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.

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