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Isla Mujeres 2016 Trip Report, Day One, Part Two





When we stay in Centro our favourite spot for sunset is Playa Sol. I love the setting sun on the local’s boats on the shore.





The silhouette of the palms is one of my favourite Isla sites.





Playa Sol is a special spot where our family loves to congregate for sunset.



As we walked past the cemetery, the angels hushed us.



We chose Abuelo’s for our first dinner where I indulged in bacon-wrapped shrimp


and D chose lobster stuffed fish.


Friends and relations (my second cousin) were dining at Abuelo’s too. I couldn’t resist also taking a photo of one of their meals.

We have enjoyed dining at Abuelo’s since it was a three table spot and loved watching as the family succeeded and re-invested in their family business.

As would prove to be our Isla routine, we walked the beach and then Hidalgo. I was surprised that we were still awake at 9 pm when we had been awake since 4 that morning.

Kath’s quote: “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”-Rabindranath Tagore


Love never fails.

2016 Isla Mujeres Trip Report-Day One, Part One


The flight was a piece of cake Then we flew through the airport and caught the 12 noon ferry. We were met by Sister #3 and Dona and they accompanied us to Villas San Miquel. (I wrote a more extensive post about the villas, right after we got home, in this link)


The view from our first room-the pool courtyard is quiet and gets both sun and shade throughout the day.




The arches and the architectural attention to detail certainly impressed.


The kitchen was so well equipped with everything you might need for a short or long stay.



The artistry of the building, furniture and decorative pieces was top notch and you knew that no expense had been spared  for your enjoyment and comfort.


Our first look at Villas San Miguel was fabulous!



Sister #3 & Dona joined us for fish tacos (mine was garlic broiled not deep fried) at Bally Hoo as is our Isla tradition. We met Jan and Michelle from PEI who we befriended the year prior at Luna D’Miel. They were on their way home. We had a lovely visit.

We headed back to Villas San Miguel so that D could have a nap and then we ventured out for groceries, beer and wine. Since the Villas are just across the zocolo from the Supermercado, shopping for supplies and running them home was as easy as pie.



We tried to hook up with the gang on the island but had no luck. So we had our own Happy Hour on the rooftop of Villas San Miguel.

The next weighty decision was trying to decide where to catch sunset and our first dinner of the trip. Sat-tuned!

Kath’s quote: “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”  ― Anita Desai


Love never fails.


Casa de los Suenos-Isla Mujeres



The setting at Casa de los Suenos is beautiful and one that we gravitate to over and over again.



On this evening it was overcast and there was no sunset to view. I would guess that it would be beautiful from there.  We settled in with cervesas and glasses of vino tinto.


I decided upon a veggie platter. Delicious- especially with the rice, plantain and corn bread.


D selected the margarita grilled shrimp and loved them.


Bro K selected a combo of baby back ribs and local sausage.


Sis L decided on the pulled pork sandwich.


The service was helpful and cordial. The dishes came out of the kitchen lickety-split. We were going to forego dessert, when we found out that they had pecan pie on the menu. Each couple ordered a slice of to share. It was not quite as good as D’s Mom’s recipe but was a lovely treat.

Kath’s quote: I don’t think a really good pie can be made without a dozen or so children peeking over your shoulder as you stoop to look in at it every little while.”-John Gould


Love never fails.


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Isla Mujeres 2016-Breakfast at Lola Valentina’s


On our most recent visit to Isla Mujeres, we noticed that many restaurant owners are extending their spaces and hours of operation in order to capitalizie on more business per square foot. We watched from across the street at Fredy’s with eager excitement as Lola Valentina’s was constructed on Hidalgo a number of years ago. Since then we have had the pleasure of dining at Lola Valentina’s on many occaissions in the evening but never for breakfast. So we were thrilled when restaurant creator Lori Drumm invited us in to sample their morning fare. We love her excellent Fusion/Mexican offerings and were quite sure that we would be well fed.


What we did not know is how delightful our breakfast selections would be to the eye.

The stars of Lola Valentina’s morning menu are the French Toast and the Stuffed Poblano Chile. Both dishes were recommended by our server. If they sound familiar to you, you may be thinking about Mango Café, where Lori was once the Executive Chef. I wouldn’t be tempted to compare recipes as the whole Hidalgo experience is vastly different from the one in the Colonias.


D was delighted by the Tres Leche Coconut French Toast. He declared that the bananas tasted like the classic dessert Bananas Foster which is one of his favourites. The toast was made with conchas (Mexican sweet bread) pastry and caramelized almonds. Then mango syrup, with just a touch of rosemary, puts the dish over the top.


I was content to simply stare at the work of food art a.k.a. known as the stuffed chile. When I did eventually get my fork working I was very impressed with the guacamole, sour cream, green salsa, corn and black beans that the pablano came nestled in. The crunchy tortilla ribbons adorning the top were a lovely surprize and the extra crunch was more than satisfying. At this point I realized that I had not even tucked into the chile!


The creamy scrambled eggs were delicious in themselves, extraordinary with Monterey Jack cheese and bacon. Oh the bacon! The chile was packed with the most amazing smoky bacon.  When the plate arrived, I concluded that I could never eat it all. But it was so savoury with the combination of tastes and textures that I could not stop eating; much to D’s chagrin. His breakfast was not as substantial as mine and he may have wanted to help me out.


We were protected from the sun and there was a lovely breeze to cool us as we lingered over the endless coffee and tea supply.


Before and after eating, we were absolutely content to people watch from our perch on Hidalgo. At the same time we took in the changes that Lori has made to the abundant space in the restaurant. There is now a little bistro within the larger restaurant space that is called Lolita’s Cafe & Sweet Shop boasting a 100% plant based gluten free kitchen. They offer tea, coffee and smoothies for a mini Lola experience.


We also spied what we thought might be an all female wedding party who wanted a separate space to be together. The restaurant accommodated them easily with their outdoor patio found to the south of the main restaurant.

As we have gone back and forth with FB messages, I have gotten to know Lori a bit better and I admire her brain for business and her culinary creativity. Both are working in perfect harmony in the space dubbed Lola Valentina’s.

Kath’s quote: “Life is too short, so live, love, break, be happy, cry, laugh, eat, work and learn”.-Anonymous


Love never fails.



Isla Mujeres 2016-Breakfast at Ruben’s


Ruben the man is as fascinating and Ruben the cook.

Ruben invited us for breakfast at his restaurant bearing his name, because he knew we were foodies (he was my most loyal follower when we traveled to Tuscany) and wanted our unbiased opinion of his food. When we arrived he immediately sat down with us and indicated that it was his first time back to work after completing radiation treatment (for stomach cancer) in Mexico City. He said that he was supposed to stay in bed for a week or two but that he is happiest when he is working and giving back to others.

He shared his journey with us. He is originally from Mexico City but left Mexico for the US, California specifically, to work for a better life. He fibbed to get his first job in a northern California restaurant and the owner gave him 15 days to learn how to prepare all the items on the menu. From there he worked at a variety of kitchens in California and Nevada. He received no formal or family training. Things went amiss for him in California and he was actually kidnapped until his family cleared out his life savings to free him.

He was encouraged to leave the US and returned to Mexico City, but set off again. A friend accompanied him to the bus station and floated him 500 pesos for a ticket elsewhere. He saw Cancun on one of the destination boards and had enough money to get there. Learning that Isla Mujeres was a smaller and less expensive destination, he arrived on the island. Soon after, he was depositing what was left of his money and the bank teller asked him if he wanted to apply for a credit card. He never dreamed he would be approved but says (as he glanced skywards) that someone was looking out for him. With that money he found a small house that he renovated. He went back to the bank, got a cash advance and bought all the fixings for the restaurant that he soon opened.

When we first visited he had a simple menu that he has greatly expanded since then. He is hoping that we can taste his pasta in the future. He loves everything about food and hospitality and recognizes that we do too.



Ruben suggested that we compare and contrast his two most popular eggs benedicts-the Classic and the special lobster benedict with poblano sauce. Both were sensational and we couldn’t decide on our preference. The accompanying oj, coffee and breakfast potatoes were excellent too and we were so impressed that a self trained cook could prepare dishes with such depth. We only wish we could have returned for his pasta but there are so many places to sample when we are on the island.

Kath’s quote: “Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life”. -Maya Angelou


Love never fails.

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