Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Eating my way through Mexico...

I still want to do another post or two on Isla, but thought I'd do a quick post (well...quick for me) on the food I had on my trip. I already posted this picture on the strange Huevos Motulenos I had at the Hacienda in Playa del Carmen. Red, green and yellow peppers and no peas...and the tortilla was soggy...should be crisp.

But I liked the place, so I gave them another chance and ordered the Huevos Mexicana. Here's what it looked like.

Looks pretty similar to the Huevos Motulenos, doesn't it? In fact, it tasted almost identical, except for the fact that it didn't have ham. It DID have all the peppers again, though. This time I also got these little crisp biscuit thingies. They were actually pretty good. But I wouldn't try the restaurant again.

One of the last mornings I was on Playa, I tried the Huevos Motulenos at La Vagabunda.

They were excellent. They didn't call them Huevos Motulenos, but something like Huevos Yucatan...I can't remember exactly, but they were authentic.

Walking down the beach in Playa one day, I happned upon Playa Maya, and since I like any restaurant where I can dig my toes in the sand, I tried them out. They brought out the complimentary chips and salsa and they were great. They ranked right up there with Picus.

Then I got the shrimp cocktail...again, very similar to Picus, only they dress theirs up a bit more with the avacado, lettuce and lime.

I had dinner at this place one night and took pictures, but they didn't turn out well. It was good but a bit overpriced. One weird thing about this place...see that lobster-tail-shaped menu under the big sign? That is actually the menu they give you. So when they seat you, they pull up a nearby chair and prop this huge thing on it which makes it kind of inconvenient for patrons and employees to walk around, so you feel like you need to order fast so they'll take it away!

A couple additional notes about Playa...

My last night there, a couple from Virginia treated me to dinner at an Italian place called Las Mananitas. It was fantastic. They ordered a seafood feast that was huge. I would definitely recommend this restaurant.

Another tidbit of information: Definitely go to El Fogon if you go to Playa. It is a dumpy little place that serves tacos but it is extremely popular. The food is excellent and it is always crowded. I stopped by when I got off the bus from Chichen Itza to get something to take back to the hotel on Christmas Eve night because I wanted to be there for the little party they were having. El Fogon was packed! Prices are excellent and it should be a definite stop for anyone going to Playa.

So now I'm on Isla. My hotel wasn't ready when I got here in the morning, so I went off in search for breakfast. I wanted to eat by the shore, and chose Las Brisas Grill since it was the only one open that early. I ordered the French Toast. And that's exactly what I got...nothing fancy, that's for sure.

Last time I was on Isla in July, a friend and I went to the Mango Cafe for breakfast. Here is what their French Toast looked like.

Quite a difference. I think I'll stick with Mango Cafe.

My first meal was at Valesquez where I had the garlic shrimp and a Mohito. Their salsa with guacamole was excellent and the meal was great, too.

My one last try for Huevos Motulenos was at Buccanero's. Excellent. Since I know how difficult it is to make this dish, that's why I order it numerous times when I go to Mexico. I don't think I want to go to the trouble of making it again myself.

I only went to Picus once on this trip. I was surprised to find that they no longer offer their regular pico de gallo with the complimentary chips anymore. That's one of the main reasons I liked the place so much. Now they just serve a really hot green salsa which is way too spicy for me. They did, however, offer complimentary cups of fish soup. It was good, but not as impressive as La Bruja. Their shrimp cocktail is still very good, though.

Sidebar: I used the bathroom at Picus and saw that they had made some renovations. Hmmm...the person who put up the mirror must have been about 3-1/2 feet tall. I was standing upright when I took this picture and you can see that it's a tad low. Oh, improvement at a time on Isla.

I went to the French Bistro for breakfast one morning and got the French Toast, fruit and crepes with maple sauce. It was okay...very rich. I think I'll stick with the eggs next time.

Okay, so I had a weak moment this trip and had a Bimbo Dog. It was late one night and I was in the hotel working on organizing my photos and had a craving. And since my hotel was only a couple blocks from the Bimbo Dog location, I couldn't resist.

OMG, it was muy beuno. (Don't tell anyone, but I actually went for another one the next night.)

It started to rain one evening while I was walking by Las Brisas Grill and so I ordered a pizza since I was craving something that wasn't Mexican or fish. I thought it was going to be a serving for one, but it turned out to be a whole pizza...which wasn't very good. The crust was too doughy and there wasn't much flavor. After the French Toast and now this...I will be checking Las Brisas Grill off my list.

My last breakfast was at Cafe Cito. I ordered the poached egg with ham and cheese.

It's my fault for not asking, but this is not what I thought it was going to be because I've normally loved whatever I've gotten at Cafe Cito. It was just not appetizing for a breakfast at all. I really should have asked. But their jam is wonderful and the coffee was great, so I'm not going to complain. Live and learn.

On a final note, here is the best meal I had the whole ten days I was in Mexico...hands down. The grilled fish at Sergio's on Isla. It was tender, flavorful and flaky. Look how huge that thing is...and I ate the whole damn thing. The couple sitting behind me asked me how it was. I told them to order it.

So, I had my ups and downs regarding culinary delights this trip. That's what makes each trip so interesting. Who knows what delectible treats I will encounter next time.


jeanie said...

Deb you are definitely the expert on huevos motulanos LOL The fish filet at the end looks fabulous. LMAO at the poached egg. I would have expected it to be poached and since it came with ham and cheese I would assume an eggs benedict type thing. I have really enjoyed taking this trip with you. I thought you were going to Merida? Is that yet another trip?

jeanie said...
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Isla Deb said...

Jeanie - After trying my hand at making Huevos Motulenos, I tip my hat to any restaurant who will try is really complicated. And I admit I may go overboard on the whole deal...haha!

I am so glad you agreed with me on the Cafe Cito egg dish. I try to be open-minded, but I thought it was really lame to tell you the truth.

I was planning on going to Merida during Spring break in March, but now I'm not so thinking about other possibilities. Will keep you posted.

Life's a Beach! said...

Mmmmmm. Now I'm hungry! I've heard not so good things about Brisas, so we didn't try it. And I've never tried the Bimbo dog. Maybe I shouldn't because it sounds like they're addictive! Great photos!

Nancy said...

Oh no Deb! I was really looking forward to meeting you in Merida.

I have only tried huevos motulenos once at Pinquinos on my first morning in Isla. I'm looking forward to giving them a try in Merida.

MD in Texas said...

Great pictures!

Sounds like you had bad luck at Brisas Grill. Funny thing is, we loved it when we tried it in July, November and December. I guess it's a matter of what you order. And I love the habanero olive oil they serve!

And don't get me started on Bimbo dogs! We had our first one in July and they ARE addicting. Who knew!

Vee said...

Yum, Deb, especially the Yucatan eggs. I am craving them now! I ordered the same breakfast - or close, anyway - that you did at Cafe Cito several years ago, and I was also disappointed.

Isla Deb said...

Beck - You should definitely try the Bimbo Dog next time. May not be great for the arteries, but what the're on vacation!

Nancy - I'm still not sure about Merida. I'm flying into Cancun, then it's at least a four hour bus ride, so that's a whole day lost in transportation...actually two days with the return trip. I'm thinking I may save that for when I'm there for more than just one week. I'm stilling thinking about it.

MD - You're's all about what you order. I just happened to get two mediocre things at Brisas Grill. But those Bimbo Dogs! We definitely agree on that! Ha!

Vee - Glad I'm not the only one disappointed in the Cafe Cito poached egg deal. Maybe somebody needs to say something to them about it.

Islagringo said...

I'm so disappointed that you had two mediocre meals at Brisas Grill. It is one of our favorite restaurants in town. Next time try the coconut shrimp or deep fried chicken. Ziggy has now opened a dinner restaurant at Cafe Cito. As always, his cooking is super. I don't think I would ever eat there otherwise. My bet for the best American style breakfast is town is Chicago Deli. Hands down.