Browsing: Isla Mujeres

Sancochos-Isla Mujeres Day 2

January12

I am always so excited to be on Isla again, that on my first full day I wake up before the sun.  I love this time of day- the birds are singing their little hearts out and Islanders meander to the ferry or to their place of work.  

These were all taken before the sun came up-to the east

 

The car ferry goes by

To the north

ta da….sunrise on Isla

D likes to put on a pot a coffee and then head out to buy fresh tortas (buns) from the Supermercado and provisions for the day.  While he’s away I write, read and get my daily suduko fix in (gotta keep the brain young-dontcha know).  Upon his return, we drank up the coffee pot on our balcony and counted the blessings which had been strung together so that we could enjoy another piece of time on the island.  

Above the palms

These guys blow crazy little whistles, ensuring that we don’t sleep the morning away

We have a very interesting vantage from our balcony-looking down upon the palms and being next door to the Naval Base makes for lots of interesting goings on.  From our perch we can also hear the “paper man” shouting out “La Pressa”.  D picks up his USA Today from the docks in the early morning and ensures that he has booked time in the hammock to read up before our day begins.

Once the rest of the gang is up and about, we have a quick breakfast of yoghurt and trail mix and get organized for the beach.

 We were very sad when Sergio’s closed and were really wondering what the beach would hold for us.  We headed to the Caribbean Queen which was just to the south of Sergio’s and arrived before the day-trippers.  We were immediately greeted by a young and friendly waiter by the name of Hasiel.  He helped us get settled under a palapa and we pretty much stayed put for the rest of the day.  This beach club has the same guidelines as the others and there was no charge for chairs if we ordered our drinks from them.  

No worries, because buckets of iced cold beer on Playa Sol is one of the many pleasures of spending vacation time on Isla.

 

Do you think the Newbie looks content?

How about now?

What about Daughter #1?

How about D?

We enjoyed a picnic lunch of manchego cheese, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and lime mayo on those fresh tortas.  By 3:30 or so we figure that we should take it easy on our first day in the sun, so we head back to the hotel for happy hour. On route the guys stop at the taco table set up on the zocolo.  We share these accompanied by drinks around the pool.

We strategically chose a dinner location so that the guys can get caught up on the NFL footballs games and scores.  We recognized Sancochos from previous visits and were delighted to be plunked in front of their big screen while we perused their huge menu.  We all ended up ordering soups to start:

Azteca

Chicken & Lime

Chicken Vegetable

Then Daughter #1 and I shared a seafood marinara pasta.

Our Newbie had this chicken dish.

The Son tucked into this kebab.

And D enjoyed his fresh fish with herbs and flowers.

Their 2 for one beverages were much appreciated too.  By our calculation they served the cheapest beer on Hidalgo.  The place appears to be run by a Mom and her daughters.  The service was expert and we knew that we would return.

We meandered Hidalgo and then headed home to our books and reflections on the day.  

Kath’s quote: “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”
Groucho Marx

 

Fredy’s-Isla Mujeres Day 1

January11

This will be my first post regarding our recent trip to Isla Mujeres and will also double as my trip report. 

Arrival Day

We enjoyed a pretty smooth travel day although it was a bit lengthier than when are lucky enough to get a reasonably priced direct flight.  We had a quick plane change in Chicago.  In Cancun, our bags, Best Day transfer and the ferry all arrived without a hitch. 

Our daughter-in-law is an Isla Newbie

I have so many memories of my days on Isla but I still so clearly remember my very first ferry crossing years ago.  I was absolutely startled by the colour of the turquoise water about half way across and I have been fixated by the colour ever since.

First sunset through the screen of our hotel room

When we arrived at our hotel, we were warmly greeted by Don Salome and had just enough time to drop off our bags and dress for Christmas dinner. 

 

Fredy’s Pork Chop is legendary-Please don’t ask if I ate it all

D was delighted with his sauteed spinach-but I should have had him spin his plate around for a better view of these gorgeous shrimp

Mexican plate featuring Fredy’s bean casserole (Sister #3 is crazy about them)

Fredy was waiting for us but he was the only one from his family there and so was very busy.  D and I were treating  (it was Christmas dinner after all) and were prepared to blow the proverbial wad.  In the end the 5 of us stuffed ourselves with pork chops, Fredy’s shrimp and Mexican Platters and had our fill of his fabulous free-poured lime margaritas and vino tinto- the bill was less than $100. 

Crispy crepes

Churros being made right before our eyes-slow food at its finest

Plantain chips on the top, potato chips on the bottom

After supper we strolled Medina for banana nutella crepes and then wandered over to the zocalo for churros and home made potato chips.  It wasn’t Christmas pudding but we were in our favourite place in the world and dessert and our first day was delicious.

Kath’s quote: “Oh!  All that steam!  The pudding had just been taken out of the cauldron.  Oh!  That smell!  The same as the one which prevailed on washing day!  It is that of the cloth which wraps the pudding.  Now, one would imagine oneself in a restaurant and in a confectioner’s at the same time, with a laundry nest door.  Thirty seconds later, Mrs.  Cratchit entered, her face crimson, but smiling proudly, with the pudding resembling a cannon ball, all speckled, very firm, sprinkled with brandy in flames, and decorated with a sprig of holly stuck in the centre.  Oh!  The marvelous pudding!”-Charles Dickens

Mexican Flan

December21

I could be getting up to date on the Winnipeg restaurant reports that I have piling up but I can’t stop dreaming of our upcoming time on Isla Mujeres. 

Maria

One of the most wonderful aspects about our precious Isla Mujeres is that islanders are known by their food specialties: there is Tony the Rib man, D’s favourite Juice man, Maria the Pepita lady and The Flan Lady.  We pass the latter on our walk to and from the zocalo.  She has a cart which she parks outside of her house and it is illuminated by a single light bulb.  I am more inclined to go for a coconut ice cream or lime Popsicle but for some reason, I can’t stop thinking about the flan lady.

Juice Man

I am quite certain that this is not the recipe that she follows.  This one comes from Cocina Islena, Recipes from the Kitchens of Isla Mujeres-a fund-raiser by PEACE Isla Mujeres:

“Flan is a recipe that dates back to ancient Rome.  It was during Roman times that domesticated chickens were first kept for laying eggs.  The Romans, with eggs in surplus, along with the Greek’s knowledge of the art of cooking, developed new recipes-one of which turned out to be this custardy misture known as flan.  It was originally a savoury dish (not sweet but similar to quiche fillings and frittatas).  Flan survived the fall of the Roman Empire, medieval times, and eventually was taken to the new world by the Spanish.  The Spanish version is sweet instead of savory, and is now especially associated with Mexico.

1 c sugar

12 oz. evaporated milk

14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

3/4 c milk

3 large eggs

3 egg yolks

2 t vanilla

1 c Media Crema (substitute: equal parts sour cream & heavy cream)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Make the caramel:  Have ready a deep 9 inch glass pie plate and a pair of oven mitts.  Pour the sugar into a small heavy saucepan.  Set it over medium-low heat until the sugar starts to liquefy and form clumps.  Stir slowly and constantly; the sugar will eventually liquefy completely and then begin to colour.  Pay careful attention to the caramel at this point; once it starts to colour, it will darken quickly.  Remove the pan from the heat when the caramel is the colour of a bright, shiny penny.  Scrape all the caramel into the pan, put on the mitts, and grab the pie plate firmly.  Carefully but quickly rotate the pan so the bottom and halfway up the sides of the plate are coated with caramel.  Set the prepared pan in a shallow roasting pan.

 Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla in a blender jar.  Blend on a very low speed a few seconds, just until the eggs are blended,  Add the Media Crema and blend a few seconds, until smooth.  Let stand for 1 minute, and then skim off any foam that rises to the surface.

Slide the oven rack out halfway and set the roasting pan with the caramel-lined pie plate on the rack.  Pour the custard mix into the pie plate.  Pour enough water from the kettle to the roasting pan to come halfway up the side of the plate.  Bake about 1 hour until the centre of the flan is set.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature in the water bath.  Refigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

 To serve, centre a large plate over the flan and with one quick flip, invert the pan over the plate.  Give it a few seconds; the flan will slip right out of the mold and onto the plate.  Scrape any caramel left in the mold over the flan.  Serve chilled.  Serves 8.”

Kath’s quote: “Custard:  A detestable substance produced by a malevolent conspiracy of the hen, the cow, and the cook.”-Ambrose Bierce

Fredy’s of Isla Mujeres- Cilantro Shrimp

December13

This will be the very first time (in my entire life) that I will not be having a traditional Christmas dinner in Winnipeg on December 25.  Instead: we are co-hosting 35 for an early dinner this weekend for D’s side of the family and will be assembling with the 40+ members of my side on Christmas eve at Brother #3’s home.

But on Christmas day, we will have arrived on our precious Isla Mujeres-our home away from home.  It was not a difficult decision, to know where we wanted to have Christmas dinner as Fredy is a member of our Isla family.  I already know this far in advance that I will be ordering his famous pork chop.  But in the mean time, I have managed to find a recipe for his Cilantro Shrimp.  This comes from the cookbook entitled Cocina Islena-a fund raiser for PEACE Isla Mujeres.  If you are a Mexican food lover-you MUST have this recipe book.

Fredy’s Cilantro Shrimp

20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

7 ox. white onion, finely chopped

2 T cilantro, finely chopped

lime, salt & pepper to taste

1 t worcherstershire sauce

4 sliced jalepeno chilies

1 t olive oil (important)

1 t garlic

7 oz. manchego cheese (like mozzarella)

In a baking dish, place a layer of cilantro, add a layer on onion, a layer of shrimp, then another layer of cilantro, another or onion and a last layer of shrimp.  Season with lime, salt and pepper to taste.  Add worchestershire sauce, olive oil & garlic.  Once seasoned, add grated cheese covering the entiure surface.  Bake for approxuimately 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Remove from the oven and garnish with sliced chilies and serve immediately.  Serves 2.

 

Fredy does not have a website but click here for his Facebook page.

Kath’s quote: “Some writers say the leaves [cilantro] are used for seasoning, but this statement seems odd, as all the green parts of the plant exhale a very strong odor of the wood-bug, whence the Greek name of the plant.”-Vilmorin-Andrieux, ‘The Vegetable Garden’ (1885)

Most Romantic Dinner Spot on Isla Mujeres

December7

I have many friends on Isla Mujeres.  Some I have shared a dinner or lazed upon the beach with and others I have met “cyberly” and then eventually met in person.  Such is the case with this friend who is a US ex-pat now living full time in paradise.  I have asked her opinion of the best place to go for a romantic dinner for two on Isla ( I happen to know a couple who could use one).

“Greetings from Isla Mujeres!  After some chilly weather (for us) it is finally a beautiful beach day!  The Island is quickly getting decorated for Christmas & it looks festive.  We just put our tree up on Sunday with the kids.  Now the count down for Santa begins!!
 
Sunset Grill is a pretty spot but I have heard mixed reviews about the food & the beach seating (they charge extra to sit on the beach).  By the time you arrive Fenix, an Asian Fusion restaurant should be open.  That is on the beach at NaBalam looking towards Avalon.  The couple opening it up used to have a quite popular place in Nashville. 

Looking west towards Cancun from the vicinity of Casa Las Suenos

A couple other romantic options with a view would include Casa Las Suenos (used to be Altmar Lounge, on Punta Sur next to Casa O’s).  It is a beautiful setting, under a great big palapa looking out at Cancun.  They have reopened their restaurant which used to be excellent but have not done any marketing to let people know.  Another soon to be opened & should be opened by that time is Marina Paraiso.  They have a chef from France who will be doing lovely dinners on their deck under big old  trees with views of the water.  I have been there for a private dinner & they food was incredible.
 

The Caribbean Side

Da Luisa at Casa Ixchel on the Caribbean side has a great ocean view.  I have not had dinner there but I have had tapas & drinks.  The chef Giorgio from Italy does a great job.
 
Without the beach or a view….Sergio from Rooster Cafe starts his Special Chef Dinner Menus around December 15th on Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays.  Honestly, his culinary creations are some of the best I have ever had in my life.  He is truly the most talented Chef (accredited at La Cordon Bleu in Austin) on Isla.  I am still dreaming about his pork belly three ways, his shrimp in a grapefruit reduction sauce & his filet mignon in huitlacoche sauce.  WOW.  The decor of Rooster is a bit more modern & for them evenings, he has table clothes & it has a nice romantic feel.  You can also make reservations for his chef’s tasting menu, where he will bring 5 or 6 courses out for you.  This is by far my favorite place for a special occasion.
 

The bright lights of Hidalgo

Also without a beach or view, Lori Dumm previously of Mango Cafe just opened up Lola Valentina on Hidalgo with a Mexican business partner, Rodolfo.  The place is very pretty.  The food is Mexican Fusion.  The tables are quite big so there is not a real romantic feel at the table but the lighting & decor feels romantic.”

Kath’s quote: “Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.”-Sarah Bernhardt

 

« Older EntriesNewer Entries »