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.

Sabores by Posada del Mar- Isla Mujeres 2022

April22

I cant say enough good things about our lunch at the Posada del Mare Beach Club. For 250 pesos for a day pass, you have access to chairs, umbrellas, pool and the washrooms. Your pesos go towards your food and drinks.

We arrived in the early morning, that is about 10 am ish. We like to be in sun early in the day when the rays are indirect and the air is still relatively cool. It was a perfect time to commence the day as the pool was virtually deserted and we had our pic of chairs and umbrella.

The only people who beat us to the pool edge was this young family. As parents, they had the day all figured out. They took turns entertaining the kids in the pool and when it was time for naps, a mother or mother-in-law arrived to take them back to their cool hotel room for their naps, thereby given the parents, some much needed adult only time.

One of the first items on our agenda was the opportunity for D to meet Romi, an Isla Icon. I had met him years before when I first became acquainted with Islaholics that I have known now for almost 2 decades.

We were told that we could sit at the shady bar to order drinks or from the bar, with our Beach Club day pass.

We preferred to have our double pina cooladas (I call them adult milkshakes) in non-breakable glasses so that we didn’t have to get out of the pool.

When lunch time arrived we knew that we should probably get out of the sun and sit at one of the gorgeous tables in the bar. But since it was next to our last day on the island, we stayed put under a palapa.

Ceviche has long been a favourite of mine. The first time I tasted it was my very first visit to Isla in 2005. We were at Picus and I was hooked! I like Mixto Ceviche best with some conch and octopus but this concoction with shrimp was perfecto!

I am sure you realize that you consume a lot of tortilla chips when you are on the island. Not all chips are the same. I like mine best when they have been freshly fried in new oil and all the grease has been shaken off of them. These were spot on!

D had a yen for chicken fajitas. He thought these were beautifully seasoned and chock full of fresh fixings like pico de gallo and quacamole.

We visited near the end of our time on the island and wished we had eaten there more often, especially at sunset, because their view is unspoiled by the various beach clubs that have gobbled up the shoreline and obstructed the sight lines of the water (think Coco’s across from Jax).

Actually I think their property should be supported because of their philosophy to keep the beach open to locals and tourists alike. Posada owners have been committed to this philosophy for 70 years. Way to go!

We had a long visit with our new friend Joch of the property. He explained that Posada del Mare started as two apartments available for rent and now, 70 years later, they have a number of hotel rooms as well as Restaurante Penquino’s, the Sports/Snack Bar called Ruta 15, the pool area and Romi’s Bar. So everything is now under the umbrella of Sabores Posada del Mar.

Yes, if we had it all to do over again, we may have stayed right in the heart of the action at the hotel and spent our days around the pool and across the street walking the beach. But there is next year, there is always next year…

Kath’s quote: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”Mae West

Love-that is all.

Geisha Valentina-Isla Mujeres 2022

April20

Mixologists have gained popularity all over the world and on Isla Mujeres too. Swing bars are the rage as well. At Geisha Valentina, the team of Francisco and Carlos have designed both into one great bar!

I was totally enthralled by this masterpiece called a Dragon Ball- Vodka, Damiana Liqueur, cucumber and soursop juice. I headed to Google to find out more about Damiana Liquer and found out this (who knew?):

Damiana is a small shrub that can be found in the rocky hillsides of Mexico and other desert regions. In addition to its amour-enhancing benefits, the herb is said to improve digestion, treat constipation, and create an overall sense of well-being. The aphrodisiac aspects of the remedy are believed to come into play because the herb stimulates the intestinal tract, bringing oxygen to the genital area for both men and women. As there isn’t any scientific data behind these benefits, mainly what you’ll hear when you ask about the plant are tall tales of love found after ingesting the liqueur.

According to Healthline, damiana (Turnera diffusa) is a low-growing plant with yellow flowers and fragrant leaves. In addition to Mexico, it’s native to subtropical climates like southern Texas, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Its medicinal uses predate written history. Healthline says that “by the time the Spanish crossed the Atlantic, indigenous cultures had been using it for centuries as an aphrodisiac and bladder tonic.”

Spanish missionaries noticed that native tribes would brew a damiana tea with sugar to stimulate sexual performance. Although there aren’t human studies, laboratory tests performed on rats showed increased sexual performance in both males and females, but in particular those with sexual dysfunction. Still, both sexes exhibited increased sexual activity. Although the damiana plant is generally safe and nontoxic, like any herbal remedy, it shouldn’t be consumed during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or by anyone with diabetes.

My glass ball came complete with dry ice to keep it cool and whispy. I sipped mine through a glass straw. It was like a snow globe , but edible (or drinkable I guess).

D chose a Tipsy Buddha made with apple nuances enhanced by Japanese Whiskey and Prosecco!

We had a chance to sit back and enjoy the decor of the newish restaurant, staged in a minimalist Japanese style.

This was the scene from our grill top across to another on the opposite wall. D especially appreciated the “hood” from his days as a broiler chef (when I met him!) This hood was enormous and not only sucked up the smokey fumes but provided air conditioning fo the guests.

You may have preconceived notions about a geisha. The true meaning is a Japanese girl or woman who is trained to provide entertainment and lighthearted company especially for a man or a group of men.

We enjoyed a couple of little bites before the main attraction. Here was our seaweed salad which tasted way better than it might sound. The greens had been pickled in sesame vinegar.

We also enjoyed a Dragon Roll but would not had ordered it, had we’d known how much food was coming our way!

If you order a hibachi meal you are seated at one of the grill tops. I thought that hibachi meant that the chef would be cooking over a live fire but I was completely wrong. Supper was prepared on a very hot flat top grill.

Chef Jose asked us if we were married and seemed impressed with our answer of almost 38 years. To which he crafted this heart, made it pulsate and then lit in on fire!

Our savoury fried rice was so generous that we took most of it “home” with us.

Somewhere behind these flames was our Teppinyaki Chef. In order to be designated one, you must train for a number of additional years as a chef.

We ordered these meaty scallops

and a rib eye steak

to create this delectable surf and turf. The scallops weren’t as sweet as our PEI scallops in Canada but were perfectly sasoned and cooked. The rib-eye (my favourite steak ) was well marbled and so expertly prepared that I even ate the fatty slices. My Dad, a professional Agrologist would cook rib-eyes like this for a weekend breakfast.

Our perfect evening was made even more so by our server Julian. Julian like many other Islander friends is originally from Argentina. We have two sets of Argentinan neighbours back home in Central Canada. I took his picture with D so if he ever turns up at our door in Winnipeg, we will remember that we invited him to visit us!

Kath’s quote: “I’m in favor of liberalizing immigration because of the effect it would have on restaurants. I’d let just about everybody in except the English.”-Calvin Trillin, American writer (New Yorker magazine)

Love-that is all.

Sardinian Smile-Isla Mujeres 2022

April18

We have visited this unique restaurant a number of times over the years including 2016, 2017 and 2020. With each visit I am more and more impressed by Sylvia the owner/manager of the cozy place and her passion for her original home island and Isla Mujeres.

Good friends dined with us that evening. We had all been to Tuscany together a couple of years prior. At that time we consumed a good number of Aperol Spritzes. Guess what we ordered on this evening?

To start, a simple amuse bouche (on the house) was served. Delish.

Oh my goodness! What came next was the Misto de Mare- a selection of hot and cold seafood appetizers. We ordered this platter for 3 but it easily fed 4 of us. Tuna “Meatballs”, Black Mussels Au Gratin, Seafood Medley in a zesty tomato sauce, Grilled Octopus and Potato Salad, Salmon Carpaccio and Octopus Carpaccio. AMAZING!

This course reminded me of a time spent in a Cinque Terre village in Italy. We ordered the seafood platter for two at lunch time. The delectable items were not served on a platter, but a zillion small plates that came out of the kitchen like a scene from Disney’s Fantasia! There was so much food that we overflowed the lunch hours and we ate almost until dinner time!

The biggest surprise of the evening was the Crispy Octopus in a potato sauce with almonds and tumeric-perfectly prepared! Sylvia’s own recipe.

Not as pretty in this pic, but so delicious-Lobster Ravioli in a Saffron sauce. A nightly special created by Sylvia herself.

Shrimp atop spinach ravioli -just the right balance of butter and garlic. Another of Sylvia’s creations.

The Seafood and Black Tagliolini was ever so hearty and delicious.

In Chianti, near Sienna, the 4 of us had dined on multiple courses of truffle dishes. In fact the restaurant only featured recipes with truffles. This Mushroom Ravioli with Truffle Sauce took me back to that amazing night. This was 1 of 3 nightly specials.

We concluded with mini tastes of Tiramisu, Pannacotta with Berry Sauce and Coffee Cream. That is, my GF and I did. The perfect sweet ending.

Kath’s quote: “No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”-Laurie Colwin

PS I am quite sure that Sylvia’s recently departed Momma has looked over Sylvia’s shoulder as she creates Sardinian dishes in a Caribbean kitchen.

Love-that is all.

Richo’s by Chef Rambo-Isla Mujeres 2022

April15

I had heard of Chef Rambo when he had a smaller restaurant in Centro. Here he was on Hidalgo and we were intrigued by his new stylish spot-Richo’s.

We started by whetting our whistles with two Grande Mango Margaritas-they were grand indeed.

We have never tasted conch like this on the island. Chef Ramboo prepares it in 3 kinds of garlic-freshly smashed garlic, garlic infused oil and garlic salt. He carefully sautes it, a minimum of 3 mins but never more than 5. This dish is not on the menu but by special request only. I wish it had come on a mound of pasta to further enjoy the savoury tastes.

We tried to eat our way through this meaty tuna steak. We pulled ribbons away with our fork. The outer sear was flavourful and the raw flesh was cool and silky.

We really enjoyed the coconut shrimp that night. Chef Rambo marinated the shrimp in lime and garlic before breading them in coconut. They were a fabulous taste combo of tart and sweet.

Here is the man himself with his trusty server “Happy Gilmore”.

Chef Rambo is a self-professed collector and we had a look around at his artifacts before we bid him adieu that evening. He is an interesting fellow with an interesting approach to food.

Kath’s quote: “They eat the dainty food of famous chefs with the same pleasure with which they devour gross peasant dishes, mostly composed of garlic and tomatoes, or fisherman’s octopus and shrimps, fried in heavily scented olive oil on a little deserted beach.”-Luigi Barzini

Love-that is all.

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