Food Musings

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

Grill Garden-Isla Mujeres 2022


In the spring of 2020, it looked like our Winnipeg Jets might make the play offs. As a result, my family and I made a number of visits to Snappers on Carlos Lazo in March of that year to watch their games. As we did so, we would peak past the gate at the construction site of a new restaurant, wondering what would eventually be raised up there. Well, as you know, the NHL was soon cancelled and the world shut down for a couple of years. That is, with the exception of Fernando the owner of the North Garden. He found a way to keep locals employed with construction and also take care of his staff. This lovely story was told to us by Pablo, the amazing server/manager who took care of us recently at Grill Garden.

We commenced our evening with beautifully crafted cocktails- a Hibiscus Mojito on the right and Mezcalitas Cilantro concoction on the left. The latter was rimmed with chile powder was sweet, smoky and so refreshing. The Hibiscus Mojita with muddled mint, wasn’t sweet but was perfectly fresh and smooth.

You may recognize the Crispy Cilantro Cheese starter from North Garden. OMG! The goey gouda and tomatillo sauce was perfectly balanced. When scooped up with white tortilla triangles-sensational! I had to restrain myself.

Pulled pork tacos had a liquid cheese base, stacks of toasted tortilla chips, ribbons of pulled pork, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream (a rarity on the island). We could have been satisfied with these hearty starters for our dinner!

As we took an eating breather, we had a look around the gorgeous interior. The bar was stunning and check out the cool wine rack!

More food adventures were ahead. The Whole Fried Fish took fresh catch to a whole new level (literally). The crispy outside and perfectly cooked flesh was delicious unadorned when plucked from the fish frame with our fingers. When I used my fork and added the silky coconut rice-sublime! A citrus salad lay under the fish cradle. I detected lime, orange, tomatillo, cucumber and cilantro. Amazing!

Pablo pulled around a cart for the table side preparation of our Tomahawk Steak (not actually on the menu).

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He skillfully sliced the beef on a diagonal. This ensured the tenderness of the well marbled, medium rare steak. Once he flamed it with a generous glob of seasoned butter in a pre-heated cast iron pan, he gently transfered it back to beautiful wooden platter.

The stuffed baked potato and delicately tossed greens were perfect alongside.

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Had we not been absolutely stuffed, I would have gnawed on the bone!

We declined coffee and chatted with Pablo about our family back home being in the craft beer business. He delighted us with mini beer shooters made with Liqueur and Pina Colada!

We were very impressed with the attention to details in the interior decor.

The restaurants was cozy and inviting in spite of it being completely in the open air. I would be concerned if it was a chilly rainy night but such was not the case on this evening or our entire three week visit! We longed to go back and visit Pablo some more, enjoy the decor and try some other items on the menu. Next year. There is always next year.

Grill Garden was a perfect and memorable evening from start to finish!

Kath’s quote:“To see the butcher slap the steak before he laid it on the block, and give his knife a sharpening, was to forget breakfast instantly. It was agreeable too – it really was – to see him cut it off so smooth and juicy. There was nothing savage in the act, although the knife was large and keen; it was a piece of art, high art; there was delicacy of touch, clearness of tone, skilful handling of the subject, fine shading. It was the triumph of mind over matter; quite.”Charles Dickens (1812-1870) ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’

Love is all.

Green Verde-Isla Mujeres 2022


We have enjoyed a number of delicious meals at Greenverde over the years. A bestie of ours declares that it is the best restaurant on the island.

We started our lovely evening off with a pina coolada and a classic margarita. I do love artisan cocktails but go back to the classics like a good old coconut/pineapple cocktail, again and again.

Another classic-guacamole, was lightly seasoned with onion, tomato, fresh lime, garlic and salt & pepper. The result was so light and refreshing. Why muck with perfection and in my mind an avocado is nature’s perfection.

D and I had this idea about combining our dinner choices for a “surf and turf” so he ordered the Tampequena and I the Shrimp Mezcal.

Our beautifully plated dinners didn’t look quite so pretty after the merging of our dishes but the tastes were divine!

D’s skirt steak had been grilled with strips of poblano pepper then topped with a mixture of sweet onion, corn, cotija cheese and sour cream. His plate was then laden with more of that amazing guacamole, chilaquiles, beans and quesadillas. The steak itself was so flavourful and tender it was scrumptious on its own and made more so with all the fixings.

My shrimp had been marinated in a green style sauce (we were dining at Greenverde remember!) with Mezcal and a touch of butter. The dish was enhanced with rice but a side plate of corn, tostone banana and sweet potato also came along. What a feast!

Friends tucked into a generous portion of salmon (took home half) crowned with hibiscus sauce and bedded onto refried beans and fresh asparagus.

They also selected a tricolor of moles: Green Mole with Pork, Yellow Mole with Beef and Red Mole with Chicken. Green Verde’s mole recipes are authentically made with toasted chilies and vegetables. The tortillas were smothered in cream, cheese and a variety of seeds. The sauces were so delectable, our friend would have loved more.

My pina coolada had gone down so quickly that I ordered a glass of wine with dinner. They had a great selection of my favourite Chilean wines and I appreciated their generous pour.

Their authentic flan came with 4 spoons and we admired the creaminess and subtle sweetness along with its silky texture as we gobbled every speck of it off the plate!

Kath’s quote: “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”-John Ruskin

Love is all.

Rinconcito Kahlo-Isla Mujeres 2022


If you go by cab tell your driver “A unos pasos de Cable Wizz, Sobre le Avenida”. In English: “A few steps from Cable Wizz on Medina, east side heading south”.

I took a picture of their sandwich board so you could see the prices yourself. Unbelievable value!

This amuse bouche arrived at the table without our requesting it-a peppery sauce and a squiggle of cheese made for a salty treat to accompany the delicious non-alcoholic beverages we selected.

Dos Frida Vivas please! Pineapple, lime, mint and cucumber. So refreshing!

Not like any quesadilla you have had before.The pork filling is slow roasted in a pit lined with hot rocks and covered with banana leaves. When ready, the pork is stuffed into soft corn tortillas and grilled in some of the drippings from the roasting process.The result is a flat crunchy quesadilla packed with savoury pork. Perfect when plunged into the dipping sauce.

These condiments arrived first. It was explained that they could be used to enhanced the dipping sauce..

We added lime, cilantro and chopped white onion to the light bean broth. We declined the caliente sauce.

The perfect marriage of tastes.

Los Gardos are beautifully butterflied shrimp (shell on) crowning amazing guacamole (I think it was the refreshing lime that balanced the rich avocado), pork pieces (you can swap for chicken), and a smear of refried beans topping a crispy taco sphere.

I had a hard time using a knife and fork so I threw down my utensils and picked it up. I was tutored by D and was grateful for the generous supply of napkins.

The decor of the family restaurant is beautifully assembled. The owner’s son explained that his mom is “slightly” obsessed with the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. You could hear the pride in his voice when he also explained that all the recipes served on their little corner were his mother’s. He also mentioned their exciting plans for a Centro location were ahead. And that time has come!

Kath’s quote: “I am that clumsy human being, always loving, loving, loving. And loving. And never leaving.”-Frida Kahlo

Love is all.

Neal’s Irish Pub-Isla Mujeres 2022


During the months in between our visits to Isla Mujeres, we crave Mexican food and put a squeeze of lime and cilantro leaves on every opportunity available. So it might seem strange that our first restaurant visit on Isla Mujeres was to an Irish Pub.

We traveled to Ireland a number of years ago and loved the food, libations and the local music. The same could be said for Neal’s.

At our server’s suggestion, we started with a Bahama Mama and a classic Margarita, neither of these offerings were available in Ireland but it was a refreshing way to start the evening.

Our appetizer of creamy spinach and artichoke dip was served in a carved out bread bowl. The Italian bread-sticks and Mexican tortilla chips made the appetizer an international dish. We were so enamored with it, we even ate the bowl.

To add to the ambiance, a local sax musician serenaded us throughout dinner.

I took the opportunity to sneak a peak into the glassed-in kitchen, to view one of the chefs carefully plating our dinners.

The chef”s twist on a classic Shepherd’s Pie:-it was topped with a tasty, crispy potato crust rather than pastry. The scrumptious pie was served with honeyed carrots and mushy peas (which were surprisingly delicious!)

I recommend that if you go to Neal’s and order the Reuben sandwich, you make plans to share it or take half home with you as I did. It was so huge, I could hardly take a chomp out of it. The beef had been house-smoked and enhanced with a subtle sauerkraut, gooey Swiss cheese and a side of Russian dressing for dipping.

The process of curing and smoking the beef commenced 10 days prior and concluded with 4 hours in a slow oven. I expected something quite different, but was very impressed all the same.

D and I were both so stuffed it would have been nice to walk back to our suite on the Airport Strip, but our helpful server had already called us a cab and we were risked away, enjoying a cool breeze coming off the sea.

Kath’s quote:  “Bless us with good food, the gift of gab and hearty laughter.  May the love and joy we share, be with us ever after!” – Irish Blessing

Love is all.

Isla Mujeres Restaurants


Besides staring at the turquoise water, walking the beach and visiting friends, eating on Isla is our favourite past time! Here are a couple of our Isla Mujeres restaurant visits. More blog post are on the way.

Asia Caribe-I have visited before but never for a full dining experience. Excellent Thai soup and sushi.

Dulzara Argenta bakery-lovely owners, great empanadas, brownies and coconut “pie”!

Fredy’s x 2-Once for his anniversary, once with newbies, pork chops sensational as always.

Geisha Valentina-Thought a hibachi dinner was something different- Teppanyaki Chef was amazing! Excellent scallops and rib eye!

Green Verde-We created our own Surf & Turf, Tampiqueña Steak and Shrimp Mezcal. Delicious!

Grill Garden-Pablo our server was 1st class! Presentation of the Tomahawk Steak & Whole Fish were blow away.

Limone-Our choice for special birthdays. Chef’s Choice: Filet, Lobster, Shrimp! Oh my. Our newbie friends were blown away.

Mar Abismo (delivery only)-had we more time, we would have ordered a greater variety of items. Such well prepared food!

Neal’s Irish Pub-the most enormous Rueben I have ever eaten! Spinach and artichoke dip in a mini bread bowl was such fun.

Richo’s by Chef Rambo-Another surprise. You must try his conch in three kids of garlic. Best conch ever!

Rinconcito Kahlo-Loved the kids that run the restaurant with Mom. As down home as you can get. Birria Tacos and Los Gordos were scrumptious!

Sabores Posada del Mar-mega drinks and top drawer lunch, will be our sunset place next year!

Sardinian Smile-The best regional Italian food outside of the boot itself! Why this place isn’t always packed, I will never know?

Tiny Gecko-Chef Paulino is the island’s best kept secret. His creates delectable food art. Unique and inventive. A must visit!

Kath’s Quote: “Life without Mexican food is like no life at all”-unknown

Love is all.

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