Browsing: Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Features-Pizza Rock


When I walked into Pizza Rock, I experienced two things, but I will share my second thought first: I had been there before. I truly did not recall being in the stylish well-appointed spot. But then I looked at the ceiling and remembered.

Pizza Rock has been on the island for 26 years years and was the island’s very first pizza restaurant! When I visited earlier it was more of a “pop in after the beach” feel. This sleek spot did not pull up memories of that sand on the floor feel.

After visiting the island for almost 20 years, I don’t expect to experience any firsts anymore but Pizza Rock provided me with two. I tried Mescal for my first time, albeit mixed with passionfruit which would make anything absolutely delicious. My Island Newbie had a Mango Margarita. Both drinks were beautifully garnished. I could have had mine rimmed with worm salt, had I chosen so. (ah…no thanks).

The second was that I had never had lobster pizza on Isla! In fact throughout my travels I have only ever had lagostino in the Cariibbean once before and that was in Cuba, many years ago. Being a Canadain, lobster is really something very different than the Caribbean species. I get to enjoy Nova Scotia lobster once a year at the restaurant that I consult for back home. Pizza Rock’s presentation was gorgeous with the meat pulled out and adorning the pizza and two glistening red shells crowning the dish. There was a lesser amount of cheese on the pizza so that the lobster taste would shine through, and it did. Do you know that in Italy it is a faux pas to ask for grated cheese on a seafood dish?

I miss Angelo’s on Isla Mujeres. There I have said it. If you are new to the island, Angelo’s was purchased by new orners last year. It was an annual visit for both fruitti de mare pizza and pasta. Pizza Rock’s Seafood Farfel was very different to Angelo’s but dare I say truer to an Italian recipe. Squid and octopus had been marinated for both thenderness and taste in white wine and olive oil. But it was the tomato based sauce where I tasted expertise and quality ingredients.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mentioned the appetizer that we commenced our dinner with. The spinach dip with pepper strips and toasted homemade bread (in fact everything is made from scratch) reminded me of this decadent treat back home. Their version was so rich that I had to stop myself from indulging before our decadent entrees.

The wine we chose for dinner was from their extensive list and was a healthy pour.

I mentioned two impressions when I first walked into Pizza Rock. The other was love. I met the owners who love their restaurant and their patrons-many more locals than tourists. There was a birthday party dinner at the next table. The little girl wore a tiara and was about nine or ten. Her parents were showing their love of her through food, which is obviously my “love language” too. Carlos the manager who was also our waiter, spoke of love as well. Love of his fiancé who also works there but is a dentist on the island. She is an Isleno, loving her island so much that she shares her educated skill. The restaurant itself is adorned with enormous lit up hearts (I gotta get me one for home).

Pizza Rock is on Hidalgo right next to Jenny Penny. There is a second entrance from the plaza behind, where you can have a quiet dinner away from the crowds of Hidalgo. For hours of operation and their full menu, check out the mapchicks app. The best money you will ever spend.

Kath’s quote: “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…”

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Feature-el meraki


The restaurant name itself is perfectly chosen. It means “when you do something with love, creativity or soul, putting a piece of yourself into what you do.” Swiss born Andrea has done exactly that.

Let me tell it straight: el meraki is a vegan restaurant and if you are a vegan, I predict that you will eat here often. Very often. But don’t pass it by because it is a vegan restaurant, because their fare is so well executed and absolutely delicious. If you are not vegan, simply visit if you are a lover of tasty, healthy food. Their vision is to share a space that touches the heart, so every individual can shine even brighter! This is exactly how you feel after you have eaten there- lighter and brighter!

On this morning we enjoyed a delectable shot of beet juice. It sparkled in the sun and felt like it sparkled in us too. I love the sweet tastes of beets and it was divine!

We shared a crepe called Happy Mind. The crepe itself is made with chickpeas, producing a nutty flavour and a wee bit of crunch. It was lusciously smeared with cashew hummus. Sauteed mushrooms, spinach, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs were lovingly packed inside.

There was a pause before the next item that we shared and that was because the artisan sough dough bread had not yet been delivered to the restaurant.

Moments later it arrived and was sliced into thick pieces. The bread itself was crunchy on the outside with a slight chew to the inside. One piece was iced with fresh avocado and lime and crowned with crunchy veggies. The second was a sweet offering of cashew spread and sauteed apples. The latter was sweet and the former savoury. Little bites exploded with flavour and were equally satisfying.

El meraki also has a common area where you are invited to sit quietly, read or work. I will remember this in the future, to dive into another writing assignment.

I hope you visit this lovely spot and meet the equally lovely Andrea and her female team. They have created a very special place for your enjoyment. In my mind it is a cherished gift.

Kath’s quote: “To care for each other and planet earth. To share our qualities and uplift each other.“-Andrea

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Feature-Dulzara Argentinian Bakery


By Sister #3

Dulzara now serves 100 Pesos breakfast!

Four years ago we meet the loveliest couple of women, Marita and Gabriela, when the Argentinian duo opened Dulzura Bakery. Located on Juarez between Abasolo and Madero.  Up a mural filled staircase you’ll come upon their courtyard and bakery.

There are a few tables where you can sit and enjoy breakfast, one of their famous empanadas, or a coffee and sweet treat. 

Before we get to breakfast, let me first rave about the baked goods. What is on offer changes every day and there is plenty to choose from. I love their brownies and banana bread. And the cakes they have baked to celebrate family birthdays have been fabulous. Earlier this trip we had their carrot cake, and a vanilla cake with strawberry cream and dolce de leche. It was incredible.

Today I decided to take home a rogel, something I had never tried. It’s a stack of thin, salted cookies with dolce de leche and topped with meringue. As delicious as it is beautiful. 

But on to the purpose of today’s visit. The ladies are now serving breakfast Monday – Saturday from 9:00 – noon-ish.  Currently they offer one menu item; eggs any style, we had ours scrambled with chopped veggies, served with beans, guacamole, tortillas.

And best of all, toasted homemade thick cut bread, served with butter and jam or honey. All of this for only 100 pesos. A great value. Team member Lydia is the breakfast cook and makes yummy food. Additional options will be added down the road as they continue to develop the menu. 

The bakery has a tiny kitchen and is always a hive of activity. There are always creations in the making. Marita and Gabriela will welcome you with open arms and walk you through that days options. It’s a one stop shop. Enjoy a great breakfast, take home some empanadas and cake, pie, or cookies. You won’t be disappointed. 

Kath’s quote: “A true friend thinks you are a good egg, even when you are a little cracked.” -unknown

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Feature-Tacos de Humo


Of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the little island of Isla Mujeres, the number one most popular question on the message boards is “Where can I find the best tacos?” Well for one, as my friend Jan Carpenter says: “there is no best”. There are favourite places to sup on your favourite kind of taco but there are as many variations of said tacos as there are people and preferences. On a given day, I might want a crunchy hard sided taco with jalapeno jack cheese, sour cream and spicy meat, or a flour tortilla surrounding sauteed vegetables and chicken with pico de gallo and guacamole or as I chose this evening: fresh grouper coated in panko breading on a bed of crunchy and saucy cole slaw, topped with chile chipotle mayonnaise.

Steve and Trish, a couple from our hometown of Winnipeg, who we got to know as we stayed at the same hotel for a number of years, recommended Tacos de Humo to us two years ago and it took me this long to pay a visit. The other complication for me was that there are a couple of locations with “tacos” and “humo” in the restaurant name and so I couldn’t be sure which one they recommended. I was hoping to meet the owner this evening to see if all the “tacos de humo” were related, but I suspect he is a busy man.

The helpful servers, ours was named Tomas (without the “H”) sometimes struggle with our babbling away in English, asking confusing questions and doing their best to understand our gibberish. It is sometime even more of a challenge when a pair of women who don’t come together very often are chatting away to get caught up on the joys and sorrows of our lives. Tomas did an valiant and excellent job taking care of us.

He presented us with a couple of refreshing mango margaritas to start. Then the sauces and lime wedges arrived. Next came those amazing Tacos de Pescado detailed above. I didn’t even eat the tortilla that made the dish a taco. The fish was light and crunchy and the sparkling fish danced in our mouths. The cole slaw added even more crunch and the chipolte mayo a silky finish.

So where do you go when only one of you is a taco fan and your companion wants to eat absolutely anything but another taco? Taco de Humo had an extensive offering of alternatives. What caught our eye was Mexican Lasagna. I wondered how they would modify my favourite Italian delight. Well they blended shredded chicken with chorizo, and refried beans and layered the mixture between tortillas. Then they smothered it in salsa suiza! The result was creamy and savoury at the same time. I would give the dish full marks for taste and its ingenuity!

We were getting organized to leave when a churro donut smothered in sweetened condensed milk was placed in front of us to share. It was a lovely conclusion to another great Isla dinner.

Kath’s quote: “Tacos are like what the voices of a hundred angels singing Bob Dylan while sitting on rainbows and playing banjos would taste like if that sound were edible.” – Isabel Quintero

Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurant Feature-Fayne’s (and La Adelita)


The first year I visited the island in 2005, I dined at Faynes on Hidalgo.

It was Superbowl Sunday and they were broadcasting the game. I don’t remember anything about the food but I do remember that Paul McCartney sang “Hey Jude” at halftime. With a full turn of the wheel of time I was back at Fayne’s for dinner last evening and no matter what football game or half time show might have played last night, I will always remember the food. What glorious food!

We started with mussels fresh from the south of Mexico. They were juicy and tender and the sauce….was divine! Both Karen, my companion who had just arrived on the island and I agreed that you could drink the sublime roasted tomato and cream sauce and be happy for the rest of your life. Luckily the mussels were served with parmesan cheese toast to save us the embarrassment of lifting the bowl to our mouths. Potatoes also floated in the silky sauce and being a self-professed potato aficionado, I was delighted.

We were doubly blessed when Victor Castillo, one of the managers at Fayne’s appeared from the brand new restaurant La Adelita next door. He explained that Fayne’s features seafood and live rock music whereas the new restaurant was born to focus on regional dishes from all over Mexico and a softer music vibe.

He suggested that we try the Mochican Carnnitas. Let’s start with the pork. I thought it might have been a fattier cut like pork belly because there was a delicious amount of roasted fat which is what made the pork, along with a bit of salt during the confit process, perfection. Confit is actually a French word describing the procedure of roasting any meat in its own fat. It has long been a method to preserve the meat, but not in this case. The Carnitas (little meats) originate from the state of Mochica. With the exception of Fredy’s pork chop, it is now my favourite pork dish on the island. By the way, it is served with onion, cilantro, Mexican sauce, rice and corn tortillas which I didn’t even touch and still brought leftover pork home.

So maybe now you are thinking “well maybe we should visit La Adelita instead of Faynes”. If you did you would miss out on their Chef’s Special of a fish filet and sauteed shrimp with tri coloured peppers and ribbons of a dried guajillo chili, which I thought at first was a sun dried tomato (but that would be on another continent). The sauce of tomato and white wine was what made the dish. Well in truth, it was the generous inclusion of melted butter that endeared the sauce to me. I can’t give you any details of the fish or the shrimp except to say that in that sauce, it mattered little to me.

As you will note, I jumped right into describing the food, and missed sharing our special cocktails also from La Adelita. Karen was served a Mango Aguate-where avocado, coconut cream and mango (of course) was blended together producing dessert in a glass. It was rich and silky and I was tempted to get out a spoon.

My refreshing drink of mixed berries, lime, triple sec and Jamiaca tequila was also blended and then garnished with a slice of pink grapefruit which I rarely eat on the island. But the piece de resistance was the rosemary spear that also adorned the drink, and was set on fire! The sultry odour reminded me of another scent and I looked around to ensure that no one thought we were breaking the smoking ban.

We likely overstayed our welcome because the sidewalk became crowded with people waiting for a space to enjoy the live music, making Fayne’s a hotspot for both music and culinary deliciousness.

The moral of this story is that even if you expect one experience, keep an open mind and heart to enjoy another. I am so glad I revisted Fayne’s.

Kath’s quote. “The people who give you their food give you their heart.” – Cesar Chavez

Love never fails.

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