Browsing: Isla Mujeres

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.

Lola Valentina Isla Mujeres 2020


We have enjoyed Lola Valentina’s for many years. On my visit and subsequent blog post last year, I linked to a number of other wonderful dining occasions.

On this visit we started with a sampling of their artisan cocktails.


In the red tiki glass was a Classic Mai Tai concocted of Bacardi Blanco rum, Bacardi Anejo rum, Captain Morgan rum, orange liquer, orange juice, pineapple juice and lime juice. It was stellar!

Not to be outdone in the accompanying green tiki glass came an Aloha Isla, made from Captain Morgan rum, Malibu rum, Licor 43, lychee and passion fruit. I couldn’t decide which one I loved more.


We started food service with guacamole garnished with green apple, bacon goat cheese balls! The apple provided sweet crunch, the bacon savoury saltiness and the cheese ball a creamy pungent hit. OMGoodness! We hoped the rest of the evening was going to be this delicious.


I enjoyed a second cocktail of an avocado martini. Since avocados are supposed to be good for you, I pledged to drink one a day (JK).


One of the first dishes we sampled was from the “Bowl” section of the menu. The Mexican Bowl was chock full of rice, corn, cheese, avocado, pico de gallo, green salsa and sour cream. The hanger steak which occupied a quadrant of the bowl was so tender and perfectly prepared. Lorena who was a part of our gang LOVED IT!


We also enjoyed tempura cauliflower tacos that were a sensational vegan choice. Meat? Who needs meat! They were accompanied by yummy cole slaw, guava/chipotle sauce and guacamole.


Another tempura taco choice was Lola Valentina’s shrimp tacos. The shrimp were enormous and snapped when you took a bite-my barometer that they were fresh and perfectly cooked.


The first time I ever saw Lola Valentina’s Pablano Fish it was on the table of a diner next to me. I was so enthralled by the dish and how he avidly dived into it, that I asked him how it tasted. Well he oohed and awed and I knew that I just had to order it. Unfortunately by the time it was set down in front of me, I was too full to make a dent in the dish. I did appreciate the creamy stew with shrimp and vegetables crowning amazing mashed potatoes. But the sauce-the poblano sauce was simply divine! Lucky for me I had some family members sitting close by who agreed to help me eat the dish because I absolutely refuse to waste food.

Lola Valentina’s consistently delivers exceptionally well prepared food. Whether you are taken care of “Morning Abel” or “Evening Abel” you will be in very good hands.

Kath’s quote: “You cannot make everybody happy. You are not a taco.” -unknown


Love never fails.

Lola Valentina’s Breakfast 2020



My husband D doesn’t like to accompany me on my Isla restaurant visits. He is not able to stay as long as I do on the Island (he is younger than me and still working full time) and when he is here, he has his own lists of favourite restaurants to visit. One of a very few exceptions is Lola Valentina’s!

D adores Lola V’s coffee so that was the first order of business. I had already had my coffee quota so I enjoyed a smoothie instead. I can’t specifically remember all the fresh ingredients but I do recall green apple, celery and pineapple juice. If this is also one of your favourite smoothies, let me know what the other ingredients are.


Lola Valentina’s plates photograph like works of art!



Every single layer of Lola Valentina’s Avacado Toast was fabulous starting at the bottom with the homemade gluten free toast. Guacamole, poached eggs, hollandaise and pickled red onions were stacked high and accompanied by arugula spinach and cherry tomatoes. The creaminess of the guacamole and the poached egg were offset by the pickled red onions and cherry tomatoes creating the perfect combination of textures and tastes!


D chose Lola’s Gourmet Chilaquiles and was well pleased. Lola’s soak their tortilla chips in adobo sauce then they are sprinkled with cotija cheese. I don’t typically like Chilaquiles because the tortilla chips are too crunchy but these were tender and full of the acidic, sweet and spicy flavours of the adobo sauce. These were served with perfectly fried eggs and a juicy & tender beef tenderloin. You may notice that my husband ordered this menu item, but I tasted it. In fact, D and I split most of our meals. When he thinks something is really exceptional, I get a bite. Such was the case with his Chilaquiles.

“Morning” Abel was our server that morning. His exuberance for the food and  all things Lola Valentina overflows from Abel. He is more than attentive, he is someone you would like to invite to sit down with you. Covid note: I hope “Morning” and “Evening” Abel and the exceptional staff at Lola Valentina’s fared well when the island was shut down and I am sure that visitors to the island are delighted that they have reopened!

Kath’s quote: “When you  wake up in the morning said Piglet at last, what’s the first thing you say to yourself.  What’s for breakfast? said Pooh. What do you say piglet? I say, I wonder what ‘s going to happen exciting today, said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully, it’s the same thing he said.”-A.A. Milne


Love never fails.


El Patio Isla Mujeres 2020


We had made friends with Jacob at El Patio a couple of years ago and it became our Isla hangout for a nightcap. But El Patio also has excellent food and we were in for a treat that evening.


We started with a cucumber and basil mojito and a traditional frozen margarita. Signature cocktails are relatively new to the island (last 5 years or so) and El Patio has some of the best.

patio-2 patio-3

Our libations were accompanied by both Buffalo Shrimp and Coconut shrimp. We liked the latter best but both were piping hot and made from plump and firm shrimp.


I had been craving a salad for a long time on the island and this take on a Greek Salad was a refreshing surprise. The dressing was balsamic and complimented the addition of creamy avocado perfectly.


We also loved the shared concoction of a pineapple margarita with mescal. The glass was rimmed with a special ingredient- agave worm salt! Not my cup of tea but I found a way to sip the delicious margarita without hitting the salt.


At entrée time, we were encouraged to try three unique taco concoctions. The first was poblano rajas, where the poblano chile is roasted and then sliced into thin strips or rajas. The chicken tinga incorporated another pepper, this time chipotle in an adobo sauce. When I have cooked with the these on a previous occasion they were too spicy for me but this version was less firery and delicious. The final taco of the trio- chorizo and potato was my favourite as I am affectionate called the Potato Princess by my husband. To mix the potatoes with chirizo was a beautiful way to add subtle smokiness.


Our waiter explained that the chef has a very high standard with their fresh fish policy. Unlike some restaurants (it wasn’t shared who) if you request grouper and they are out  of it, they will not substitute an alternate but come back to the table and indicate that you are out of luck. With this explanation, D ordered the octopus for his main knowing it would be deliciously fresh. It came in a ajillo sauce. There are a variety of ways to make ajillo depending upon what Spanish country you are in. In Mexico it combines oil infused with quajillo chili peppers and a smoky paprika.


By this time, the sun had set and the lights of the bar were sparkling. If you think El Patio is just about the live entertainment and bar atmosphere, think again they are a great dinner choice too.

Kath’s quote:“Chipotles, which are dried jalapeno peppers, give out a terrific smoky flavour – they’re warm, earthy and usually not too spicy.” –Yotam Ottolenghi

Chili pepper heart

Love never fails.




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