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 2020 Trip Report-Day 3

April22

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That morning’s glorious sunrise made up for the one I missed the day prior.

I met Jan and Bruce as I walked to the taxi stand to meet Sister #3. Since I had not had a real visit with them yet, I had lots of things to ask about. Sister #3 and I stopped at Luna d’Miel en route to Coco Jaguar to pick up my kitchen supplies that were stored from the previous year. We may not need them in 2021 as we are looking at some other alternatives.

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We were to meet Maria, the manager at Coco Jaguar but unfortunately her phone had been stolen so she couldn’t let her staff know the circumstances.

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The good news was that we spotted our long time friend Jean from the 2nd floor of Coco Jaguar. She was out on her daily walk but had been caught in a shower so we asked her to join us from our perch. It was so lovely to get caught up with her as she shared what the future might hold.

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Since I missed out on breakfast I enjoyed a bowl of coconut pineapple yoghurt from a shared balcony on the front of the hotel when I got home. Later I sat up my little kitchen and then I hung out at the hotel before meeting some new friends. I have heard my bestie Melinda (who doesn’t live in the same city as me), speak of Jane for a number of years. It turned out that Jane and her husband Peter happened to be on the island at that time.

We met for bevvies at Esquina and to introduce ourselves to one another. As I was on my way to visit Hortencia, they walked with me and I was able to introduce them to Hortencia’s entire family. Jane indicated that she was going to return when it was cooler to select a pareo for a dress. They then walked with me to the beach so I was able to introduce the rest of our gang. Uncharacteristic of me, I went right in the ocean for a swim and then enjoyed a nice visit with Bro #3 and his wife L.

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Later that same day I met Bro #3 and L outside of their hotel as we were going to catch the sunset together. Another sudden rain shower came up, so we continued our visit in their room at Los Arcos. I captured this from their little balcony.

Next up was dinner at Fredy’s. It was a bit delayed as a party of 20 that was supposed to show up at 6, didn’t arrive until 8 and then plugged up the kitchen.

We met Fredy’s new server Penny also from Canada.

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Lorena and L loved Fredy’s fajitas,

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Sister #3 her Mex plate

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and Bro #3 his pork chop.

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I took the opportunity to try Fredy’s tortilla soup-delish!

Covid comment: I see Fredy posting on Facebook so I assume all is well for he and his family. We love Fredy and Ana dearly and pray that they continue to be safe and well. Boy wouldn’t you love to be on Isla and greeted by Fredy’s sarcasm right about now?

Kath’s quote: “Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends always belong, and laughter never ends.”— Unknown

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Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres Trip Report 2020-Day 2

April20

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When I awoke and hurried to see the sunrise, I managed to catch only a glimpse. As I walked across the parking lot to the malecon, I realised I had left my camera phone behind. When I turned around to fetch it, my key fob wouldn’t work in the front door. Once I had found another guest enjoying his morning smoke to let me in, it had clouded over. I did sneakily go up to the roof though and caught it from there.

My only other task was visiting Aki for bread, cucumber, cilantro and lime mayonnaise to prepare my lunch. I had already eaten the left over 1/2 torta from the night before.

I met Trish and Scott, also from Winnipeg. They were staying in the room across the hall. I was having a tricky time connecting to the hotel’s wifi so I visited with them outside our rooms on a number of occasions.

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I returned to the sea wall to catch some sun and update my journal when I witnessed something funny. A bunch of locals were trying to put together a float for that day’s Carnavale parade. In fact they may have even been working on the “official” float for the parade. The funny part was that by then, I think the parade had already started.

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The day turned out to be one of waiting (for family to arrive on the ferry) and it did my heart good, because of how “instant” life is in 2020. Sometimes it is good to stop and take stock. Especially ironic now in the time of Covid.

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There was one Mom who had a complete melt down when she couldn’t find her return ferry tickets. Then when she finally did (they were with her friends who were already on the ferry), she was livid with everyone -her kids, her boyfriend and the ferry staff!

When my family arrived, they allowed one kiss and then were off! Oh well, I thought, I guess I will see them on the beach.

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I wandered down the west beach at twilight to enjoy the soft light against the white sand. These local boys swimming were a hoot to watch.

Sister #3 and Lorena joined me at Sesso Loco’s for the evening.

Covid Note: I am not currently posting my restaurant blogs to the Isla Mujeres Food Group page as restaurants on the island are currently closed except for take out. My goal with IM Food is to promote restaurants at peak times that will most benefit the restaurant.

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After dinner Sister #3 wanted to take a walk down Hidalgo but as I was tired, I went “home” to read a new book. I had to wear earplugs as Carnival was going strong!

Kath’s quote:

And the people stayed home

And read books, and listened and rested

And exercised and made art

And played games and learned new ways of being.

And were still.

And listened more deeply.

Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.

Some met their shadows.

And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed”. -Kitty O’Meara

suckerheart

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres Trip Report 2020-Day 1

April17

For Elaine.

Even though I had left home more than 24 hours previously, I hadn’t felt like I had arrived until I woke up early that first morning-even before my alarm went off! I was in a familiar hotel even if it was in a new bed. I am not always fortunate enough to have a first good sleep.

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As I crept downstairs, I knew that I could likely get a cup of coffee in the lobby but drat, I had to have my first cup with coffee mate instead of the milk that kind Bruce fetched me on my arrival day. As a matter of fact he also bought me a bottle of wine which I was able to return (and drink with them) a number of days later.

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Bruce and Jan offered to meet me at the ferry. Thank heavens they did as it was chaotic and I was pooped, stressed and thirsty. So much so, that the Corona I had ordered from CARM and planned to drink on the ferry to enhance the crossing, I gulped down as I stared at the long line waiting for the next ferry to come along.

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Accidental selfie on the ferry

I might have made the 2:30 ferry except that there was a new security/screening system and I had to hit a green button which made my unopened Corona an explosive canister waiting to go off.

It was a hectic day and yet, except for waiting for the ferry and CARM, it went as per usual. When I first had a chance once I was unpacked, I looked at the time and Jacki (a friend from back home) was scheduled to meet me in ½ an hour!

It took us no time to get caught up and we spent a lovely supper together. 1000 Tacos was a little hike from my hotel so we stopped a couple of times for Jacki to rest (and my knees appreciated the respite too). I was so glad to be “home”.

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Funny thing about my arthritic knees. Although they cause me no end of pain and subsequent disappointment-they were pretty terrific on the island. Good thing, as I was staying on the third floor of XBulu Ha.

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The food at 100 Tacos was A+: a shrimp taco, a crunchy shrimp torta and a chile relleno taco. With 2 beer we were wonderfully content. Jacki was concerned about catching a cab back to Colonias so I walked her to the taxi loop as I caught a glimpse of my first sunset.

Covid Comment: At this moment with travel suspended to Isla, it is hard to imagine the empty airport, ferry and terminal. I miss the Islanders and the island itself and I wish them all safety and health.

Kath’s Quote: “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” -Helen Keller

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

Coco Jacquar- Isla Mujeres 2020

March21

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Even though it was only 9 am in the morning when we arrived at Coco Jaquar, it was already a hot one. This tall, cool drink was a blend of orange, celery, cucumber, pineapple and spinach and certainly hit the spot. It was tremendously thirst quenching and I felt healthier just sipping it!

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Hot chocolate is a staple in our home. The Wee Ones especially love it as a warm up after outdoor activities. To be honest, I think they love the marshmallows that typically float on top. This hot chocolate tasted to me like an adult version, with deep, rich, “real” tasting chocolate. Delish.

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Maria, the manager at Coco Jaguar suggested that we might want to try a few entrees off their menu. We were game, especially when this work of art arrived in front of us. Spicy (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg) premise made banana bread was kissed with a beaten egg to produce this divine French Toast creation. Equally delectable were the fruit displays-at the peak of freshness, thinly sliced. We couldn’t eat more than 1 shared piece because, well you should see what came along next.

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Our Rancheros came divorced egg style with both red and green sauce (you can chose just one sauce if you’d prefer). Under the perfectly cooked eggs were a surprise layer of refried beans and a tortilla.

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We suggested to Maria that extra tortillas be served because we could not come near to mopping up all that goodness.

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Last but not least, this came to the table-the Jaguar Burrito! On a normal day I would have split just this and been more than happy.

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Sister #3 (who was my breakfast date that morning) and I were craving a salad so it didn’t take long for us to devour this exceptional one made of apple and strawberries tossed with the crispiest lettuce I had tasted since I left home.

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The burrito was jam packed with ham, chorizo, avocado, spinach and beans. We shared one half and then I asked for a takeout container. Confession time: when my husband arrived to the island later that day and was looking for some sustenance, I told him that I saved the half burrito especially for him. That was mostly true-I had saved a piece of the banana bread French toast too but I scooped that up for myself before he had a chance to see inside the container!

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I didn’t take enough note of our breakfast dessert! I knew that it had Bailey’s, a shot of coffee and caramel sauce but there was also a liquor I had never heard of. They were a special treat provided by Maria. They were so, so good.

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Since the kitchen is on the main floor and the dining area is on the second there is always a lovely breeze in the restaurant. One morning we were there in the pouring rain and we were well sheltered from the shower.

I did wish I had enough time to go back in the evening but alas, Coco Jaguar will have to go on next year’s “must try” list. Portions are enormous so you may want to plan on sharing if you visit. And I hope you do.

Kath’s quote: Salad “freshens without enfeebling and fortifies without irritating.”-Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

1000 Tacos-Our New Home, Isla Mujeres 2020

March20

Shortly after arriving on Isla Mujeres, I was sampling my first taste of my new favourite treat. When I say “soon”, I mean within the hour! Yes I was hungry after travelling all day but I was also sensitive that 1000 Tacos does not keep extended hours like many tiendes on the island. In fact, if they haven’t had a customer in a while, they might just close up shop. This did happen on one occasion, but happily for us, when we entered their funky outdoor space, they fired up the grill again to make us feel welcomed.

On this first visit, I was also very thirsty and I was delighted that their variety of beer were ice cold. And what goes better with tacos than icy cold beer?

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Our friendly servers Brenda and Rosa told us that they were sold out of a couple of items. This, I get. They are a small business with new found success and they try to ensure that their ingredients are at the peak of freshness. If you come from the hospitality business, as I do, you know that the line between freshness and running out of menu items is tricky to walk. Instead of being miffed, this encouraged me to come back again to try missed items. And return I did, at least three times during my stay. But I digress.

They have two sections on their food menu-one entitled Mexican Stews and the other Seafood. With a bit of consideration I realized that the Mexican Stew section meant that the tortillas or tortas could be made with meat or chicken.

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We chose the Queso Relleno “stew” (pictured on the left), including ground pork seasoned with chunks of Edam cheese! The fried shrimp with Mexican sausage and

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(and on another occasion on a flour tortilla).

All were perfectly prepared, piping hot and oh so delicious, especially when a squeeze of garlic or cilantro sauce was applied. The other two sauces which we were cautioned were “picante”, we left alone.

A good friend of mine from my home town joined me on this evening. When she couldn’t indulge en par with me, I felt badly that she was missing out on the tastes! We ordered the two tacos and one torta and I ended up taking half of the torta back to the hotel mini fridge. I ate the the torta for breakfast the next morning and the shrimp were still crunchy and the pico de gallo still fresh.

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The creamy Edam cheese showcased the ground pork and the spicy Mexican sausage was the perfect pair to the sautéed shrimp (on the right). You could choose between flour and corn tortillas. I selected the former on that first evening but corn thereafter.

But the secret weapon of the tacgueria  was the queso that was offered with every selection. Taco purists don’t typically have cheese on their tacos but this cheese had been grilled until crispy and elevated the already delicious taco to new heights.

You might say I am rambling on about very simple food and that is exactly the point. This is a small operation which serves very few items but every choice was A+!

As I said, I returned on a couple of occasions-once so my friends from Toronto could savour the fare (they loved the Fried Octopus Taco) and another time for my husband’s last meal on the island. We became more and more familiar to Brenda and Rosa who welcomed us warmly each time. I told every one who would listen about this special place.

They are located a bit off the main drag. Take Medina until Allende and turn left or Juarez and turn right at Allende. They also deliver. If you are on the island right now and they are still open-go. Do not hesitate, just go.

Kath’s quote: “In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection.”-Curnonsky

turquoiseheart

Love never fails.

 

 

 

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