Browsing: Isla Mujeres

Bikinis and Margaritas

September12

You are truly blessed if you have someone in your life that will virtually guarantee a fabulous time if you are invited to their home.  My friend Laura and her husband Allan are such people.  And knowing that they love hosting as much as their friends benefit from their hospitality, is like a double blessing.  Their comfortable home is perfect for entertaining, especially when the guest of honour, whose upcoming nuptials we were celebrating, requests a Bikinis and Margaritas evening.

Allan had the blender and freshly cut strawberries set up when we arrived.  He was offering Pink Bikini Margaritas or traditional lime versions.  Seeing as though a cocktail is the closest way I am going to be a associated with a pink bikini, I opted for the former-a delicious way to start the evening.

Laura’s Shrimp Cocktail

We were an assembly of old friends and were comfortable to perch on the stools in front of their cooking island.  I don’t know whether we started with the Sopa de Lima or Mexican Shrimp Cocktail and my photos do not give me any hints as to the order.  (Good thing I stopped with a single margarita).  Let’s say it was the shrimp.

Shrimp Ceviche at the Fisherman’s Cop-op on Isla Mujeres

Laura’s version is the closest thing that I have tasted to the ones that we dream about from the little seafood restaurants lined up on the sandy beach of Isla Mujeres.

Picus Shrimp Cocktail on Isla Mujeres

I am rambling on about Isla because only Laura knows how to make the Yucatan dishes that I long for.  Someone in Winnipeg should seriously hire this talented woman to fashion their Mexican menu for them…..but I digress.

Here is Laura’s Mexican Shrimp Cocktail recipe:

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Cooked shrimp are chilled in a spicy tomato-juice cocktail.
Ingredients
  • lbs. cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 T crushed garlic
  • ½ c finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ c fresh cilantro,chopped
  • 1½c tomato and clam juice cocktail
  • ¼ c ketchup
  • ¼ c fresh lime juice
  • 1 t hot pepper sauce sauce, or to taste
  • ¼ c prepared horseradish
  • salt to taste
  • 1 ripe avocado-peeled, pitted and chopped
Instructions
  1. Place shrimp in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in garlic, red onion and cilantro.
  3. Mix in clamato juice, ketchup, lime juice, hot pepper sauce and horseradish.
  4. Season with salt.
  5. Gently stir in avocado.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hrs.
  7. Serve in one large bowl or ladle into individual bowls.

Everything about this recipe was so delicious that I poured the nectar onto taco chips, so as not to miss a single taste.

Kath’s quote: “To make people who have no appetite eat, to make the wit of those who have it sparkle, to enable those who want these qualities to find them — this is the supreme science of a gastronome-host.”-Lucien Tendret

Love-that is all.

Pigging Out in Isla Mujeres

June27

I think that this is Sister #3’s final Isla installment for a bit.  But fear not for she is off to Montreal and NYC this summer! 

“When I am on Isla Mujeres for my winter vacation I tend to eat a lot of fish and seafood. But once in a while a girl has gotta get her meat fix.  While the chicken is lovely and finding a decent piece for beef is to be celebrated, the pork is a sure bet and always outstanding. Here are a few memorable pork meals from this trip.

A weekend favourite is a stop at Tino’s for ribs. Once only known as “the Rib Man,” this place went for years with no signage. It is on a side street, a bit off the beaten path, but if you follow your nose you’ll find yourself at Matamoros and Medina in front of Tino’s.  It is only open on Saturdays and Sundays and stays open while supplies last.  The ribs (I like to order the boneless variety – oxymoron I know) are BB-Q perfection.

Served with grilled onion, rice, pico de gallo, lime, and hot sauce that you stuff into soft tortillas, these are perfect to pick up and go.  This year I started my week flying solo on the island by stopping to pick this up for lunch.  I got the smallest portion available and it fed me lunch for three days. 

Walk down Hidalgo and you will come across the owners of Asia Caribe handing out samples of their sticky ribs to passers by.  I went to sample an Asian inspired noodle dish this year but could not resist ordering the appetizer size of the ribs, half of which came home with me for lunch the next day. 

Monday nights feature Jamaican BBQ at Mango Café and this year I sampled the pork.  I am never disappointed with the delicious food at this mid island destination and the meat was tender and tasty.  This year I ate at Mango three times and next year I need to go back to sample the chili rellenos.   

And finally, the pièce de résistance- Fredy’s famous two rib pork chop!  Fredy will tell you that he doesn’t think it is the best item on his menu, which just speaks to how amazing his menu is!  These chops are huge and the meat is perfectly seasoned and literally melts in your mouth!”

Kath’s quote: “Was I catching the contagious enthusiasm of this Canadian? Was I truly euphoric at the sight of fresh-grilled pork?”
-Professor M. Aronnax in Jules Verne’s ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’

Love-that is all.

 

Isla Mujeres La Vida es Dulce – Life is Sweet

June26

 Another installment of Sister #3’s March Isla adventure:

“This year on isla I have eaten more dessert than is typical for me.  Traveling with a woman with a sweet tooth, who often opted for a much lighter meal in order to indulge in dessert, meant I was obliged to follow her lead. 

I discovered revisited some sweet treats that I have tried before and (unfortunately) found event more to tempt me on future trips to Isla. 

 

Marquesitas 

Imagine a waffle cone rolled like a burrito and stuffed with banana or sweet cheese and your choice of caramel sauce, dulce de leche or nutella.  Available at carts along Rueda Medina after 1:00 every afternoon for only 20 pesos! Yum.

Fayne’s 

Great music, lots of action on the main drag and delicious dessert, what could be better? The Pastel de Chocolate was huge, moist and had just enough salt to highlighe the chocolate.  My friend had the Plantanos Flameados which we didn’t realize came with a table side show.  Brandy and banana liqueur are flamed with sugar and cream then your banana is cooked in the sauce and finished with ice cream.  Too sweet for me, but perfect for my dear friend. 

 

Paletas tuggui 

Because I don’t love “overly- sweet” sweets, the homemade lime popsicles on Isla are a perfect treat for me.  The tangy citrus is the perfect refresher on a hot day.”

Kath’s quote: “Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold.”-Judith Olney

 

Isla Mujeres – Fruta del Mar (Fruit of the Sea)

June25

Sister #3 wrote these blog entries soon after her arrival home from Isla this past March.  I was getting ready to leave for Ireland and then took a long time getting caught up on a backlog of restaurant posts so I have been delayed in getting these published.  But just as our trip to Isla Mujeres every year is worth the anticipation and savouring, so too are these posts. I can just smell the sea air now and the faint scent of sea creatures even as I read and write this.

“Life on Isla Mujeres is all about the sea.  Swimming in it, sailing on it, snorkeling to explore it, and of course, fishing it.  Surrounded by abundant schools of fish and seafood, the locals have had a lifetime to master preparing the fruit of the sea. Here are my favourite fish and seafood delights from my most recent visit to the island of women (and fish).

Brisas Grill – Located on Medina this sea side restaurant lets you enjoy the sound of the waves lapping up on the sand accompanied by some very lovely local musician.  Here we enjoyed a Black Grouper Steak and crunchy, oversize, coconut shrimp with sweet mango sauce with just the right amount of kick.

Sunset Grill – located on Playa Norte (the North Beach). It had been a while since I had visited the grill but our hungry tummy’s got the best of us as we strolled the beach and we decided to get out of the heat and enjoy some lunch.  I was thrilled with my choice of fish tacos.  The fish was cut into chunks and marinated Yucatan style.  Served on three flour tortillas with pico de gallo, crema, and their fantastic guacamole.  I eat a lot of fish tacos on the island, but these were a little different and so far are my favourite.

 

Cockteleria Justica Social (The Fishermen’s Coop) located on Medina across from the navel base. Your fish is guaranteed to be fresh since this place represents many of the fishermen themselves.  My Parmesan fish was perfect! Piping hot, crunch, cheesy coating over flaky, moist fish and at 90 pesos (under $7.00 Canadian) you cannot beat the value.

Cockteleria Picus – also located on Medina. Eight years ago, this was my first ever cockteleria experience, I loved it then and I still love it today.  The garlic fish I had this time around was buttery, and melt in your mouth tender.

Fredy’s Bar & Restaurant – is located on the north end of Hidalgo.  Now all my friends will tell you that I love me some Fredy’s.  Both the man and the restaurant.  This year, because I was traveling solo for a week of my stay, I gravitated to Fredy’s so I could visit with my dear friend as I enjoyed my meal.  I am addicted to Fredy’s Mexican Plate, but on one of my visits I tried his baked shrimp.  The shrimp where big and juicy and full of flavour.  The rich, melted cheese, the delectable sauce… Fredy knows the way to a girls heart!

Angelo’s – also located on Hidalgo.  For years I have heard my sister rave about the Frutti de Mare at Angelo’s and this year I tried it. Now I know exactly what she means.   The pasta was perfectly cooked, the seafood was abundant and fresh, the sauce, the Parmesan, the wine. What can I say, it was one of the most delightful dishes of my trip.

But now my sister tells me there is a version of this dish at another place she likes even better, so add it to my list for next year.  After all, my flight is already booked.  Less than 300 more sleeps till Isla. Buen Provecho!”

Kaths’ quote: “With earth’s burgeoning human population to feed we must turn to the sea with understanding and new technology. We need to farm it as we farm the land.”-Jacques Cousteau

Love-that is all.

 

Breakfast at the Mango Cafe, Isla Mujeres-Guest Blogger Sister #3

April10
Breakfast at Mango Cafe is a delight.  This popular restaurant, found in Colonia Meterorologico on Isla Mujeres, has patrons waiting at the door as they open at 8:00 a.m.  When I arrived for breakfast around 9:00 the place is packed with a dozen people waiting.  Thankfully I see a table of friends from Minnesota that I had meet a few nights earlier.  They have an extra seat and ask me to join them. There are lots of things I love about Mango.  The place is bright with lots of open windows.  The staff are attentive and owner Polo is very welcoming making a point to visit every table and talk to every guest. The coffee is awesome, an organic Mexican style with just a hint of cinnamon.  It sits in giant urns next to the the kitchen and is self serve.  No waiting for a refill; what could be better?  This also adds to the “make yourself at home” attitude of your morning visit. 
 
 
My friends order: hotcakes that come with bacon and scrambled egg,
 
 
Mayan scramble filled with veggies served on a croissant and topped with pepita (pumpkin seed) sauce and Mango’s eggs Benedict (more on that later). 

I opt for the world famous French toast.  Probably the most delicious thing I have ever eaten for breakfast, it could just as easily be served for dessert. 

They use conchas (a sweet bun sold in Mexican bakeries) and coat them in coconut and almonds.  It was cooked to perfection, crispy on the outside but melt in your mouth tender on the inside and surprisingly not overly sweet.

I left Mango totally satisfied and barely needed to eat for the rest of the day.  However, I awoke the next morning with thoughts of Mango’s eggs Benedict stuck in my head. So I headed back to try this interesting rendition of a classic.  The perfectly poached eggs are served atop croissants and fried portobella mushroom, onion and chaya (a Mexican supper food, similar to spinach) topped with hollandaise sauce with just a hint of curry, crispy crumbled bacon and served with yummy fried potatoes.  Well worth the encore visit. 

As I was dining alone that morning, owner Polo asked if he could join me to enjoy his morning coffee. We enjoyed some impromptu music and a lovely conversation.  Talk about hospitality. 

Mango is a short cab ride or a health morning walk along the Caribbean side of the island.  Well worth the trip.

Kath’s quote: “I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time’. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.”-Steven Wright

 

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