Browsing: Restaurant Features

2018 Isla Mujeres Annual Progressive Dinner

April11

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We are a family who love to give the gift of experiences rather than things. Concerts, little getaways and restaurant gift cards top our list of gifts to give and to receive. This Christmas our son gave us a note that read:

J and I would like to sponsor your progressive evening on Isla this year. We have truly come to love this tradition and want to share in the experience with you.

The note came with a six pack of Sol and a wad of Mexican Pesos.  He went on to say:

I imagine you having a practice sunset in the living room before the trip. I’d also like you to take this pen and paper in case you come up with a great life altering idea (we often do when we are on vacation and have the time to really talk something out) but the cervesas made your forget.

Merry Christmas. We cherish our friendship. Love J1 and J2

And so it was that we had been anticipating this particular dinner since December 25, 2017. In reality we don’t usually plan ahead. We usually mosey around Centro until a craving comes to us. We often have a golf cart for our dinner. But when we were on the island this year, there was some negative Facebook posts about a golf cart/taxi incident and we know that the police are pulling people over for random breathalyzers. It is not that we planned to drink in excess but we are particularly vigilant about not drinking and driving. D passed 2 breathalyzers in 2017 on Isla. One where he had to breathe in a policeman’s cupped hands and another with an actual machine. In our minds the test is so ineffectively managed, that it simply seems as if the police can decide without evidence if you have consumed too much liquor. We always go by the adage: “Better safe than sorry” So renting a golf cart was out. We strolled into town and took a cab home at the end of our wonderful evening.

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While we are on the island, we spend a great deal of time with our friend Hortencia and her family. Brother #3 and his wife entertain Hortencia’s grandchildren on the beach a couple of times each visit. It is a big treat for them. Imagine living on the island and not being able to go to the beach on a regular basis? We often invite Hortencia and her extended family over to one of our places for dinner and other years, she invites us. This year, she extended the invitation. As we waited on the beach, we saw their pick up truck making its way down Medina. They piled out with two of the boys carrying 2 wooden chairs and Bro #3 Hortencia embracing a huge pot of Hortencia’s mole. As is often the case, she made the mole version that was typical of the area of Mexico that she came from.

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We asked for a small bowl that D and I could share because of our plans for later that evening. Her expression said “who cares if you are going to eat again later on…eat now!”  Her mole was masterful-full of flavour but not too spicy. The chicken was succulent and tender. It sure would be hard to top that taste off.

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We typically commence our evening with a cocktail at sunset. We had left it too long, so we walked into the first place we came to off the beach. The beer were lovely and cold. Has anybody eaten there?

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We did manage to catch the last rays of another glorious sunset.

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We always seem to find our way to La Lomita at least once during our Isla stays. It was the first restaurant I ever ate at on the island. here are a number of posts from the Food Musings archive:

2010

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

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As it was, we were only able to share a dinner of garlic fish and their amazing French fries!

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We decided to do some more walking so that we could fit in another spot. Try as we might, we only had room left for something very light and so we shared shrimp ceviche at Rubens.

It was the last night on the island for the entourage we were a part of, so we stopped for a last cocktail at Fredy’s before heading to our favourite ice cream place (corner of Hidalgo and the square) where I was over the moon for my scoop of coconut ice cream in a chocolate waffle cone.

Even though our restaurant circuit wasn’t lengthy and we didn’t cover off any new treats, it was a wonderful evening and we are already looking forward to next year’s.

Kath’s quote: “Our countries are great friends. We have given you Lafayette and French fried potatoes”.-O. Henry, ‘Rolling Stones’ (1894)
First reference to French fried potatoes

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mala Hierba Restaurant-Isla Mujeres 2018

April10

Another new restaurant we tried on our Isla visit this year.

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As I researched the meaning of “Mala Hierba” I see that hierba could mean herb or weed and mala means bad so the words mean bad herb. But there were also references that hierba means marijuana and also that the saying can describe a bad person. I also saw a live herb wall garden and thought that they were the “herbs” being referred to. In the end I thought the restaurant name was an intriguing choice.

The restaurant might have been tricky to find had it not been for Sister #3 who was able to give the cab driver very specific instructions.

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I am not sure why I wanted this picture taken, when we were not all around the table. Two people were missing from the photo.

The seating area is quite small and is outside under an overhang. It had been raining that evening so we tucked ourselves closer together so we could all be under shelter.

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There were a group of us and I did not pay close enough attention to what others ordered but I am pretty sure that Dona selected the sauteed fish.

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I think that the two above items were chicken and they got switched when placed in front of people but both recipients were delighted so it actually turned out to be a good thing.

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I know exactly what was in Mommy’s Shrimp that I ordered as I hung on the server’s every word as he described it. Jalepeno, cream cheese and enormous tail on shrimp had been wrapped in bacon and baked. They were accompanied by a mayo dipping sauce that had been enhanced with sesame oil and cumin. The garlic mashed potatoes were stellar as well as the sauteed vegetables including my favourite local veggie-chaya.

I love the type of cook that Ziggy is. He knows that if something tastes good, it will taste even better with the addition of cream cheese and bacon! Everyone oohed and awed as they tuck into their meals, that much I know for sure.

Kath’s quote: “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”-Doug Larson

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Love never fails.

 

 

Madera Food and Art-Isla Mujeres 2018

April9

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Madera Food and Art was another new restaurant visit on our 2018 trip. There are not an abundance of restaurants on that stretch of the Caribbean road on the island. So if you have made the trek whether via golf, cart, scooter or taxi, you have likely seen it.

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The offerings are not extensive but the couple of things that we tasted were excellent. I understand that the rice bowls are top drawer.

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M & R split a burger and this gorgeous salad. She especially enjoyed the scattering of a crunchy topping and the cucumbers ribbons that had been marinated but not for long enough to pickle them.

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D and I split the burger. OMGoodness-it was sensational! A just baked pretzel bun surrounded a hand made patty. The side of potatoes was also stellar. I remember wishing that I had ordered my own burger plate.

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The dining area are mostly high tables under a palapa. We got there early hearing that they often ran out of tables (and food!). There was quite the crowd when we stood up to leave and the person who spotted our departure first, got the table.

Kath’s quote: “A Hamburger is warm and fragrant and juicy. A hamburger is soft and nonthreatening. It personifies the Great Mother herself who has nourished us from the beginning. A hamburger is an icon of layered circles, the circle being at once the most spiritual and the most sensual of shapes. A hamburger is companionable and faintly erotic. The nipple of the Goddess, the bountiful belly-ball of Eve. You are what you think you eat.”-Tom Robbins

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Love never fails.

 

 

Seso Loco – Isla Mujeres 2018

April6

Sister #3 here. Kath needed to recruit my help while vacationing on Isla Mujeres recently so that we could post about as many of the island’s restaurants as possible.

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I am not sure how it happened that I never visited Seso Locos back when it was located on Hidalgo, but this year I was determined to make the effort to get out to their new location down island, just south of Chac Chi and just north of Green Verde. Anyone to whom I mentioned my plan to visit this establishment all came back with the same response, “their pizza is excellent”. And they are right, Seso Locos does a thriving pizza business, eat-in, take out, delivery, they make between 20 – 30 pizzas every day. But when I arrived and was talking to Jesus (affectionately known by his friends as Seso) he shared that he is most proud of his fish and seafood dishes (for good reason as I was about to discover).

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The sign out front claims “the best margaritas” so when the waiter offered us a Bulldog – one of those beautifully icy margs with an ice-cold Sol upended into it, who was I to refuse? What arrived at my table was so huge I had to request three additional straws and get my table mates to help me out. I can now officially say I am in love with the “bulldog” and plan to do my best to recreate one sometime this summer, when the Canadian weather finally gets warm. It will need to be a day where I don’t need to leave the comfort of my back yard.

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The decision making process of what to order from the extensive menu was tough at first. We knew we needed to try the infamous pizza; my brother had the “Isla Mujeres” a combination of bacon, salami, and mushroom. It was large enough to feed all four of us and made for great left overs.

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Friend D ordered the Parmesan fish, which was lightly breaded, melt in your mouth tender and fresh.

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The dish that impressed me most was sister-in-law L’s coconut shrimp. I have eaten a LOT of coconut shrimp on this island, and this is by far the best I have ever had. There were 7, count them, 7 huge shrimp, in crunchy coconut perfection on her plate. Thank goodness she is generous and shared one with me. The sides of mashed potatoes and lightly pan-seared zucchini and carrots that accompanied both the fish and shrimp were a nice addition.

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I asked Seso, if he could recommend one item that I should try from the menu, what it would be? This is how I came to experience the Poblano Chile Seso Loco. Wow, talk about a rich and decedent entree! This gigantic pepper was stuffed with fish, calamari, and shrimp. The pepper was then coated in a crispy batter, fried and topped with tomato sauce and cheese. I was glad I had people willing to help me out with conquering this bad boy.

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We were stuffed, but somehow found ourselves convinced to try the apple strudel for dessert. A modern take on this Eastern European classic was the perfect ending to our evening. Crispy, cinnamony (is that even a word?) pastry filled with fruit and served with ice cream.

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While the restaurant lacks a view, except for the traffic on the roadway on which it is located, the open air space is clean and quaint. The service was impeccable. Our waiter, who had studied in the US for many years had a better command of the English language that I do. Seso Locos is open daily from 8:00 a.m.– 3:00 p.m. for breakfast and lunch and opens again at 5:30 p.m. for dinner. I know I will be back for that coconut shrimp next year and I would highly recommend you trying it out. Buen Provecho!

Kath’s quote: “The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living”.-Dione Lucas

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Love never fails.

 

 

Green Verde-Isla Mujeres 2018

April5

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There are still many popular restaurants on Isla that I have never visited (and I have visited the island once or twice a year since 2005!). Maybe that is because I have so many favourites that I try to visit each trip. Case in point: I have driven by Green Verde so many times and good friends of ours claim it to be the best restaurant on the island, but 2018 marked my first visit. The space had a funky laid back feel. The entire restaurant was constructed from recycled materials.

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We started with a wonderful guacamole washed down with frosty cervesas and vino tinto.

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We needed sustenance to decide what to order from their vast menu.

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Both R and D chose the Ticin Xic (pronounced teek-ih-sheek). Years ago we used to have the authentic dish at least once per visit. The cooking style is a very typical way to serve fresh fish and dates back to the very early Maya. On Isla it used to be served more often at many beach restaurants. The fish is usually cooked on an outside wood grill. In Mexico it is typically served with the head, tail and spine intact! Both the guys loved their selection.

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M chose Chicken in red mole sauce and she too was delighted with her chocie. Did you know that there are at least six colours of mole? The following is from the Que Rica Vida blog site:

  • Black mole: Made with nuts, fruits, chiles, cinnamon, hoja santa (sacred leaf) and plenty of chocolate.
  • Red mole: Similar to black and Mole Poblano. Its colors and taste depend on the chiles used, like guajillo.
  • Green mole: Pumpkin seeds, cilantro and tomatillos are among the ingredients used.
  • Yellow mole: Soft, spicy and without chocolate.
  • Mole coloradito: Very similar to red mole, but sweeter because it’s made with plantains.
  • Mancha manteles: It’s got it all! Sweet and sour, savory and spicy hues. Ingredients include chile ancho and pineapple.

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I went out on a limb and ordered Tequila pork ribs. Sister #2 makes a Tequila chicken dish that I love, so I thought it was a safe bet. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender and full of flavour. I am going to have to try to recreate the dish now that we are home.

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The evening was a lovely new experience for us and we were glad that our friends urged us to visit. The next time I dine, I want to sit here.

Kath’s quote: “Grilling, broiling, barbecuing – whatever you want to call it – is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.”-James Beard

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Love never fails.

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