Local 59 is the latest cafe to open in the popular barrio of Santiago in the historic center of Merida, Yucatan. You can go with a big group and sit at the community table or you can hide in the garden behind the orange tree with a friend. The atmosphere is fresh and clean and fun. The staff is friendly the service is excellent.
Raja and Frittatas
Rajas con Crema
Tomato and Bacon Hash
It´s the food that is a problem for me. But it might not be a problem for you. I am really finicky about eggs and I don´t really like to eat eggs in restaurants. There isn´t much else on the menu and what there is tends to be heavy like the poblano strips in cream or the tomato hash with bacon. I´m not ever going to have pancakes or cake for breakfast. I have seen how slowly those calories burn off on tread mill. I think a lot of people will really enjoy having breakfast in this artsy space. I will enjoy having my breakfast in bed and occasionally I´ll drop in with guests like I did today.
A walk down the main road of the cemetery in Merida, Yucatan where the wealthy hacienderos made their Mausoleums in the 19th and early 20th century mostly in the Victorian Neo-Gothic style.
Most of the monuments are virgins, angels and Jesus on or off the cross. but there are few interesting monuments like the girl with a duck from about 1920
Our Lady in Chains
There guided tours of the cemetery at night. On the day of the dead the paseo de animas starts in the graveyard and parades up the Camino Real de Campeche past the Ermita de Santa Isabel Church and up to the Parque de San Juan.
Should be on your top ten list of places to visit in Merida and it´s open every day.
Not sense never have I ever seen an evening like Oct 12 in Merida. A new concept store Casa T´ho has finally opened after months of teasers on social media. It was like opening night at the opera. In the first room the center piece was a tiara of old mexican coins from designer Daniela Bustos Maya whose things we have seen at Coqui Coqui´s boutiques but here she has more space to feature he clothes, jewelry and home decor. Across the hall is the very popular Carla Fernandez of Mexico City´s first boutique in Merida and it does not disappoint.
Carla Fernandez Shawl
Browsers at Daniela Bustos Maya at Casa Tho
Then you walk into a splendid Porfirio courtyard. It is rumored to become a cafe and that could be a very pleasant addition to this end of the Paseo. On the left is a guayabera shop and on the right was my favorite shop, Made in Mexico con Amor. MIMA is a very chic selection of well curated crafts from all over Mexico.
curated copper at MIMA
Shoppers that lament the lack of stock recently at Coqui Coqui since the owners took off to Bora Bora will find what they were missing at this new group of boutiques. So many of my girl friends were happy to see their favorites bags back on the shelf and some new models as well. Now if only a nice shoe designer would pop up.
Beatrice Rugai at Casa Thó
Jenne Maag and Luz Maria Martinez Malo
Shirley Higgens & Angela Damman at Casa Thó
Laureen Vonnegut & Leanna Staines
Coral Embroidery Handbag
Diane Blouin Handbags
One of my favorite discoveries last night was a soap and perfume maker from Merida. I loved their candles that were busts of famous Yucatecans called Sandovalis.
El Barrio serves breakfast until 1pm which means you can have it for lunch too. There are about 8 magical egg dishes that taste like everything we love about Mexico. My favorite is a couple of over easy eggs on a bed of hash browns with poblanos and cream on top. There is another smothered in mole sauce. This little cafe is right behind the twin houses on Paseo Montejo, it´s open on Sunday too! I would go here for the first breakfast you have in town and if you like it come back and try everything on the menu. Afternoon they serve home backed cakes and pies and pastries.
There are 3 hotels I recommend for breakfast. I think breakfast at Rosas y Xocolate hotel is very good. I like to sit on the inner courtyard terrace and patiently wait for them to screw up my order. If I have the coffee and the juice I generally don´t care how slow they are. Eventually I get what I like and I´m happy to have spent a pleasant morning sending eggs back to the kitchen to be property cooked. Still I would recommend you try the experience for yourself. Also on the Paseo de Montejo you´ll find a little hotel where the Iranian owner had a famous bakery in Mexico City before opening Casa San Angel. Here you can have a good Mexican breakfast like huevos divoricados or rancheros. You can also have a normal hotel breakfast American or continental style. It´s a good place to try chilequiles as well. But as hotels go I like the Hyatt Regency breakfast buffet. They have excellent choices of Mexican dishes that you serve yourself. In the old days I´d have a plate of bacon. You can order your eggs as you like them and they have about 8 freshly made salsa to try. It´s not a place to instagram but the breakfast is great. I didn´t say anything about the lunch.
For those who aren´t wild about breakfast I´d say try one of the new cafe´s around town like Manifesto or Escargot Rustico in Santiago. Caffe Latte Quatro Sette in Santa Ana or Escargot near the new Music Museum on calle 58. They all have good pastry and good coffee. Latte also has great avocado toast. and they are all instagramable.
Platos Rotos is the place to have a variety of dishes you´ll find around Mexico City. It´s in the slow food market on Saturdays or any other day of the week. All of the markets will have a stall where you can sit and have good eggs and tortillas but none of them will have a good cup of coffee or tea. But most would have a good fresh juice. Try El Virgen Morena in Santigao market.
Yesterday I posted some photos of Mayapan on my guide to the Yucatan city of Merida. We have been renting houses in and around Merida for the past 15 years. I love the little visited sites of the Yucatan. Mayapan is just less than an hour from the center of Merida.
Here is the main pyramid of the site. It´s one of the few large pyramids one is still allowed to climb on the peninsula.
Between Chaac and the pyramid there is a small cenote.
If you are not inclined to climb the larger pyramid there are a few other options.
I thought that the mask must have been taken from this relief but I read that there was a human skull in the niche when the ruins were rediscovered.
Whenever I find myself in the ruta puuc area I head over to Mani for lunch at El Principe de Tutul Xui. It´s the very best place to have a poc chuc or relleno negro. I was happy with the hand made tortillas and guacamole since I no longer eat meat. The convent was closed after lunch so we strolled around the grounds before heading back to Merida.If you are coming to the Yucatan check out my blog and website.
When I moved to the Yucatan I thought I had a green thumb. Turns out, I didn´t even have a tropical pinky finger. My experience with tropical plants was limited to atriums of glass buildings from the 80´s. In fact I had a deep-seated aversion to heliconias and philodendrons. My years in France made me long for a hedge or parterre. I have murdered hundreds of roses and lavenders over the years.
The garden at my house, Meson San Sebastian for years was just two giant blue agaves and a wall of giant prickly pear cactus. But now there is fragrance garden in the corner that has something blooming year round. The lily pond is being taken over by giant lotuses.
Somewhere around Xcanatun there is a brewery that has been spewing forth some very nice handcrafted beer without additives or chemicals. Water, hops, yeast and malt are the only ingrediants of Patito (Little Duck). Now you can head over to drink it at the corner of calles 64 & 55 where the brewery have opened a sort of pub, I suppose. It´s a very pleasant ruin of a house that has not been over restored. Apparently a real live Merida born chef trained at the French school (Bocuse) has made the menu adapting local recipes and ingredients. His name is Alex Méndez and I know that from reading the article I linked to. Otherwise I would have thought the food had never been given a second thought as everything I´ve seen come out of the kitchen is very mediocre. But, ni modo, we are here to talk about and drink some beer. You can walk down the street two blocks (if you pace yourself) and eat in Santa Lucia square. But you might enjoy the beer so much you won´t mind what you´re snacking on.
The very nice thing is this. There are two samplers of 4 beers each in 5 ounce glasses. If you are with close friends or family who have thrown caution and hygiene to the wind you can taste them all. The brewery started out with a Belgian Blonde Ale and a light Pilsner then they added an India Pale Ale. These beer are not pasteurized and have no added alcohol or flavors. Now they have added a Dry Stout, a Wiezenbier, a Porter Vanilla, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale & a Chocolate Stout. Seasonally they offer other specials around Christmas and Octoberfest.
The brewery and the mothership restaurant are located in Xcanatun on the highway to Progresso. The food might be better there as reviewed by the Casual Restaurant Critic. But I have my doubts as the prices there are in dollars and it´s on the cruise ship itinerary. But if you want a pleasant afternoon break drop in the downtown Hermana Republica and imbibe. FYI this brewery does not offer bottled beer though a few come in cans…
Mayazul is a vacation home in the historic center near Merjorada Park and the Santa Lucia Square. The Owners live in Mexico City and created the house for their friends and family to gather for a relaxing time in the Yucatan. It was created by the Reyes Rios+Larrain Studio at the same time as they were designing the hotel Rosas y Xocolate. You can rent the Casa Vieja or the Casa Nueva or both. They share a common entrance and parking space. It´s a very popular rental for family reunions and wedding parties.
Casa Nueva has 3 bedrooms all with garden views. The master suite has a king and large bathroom. The girls room has twin beds and the guest room is upstairs and has a queen. The large living space has the kitchen and dining table but if you are a big group there is also a dining table on the tejaban portico.
The Casa Vieja was an Art Deco house that has been renovated. There are two bedrooms a king and one with two doubles. The living and dining room is under a portico with an open kitchen. Find out more about this house at Urbano Rentals.
Doctor Guzman´s Antique Bazaar happens once or twice a year in his shop behind the family home in Garcia Gineres. The local gentry bring out their family jewels and baccarat. There´s always a lot of belle epoque glass and ceramics amount the gold and and coral rosaries. If you are lucky enough to be in town when it happens you are sure to find something you´ll treasure. Here are a few things that caught my eye for one reason or another.
I go to Izamal about once a year. Usually I´m with guests so I do the touristy things like the crafts museum and the convent. But yesterday I went just to see an antique dealer who had a few saints I wanted to see. After spending all my cash there I went to town and used my debit card on some crafts at Hecho a Mano. All that shopping made me hungry so I went to the Restaurant Kinich. El Pricipe Tutul Xul in Mani has long been my favorite restaurant for the classic Yucatecan cuisine but now Kinich has take it´s place. Nothing in Merida compares to these two restaurants. It´s a pleasure just to have a cool drink and lather the beans and habanero sauce on the freshly hand made tortillas. The staff are all so friendly and attractive in their traditional dress. It´s worth including Izamal as a side trip with Chichen Itza or Valladolid. It´s also worth just heading there for the day from Merida without a to do list… For more daytrips see my Best of Yucatan blog.