Browsing: Uncategorized

La Frieda en Rosa-Isla Mujeres 2022 by Sister #3

April26

Every once in a while a restaurant will open in Isla Mujeres and create a splash. There have been a number of those since my last visit to the island in 2020. While sadly some restaurants didn’t make it through the Covid years, it’s awesome and surprising that some new gems have appeared. 

One of the new places that is the talk of the town is Riconcito Kahlo. And recently the spin off version, La Frieda en Rosa located in Centro. 

Walking down Matomoros, half way between Juárez and Medina you can’t miss the vibrant pinks radiating from La Frida en Rosa.

Mostly a pick up window with a few small tables. As the name suggests the colour palette is all pink, bright pink and so cheerful. 

These two restaurants honour Freda Kahlo, a Mexican icon whose artistry is worshipped to this day.

Much like the namesake her restaurants honour, owner Criss Medina carries herself with confidence and knows her place in the world. And her place is Isla Mujeres. She grew up around the corner from her newly opened Centro location. 

Criss started us out with a yummy torta, that is not yet found on the menu, which continues to be a work in progress. The combination of ham, salami, chicken, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and garlic dressing, which is amazing, is served on crunchy bread. 

Next came the Quesabirrias, a dish feature on the menus of both locations. This is a traditional dish from northern Mexico, created in Tijuana and typically made with goat, it’s a cross between a taco and a quesadilla. 

The taco shells are stuffed with seasoned pulled beef and cheese, and all made crunchy from being cooked on a flat top.  What makes this dish unique is the “consommé” a rich beef au jus to which you can add onion, cilantro and lime and dip your quesabirrias. 

Criss shared that restaurants are a family affair. He two sons, and two daughters all contributing in their own way. “I do this for them” she says. 

Because the menu is still developing. Be sure to look at the signs taped to the service counter for other offerings. These include waffles, hotcakes, French toast, crepes (she calls them rolly cakes), croissants, shrimp on a bun, breaded chicken stuffed with cheese, and as Criss says “-and of course a clili dog”. 

Kath’s quote: “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

Love-that is all.

Isla Mujeres Restaurants

March31

Besides staring at the turquoise water, walking the beach and visiting friends, eating on Isla is our favourite past time! Here are a couple of our Isla Mujeres restaurant visits. More blog post are on the way.

Asia Caribe-I have visited before but never for a full dining experience. Excellent Thai soup and sushi.

Dulzara Argenta bakery-lovely owners, great empanadas, brownies and coconut “pie”!

Fredy’s x 2-Once for his anniversary, once with newbies, pork chops sensational as always.

Geisha Valentina-Thought a hibachi dinner was something different- Teppanyaki Chef was amazing! Excellent scallops and rib eye!

Green Verde-We created our own Surf & Turf, Tampiqueña Steak and Shrimp Mezcal. Delicious!

Grill Garden-Pablo our server was 1st class! Presentation of the Tomahawk Steak & Whole Fish were blow away.

Limone-Our choice for special birthdays. Chef’s Choice: Filet, Lobster, Shrimp! Oh my. Our newbie friends were blown away.

Mar Abismo (delivery only)-had we more time, we would have ordered a greater variety of items. Such well prepared food!

Neal’s Irish Pub-the most enormous Rueben I have ever eaten! Spinach and artichoke dip in a mini bread bowl was such fun.

Richo’s by Chef Rambo-Another surprise. You must try his conch in three kids of garlic. Best conch ever!

Rinconcito Kahlo-Loved the kids that run the restaurant with Mom. As down home as you can get. Birria Tacos and Los Gordos were scrumptious!

Sabores Posada del Mar-mega drinks and top drawer lunch, will be our sunset place next year!

Sardinian Smile-The best regional Italian food outside of the boot itself! Why this place isn’t always packed, I will never know?

Tiny Gecko-Chef Paulino is the island’s best kept secret. His creates delectable food art. Unique and inventive. A must visit!

Kath’s Quote: “Life without Mexican food is like no life at all”-unknown

Love is all.

So where have I been for the past two years?

March28

I was on Isla Mujeres in March 2020 when the world shut down. When you are a food and travel blogger, it is a tough gig during a pandemic.

The good news is that my little family has thrived over the past couple of years. Boo and the Frenchman had a baby boy. He is my Little Bear and an absolute delight!

The Wee Ones grew by leaps and bounds and the youngest who will soon be three is my special joy (named in my honour), I sometime see her in myself. As a family, they took on a new business-an Air BnB at Lester Beach called Family Fun Paradise that I will have lots of excuses to write about.

Our eldest daughter fell in love (the love part actually occurred previously) but they solidified their relationship by acquiring an apartment at a wonderful Housing Co-op together. That too is a neat space that I will want to share.

Through it all, we followed the rules and stayed home and didn’t dine out. We did eat some amazing food at home, at the beach house and occasionally with friends but for the most part it would have felt contrived to share these times with you in this space. I knew I would be ready to be back when the time was right and the time became right.

I was on Isla Mujeres recently visiting my favourite handicraft market stall, when a woman said to me “I know you. You are Kathryne right?” I had never seen or communicated with her before so I was intrigued. “You write the Isla Mujeres blog right?” I confirmed by saying, well it is actually about more than Isla Mujeres. She agreed and said “Oh I know. I love going with you when you travel to other places, and when you are up at your Beach House and your Wee Ones are adorable”. I apologised for being unhooked for two years and she said “I understand, but I want you to know that had you kept posting, I would have kept reading. I love how you live your life and your positive attitude about all things”. “Oh” I replied, just oh.

And one last story: on the final morning of that fateful trip to the island in 2020, I said good-bye to a number of restaurant friends before I boarded the ferry. I was very, very worried about all of them. I had word from back home just how bad things were getting very quickly, and there didn’t seem to be that same urgency on the island. I had met two wonderful servers that year at Lola Valentina. I called them Evening Abel and Morning Abel because there were two waiters with the same name. That last day I chatted with Morning Abel and we shared hopes for the time ahead. All through the pandemic, I was constantly worried about my immediate circle of family and friends but I was also concerned about my island friends. And my worry was not for naught. My friend Ruben passed away, my friend’s husband became gravely ill and my restaurant friends had absolutely no income. So just this past Monday, on the evening before I returned to Canada after our wonderful time on Isla, friends asked us to join them for a nightcap at Morgan’s. And there was Morning Abel, none the worse for wear. He greeted me and said “I remember you!” Now since the island ferries carry something like 19,000 visitors daily, I tucked his response away and said to myself: “The time to resurrect my blog posts is now!”

Kath’s quote: “Be Kind. If you stopped writing because it got too hard and you gave up, don’t beat yourself up too much.”

Love is all.

Matt Basile makes us Brunch for Dinner

January26

IMG_20180125_091501_586 (2)

I first met Matt in the spring of 2017 at a Canola Summit. We happened to be sitting next to each other but I didn’t get much time to visit with him as he was also the MC of the event. I do feel that I got to know him better when we happened upon his Netflix series “Rebel without a Kitchen”. This is what I can say about Matt. He has boundless energy, believes that food should be fun, recognizes that food is a gift of love and that in this coming year he will cook on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In all, my kinda guy. He demonstrated all of these traits in the 3 hours we got to spend with him recently as well as explain his Ellen fascination.

IMG_3955

When I say “we”, I mean the lovely ladies of canola, fellow canola alumni and a variety of other foodies who knew that Matt would deliver deliciously fun times. He did not disappoint. And by the way, we all got a copy of Matt’s Street Food Diaries. Matt says and I agree, sometimes the food stories in cookbooks are better than the recipes!

I was seated with 4 such foodies, Ellen (from canola, not THE Ellen), a dietician who works for Cancer Care Manitoba with Sister #3 and old friend Zen Becca. The ladies from De Luca Fine Wines were pouring three reds and I chose the Washington State Merlot. The perfect accompaniment to Brunch for Dinner!

As Matt declares: “breakfast is just a meal but brunch is a culture!” He has a brunch cookbook coming out in September 2018. Watch for it.

IMG_3953

First up was a Huevo Ranchero Tostada aka Vegetarian Tortillas. Two corn tortillas were topped with a sunny side up egg and a delectable combination of onions, jalapeños, black beans, two kinds of peppers and garden tomatoes. Matt indicated that if you didn’t have fresh tomatoes or desired a “loser” sauce, you could substitute a can of chopped tomatoes. I especially appreciated the cool tastes of sour cream and cilantro which topped the dish.

IMG_20180125_102244_594 (2)

Chimichurri skirt steak followed. Matt showed us how to cook and carve the steak so that is was full of flavour and perfectly tender. The steak strips were perched up a crostini and then topped with a poached egg. Matt’s Chimichurri sauce was chock full of cilantro and I loved this dish. I would never be afraid to serve it as a dinner entrée!

IMG_3958

Matt’s piece de resistance were his waffles and fried chicken. In fact Ellen (no not THAT Ellen) declared that she wanted to bring Matt back to Winnipeg just so that she could taste his fried chicken again! The chicken was so tender and delicious that I am going to try to duplicate it this evening. I had some thawed chicken breasts so I marinated them in pickle juice this morning (don’t knock it til you try it!) and buttermilk this afternoon. I am going to dredge and squeeze them into a flour mixture just as Matt demonstrated and I will let you know the results.

IMG_20180125_103109_000 (3)

In the mean time our dessert course was S’more French toast. A light toast smothered with Nutella and torched marshmallows. I cannot wait to serve them to the Wee Ones this summer at the lake.

PS My fried chicken was a hit (even when I ran out of canola oil)!

Kath’s quote: “You don’t want to make a steady diet of just lettuce. You don’t want to make a steady diet of fried chicken”. –Paula Deen

070

Love never fails.

 

 

The Harth, Mozza and Wine Bar

November20

IMG_3557

We were checking out a newly opened The Harth, Mozza & Wine Bar in the south end of the city. The dining room was so elegant, I could not believe we were in a strip mall. The best part (next to the food which was exceptional) was the story that our server told us about Tony. Tony once owned and operated his own hair salon, but sold it and retired a couple of years ago. Since he liked working so much, he is making himself useful at Harth. In fact I would say his efforts were instrumental as he handmade all of the fresh pasta and cured all the meats served in the restaurant. He also chopped all the wood for the giant pizza oven that dominates the front of the kitchen. The day we were there for lunch, he was doing dishes. “Why?” we asked our server. “Because the dishes needed doing” he replied. We wondered if Tony cut hair in the kitchen too.

IMG_3560

The secret to Italian food, as I have been told while travelling through Italy, are the ingredients. The Radditorie pasta, so named because the shape resembles a radiator, was simply tossed with exceptional ingredients-eggplant, heavenly tomatoes, surprising mint and ricotta salata. The latter being a fresh ricotta that is pressed and dried. The pasta was so delicious that I wished that the petite portion was a wee bit more substantial.

IMG_3559

My lunch mate had a difficult time deciding which Neapolitan pizza to sample. In the end she chose the Prosciutto which was also adorned with caramelized onion, gorgonzola, arugula and fior di latte. The latter literally means “milk’s flower” and distinguishes fresh mozzarella from cow’s milk rather than the traditional buffalo milk. The reason why my lunch mate was hesitant was the base of fig jam on the pizza. She prefers savoury to sweet tastes but I thought that the sweetness from the jam was the perfect foil to the pungent gorgonzola and the peppery arugula.

IMG_3561

I could taste another ingredient in both the pasta and the pizza and that was “love”. Why would Tony come out of retirement to wash dishes, chop wood, cure meats and roll pasta? It could only be love.

The Harth Mozza and Wine Bar is located at 980 St. Anne’s Road. They are open from Tuesday-Friday 11:30-2 pm for lunch and Monday-Saturday 5-11 pm for dinner. They remain closed on Sundays. Lunch and dinner menus are available and they are wheelchair accessible.

Kath’s quote: “Everything you see I owe to pasta.”-Sophia Loren

chanterelle

Love never fails.

 

« Older Entries