Browsing: Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres 2019 Trip Report-Day One

April17

Day 1 February 23

Day 1 Sunrise

We typically stay in the little apartment style unit at Luna D’Miel with it’s separate kitchen/living/dining area, bathroom and bedroom. But the year previous when we were making arrangements for the current year, we were informed by Mario that Isabel the owner might be renovating and adding a second floor. If this was going to happen we wouldn’t have access to the special apartment unit.

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So we stayed in Unit One which felt kind of like a second honeymoon as the first time D came with me to the island, we occupied that room.

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We love everything about Luna d’Miel. To be right on the ocean side of the island is splendid: always a breeze, staring at the crashing waves and privacy.

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But we love the street side of the apartments too. There is a natural canopy of trees which protects us from light rain showers and offers some coolness to the hottest part of the day. There once was a time when we could see the sunset in all its glory from our lawn chairs in front of Unit 1. Now trees and bushes on the south end of the airport strip have obstructed our view so we have to walk a couple of spots to the north to get a good vantage.

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I had a reasonable sleep but D did not.

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We were up with the sunrise and saw its first light from our bed.

We walk into Centro for a small grocery shop and then to Bally Hoo for breakfast since we missed meeting friends there when we were so late the evening prior.

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D thought that there were too many peppers in his western omelet and I thought that there was too much raw garlic in my Spanish omelet. 

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But the view was wonderful and once again we felt like we were home. I took a cab back to Luna with a small grocery bag. D waited for our youngest daughter and her husband to arrive on the ferry.

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In mean time he bought a ¼ chicken for us to have as a snack since neither of us really ate our omelets.

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Boo and the Frenchman joined us at Luna to sit in the sun and get caught up. Then they headed home (Xbulu Ha) for naps and showers.

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Just like that….it looked like rain.

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We all met later for dinner at Lola Valentina’s (see bog post here) including one of my SILs and her sister. We had a lovely evening with them and the food was amazing.

Kath’s quote: “I believe in the Ocean curing all bad moods. I believe in the waves wiping away worries. I believe in seashells bringing good luck. I believe in toes in the sand, grounding my soul.”-Mystic Mermaid

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Love never fails.

 

Isla Mujeres 2019-Arrival Day

April16

Since we had purchased our flight and our accommodation months in advance, we had a very long time to anticipate what our arrival day would be like. Up early, a quick flight to Calgary and then onto Cancun soon after. We had no way of knowing that our departure from Calgary would be delayed for so many hours. The pilot and his first officer made a routine walk and visual assessment of the plane and decided that it would require repair. We found this interesting as we could tell that it was a brand smacking new plane. This decision was made while we were sitting on the tarmac. When the crew found out that it wasn’t a quick fix, we were deplaned so another plane could be brought in the place of our original plane. I am sure that it doesn’t have any connection to the Boeing 737 Max recall but it was indeed  the same plane. In all we were 5 ish hours late. Best laid plans…..

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We thought that we might catch the sunset on the ferry to Isla but instead we watched it set from the plane long before we began our descent. When we arrived in the dark to the ferry we were so grateful to be so close to our paradise, that we made the most of it and took pictures in the dark instead.

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Isla…here we come!

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We hopped right into a cab and directed it to our “home” on the airport strip. I have lost count of how many years D and I have stayed at the Luna d’ Miel Apartments. The sights, sounds and the feel of the breeze on the ocean side is exactly the same  whenever we arrive and that is what it makes it home.

We had planned ahead and picked up a bottle of wine at the Calgary airport, when we knew that we would arrive after our favourite wine store would be closed. We sat  and sipped and reflected of the blessing that it was to be on Isla again.

Kath’s quote: “Wherever you go, go with all of your heart.” -Confucius

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Love never fails.

 

 

La Esquina-Isla Mujeres 2019

April15

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With our visit to “the corner” recently, visiting the trinity of owner Daniel’s restaurants was complete: Lola Valentina, Xantolo and La Esquina. There is a consistency in the three- fine ingredients, skilled preparation and authenticity.

The restaurants are all unique in décor and ambience but all are casual enough that you can drop in on your way back from the beach. We returned for a croissant breakfast the day after our dinner visit and I was in my bathing suit.

The evening started with cocktails. Bongo Sex and Tiki Maraca, proving that all three restaurant bartenders know a thing or two about mixology.

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The former was a tall delicious concoction of tequila, mint, cucumber, ginger, lime and agave syrup. The latter: rum, passion fruit, orange, agave and clove.

We met the entire team that were to take care of us-Wilbur the Chef, Jorge the Server and we were introduced to the bartender too (but I forget his name). All three worked together with synchronicity so that we felt very, very well taken care of.

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The first course was a shared bowl of Caribbean clam chowder. It was creamy like a Boston clam chowder but was still served with a wedge of lime that I squeezed into the bowl before tasting. The veggies of potato, carrot, onion and celery were all finely chopped and as a result the soup was lighter and less filling than a typical bowl. We had to pace ourselves because our entrees were on the way out.

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We shared this lovely light salad along with the chowder.

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Whereas most arrachera recipes start with a skirt steak, La Esquina’s commences with a Flank Steak. Typically the marinade includes garlic, olive oil, tequila, lime juice, salt, cumin and black pepper but Chef Wilbert’s secret is marinated the beef twice with chimi churri sauce. I can’t say for sure which method is better, all I know was that was the best flank steak I had eaten in my life!

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The French flavours of the restaurant have unknown roots but I guess if you serve croissants in the morning and French Onion Soup for dinner, you should have at least one French dish in your repertoire. With Chicken Normandy the chef easily displayed his versatility-the chicken was oh so tender and the sauce was divine.

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Chef Wilbur’s garnishes were a sign of attention to detail.

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The Chef recounts that guests say that he makes the best cheesecake in the world! We say, cheesecake preference is as vast as the fifteen sandwich varieties on La Esquina’s lunch menu. If you like a baked, light and not too sweet a cheesecake, this one’s for you.

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The next morning Sisters #3’s breakfast plans changed. We had a contingency plan but they were only just getting set up for breakfast and then we remember those beautiful croissants at La Esquina. Sister #3 chose almond and I chocolate. Very, very delicious!

Kath’s quote: “….I can dream away a half-hour on the immortal flavor of those thick cheese cakes we used to have on a Saturday night.”-Mary Antin

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Love never fails.

Zama Beach Club-Isla Mujeres 2019

April6

On our very first visit to Isla Mujeres in 2005 we stayed at Punta Sur and didn’t really know that everything was happening at Playa Norte. One wonderful result was exploring most of the island and I distinctly remember the feeling of being at Zama Beach Club with my two sisters: we felt like movie stars! We sipped our margaritas and napped under their palapas on the sandy shore.

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Who would guess that years later we would be together with another 80 or so guests from all over the world, for Sister #2’s daughter’s wedding!

That special day is one I will remember for the rest of my life. This year as a cab dropped us off at the entrance to Zama, and we walked past the pool and into the restaurant, the sights, sounds and aroma reminded Sister #3 and I of that day.

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There was a wee bit of confusion when we first arrived but once that was straightened away, we were treated like royalty!

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This is me without a care in the world.

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Our waiter Juan Ramos was concerned that we would be thirsty so he had a Gin, Tonic and Grapefruit Juice mixed up for us. He was right, it was wonderfully thirst quenching and I can say that the fine gin melted our cares away.

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What a perfect way to ensure your beer is ice cold.

We also tasted their signature beer-“Tulum” which was light bodied and equally thirst quenching.

Chef Diego R. Lopez came out to meet us, asked about what we liked and didn’t like to eat and then slipped away to prepare samples of their Signature appetizers.

 

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First up were three gourmet tostadas. The perfect light lunch had we stopped there. One was tuna with morita pepper and peanut sauce. Another was a fish ceviche in a spicy charred pepper sauce. And lastly was my favourite of octopus in a chiltomate sauce (roasted tomato, red onion and sour orange). Complex tastes and textures made for an instant hit in our minds.

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In addition, was this gorgeous Carpucci composed of olive oil, chia seeds, cucumber skin, Pargo fish, cilantro, avocado, mayo and mojito sauce over it all. The perfect blend of savoury and crunch!

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We loved the octopus tostada appetizer so much that we also chose their deliciously tender octupus entrée. It had been chargrilled and garnished with jalepeno rounds and cilantro. There were also succulent shrimp hiding in the arroz (rice) crema made even creamier with little dots of with Mexican cheese.

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We also sampled their version of Tik n Chix with plantain rice, black beans, avocado and red onion in addition to a Mayan Xnipek sauce ( a blend of tomato, red onion, sour orange and habanero). The fish was first rubbed with an Isla Mujeres special concoction of annatto seed and sour orange.  The Mayan specialty was decadent and delish.

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A while later, while we were sitting in the shade pretending we were movie stars again,

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we enjoyed a brownie with oreos, strawberries, mint, mini milk chocolate chips and vanilla bean ice cream. We certainly didn’t need it ,but we really enjoyed it.

The ambience, views, food and drinks were all stellar and it is easy to see why Zama has withstood the test of time. Ours was a first class experience.

Kath’s quote: “Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity.”
-Frank Lloyd Wright

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

Sesso Loco-Isla Mujeres 2019

April3

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Seso recognized as soon as we walked in. He was happy to see us and greeted us warmly. Here is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, sharing his setbacks and his triumphs like glugs of ketchup from a bottle. He told us of his struggles on Hidalgo and then his determination to kick start everything all over again on Medina in Colonias. By my estimation he has achieved resounding success but there is more. He has done so without a whiff of arrogance or false pride. This guy is the real deal folks.

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I love the décor of Sesso Loco. It is cozy and comfy yet open and breezy. Tables are set with plant slips just like I would be inclined to do at our summer house.

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We started with Mango Margaritas and Pina Coladas. They were frosty, potent and went down very easily. I was nearing the end of my stay so I was going over my checklist with my brother and his wife (who were staying for a 3rd week), of places I still had to visit or where I was determined to revisit in my short time left.

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Brother #3 decided upon the Coconut Shrimp. I had seen many of these served all over the island during this stay and I observed the following: some places give you five shrimp, some the customary half dozen and others that strive to provide extra value give you seven! Such was the case at Sesso Loco. My Bro offered me a taste and it was sweet and meaty and crunchy/tender all at the same time.

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I was looking forward to having a second feed of beef on the island. When we first started visiting Isla in 2005, we wouldn’t have considered ordering beef. But these days with better refrigeration and speedier delivery, beef is popping up on many menus. I am a beef lover from a way back. Not only did my Dad once run a packing plant but D and I met while both working at a steakhouse in our home town. So I know of what I speak…

A rib-eye is not for the faint of heart. It is the most flavourful steak I know of because it is served with the bone. But it is the liberal marbling of the steak that adds the greatest punch of flavour. That is if you don’t mind cutting around the fat, and I don’t mind at all. My favourite foods are worth the extra effort: artichokes, wild blueberries and truffles!

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My SIL ordered chicken skewers but was mistakenly served fish ones.

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This was not a big deal as the meal was replaced in minutes and she enjoyed every single bite of the grilled vegetables and tender chicken. Sesso though was beside himself, apologizing over and over again. And this is how I know that he is the real deal. A chef can display his passion for food when the dish looks like a work of art but that same passion showed in Sesso when he thought he had disappointed us. He would have stood on his head and spit nickels in order to correct his mistake!

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We had enjoyed a perfect evening in spite of  a single glitch. The food was great, visiting with my dear family was wonderful and knowing that we would see Sesso on the island in another year, the icing on the cake.

Kath’s quote: “Food, to me, is always about cooking and eating with those you love and care for”. -David Chang

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Love never fails.

 

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