1000 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

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 en Mejorada

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

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. originalphoto-502226389-119895

cantina beer glasses
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The Ascension of the Virgin 

 

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A Saintly Relief 
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Seaworld Tray

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Punch

 

 

 

 

Don´t miss Izamal…

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.

Has the Whole World Gone Bananas?

Not this corner of the world yet.  Mexico no doubt will suffer for the next four years and sadly that may make the cheapest safest place to be if you are one of those Americans who did not vote for (he who shall not be named).  We are renovating our website of renovated vacation homes in Merida capitol of the Yucatan Peninsula.  You can check us out at Best of Yucatan and here are some new photos of one of our most popular rental homes L´Orangerie de Santa Ana.

 

Crabby as I can Be by the Sea!

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I spied a large billboard a few weeks ago with brilliant happy colors and a crab on it that said Crabster Seafood Grill – Progresso.  Since I´d not been out there in half a dozen years I decided it was my duty to give it another chance to seduce me. My past experiences of sequin sombrero wearing American cruise ship tourist vomiting cliche spanglish phrases at the top of their lungs could not deter me. Hot pants and sunburned blubber would not deter me.  After all I´d seen many happy selfie faces on Facebook and nice appetizing dishes on Instagram all tagged #Crabster.   Twenty minutes from the billboard and I was driving through the new improved town of Progresso. A place that was once as beautiful as the Paseo Montejo but hurricane Gilberto wiped that slate clean decades ago. The town has really cleaned it´self up and the malecon looks clean and inviting.  So far so good the terrace at Crabster looks comfortable with the ubiquitous upscale synthetic wicker chairs.  Nice marble top tables until you sit down.  At once you  feel like a toddler again. The table is about 3 inches too high for the chairs and the base of the table is a pyramid. This precludes any possibility of comfort as your feet won´t fit under the table.  Well at least the napkins are nicely embossed.

The menu comes and it is huge.  This always discourages me in a seafood restaurant.  How do they keep it fresh? Why so many choices and sauces?  A gigantic sea bass and grouper are presented to us by a waiter who could barely lift the tray, which is garnished with a lobster tail and crab claws.  They may have been impressive yesterday.  What is that strange odor I start to wonder. It reminds me of walking through Bloomingdales and being spritzed with Halston back when there was a Halston.   Alas it is my fingers.  The napkins are scented with the sort of perfume your elementary teacher may have sprayed around the class room after lunch if your teacher were on a budget. Good lord who thought that was a good idea? Suddenly I feel like I´m having lunch in an Uber.

The waiters are very attentive and so we order from the yuge menu where the starters are all about 200 pesos.  Still it was the day after the US election and we were there to stare at the sea and escape reality and the internet. The peso has fallen as far as our spirits so we decide to splurge.  First came the Red Snapper carpaccio with it´s garnishes.  We refused the cheese and had it with a dressing (mistake), capers and avocado (another mistake).  It would have been fine with capers some lime and a good olive oil. That was 25 minute behind us at Costco I suppose. The ceviche was fresh and good, if a little watered down. It was nothing to compare to the better and cheaper ceviches and aguachiles at Apoala.  In fact it was nothing to compare the bigger better and ceviche at La Pigua, or Muelle 8 or even Marlin Azul in Merida. Third came the soft shell crab tacos which were good but not great. At least they were big!  Last and least came a big heap of fried octopus served on a cutting board, with a side of tomato sauce and tortillas and habanero.  Either we were full or it tasted like shoe leather or both. 

Now, I have learned over the years not to expect much.  To say I was disappointed  would not be accurate.  Let´s just say I was not surprised.  It wasn´t very good but I was surprised the place was full by the time we left.  Everyone else seemed happy to be over paying for mediocrity by the sea.  A fitting analogy for the election I suppose.  I vow to not be deceived by good graphics again.  It took several washings at home before the cheap perfume left my fingertips.  I should have remembered Susan Sarandon´s trick in with lemons in the film Atlantic City.  I´d rather not ever think about Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City or Crabster again for as long as I live.