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Archive for July, 2010

Well, here we go again with another restaurant review. I really think that I missed my calling as a restaurant critic since lately several of my blogs  all seem to be food orientated or maybe it is just because the weather has been cloudier and wetter than usual so eating has become our main form of entertainment. In any event tonight’s blog is about this great little restaurant at El Malecon Plaza. I had recently discovered it on one of my trips to the plaza and when I saw the word ‘waffle’ boldly displayed in their sign I was beside myself with excitement since I LOVE waffles and I have yet to stumble upon a place in Cancun that serves waffles. Sure there are lots of restaurants that serve pancakes but like any true waffle connoisseur already knows  pancakes and waffles are NOT interchangeable just because they are both made using batter.It would be like comparing sandwiches with paninis, need I say more?

Savoury Waffle

So armed with the knowledge that there was finally a place in Cancun that served waffles and not just any ole place that had the odd waffle on their menu but an entire restaurant  dedicated  to the much sought after waffle, hubby and I picked a Sunday morning to try them out. We arrived at 8:30am and the place was packed! I have mentioned before that I like  buzz in a restaurant but dare I say that there was almost too much buzz for meGreat for the owners but there were kids everywhere.Now don’s get me wrong I like kids, I was one many years ago, but generally I just like my friend’s kids, kids related to me, and one day I am sure I will “like” mine too.We found a comfortable nook to hide in and I ordered a hot cup of javva and hubby some juice. The menus came and thus began one of my favourite pastimes…perusing a new menu.

Waffles Rancheros

I finally decided to try one of their savoury waffles even though I had come with the intention of ordering one of my favourites …waffles smothered in fruit (primarily berries).I chose a waffle with 2 sunny side- up eggs, bacon and roasted tomatoes on top and hubby chose a waffle made with cornmeal (a creative idea on the chef’s part) topped with 2 fried eggs smothered in red sauce and cheese. They arrived nice and hot and were devoured in no time. I added a drop of maple syrup to mine as there is nothing quite like the taste of salty  bacon combined with a touch of sweet thick maple syrup. Hubby made a “face” at first but after trying mine he was won over.

Waffle with brie and cranberry sauce

Before we left the owner came over to our table to check on us (very unusual in Cancun but much appreciated) and I learnt that Mary Carmen, though Mexican, grew up in Toronto and that her husband was the chef. She had been inspired by similar restaurants in Canada and plans to develop Belgian Waffle Boutique into a franchise. I wish her and her husband all the best in their business venture. We continued chatting as she saw us to the door and I chuckled when I saw the oversized whisk being used as the door handle which added to the quaint style of decoration that they had chosen for the interior of the restaurant. We promised to return again soon which I did tonight but this time with a girlfriend.

Sinfully rich macaroni

I had wanted to try one of the many other tantalizing dishes that the Belgian Waffle Boutique has to offer so we stopped by for a quick bite to eat. I had the sinfully rich macaroni and cheese and my girlfriend tried the waffle smothered in brie cheese and cranberry sauce. I sampled her plate and she mine and we both agreed that the two dishes were delicious. We left and I again vowed to return to try their quiches, salads,fondue (sweet and savoury) baguettes, crepes and of course their varied waffle choices. They have something for everyone and so far the food had been great. My only complaint wish would be that they also offered wine and beer (for hubby) aside from their varied tea/coffee/juice beverage menu. I think that it would especially complement their various cheese fondues and several other dinner items.Aside from that Belgian Waffle Boutique is ‘da bomb’ ( I have always wanted to use that expression 🙂 )

Belgian Waffle Boutique

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As most of my readers probably already know hubby and I love checking out new places in our constant quest to find good food, reasonable prices and buzz. What do I mean by buzz? Well, I am referring to the ambience of a place, how it feels,looks, and also quite simply whether there are other people in the place besides us. As most foreigners living in Mexico already know by now things always start later than what we are accustomed to back home. People eat later, go out later and get off work later. I am accustomed to eating at a certain time and you would think that after 15 years of living here I would have changed my ways and I have to a certain degree and I am quite flexible when necessary but generally given a choice I prefer to stick to my old routine. During the week breakfast is at 8am, lunch around 12 pm and dinner between 6-7pm. Of course, on weekends my meal times tend to vary and that is okay too. However, this means that often when we go out during the week Cesar and I are the only people in the restaurant because of the early hour whereas in Vancouver the restaurants would be full. Now, I know that we could go to the Hotel Zone for dinner and the restaurants would be full because of the visiting Canadians and Americans but we like to eat downtown where the prices are more economical and closer to home; therefore, we usually save the HZ for special occasions.

The terrace at La Cantinita

So last week we decided to check out a new place called La Cantinita in the Plaza Solare in front of the bull ring. We arrived just before 6pm and there were quite a few people sitting outside on the fairly large deck. Our waiter gave us some menus and then returned with some caldo de camaron (shrimp broth) and some plates with salsas, chips,nopales (cactus) and requeson (a cheese dish) on the house. We browsed the menu and ordered some drinks but decided that we would come back another day to eat as there really wasn’t anything that we fancied at that time. I then visited the bathroom so that I could check out the interior of the cantina which was very brightly decorated and large enough to accommodate lots of people. The prices were reasonable, the staff friendly and there was a pleasant buzz. 🙂 We paid our bill and left.

La Cantinita's special days

By now we were very hungry so we decided to go to El Pescado Ciego a place that we had checked out for the first time in April.You can read more here Seafood-bar crawl. We had really enjoyed our meal there the last time so we were hoping for the same this time around. It was still early by Cancun standards so we were the only people there but with growling stomachs we didn’t mind. Since our last visit they had changed their menu around and we were enjoying reading about all the new items. We chose a sashimi style tuna tostada and a conch tostada as an appetizer and then split ravioli stuffed with crab smothered in a creamy tomato sauce– it was absolutely divine!! Once again we left El Pescado Ciego content and satisfied and looking forward to  our next visit. 

Botana at La Cantinita

Ravioli stuffed with crab at El Pescado Ciego

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As I have said before I don’t usually use my blog to gripe but I feel that in this case that it is warranted. On Saturday night we went out with a couple of friends to Ultra Lounge in the Hotel Zone. It had been a long time since I had been there so I was looking forward to it. After we had arrived and ordered a bottle of vodka we settled in for the evening. The DJ was great and the place wasn’t too full as we had got there fairly late. In Mexico it is normal to buy a bottle instead of buying drink by drink as it works out cheaper, you know that you are actually getting your alcohol of choice and not some knock off , you get better service and normally in order to have a decent table a bottle is required. A bottle comes with a few pops and/ or juice. We always order cranberry juice with soda water. You are never given enough for the bottle and it is understood that you will need to buy more juice/pop etc. at an inflated price. So we didn’t hesitate to order more juice and soda water. The juice jar to begin with was very small and the soda water bottles were mini bottles. In most places the jar is bigger and so are the pop bottles

At the end of the night we ordered our bill and we were absolutely stunned!! Juice 240 pesos (about $22) and the soda water 60 pesos (about $5) WTF??? Now I mentioned that we expected to pay an inflated price for the mix but in most clubs/bars juice will cost you about 80 pesos MAX. What kind of cranberry juice costs 240 pesos..and in a smaller than usual jar to boot.

We of course paid our bill but this little outing to the Hotel Zone has just reinforced my thinking that hitting the clubs for locals downtown is definitely the way to go! Reasonable prices and closer to home. So that ends my bitching session for the day. Onward and forward to more positive blogs in the future.

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My sister Amy is quite the talented photographer and while she was here visiting us she took some amazing photos with her fancy new Sony  digital camera. She had left her larger camera at home and brought the Sony instead. It has some really cool features like the ability to take  panoramic shots as well as the ability to take really natural looking photos in low light situations. According to Amy when she takes a shot in a dimly lit place the camera takes 6 quick individual shots that pick up on all the lighted areas in the frame and then automatically combines them resulting in 1 shot. I was amazed at how well this feature works. Often in low light situations the resulting photograph is either too dark or unnaturally bright if you use the flash. I have selected some of my favourite panoramic shots to share with everyone here. I hope you enjoy them.

Tulum

 Awhile back there was an amazing sunset and my sister took the following photos from my balcony. * Gringanation took some photos as well that day (I believe it was the same day) Indigo Orange Sunset

Amazing sunset

Simply beautiful

The last shot was taken in one of the underground cenotes at Hidden Worlds. I will blog about that day in more detail soon.

Hidden Worlds

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Just over a week ago I had the unexpected pleasure of having my youngest sister come and visit me. The last time that she had been here she was about 8 years old. I distinctly remember sitting in Frogs with her and my other sister who is two years older than her. I was drinking a frozen lime margarita; they were drinking a virgin-something-or-other and their Mother a margarita as well. That’s right I said their Mother. My sisters and I are technically half-sisters but as far as I am concerned that is just a question of semantics .For me they have always been my kid sisters. I have changed their diapers, heard their first words and been present for their various tantrums… and believe me there were many!

Anyway I digress; Amy arrived on the 21st of June, tired and hot after spending the night in the Toronto airport en route from Victoria. I had already forewarned her that we were experiencing a hotter than usual summer and that her room though equipped with a queen size bed and fans it was lacking a/c. We arrived at our place and hubby made us tacos for lunch…chorizo sausage, beef , chicken and nopales (cactus salad) on the side—the tacos were a huge hit but the nopales not so much. After lunch we headed to the Mirador (a lookout point in the Hotel Zone) so that Amy could appreciate firsthand the beauty of Cancun’s beaches and the breathtaking colours of the Caribbean ocean. Then for nostalgic sake we went to Senor Frogs and ordered drinks—this time there weren’t any virgins. 🙂

Amy at Senor Frogs

I am not going to describe the day to day activities in detail since I have already blogged about many of the places that we visited on her trip like Puerto Aventuras,cenote  Cristalino, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen etc. I will however comment on some of our adventures and share the experiences that went along with them. For example, we went to Playa and after a lazy day at Kool Beach club, cruising the 5th avenue , photographing an amazing sunset,  dinner on the beach, topped off with watching the always impressive fire-show at the Blue Parrot, we called it an early night and hit the sack. We woke up early the next day so that we could enjoy the ruins at Tulum before it got too hot. Yeah right! We arrived at 9am and the sun was already a huge burning ball of fire. After exploring the ruins (her first my 7th time) we continued on our way. By the way Amy (my sis) and the majority of people at Tulum seemed more interested in the iguanas than the actual ruins. 🙂

Sunset at Playa del Carmen

On another day we took Amy to Valladolid so that she could see a small colonial town and swim in some more cenotes since she had really enjoyed her first experience at cenote Cristalino.We started at Samula and we were thrilled that we were the only people there-a rare occurrence these days. We swam around for more than an hour hootin’ and hollerin’ and laughing as our voices bounced off the walls of the underground cavern. We had our very own private oasis and it belonged to us if only for a short time. Then we went to X’kekén which though beautiful was full of people. Unfortunately that more and more often seemes to be the case whenever I revisit  places that were once fairly unknown and untouched but now are “on the map”, part of a tour , commercialized, and full of little stands peddling tacky souvenirs…I understand the why’s but it still saddens me.

Tulum

After Valladolid the next day we set off for Hidden Worlds…this place deserves its own separate blog so I will leave that for another day.

Cenote Samula--bliss!

We also took in a movie at the VIP cinema as Amy had read my blog and seen my photos and she was determined to check out the VIP theatre. Unfortunately only The A Team was showing other than Toy Story and another movie in Spanish so A Team it was and though it wasn’t a very good movie I have seen worse. She loved it! The theatre not the movie and she swore that now she would never be able to see a movie in another theatre without wishing it was the VIP cinema in Cancun

Now that more or less concludes my tale. So once again I got to play tourist but more importantly I was able to spend time with my not so kid sister, laugh with her, share confidence and really get to know her as a young woman and what and incredible young woman she has become!

Come again soon Sis!

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To all my fellow Canadian friends and family HAPPY CANADA DAY!!! Go Canada!!!

Though I may live in Mexico and consider myself a true Cancunense at heart I am and always will be  a proud Canadian.

Go Canada!

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