Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

2018 Isla Mujeres Annual Progressive Dinner



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.


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.


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.


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?


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


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:









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


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


Love never fails.









golf carts


Ruben’s-Isla Mujeres 2018


Another of our must visits is Ruben’s. We were delighted to try Chilito this year and wish Ruben much success. Here are some of our previous visits from the Food Musings archive:




Ruben’s is so well situated in Centro that we sometimes stop in on the way home from the beach as we did one day for his shrimp omelet. I dream about the omelet when I am not on the island.


On another evening we were strolling Hidalgo near the end of our stay and realized that we had only had ceviche one time. It had been made with white fish not the shrimp version that we prefer. So we decided to walk over to Ruben’s for a night cap and an order of shrimp ceviche.

Kath’s quote: “Never trust a skinny cook” –Unknown


Love never fails.


Chilito by Ruben, 2018 Isla Mujeres


You may have heard of Ruben because of his generous heart and “Rueben’s Kids” -his charity on the island (more about this later) or you may know him for Ruben’s his little restaurant in Centro that has been putting out fabulous food since 2016. When you meet him, it is unlikely you will forget him for his exuberance for feeding people, taking care of islanders and life itself.

My sisters and I are cooks with three different styles. I am a “resourceful” cook (using leftovers and making recipe substitutions), Sister#3 is a trained cooked and is familiar with French culinary terms and techniques. Sister #2 is a decadent cook. She prepares food that tastes so good-adding extra cheese and sauce and her secret ingredient-butter! Ruben cooks just like Sister #2. His creations are all beautiful and carefully prepared but if he can elevate the taste with cheese, sauce or butter, he does and does so lavishly.


Case in point: Ruben’s guacamole at Chilito’s was amazing. It had something extra that I couldn’t put my finger on-lime juice, garlic or crème fraiche? The guessing did not dissuade us. We made short work of the guacamole while we sipped frosty cold beer, red and white wine.


The soup course was sublime. Ruben suggested we guess its ingredients and we weren’t even close. He wouldn’t share his secret proportions but he did tell us that it was a magical combination of spinach, zucchini and pablano chilies. The tastes were complex and yet beautifully melded. We decided we could all have returned the next day, just to indulge in that soup again.


Both R & M chose entrees of grouper in sweet tamarind sauces which they loved. I selected garlic grouper which was sparkling fresh and terrific.


Husband D chose the steak and langostino. Ruben apologised that they were out of filet and substituted a rib eye. Since D and I grew up in the steakhouse business, we know that a rib eye because of its proximity to the bone and increased marbling is a far tastier steak. When grilled properly (which this was) it can be just as tender as a filet. The sweet langostino was also beautifully prepared but just to be extra confident about the taste; Ruben had smeared herb butter over both.

The food was plentiful and so delicious that we all finished our plates and could not consider another morsel. But as we lingered over our beverages and chatted with Ruben, space was magically created and all of a sudden, two desserts and four forks appeared before us.



While my companions scooped up the flan which they thought was great, I indulged in bites of the petite slice of chocolate cake that I requested. But I had to put my fork down and surrender. Delicious as it was, I was done.

Further to Ruben’s charity news…while Ruben’s in Centro supports Ruben’s Kids, Chilito’s will support the seniors of the island. Ruben enthusiastically spoke of raising funds for wheelchairs and walkers. This is what makes Ruben so special and his restaurants places that you love to return to. In spite of his personal issues, he continues to love islanders and travellers alike with his excellent fare and he knows that at the end of the day it is giving back that makes this world go round.

PS Anybody know what a chilito is?

Kath’s quote: “I believe that we all have a responsibility to give back. No one becomes successful without lots of hard work, support from others, and a little luck. Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful”.-Ron Conway


Love never fails.





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Isla Mujeres 2016 Trip Report- Day Three






Another beautiful rooftop sunrise. There was a big bank of cloud on the horizon which made it an unusual ½ sunrise. I have decided that sunrise is my favourite time on the island.


Another batch of seaglass.

I was content to just hang out but was able to contact Ruben (see full restaurant feature here) so went to his place for breakfast. He had not been well and it was his first day back at work. You would never tell he had been sick as he zoomed around the restaurant, stopping to chat at every table. We saw Sister #3 & Dona there who were splitting the shrimp omelette and eggs bennie. Ruben suggested the classic bennie and the special lobster bennie with poblano sauce. Both were sensational! Ruben’s also has good coffee and excellent oj.






After breakfast we cut across the street to our favourite market stall to buy fresh fixings for our dinner with Hortenzia’s family.


The Madonna and bird was spotted as we made our way across the square.

We finished our shopping at the Supermercado and then got ice and ice cream. D hit the kitchen right after and Sister #3 & Dona arrived in short order.

We spent the afternoon prepping for dinner and then Dona and I went out to order chickens and check out the Artist Fair. We much preferred when the fair was held in the square.

We returned to Villas San Miquel for nachos and cervesa. Hortenzia (the local dress-maker) invites us to their place on a regular basis for dinner with her family. We try to reciprocate on an annual basis. She and her family got lost trying to find us at Villas San Miguel, but Sister #3 & Dona found them out by the basketball court.




We had a fabulous dinner of chicken, pasta salad, cole slaw & D’s hot fudge sundaes for dessert.


D entertained the kids with tricks on his I-Pad.

When they left, we sat outside around the pool for a night cap.

Kath’s quote: “Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly”.- M F K Fisher


Love never fails.

Ruben’s, Isla Mujeres



Our breakfast visit to Ruben’s had been long anticipated. We had seen many Facebook posts about a great new restaurant that had opened since our last visit. All the accolades were warranted.


I loved the Heuvos Montuleños. The tomato sauce was so delicious with the breakfast rice. I also really enjoyed the plantain.


But it was the dish that D ordered that actually was the star of the show. I made the mistake of taking this photo before he had a chance to cut into it with his fork, because when he did there was a veritible explosion of shrimp inside. He offered me a bite and I wished that I could have switched our plates because the tender eggs, goey cheese and crunchy shrimp were sensational!


It was more than two weeks later when I had the opportunity to visit again. By this time D had returned home and I spent the morning with a friend from Winnipeg who now lives on Isla for a part of the year (at least I think that she is returning this year). My breakfast was SO good that I was hard-pressed to share it with her as I delighted in every single bite. I understood better, D’s hesitation to share his with me.


She had an omelet too and although she said that it was tasty enough, I couldn’t imagine that it compared to mine. We lingered that day so we could chat about the island and home as well. We agreed that we loved Rubens, loved Isla and loved Winnipeg.


The toast we ordered seemed to agree.

Kath’s quote: “Merlin’s beard, what is Xenophilius Lovegood wearing? He looks like an omelet.”-J.K. Rowling

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.