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Isla Mujeres Trip Report-Day 4

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As the sun rose on this morning, we visited our Luna neighbours who had arrived from the Canadian province next to us, the evening before. We have stayed next to them at Luna D’Miel for a number of years and had a lot of catching up to do.

Eventually, we made our way into Centro and to Ruben’s for breakfast. See the blog post here for all of those details.

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We strolled to Playa Norte for a swim. We love the beach in the morning when we have it virtually to ourselves.

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I love the Islander women, like the fruit lady who we often see by the market in Centro. I asked if I could take her picture and she proudly agreed.

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At lunch time I made up our favourite Isla sandwich-cucumber, cilantro, manchego cheese and lime mayo on a freshly baked torta. I spent some lovely time shelling and then the rest of the afternoon at “home”.

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We shared happy hour and sunset from our own front terrace. We were walking into Colonias when our old friends (we met on Isla) acknowledged us as the went by on their golf cart. They offered us a ride as they were heading to Bastos. We told them about Bahama Mamas (blog post here) and they decided to join us. They were so ecstatic about their dinner that they were going to return the next morning for an early breakfast before they had too return their golf cart. Jan and Bruce joined us for a night cab under the stars at Luna D’Miel.

We love our stays at Luna D’Miel but in 2016 we are going mix things up a little. We have a week booked at Oceanside Villas San Miguel. This property combines the best of both Isla worlds for us-private views of the Caribbean and the convenience of Centro. On days that are too breezy on Playa Norte, we can hang around the enclosed pool. We’ll also be close to Isla friends and two sets of family members who always stay in Centro. Now that you can access the water’s edge on the Caribbean side I can search for beach glass right in front of the villas. We are so excited!

Kath’s quote: “Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly”. –MFK Fischer

HEART ISLA MUJERES

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Dinner at Bahama Mama’s, Isla Mujeres

September30

We were walking to the Colonia’s to visit Bahama Mama’s when friends of ours drove by on their golf cart en route to Basto’s. When they heard that we were off to try Bahama Mama’s they decided to join us. Bahama Mama’s was another new place which had opened on Isla in our absence and we were excited to give it a try.

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Our friend and chauffeur for the evening ordered this hearty soup, chock full of a variety of seafood.

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D tried the stuffed fish and couldn’t believe all of the food on his plate-Mexican rice, rice and black beans AND a baked potato! He loved that he had enough forkfuls of carbs to go with the huge portion of the stuffed fish.

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When I dine at a new spot on Isla, I often order the Coconut Shrimp, so that I can compare and contrast and then make special note of my favourite place so that I can recommend it to the many, many people that asked me for dining suggestions. Bahama Mama’s was plentiful, lightly battered and greaseless. Was it my favourite? Ten more days of trip reports will tell the tale.

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Our other friend chose the Cuban Meatballs which was hearty and savoury. I don’t often order beef on Isla. Do you?

Jan and Bruce really enjoyed the restaurant and they should know. They have been visiting Isla for years and stay an extended length of time each visit which means they have eaten many places on the island, many times. They got a chance to look over the $5.00 breakfast menu and knew that they would still have their golf cart in the morning so they headed back to Bahama Mama’s for their very next meal. We would return (a couple of times) for breakfast, tempting other people to sample it with us. It was a hit for everyone!

Kath’s quote: “Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.” –Mark Kurlansky

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Ruben’s, Isla Mujeres

September28

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Our breakfast visit to Ruben’s had been long anticipated. We had seen many Facebook posts about a great new restaurant that had opened since our last visit. All the accolades were warranted.

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I loved the Heuvos Montuleños. The tomato sauce was so delicious with the breakfast rice. I also really enjoyed the plantain.

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But it was the dish that D ordered that actually was the star of the show. I made the mistake of taking this photo before he had a chance to cut into it with his fork, because when he did there was a veritible explosion of shrimp inside. He offered me a bite and I wished that I could have switched our plates because the tender eggs, goey cheese and crunchy shrimp were sensational!

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It was more than two weeks later when I had the opportunity to visit again. By this time D had returned home and I spent the morning with a friend from Winnipeg who now lives on Isla for a part of the year (at least I think that she is returning this year). My breakfast was SO good that I was hard-pressed to share it with her as I delighted in every single bite. I understood better, D’s hesitation to share his with me.

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She had an omelet too and although she said that it was tasty enough, I couldn’t imagine that it compared to mine. We lingered that day so we could chat about the island and home as well. We agreed that we loved Rubens, loved Isla and loved Winnipeg.

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The toast we ordered seemed to agree.

Kath’s quote: “Merlin’s beard, what is Xenophilius Lovegood wearing? He looks like an omelet.”-J.K. Rowling

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Cafe Carlo

September25

Cafe Carlo was one of the very first restaurants of its kind in Winnipeg (established in 1989) and I am happy to say that I was a fan of the “rummage sale chic” cafe way back then and I am still a fan today. For the restaurant creators (and for me) it is not about the decor, it is all about the food and this neighbourhood cafe delivers!

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On this day we made a late reservation for lunch and arrived as most of the other lunch patrons had departed. This gave us an opportunity to choose a window seat and get caught up before ordering. My lunch date on this day was the Mom to one of Winnipeg’s top Chefs, so we took a while to decide on the most taste-optimum dishes. While deciding, we sampled the bread and butter which set the stage for the rest of our lunch. The butter had been pureed with caramelized onion, bacon and sour cream!

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In the end we shared a couple of contrasting plates. She encouraged me to sample the Fish Tacos where house made taco shells (the crunchy variety) were overflowing with greens, crispy tilapia and chipotle tartar sauce. Tastes were light and fresh and reminded me of Caribbean vacations.

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On the other hand, the Butternut Squash & Ricotta Ravioli was anything but light and we loved it! Little square pockets of premise-made pasta luxuriated in a sage and hazelnut brown butter. Tendrils of freshly grated parmesan adorned the top. The tastes were deep, rich and earthy and “oh my goodness”, I will crave that taste until my next visit.

I was so satiated by lunch that all I could manage for dinner was a cup of soup.

Cafe Carlo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quotes: “One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”-Laurie Colwin

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Cockteleria Justicia Social (Fisherman’s Co-op), Isla Mujeres

September18

The Fisherman’s Co-op has been our go-to destination when we are craving simply prepared, fresh fish and you can’t get any fresher than sitting right on the dock where the lobster traps are stacked high and the fishing boats are tied up. Over the years we have sampled most of the menu and have been absolutely delighted with everything we’ve ever tasted. The parmesan crusted and almond crusted fish and the varied kinds of ceviche are all excellent. Sometimes we order ceviche “to go” to take along to a happy hour or as a light supper.

We love the pico de gallo and crunchy tortilla chips that get placed in front of you as soon as you sit down.

We have observed over the years that as many locals as travellers frequent the café.

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On this evening, we split an order of garlic fish. It was succulent, perfectly prepared and so abundant.

But the excellent food isn’t the only draw of the Fisherman’s Co-op, it is the million dollar view:

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Kath’s quote: “Remember the waterfront shack with the sign FRESH FISH SOLD HERE. Of course it’s fresh, we’re on the ocean. Of course it’s for sale, we’re not giving it away. Of course it’s here, otherwise the sign would be someplace else. The final sign: FISH.”-Peggy Noonan

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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