Browsing: Isla Mujeres

Mayan Beach Club Isla Mujeres 2020

June26

I have visited the Mayan Beach Club a couple of times since they have occupied the space when The Sunset Grill moved up island. The visits weren’t stellar, but all that has changed. I don’t know what came first: the arrival of Gustavo or the all Mayan kitchen team? Suffice it to say that both the ambience and the food were flawless!

Gustavo explained to us that the Mayan Beach Club had the goal of not just serving dinner, but an experience. This is why they meticulously select the best local providers for fresh ingredients. Not to mention their diverse wine list of 45+ wines from 10+ different countries.

I was accompanied that evening by my long time friend and her husband. We don’t live in the same Canadian city so try to visit the island at the same time each year. If I couldn’t have D to share the evening with, these dear friends were the next best thing.

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As the sun set and created a gorgeous pastel sky, the first course was served.

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Mussels had been sautéed in white wine and then placed in this cauldron that kept the dish piping hot. Spanish chorizo, spinach and cheese were perfect enhancements. R did the honours of serving us.

On each of our plates R placed the mussels and a tomato fettuccine served with premise made bread. The dish was a decadently gooey taste of the sea.

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A salad course came next and was appreciated for its lightness and flavour. An intact romaine (with leaves still attached to the core of the plant) had been topped with a premise made Caesar dressing and ribbons of parmesan. A perfect parmesan cup came filled with triangular croutons. Every bite was a success.

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This avalanche of Caribbean octopus arrived next. Perhaps it was the roasted potatoes that captured my heart. But it could have also been the red onions, spinach leaves and balsamic drizzle. I know one definitive thing, the decadent cream sauce was sublime!

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Perhaps with this wider shot you can determine why the dish was called octopus on the rock.

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I had never eaten Osco Buco on the island but wasn’t surprized when it was placed in front of us. Only the top restaurants with expert chefs who can coddle a veal shank in the oven for over five hours, deserve to serve this dish. The three chilies sauce that the tender roast was served with, created a perfectly fused dish of Italian and Mexican cultures.

Somewhere prior to this dish we received another surprize- a beautiful soprano with a voice to match, wandered amongst the tables to serenade us throughout the evening. Her repertoire was an endless array of international selections sung with passion and skill.

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At this point Gustavo visited us to tell us about the Mayan Beach Club’s wine dinners: a country is highlighted with 7-9 courses and corresponding award-winning wines as well as live operatic music selected from the country as well.

I long to attend one of these wine dinners or perhaps another option: their Family or Large Group Dinners. These consist of a spread of the freshest caught sea and farm products they can source. The traditional and local dishes are served family-style in a creative and inventive manner.

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A tasting of premise-made Italian gellati garnished with fresh and juicy strawberries arrived next. The unusual carrot cake and sweet & crunchy crumbs were the perfect accompaniment for the luscious gellati.

The evening will always remain in my memory, for the many reasons why I love Isla and her people. Perfection in every sense of the word.

Kath’s quote: “This is an evening of wonders, indeed!”-Jane Austen

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

Sesso Locos-Isla Mujeres 2020

June24

On the evening Sister #3 and her friend (now my friend too) arrived on the island, I asked that they join me in visiting Sesso Locos. See this link for my last Sesso Loco visit: 2019

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We were immediately created by Sesso himself (his nick name not his real name), who could tell that we were thirsty. I decided to try a sangria. Even though the recipe may not have been authentic, it was the best sangria that I tasted on the island.

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Coconut shrimp is a “must try” in our books. There were a round half dozen of these that were not “shrimp” but the size of a toddler’s fist! They were perfectly cooked and had a great mango sauce to accompany. These were very much enjoyed by sister #3 and I .

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Fish (sea bream) prepared in mango sauce was a lovely treat.

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Our favourite though was the El Pastor Pizza. This medium fed three of us with enough left overs for two more lunches. The crunchy pork belly was beautifully offset by both the pineapple and the unusual addition of cilantro.

As always Sesso’s staff were friendly and efficient and his restaurant well maintained and lovely. Sesso Loco’s is always on our “must visit” list.

Kath’s quote: “Anyway like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbeque it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. Dey’s uh shrimp kebobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp , coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That-that’s about it.”

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres 2020

June23

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We were given our choice of table just as the sun was setting at the casually elegant dining room at Villa Rolandi-Le Metissage. Our first decision was easy-it was a glorious evening so we requested to be sat outside. Our second decision perched us in the perfect spot to enjoy the setting sun.

Metissage is the biological and cultural encounter of different ethnic groups, in which these are mixed, giving birth to new ethnic groups.

I can’t take credit for writing this eloquent definition, it was written on the inside of the menu shared with us that evening. The format is a fixed price tasting menu with seven courses and is offered nightly (except Tuesday) for hotel guests and visitors. I understand that the offerings rotate daily so if you stayed a week you would not have the same menu twice.

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We were welcomed with a sumptuous cocktail blended of Malibu rum, blue curacao, vodka and pineapple juice. I LOVED it and am determined to have them made at home for our next special occasion.

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Before we settled in to have a preview of our dining adventure, we were introduced to Chef Itzell.

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I was glad of this because whenever we looked for her during the course of the evening, she was hunched over her prep table, meticulously plating and garnishing her lovely creations. Chef Itzell had obvious pride and passion for her work, her staff and the guests.

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Two gentlemen approached our table next. One asked us what kind of water we would prefer as the other swung this tray in front of us so that we could select a citrus enhancement for our water.

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A large slate arrived at the table thereafter. Three different butters were displayed including my favourite of the three-a honey butter as well as a course sea salt. I am a bread lover to begin with; the butters made it very tempting not to gobble down the entire bread basket!

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An amuse -bouche of peach soup spiced with cloves and garnished with a parmesan crisp was so delectable that I was sure that this evening would be a mountain-top dining experience.

Next up was a salmon marinated in ponzu (an Asian marinade delicious with fish). Chef had enhanced the appetizer with mandarin, peppermint, coriander and rouille sauce. Here is where Mexican and French cuisine fuse as the latter sauce is a Provençale staple. The mound of complex tastes came a top a toasted corn tostada. So, so good.

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A meat course came next. Pork belly is one of my favourite meats although I usually don’t admit it. These were enhanced by mole and crème fresh and then crowned with arugula. The pork melted in your mouth with the peppery arugula and sauces complementing the flavour.

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The evening light had changed by our next fish course and I didn’t switch cameras quickly enough. This dish was far more beautiful than depicted here. Cauliflower puree, tomato salad, spring onion and fresh coriander worked beautifully to showcase this fried fish filet.

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Mango sherbet was served as a palatte cleanser and readied us for the piece de resistance. Coming from central Canada, we have an abundance of excellent beef choices but this Angus Top Sirloin was equal to any I have ever tasted. The medallions were perfectly cooked and could have been served unenhanced it was so good. The white bean puree, asparagus risotto and chili marinade knocked the dish right out of the park! Stellar!

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An unusual take on another of my favourites (strawberry shortcake) arrived for the dessert first course. A strawberry cake and a honey cake were married together and then covered with strawberry Chantilly, goat cheese Crème Brule and ice cream. Simple yet decadent and sublime!

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Mignardises is from an old French word meaning pretty or delicate. It is the perfect word to describe what I call a second dessert. It allowed us to extend the pleasure of the evening even longer.

We were absolutely god-smacked by how perfect the evening had been. One of those special times that we will remember always.

Kath’s quote: The discovery of a new dish does more the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2020 Trip Report-Departure Day

May27

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The morning happened in a blur. I didn’t make it for sunrise and before I knew it Jan, Bruce, Dona and Sister #3 saw us off at the ferry terminal. This is Brother #3, L and I on the ferry to Cancun.

The day prior when I was writing from the malecon I remembered hearing a couple of ferry honks, which meant if you were not already on the ferry, you missed out. The coming and going of people and ferries has as always been a fascination to me. I have greeted Brother #3, L, Sister #3, Lorena, my husband, Richard and Melinda and have said good-bye to most of the same.

Covid 19 had created a sensation that I had never known before-I was glad to be going home. But throughout my three weeks on the island, the time went perfectly slowly. I said to myself over and over again “I cannot believe I am still here!” I have seen almost every sunrise and sunset for 20+ days. I love travelling to a place where one of the most important events of the day is the waxing and waning of the sun.

I had been hesitant about my 2020 trip because there had been a lot of crime and even murders in the year in between my times on the island. But the only incident that was a teeny disruptive was when a taxi and a motorcycle bumped into each other on Medina. Perhaps the Policia and the armed Marines are successful in keeping the peace and creating a calm for a traveller like me.

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It doesn’t look like paradise from the water does it?

I felt so bad for the Islanders as I left. In conversation with them, they seemed to be unaware of the cancellations and lack of business ahead.

When I was in the luggage line at the airport, I turned the data on my phone to hear the announcement that all persons having travelled internationally must self quarantine for two weeks upon their arrival home.

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This is what was awaiting me at home-bleh. But so was my wonderful husband who had gotten all stocked up on groceries for our quarantine. We had lots of TV that we recorded while away and new Netflix shows to check out. And now that we are on the other side of that, it wasn’t so bad after all.

Kath’s quote: “I want to take a vacation so long that I forget all my passwords!”

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Love never fails.

Isla Mujeres 2020 Trip Report-Day 23 Part 2

May26

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I quickly popped in at home to change clothes and then Sister #3 and I went to visit two of my favourite women on the island. The female bakers/owners of Dulzura Argenta have my heart. Gabriel and Marita are so warm and cordial, I wish I had visited them sooner.

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Their empanadas with Argentina influences were fabulous. Or so Sister #3 told me. I had a special dinner that evening, so I abstained. There were both spinach and chicken separately stuffed inside a lovely pastry. The chimichanga sauce that accompanied the empanada put them over the top.

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I had a taste of the cheesecake and the pecan pie. Both were delicious and what I like about their baking is that nothing is overly sweet-even the pecan pie!

They packed me a little lunch for my plane ride the next day- a rich and chocolaty brownie and one of those spinach empanadas. I do hope this lovely bakery comes out on top of the covid shut down. I wish them much love and many blessings.

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That evening Brother #3 and L met together at Muele 7. Full details will be linked here after Covid.

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Muele 7’s location right on the water is magical. When we were invited to walk to the end of the wharf to get the best view of sunset, Marco came with us. He said that even though Isla is his home, he never misses an opportunity to enjoy its beauty.

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Being our last night on Isla, we just had to say good-bye to Fredy and enjoy a night cap.

Kath’s quote: “Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened!”

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Love never fails.

 

 

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