avalon.  The couple opening it up used to have a quite popular place in Nashville. 

Looking west towards Cancun from the vicinity of Casa Las Suenos

A couple other romantic options with a view would include Casa Las Suenos (used to be Altmar Lounge, on Punta Sur next to Casa O’s).  It is a beautiful setting, under a great big palapa looking out at Cancun.  They have reopened their restaurant which used to be excellent but have not done any marketing to let people know.  Another soon to be opened & should be opened by that time is Marina Paraiso.  They have a chef from France who will be doing lovely dinners on their deck under big old  trees with views of the water.  I have been there for a private dinner & they food was incredible.
 

The Caribbean Side

Da Luisa at Casa Ixchel on the Caribbean side has a great ocean view.  I have not had dinner there but I have had tapas & drinks.  The chef Giorgio from Italy does a great job.
 
Without the beach or a view….Sergio from Rooster Cafe starts his Special Chef Dinner Menus around December 15th on Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays.  Honestly, his culinary creations are some of the best I have ever had in my life.  He is truly the most talented Chef (accredited at La Cordon Bleu in Austin) on Isla.  I am still dreaming about his pork belly three ways, his shrimp in a grapefruit reduction sauce & his filet mignon in huitlacoche sauce.  WOW.  The decor of Rooster is a bit more modern & for them evenings, he has table clothes & it has a nice romantic feel.  You can also make reservations for his chef’s tasting menu, where he will bring 5 or 6 courses out for you.  This is by far my favorite place for a special occasion.
 

The bright lights of Hidalgo

Also without a beach or view, Lori Dumm previously of Mango Cafe just opened up Lola Valentina on Hidalgo with a Mexican business partner, Rodolfo.  The place is very pretty.  The food is Mexican Fusion.  The tables are quite big so there is not a real romantic feel at the table but the lighting & decor feels romantic.”

Kath’s quote: “Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.”-Sarah Bernhardt

 

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