Oasis on the Island
Don and I found the entrance to this restaurant, inside Los Cinco Soles, a large gift shop.
That's usually a touristy thing... gift shops with restaurants. But this lovely place was a little piece of quiet heaven, on an October afternoon.
There were no other diners, which can also be a bad thing. But we were happy to have a pick of any table, inside or out.
We chose a spot, directly in front of the father/son musicians. That again, could have been a bad thing. But they were a sweet pair, playing as many old Frank Sinatra hits as Mexican favorites.
Menu with History
Our wooden menus gave us some good food options, along with some history. The building was once part of a warehouse, that stored and shipped bales of dried resin. In the late 1940's, the building found new purpose, since a few travelers began coming to the island.
The warehouse was transformed into a hotel, with gardens and a pool. I would love to step back in time and see the kinds of folks who ventured to Cozumel, back then.
Inside and Out
I loved our table, looking out on the garden.
The open air interior felt cool and breezy on an October day.
We just couldn't resist having some gigantic beverages with our meal.
Ferdinando, our gracious server, took this photo of us with our feast.
Don's shrimp with garlic was perfecto. My Tamales Yucatecos, was equally tasty.
Steamed tamales, served on a banana leaf, with a cute mound of rice. There was a touch of sweet that made me feel like I was on vacation. Well...I was.
The Two Ferds
Ferdinando was a delight. He never made us feel awkward for being the only diners in the restaurant. He "intruded" just enough.
He also seemed pretty pleased to know that Don's middle name was Ferd. Don has never loved his middle name, but Don didn't share that.
Our dining adventure ended with a very nice photo of The Two Ferds!
Lunch, Away From Tourists
Don and I got to enjoy a lunch outing with a dear friend who lives not far from Playa del Carmen.
Brenda picked us up after we came across on the ferry, from Cozumel. She said she'd take us to one of her favorite places.
White and Red
We parked in a gravel lot and walked towards the white, cement block structure.
There was a sink near the wall where we could wash up before eating.
We headed for the order window and let Brenda order for us.
The waiter recognized her and didn't need to be told that she wanted a Coke and a half avocado with her meal.
Open Air Dining
It was such an adventure dining in a restaurant where no tourists would think to go. There was no beach nearby. Just the sound of traffic on the road.
Some would think we shouldn't have ventured away from the tourist areas. But I've always trusted Brenda. Not only was she a wonderful piano teacher to my children, but she happened to be a police officer as well.
We followed Brenda's lead and ordered fried shrimp
The fish came piping hot and super crispy!
Brenda chopped up the avocado and used a little mayo and lime. The tacos were perfect and just the right amount. Such a simple little meal and so good!
The combo of fish tacos and Coke and good conversation was wonderful. Back when Brenda taught our children piano, we always ended up lingering after lessons.
The subject we talked most about was travel. Here we were in Mexico, where Brenda and her husband now has a home!
Smile For the Camera!
I tried to sneak one more photo before we left.
This fun couple seemed pretty amused and gave me a big smile.
What a simple lunch with a sweet glimpse of real Mexico. Thanks Brenda!
First Meal in Cozumel
This cute little restaurant is where Don and I ate lunch after we arrived in Cozumel just a couple days ago.
It wasn't our first time to eat a meal on the island. That was in 1984, before daily cruise ships began arriving with thousands of tourists.
There were no tourists when we arrived at about 2 pm.
They were all a block away, wandering down along the waterfront, in their beach coverups.
Table by the Window
Don and I were pretty excited about our cozy table next to the open window.
Chips and Salsa
When our server brought a basket of chips to the table, I was reminded of our first Cozumel experience, 35 years ago.
I still remember biting down on those fat chips... which tasted nothing like Doritos. Even though this was clearly a restaurant that catered to locals, we were still given 2 salsas... one for Gringos.
Open Windows and Books
By the time our food arrived, I had had plenty of time to absorb the atmosphere from my chair.
I loved the open window with warm breeze, rustling the branches. I loved keeping an eye out the open doorway to the sidewalk.
I loved the special alter, in the corner behind Don. The bible was open and inviting anyone to have a little read.
Our server brought my plate of chile rellenos with a big smile. "Especial!" She said.
I wasn't sure why she said it was special, but it was very yummy, with just enough spice. Don's chicken enchiladas were also a good pick. We dug right in!
Our server noticed me snapping a photo of Don and offered to take a picture of the two of us.
I wish I had had the nerve to let her know that I really wanted a photo of her and her little girl. The little girl and her grandmother had arrived on a motorbike a bit earlier. The girl who was about 4, greeted her mama, then happily wandered the restaurant in her pink helmet, while grandma chatted with other staff. Since there were no other diners, I felt like we had just walked into someone's home for a meal.
Our first Cozumel meal in 2018, was a good one!
In April 2017, Don and I visited the the Old City of Valladolid, in the Yucatan.
We had heard that the Hotel, el Meson del Marques, was the perfect place to sample some authentic Yucatecan dishes.
Spanish Colonial Town
We had visited the Old City area, years ago with our kids. We had good memories of chatting with children, selling embroidered handkerchiefs the near the fountain.
We'd gone inside the 16th century cathedral, San Gervasio. We'd even bought leather sandals from a shoemaker.
The Pink Hotel
But we hadn't noticed the pink hotel, that was once a colonial mansion, from the beginning of the 17th century.
Luckily our friends who live in Mexico, tipped us off.
Inside the Walls
Before we even tasted the food, we were in love with the setting. The courtyard was a shady oasis.
The hostess, dressed in her embroidered dress, took us to our table, past the vegetables and chiles and the tortilla maker, seated on a stool.
Open Air Dining
There were indoor dining spaces, but the tables surrounding the courtyard were too lovely to pass up.
The painted chairs, white cloths and fresh flowers welcomed us... not to mention the playful artwork!
Sounds Around Us
Our table was perfect. We could hear the fountain and birds. Even the soft voices at nearby tables, were pleasing.
It was a treat hearing no English at all. I loved knowing we were dining in a place enjoyed by locals.
Lunch is Served
Nestor, our waiter made us feel right at home. He brought over a stand to hold our hats.
He gave us some good suggestions for beer and Yucatecan dishes. And... he graciously took our photo, with the lovely courtyard as our background.
First Time Foods
My order of Papadzules is shown above. The tortillas were filled with hard boiled eggs and topped with pumpkin seed cream and fried tomato sauce. Don went for the baby shark!
Both dishes were a little out of my comfort zone. I never expect to fall in love with a new cuisine on the first try. But we finished it all and were more than pleased with the whole experience!
Nestor couldn't have been better. He let Don practice his Spanish and he helped us out with a little English.
Best of all he had a good sense of humor. I can't remember what these last words were between Nestor and Don, but they had a fun time.
Yay for our first Yucatecan Dining Adventure!
Thai Adventure in Mexico!
Today I'm going back in time to remember one of the best dining surprises we had in Mexico. It was in April of 2016. Don and I were nearing the end of a 2-week adventure, traveling in Mexico. We found ourselves wandering La Isla, a very touristy shopping center in Cancun.
We were so ready for something besides tacos and enchiladas, when we spotted Thai Lounge.
Bar in the Aquarium
We were greeted by the hostess, who walked us through the bar towards the dining huts.
I caught sight of a dolphin's tail, but didn't have a chance to snap a photo. We should have started our evening there.
We followed our hostess on the winding paths, past the lit palapas.
I wanted to stop and stare into each cozy dining area. But that would have been a little rude.
Later, I wandered a little and snapped a few photos.
I loved the round table, surrounded with pillows.
Rows of Tables
One section held smaller tables, with glowing candles.
It was so dark, I couldn't tell where the lagoon was.
But I could feel the breeze blowing over the water, rustling the palms. It was a beautiful, balmy night.
My camera flash, added a harsh light to our cozy dining palapa.
We were pretty giddy, to have been seated in our own dining hut!
Don graciously put up with my camera. Not only did I get a photo, to help remember our evening...
...but we also got a brief moment of illumination! It had been so dark, that our sweet server had to pull out a flashlight at one point. Our dimly lit bungalow was peaceful and exotic!
Don and I have loved Thai food for many years, but we were also gearing our tastebuds for an upcoming trip. We were looking forward to our first visit to Thailand, 8 months off.
Our lovely server in her silk Thai attire, spoke little English or we would have asked more questions. She smiled and bowed, pointed to the menu when we asked questions... smiled some more. We hoped this was a hint of what our upcoming trip would be like.
Not Too Spicy
We were able to ask for less spice in our dishes. I had a vegetarian Pad Thai that was delicious.
Don's chicken entree and our chicken saute appetizer, were both cooked perfectly, with exotic flavors... that I can no way describe!
A trip to the Ladies Room gave me a chance to peek around.
I just had to snap a photo of the blowing curtains. Luckily this did not cause privacy issues.
Chefs at Work
I loved this dramatic wall.
The opening revealed the chefs at work and I wish I could have stood there for an hour.
Over the Lagoon
I wandered a bit further and spotted some tables that might be fun for the future.
Although, I really did love our jungly setting, with a breeze and gentle fan blowing from our hut's ceiling.
Our server told us her name. She laughed when I tried to say it. She brought our bill in a little hinged box. She had to help with her flashlight once more, when Don couldn't read it.
Before leaving, she offered to take our photo. I so love when a server makes the offer... so Don can't blame me for embarrassing him!
Thinking back on this trip, I am more than ready to return to Mexico... or Thailand!
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.