Yucatan Dining in Cozumel
Don and I returned to an old favorite, on a trip to Cozumel last May.
Over 10 Years Before
Here we are with our kids in 2007. The quaint sidewalk cafe, was just steps from the town's plaza.
I believe our good humored waiter took the photo.
The place looked pretty much the same after 10 years.
This photo shows the tables and chairs looking more modern... and the diners looking more aged. I kind of missed the old wooden tables and chairs.
As the placemat reminded us, Casa Denis has been around since before Don and I were born.
So that made us feel younger.
Don and I recognized our old waiter from 10 years ago. Martin was just how I remembered him... gruff one minute and playful the next.
He said he'd been working at Casa Denis for 17 years. He hasn't lost his posing skills.
Little Yellow Casa
Don and I arrived hungry at about 9 pm.
There were plenty of tourists sitting outside the little yellow building.
When we walked by earlier in the day, I could see the house-like shape and hoped to take a peek inside when we returned.
In the evening, I walked through the white doors and took a peek inside.
I could imagine the Angulo family once living in the casa.
There were no tables for dining, just framed displays of family photos and a few famous guests like Jackie Onassis.
It was easy to imagine Denis, Juanita and their children working and living here long ago. The couple actually sold food from their home in the 1930's. Tourists hadn't begun to flock to the island yet.
Food and Drink
Don and I were happy to sit outside on a balmy evening. We had spent the cool and rainy day, visiting the ruins of Tulum and we were ready for margaritas and some Yucatan dishes.
Luckily the margaritas were delicious and safe...
Another Cozumel Trip
This is what happens when you indulge in bad margaritas.
(I'm not proud of this mother/daughter photo from 6 years ago) I know I sound like I'm blaming the margaritas... which I am. They were deadly.
We were starved so we ordered 3 dishes. Don's Yucatan pork tacos were yummy, as I recall.
My dish was very festive, as you can see.
Sadly I failed to take notes. This was a while ago and I'm not going to lie. I remember being happy with my food and that's about all I remember.
Ole for Mole!
I do recall that we ordered Enchiladas de Mole, since Casa Denis is known for Yucatan specialties.
The enchiladas were smothered in a creamy mole with onions. Very delish!
Lydia and Jennie stopped by selling key chains. They spoke some English and Don spoke enough Spanish to be able to communicate fairly well.
They were good humored and talked about school, so we hoped it was okay to buy from them. There was a lot of discussion about which animals and shapes were best. Both insisted we include at least one mermaid in our purchase.
Pups and Music
I don't have a photo of the tiny dog that strolled about the tables as we dined. He was so old I think he may have been the mascot, when we visited 10 years ago.
We enjoyed the strolling guitar player just as much as the amusing pup. Our musician wasn't intrusive. He just politely asked if we preferred something happy or something romantic. We chose our favorite, the dramatic love song, Maleguena!
Until Next Time
Yes, this place attracts the tourists and sometimes the waiters are grumpy. But we love the Casa Denis.
We've been coming to Cozumel since before the cruise ships started invading. We will be back, I'm sure.
Dining in West, Texas
Don and I made a lunch stop at Picha's, on the way to Fort Worth. It was worth it.
Old Royal Confectionary
Once inside, the history of the old building was clear to see. The building housed a confectionary, over 100 years ago. The old counter is original.
Pic From the Past
I liked seeing the old photo, reminding me of the building's history. Actually it looks like there are 2 counters. Maybe one was a soda fountain. I can see the old foot railing in both new and old photos.
Behind the first counter I could see a painting of the late, Patsy Picha. (pronounced PEA-ka) She and her husband Albin opened up the Czech-American restaurant in 1980. That's not all that old, compared to the building with it's exposed wiring and 2-blade ceiling fans... but the family recipes from Czechoslovakia, go way, way back. Luckily the Pichas had 6 kids, so the restaurant is still owned and run by family.
Cozy and Welcoming
We arrived near the end of the lunch hour, but Julie with her long braid and shorts greeted us with a big smile never made us feel rushed to eat up and get out.
Julie said she was a family friend of the Pichas. She said she'd been working at the restaurant for 6 years and she loved it. I believed her.
Watching from the Back
One young man carried huge "tubes" of chopped meat to kitchen from the back. I think Julie said it was for meatloaf.
The Daily Special!
I just had to order the daily special for $5.95! How is that even possible? My plate had roast beef and gravy, mashed potatoes and lima beans, packed with flavor and lots of ham.
Don ordered the sausage plate that came with sauerkraut and Picha's special "Czech Fries". They were more like scalloped potatoes with yummy, sweet grilled onions. We were incredibly impressed with all the food and service.
Dessert to Go
We didn't have room for dessert, but took a couple of apple cobblers to go. Too bad Picha's does not offer Kolaches, or we could have taken some of those to go, as well. West is known as the Kolache Capital of Texas, but Picha's lets the other Czech bakeries in town serve up the traditional Czech pastry.
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.