I feel that it is appropriate that I set the stage here. I do not profess to be skilled in any way to produce delicious Mayan fare (I leave that to Sister #3 and BF Laura). But I have been traveling to the Yucatan for over 20 years and I have sojourned to Isla Mujeres (which is a culinary gem) for eight consecutive years. When we do so, we live like the locals, purchasing our fresh ingredients in the markets and dining primarily at loncherias. There is not a single multi-unit restaurant on the island and we hope that it stays that way. There are some ex-pats who have brought along their spins on Mexican recipes, but we find ourselves gravitating to the food from the locals. So what I am saying is, we know good Mexican food!
I have tasted great Mexican food in my travels to Minneapolis, New York and else where in Canada. Surprizingly, Saskatoon has a couple of really good places. Restaurants in Winnipeg have earnestly tried and there are a couple of dishes that I enjoy at a couple of spots, but we just can’t seem to get it perfect. By “perfect”, I mean with just the right amount of cilantro so that the flavours sing in your mouth balanced by just enough fire provided by the abundant variety of chilies and freshly squeezed lime juice, that I think makes everything taste better (even my beloved French fries).
Suffice it to say, the bar is set very, very high. We have watched with interest as the Modern Taco Company has renovated a little place in our neighbourhood that has been a German bakery and then The Frenchway Cafe. Last weekend as D was out walking the mutt, he saw a line snaking out the front door and we knew that the long awaited spot had opened. Someone offered to hold onto the dog, so that he could go in and have a look around. Since we didn’t have any plans for dinner that evening anyway, we called Sister #2 and husband and made a date.
The place has been absolutely transformed but looks vaguely familiar. It has the same flow as Unburger and Saigon Jon’s for instance. You enter the premises and look up towards the menu boards (including a long list of cervesas and tequilas) before placing your order at the counter to the front of the open kitchen. The place was busy but we managed to get a table so I plunked down to reserve it. I love watching my food get prepared so next time I may opt to sit at the stools that face the grill.
We started with a spicy tomato & roasted jalapeno soup garnished with pico de gallo and avocado crema
and tortilla chips, with more pico de gallo & guacamole.
We also added a side of slaw with jalapeno vinaigrette.
For our mains, we choose tequila shrimp, composed of grilled shrimp, slaw and chipotle crema,
pulled jerk chicken, caramelized pineapple, cilantro.
You can order a single variety for a trio or
a platter of three of a kind.
The tacos taste fresh, with high quality ingredients. You can tell that the tortillas themselves are freshly made. Do they taste exactly like the ones that we enjoy while on vacation? Of course not, but they are pretty darn good. And besides we would have to have our toes in the sand and be sitting under a palapa on the Caribbean to replicate that taste.
Kath’s quote: “One morning, as I went to the freezer door, I asked my wife, ‘What should I take out for dinner?’ Without a moment’s hesitation, she replied, ‘Me.'”-anonymous
Love-that is all.