Food Musings

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

2015 Isla Mujeres Trip Report-Day 14

February22

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After one of our last beautiful sunsets we headed for Centro with our neighbours’ golf cart. We dropped them off to meet their boat destined for Isla Contoy.

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We grabbed coffees at Café Cito and scouted around Centro until it was time to pick up Sister #3 and Dona.

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They had not yet had a chance to try Bahama Mama’s so we stopped for Breakfast.

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The three ladies enjoyed three different omelettes

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and D opted for the fruit pancakes.

Then it was off to Chedrui for supplies for the dinner that we were making to host our friend Hortenzia and her family. Because we still had the golf cart we then drove them home and stopped at Q Bravos to pick up lunch that we would eat later around the pool.

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These enormous chicken tortas were fabulous and so affordable.

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That afternoon we packed up for D’s departure and my move to Centro. I did manage to do one last little bit of beachcombing before I said good-bye to the lovely beach in front of Luna D’Miel.

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Sister #3, Dona and D in the Luna d’Miel kitchen where we cooked up a fabulous feast for Hortenzia’s family.

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Hortenzia insisted on helping by serving up the dinner plates.

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We love getting together with this family each year; sometimes at their home, sometimes we host. An extended visit is always a part of our Isla vacation.day14-22

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We have known the grandkids since they were babies being cared for in Hortenzia’s shop. Another was born soon after our time together last spring and we look forward to meeting them.

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We packed up all the leftovers to send home with Hortenzia for her family and we still had these four desserts left to share with our Luna d’Miel neighbours.

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We love this wonderful woman and are so proud of the life she has provided for her family from her talent and her enterprising spirit. We do all of our shopping at her store or when she takes us to meet her friends that run the other market stalls. She has made countless dresses for all of us sisters, our kids and even my granddaughter. if you have never been to her shop you must go. The last stall to the north when your back is facing the front door of the Poc Na Hostel. Tell her Kelly, Susan or Kathy sent you…..

In exactly one week we will be checking into Villas San Miquel! I am really looking forward to the fully equipped kitchen in each of the villas because although we love Isla’s many restaurants, we also love to cook and entertain when we are on vacation.

Kath’s quote: The perfect woman, you see, is a working woman; not an idle, not a fine lady, but one who uses her hands and her head and her heart for the good”.-Thomas Hardy

HEART ISLA MUJERES

Love never fails.

2015 Isla Mujeres Trip Report-Day 13

February20

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Another beautiful sunrise.

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This one with a full house to savour it.

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After some beachcombing I made these amazing grilled cheese sandwiches (if I do say so myself) and we enjoyed them by the pool.

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We also had some left over sopa di limon that was just as good as the first day we had it at La Lomita.

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It was D’s last leisurely day as we were entertaining a gang the next day. He spent the afternoon in the hammock and loved every lazy minute.

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Every year on Isla, D and I have a date night where we have a progressive dinner-sharing plates and tastes of our favourite things and then making our way to another stop.

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We started at Picus for shrimp ceviche and the amazing sunset.

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Our blessed life is a series of these wonderful moments.

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These fishermen were anxious to show off their catch to a woman that we met for our sunset treat.

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Our next stop was La Lomita’s for their fabulous papas fritas.

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Our main course was an “Isla Mujeres” pizza at Angelo’s.

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We visited Jose in hopes of having pineapple pie for dessert but he was sold out.

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We didn’t really have any shopping to do but we love wandering Hidalgo and taking in the colours, aromas and sounds.

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Pistachio and coconut gelato was a delicious substitute for the pie and the bonus was a lovely visit with friends Jean and Rich.

These posts are helping me pass the last days until our 2016 visit. We are excited to be staying at Villas San Miguel for a portion of the time. We are thinking that we could enjoy every dinner as a progressive one if we wanted to!

Kath’s quote: “I’m into all that sappy stuff – a surprise picnic, nice dinner, or traveling. I’m kind of an old romantic”.– Will Estes

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Love never fails.

Pasta Making at a Commuity Kitchen

February19

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Recently I was invited to share my love of pasta-making at Jubilee Mennonite Church’s Community Kitchen. The afternoon was an absolute delight from start to finish.  I loved being able to share my expertise with such an enthusiastic bunch of women. If you have ever wondered about a Community Kitchen, here is an edited version of the story of Jubilee’s Kitchen, written by their Community Ministry Director.

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It’s a feast for the senses: the smell of savory spices; the taste of fresh, healthy food; the sounds of children playing and women chatting; the touch of supportive embrace; the sight of women and children of different cultures, economic status, and age; the sense of God’s Spirit moving. This is the Jubilee Mennonite Church Community Kitchen in Winnipeg, Canada, on a Tuesday afternoon.

It started by accident. Seven years ago, the church basement flooded. The resulting renovation included upgrading the kitchen to be more functional, as well as upgrading the basement for the daycare renting the space. But when the renovations were complete, the daycare decided to stay at their temporary location. What to do with the upgraded kitchen?

A partnership was formed. Donwood Public School provided a staff member and a financial contribution, while Jubilee provided the space, staff support, volunteers for watching children, and donations of food. This partnership fit with the church’s commitment to be present in the community. It started in May, 2010.

The neighborhood around Jubilee Church is economically and culturally diverse. Alongside middle-class detached homes, there are three low-income housing developments within three blocks. There are immigrants from many countries, aboriginal people, single moms, and about seven hundred children. Some of  neighbors deal with issues of poverty, inadequate housing, addictions, poor mental health, and racism. Four years ago, Jubilee decided to support a half-time Community Ministry Director to lead engagement with the neighbours in projects like a children’s club, youth activities, soccer and hockey clubs, a community garden, community meals – and of course the Community Kitchen.

One mom’s experience at the first Community Kitchen day showed the possibilities that might come from this project. She arrived, and after welcoming her we told her we would be making shepherd’s pie. She responded by saying, “I can’t make that. I have never made a home-cooked meal.” We reassured her that it would be okay, and that we would make it together. At the end of the afternoon, she held up her shepherd’s pie and said, “I did it! I did it!” with a beaming smile. She took her first homemade meal back to feed her family.

In the Community Kitchen women have found a place to belong, find and offer support, love and be loved, weep and laugh. Food is the equalizing force. Relationships can be built and flourish around food – we all need to eat. The participants talk about being “blessed…by learning different ways of preparing meals, and sometimes the culture it comes from.” Participants and leaders celebrate meeting and making new friends, and they say the program lets them be more involved with the church.

Two volunteers plan the meals and prepare the snacks. Hedy attends Jubilee, and Jody, who had no previous connection with Jubilee, volunteered when she heard about the program. In a recent evaluation Jody reported that she started volunteering as a way to help others, and she has developed a deep love for women she would otherwise never have met. “Many of the women started off at community kitchen very shy and closed off but most have opened up in ways that are so beautiful. I hear them talking about how they help each other and look out for each other. They all have struggles but knowing they have the support of other caring woman can make all the difference!”

Volunteers from the congregation care for the children during Community Kitchen. For many mothers, this is the only time in the week when they are free from minding their children. Jubilee Community Kitchen continues to evolve. Donwood Public School changed its priorities and is no longer a partner in the Community Kitchen. But other contributors have come forward, including government grants, community organizations, local businesses and individuals. Without these partners we could not sustain the program. Participants in the program have begun to make their own contributions to the surrounding neighborhood. They organize and run a clothing fair each spring and fall, where neighbors can purchase a garbage bag of donated clothes for only $1.00.

Manija is a Muslim woman who recently immigrated from Afghanistan; she teaches us how to make her traditional foods and bakes naan for community meals. Two women make extra meals to deliver to the ill or bereaved. Many Community Kitchen participants volunteer at the church’s annual community Christmas dinner. Some also participate in the community garden, farming thirty plots where neighbors and church members grow organic vegetables to feed their families and to contribute to community meals. Faith, one of the participants, caught the essence in a note to the leaders: “Community Kitchen changed me in ways that made me a better person inside and out of Jubilee Church. It’s not just a place you go to cook. It’s a place you go to learn, listen, receive the opportunity to build new friendships, and to give and get the support you may need.”

Kath’s quote: “Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.”-Paul Ryan

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Love never fails.

 

Pre-Jets Game Dinner-The Garry St. Keg

February17

We do not get to go to many Winnipeg Jets’ games so when we are lucky enough to snag some tickets, it is a big event for us. To make the evening even more special, we start with a dinner out. We are very strategic about where we dine because we do not want to have to park twice in downtown Winnipeg. That is why the Keg Garry St. was the perfect choice on this particular game night. We found a parking spot in the vicinity of the Millennium Library which was exactly half way between the restaurant and the MTS Centre.

Upon arrival, we realized that our good idea was also considered a smart one by a whole lot of other people. The dining room was full and so we opted to wait out our time in the bar. There were also no lounge tables available so we found ourselves perched on the high stools at the bar. It turned out to be such a fun spot that when it was our time to move into the dining room, we declined and ordered dinner at the bar.

One of the attractions was that many of the other pairs of diners were also heading to the Jets game and so we amicably chatted about the Jets’ chances that evening, injuries and trades.

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We started with the spinach salad which the kitchen was kind enough to split onto two plates. I don’t know what makes me so crazy about this salad (perhaps the sugared nuts, the creamy goat cheese or the beautifully blended salad dressing) but I could eat it every single day. Strawberries are especially dear this time of year and it felt like a very special treat to have so many slices peaking out from underneath the spinach leaves.

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D chose the pistachio crusted salmon that comes atop creamy garlic mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts tossed with bacon and maple syrup. He was very pleased with his choice.

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I had a hankering for fish too and opted for the grilled ahi tuna on a bed of Asian cole slaw with a soy and sesame dressing. My first portion was too salty and so it was immediately whisked away and a substitute was provide that was absolutely perfect. I love the contrast of the seared meat on the surface with the cool and silky interior of the fish. The dish was light and satisfying and when it was game time, I still had the energy to make the quick walk to the arena.

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “I think whenever anyone asked me why I wanted to be a hockey player, that’s where it all started, watching the Winnipeg Jets play as a young kid.”-Jonathon Toews

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Love never fails.

 

 

Isla Mujeres Trip Report-Day Twelve, Part Two

February16

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We were reluctant to leave North Beach on such a glorious beach day, but we eventually made our meander back to Luna ‘Miel on the airport road.

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We hopped into the shower and then walked the sea wall back into Centro.

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Our destination was the artist’s fair in the square (update: I understand that artist fairs now take place at the Cultural Centre). We were so impressed with all of the talent an did lots of shopping for the gang back home. I especially appreciated the photography and sea glass pieces.

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It was a great turn out of tourists and ex-pats.

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It was a bit of a wait to get ourselves a light dinner in the square but with so many people to visit, we were content just to hang. We noshed on pizza slices, sliders, shrimp & octopus empanadas, pork tacos and Barlito’s cinnamon bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce for dessert. A moveable feast!

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Shadows were lengthening an it was time to make our way to Bally Hoo for sunset.

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There are many lovely spots to witness sunset on Isla but we especially enjoy Bally Hoo to watch the fishing boats come in and enjoy the pier and the gulls.

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Bally Hoo’s amazing mango margaritas were another reason to visit. Our new friends Jan and Michelle from Luna d’Miel couldn’t believe how big they were.

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Friends Bob and Joyce were there as well. They were meeting new guests who were delegates of the women’s conference which takes place on Isla every year. We kept pulling tables together an in the end there were 12 of us enjoying our “Grande” margaritas. Those that hadn’t filled up on dinner in the square, enjoyedd Bally Hoo’s legendary fish tacos.

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We stopped into Casa el Pio for some moon gazing on our way home.

For our next visit (soon!), we are staying at Villas San Miguel which will put us close to the cultural centre for the artist’s fair, walks to see the sunset and so much more.

Kath’s quote: “Nothing goes with a hot tan like a cool margarita.” –Unknown

HEART ISLA MUJERES

Love never fails.

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