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.

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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.

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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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Isla Mujeres 2020 Trip Report-Day 23 Part 1: Take a Loop of the Island with Me

May25

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As you can see, I was just a wee bit late to see the sun come up over the horizon that morning.

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It was a very hot day as demonstrated by all the visitors huddled under their umbrellas.

I spent a long and lovely time actually exposed to the sun since it was my last full day. I typically am under a palapa or umbrella because of my fair and freckled skin.

As I started my walk back home I was right at the rendezvous point for the local buses. I spontaneously hopped on the Punta Sur bus, not to go there or anywhere really. I simply enjoyed one last loop of my precious island.

Follow along with my tour up Medina and then the west road of Isla, around Punta Sur and back down the east road.

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Shops for tourists are concentrated in a couple of specific areas. Here near Playa Norte is one area.

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This west beach was once called Playa Sol. I still call it that because I am not really sure what it is called now.

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There are also a number of shops in the vicinity of the ferry terminal and along the route that visitors would take to get to either Playa Sol or Playa Norte.

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These beaches are not for swimming. Much of it is for the use of the Navy. Do you see how you can see a strip of land across the top of the picture? This is not Cancun but Sac Bajo-a peninsular with lovely homes, condos and Dolphin Discovery which visitors flock to.

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I am always amazed that even the grandest homes start out looking like this. Cinder blocks can better withstand hurricanes and most of Isla’s buildings start out looking like this.

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By now we have gone round the bend at Punta Sur and are heading back into Centro. The first time I cam to the island I stayed at Villas Punta Sur not knowing that we were on the opposite end of the island than most of the restaurants, shopping and beaches. That has changed now with a number of places to eat and shop in Colonias-the “neighbourhoods” of the locals.

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When I stayed out this way, I would walk to cliffs in the area to catch the sunrise.

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There are a few sandy beaches like this but the east side is mostly coral. Even though there are people in this picture it is unlikely they are going swimming but to beachcomb or enjoy the sun without the crowds.

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An enormous condo development is to the left of the bus right about here. Isla 33 condos are spectacular and the main reason why that neighbourhood is becoming gentrified.

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I love the houses of the locals. They love colour and buildings are often orange, pink, yellow and turquoise.

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These suites have been a popular place for a number of years, fully taking advantage of the beautiful water views.

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This pic is taken almost at the point of the airport road where D and I typically stay. Luna d’Miel Apartments are our home away from home. We love the crashing turquoise surf right outside our terrace.

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The locals didn’t seem to mind the loco turista who’s wet bathing suit leaked on the floor of the bus.

Kath’s quote: “We are all riding the same bus.”- Mark Sheppard

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Love never fails.

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Isla Mujeres 2020 Trip Report-Day 22

May21

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My friend Jackie from Winnipeg stayed at this new hotel on the island. It was called La Perla Caribe but I think has already been renamed.  I tried to spot her on numerous occasions so that I could see her room and the hotel amenities, to no avail. Initially the owners thought they might try a hotel/hostel combo but then that didn’t work out. So now I think it is a hotel with a couple of “family” suites.

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As I continued my walk, I passed a hotel that I stayed at for a couple of years. Roco Mar has been renovated and re-opened for quite some time now. I was a guest prior to their reno. It was rustic and very affordable (at that time). The view was spectacular but if it was windy, your teeth rattled all night long.

I was up in enough time to have a little stroll around the hood before I settled into sunrise watching.

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Watching my last sunrise of the trip.

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I also got the fabulous opportunity to stay at Villas San Miquel one year. The suites are a little bit pricey as compared to our modest budget but every penny is worth it. It has the best location on the entire island-on the water and yet just across from the zocolo. The suites are beautifully appointed (especially the kitchen) and they have a gorgeous pool.

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This was my view from XBulu Ha.

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As I continued walking that morning, I captured this. Anyone know what it is a picture of?

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In the same way I love to be on the beach early in the morning, I also love to stroll down Hidalgo before restaurants, cafes and shops open for the day.

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I loved this turquoise luggage cart!

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I had one last chat with “morning” Abel at Lola Valentina’s (there is also an “evening” Abel that we also have gotten to know).

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Heading back home, I also captured a pic of Los Arcos where I have also stayed in years past. It too is good value but no real view to the back and noisy Hidalgo to the front.

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Just a few more pics to stamp Isla on my brain for another year.

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That afternoon I read and journaled on the malecon. What a gorgeous view from there.

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“Hemingway’s” as it is known was just up my street.

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I was fortunate to get to the ferry terminal just in time to bid farewell to another pair of good friends who are not likely to return to the island. I will miss them.

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I didn’t capture a sunset on this evening so I share this instead. Do you know how hard it is the get the sun to dot the “i”?

Kath’s quote: “Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of travelling.”-Margaret Lee Runbeck

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Love never fails.

 

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