Jul 30, 2009

The Trotters Burger Trio

At this time of the year, Merida restaurants respond to the decline in attendance by offering promotions and specials, especially for those husbands or spouses that have to stay and work in Merida while the rest of the family vacations in and around Progreso. These husbands have no one at home to 'serve' them their lunch and so the restaurateurs of the formerly white city take it upon themselves to fill in for the duration.

One of these is Trotters, who have an excellently priced lunch special that runs around $150 pesos or so and includes a soup, refillable refresco, a main course and a dessert.

The Critic and his Better Half had the opportunity to sample this lunch the other day. The verdict? Take it or leave it.

The service was really rough at the beginning with an extended gap between the seating and the appearing of a menu and the offer of a drink. Drink refills were sporadic. Appetizer delivery was clueless; the busboy offered the appetizer to an adjacent table (where the diners were finishing their main courses), did not look around and headed back to the kitchen where the appetizer remained for quite some time.

Air conditioning was minimal, making it just a little uncomfortable with the humid heat Merida is suffering these days.

The soup, a cream of asparagus, was too obviously made with Carnation canned milk. The Mini Burger Trio however, was excellent. Juicy and tasty, each little burger had its own little theme going on.

The Critic can not really say that this is a Do Not Miss promotion. Take it or leave it.

Kukis By Maru

The Casual Restaurant is not going to review this cookie bakery, since it is owned by someone near and dear. There would be a conflict of interest there, for sure.

you can't beat their carrot cake and the new lime pie is awesome and check out those cupcakes

The Critic just wanted to put this link up so everyone can see what Kukis By Maru is up to these days... :)


The Critic is going to have a coffee now. Guess where.

Jul 18, 2009

Chili's Top Shelf Margaritas... Yum!

The Critic is not what you would call your typical piña colada / margarita quaffing kinda gringo in the tropics but there is something about those "top shelf" margaritas - on the rocks, mind you - at Chili's, that is addictive.

Last night the Critic and a group of people went to Chili's Altabrisa for a bite; but for the Critic the main attraction was the margarita.

First of all it comes in a huge chilled beer mug, not a sissy glass with a wide rim that you have to 'negotiate' to your lips and then sip. Then it has lots of salt around the edges; chunks of it. Ice cubes clink happily inside. The margarita itself is the perfect blend of sweet and sour and does not taste horribly artificial (like the one at Boston's for example). The tequila is there but not overpowering.

And because of the size of the glass and the fact that it is not an adult Slurpy ie 'slush', you can get in there with a big thirst on, on a hot Merida day or night, order one of these and take a big pipe-cooling swallow.


Jul 16, 2009

La "Something" Norteña

Not much of a review, but if anyone is in the Francisco de Montejo fraccionamiento, especially along Calle 50, you will see quite a few options for tacos and food in general; everything from Burger King etc. to El Panucho de Kanasin.

Last night the Critic and his Better Half were in the area, making time before the Harry Potter preview in the Siglo XXI (do NOT see this movie in Spanish, ugh) and it was decided that having a taco would be a good way to spend 45 minutes.

Past Los Taquitos de PM, where the Critic should have stopped, was this place; its' name escapes the pre-Alzheimer Critic. There was the word Norteña or Norteño prominently displayed on the large sign that probably had the entire menu on it as well, in that typical taqueria advertising strategy used in Mexican signage. In the interest of diversity, since the Taquitos PM has already been reviewed, the Critic decided to have that taco here.

Semi-outdoor white plastic tables in one area, along with other higher tables with stools in what looks like their original location, the Critic and BH sat under the head of a stuffed deer.


The waiter was so clueless that it was adorable and the food was fine. Chewy taco al pastor meat, melted cheese w/pastor meat that was not very melty in a dish they call the Fonduta.

Whatever that means.

The bill for 1 gringa and 2 tacos al pastor (2x1 promotion; you get two and four, respectively) as well as that Fonduta plus 1 jamaica, came to an astounding 102 pesos. Definitely a bargain!

Added bonus (or not, depending on your tastes) ; two girls played some acoustic music with a guitar and a djembe drum and then came around for donations, just like something you would see in Mexico City.

At a table nearby, the two couples at a table for four were asking the waiter for a menu so they could check their bill. One assumes that they thought their 211 pesos bill (the Critic looked as he was leaving) a little high. Gotta love stingy people.

Jul 15, 2009

Yet another quick visit to Kanasin!

Just to let you all know, that La Susana Internacional, this Critic's favorite restaurant for panuchos, salbutes and all things Yucatecan, is alive and well. A visit the other night with the Better Half and the recently returned from abroad MiniCritic confirmed that the panuchos and salbutes are as large and succulent as ever, the caldo loaded to the rim with shredded turkey (do not order the full bowl, the half bowl is all you will need), the tacos de chicharron are incredible and the Critic tried on this occasion a taco de puerco asado (roast pork) which was gigantic and finger-licking good.

Highly recommended, and make sure you sit where Regino is doing the waiter-ing. Ask him anything and he always has a quick comeback and a grin.

Jul 12, 2009

Shaolin Chinese Restaurant - Merida

Hooray, the Critic is back in Merida. Actually, he has been here for a while since the outing to Vancouver, but financial concerns have kept him from anything beyond tacos here and there and a repeat visit to La Susana Internacional in Kanasin, which has been reviewed to death. That and a quick regrettable lunch at Las Gordas in La Gran Plaza mall; regrettable because as the Critic foresaw, this cheap and delicious lunch led to a serious bout of gastrointestinal distress the following day.

Shaolin is the subject of this review; this is another entry into the already crowded Chinese food array of offerings in Merida, which range from the dirty and nasty little places in people's garages to the mall versions to the stand-alone restaurants of which Nao, formerly known as Hong Kong, is the best known.

Located on 21 street between Montejo and Plaza Fiesta, this restaurant cannot be missed thanks to an enormous gold-colored dragon out front. Plenty of parking is available in front or on the street. Inside, the place is all hard surfaces and not particularly pretty, although it gives a good first impression with the ornamental metal bamboo structures and imaginative wall treatments. Once you look closely however, you can appreciate the shoddy workmanship that went into everything from the cement to the aluminum to the gyproc false ceiling. However, the effect is not unpleasant and does not distract one from enjoying the food.

The menu offers a combination of both cream-cheese-plagued Yucatecan sushi and standard Chinese fare seemingly lifted from the Nao menu. The Critic and his always up-to-a-challenge Better Half ordered the sticky sweet and delicious Chicken Chi Maa, the chock-full-of-goodies Chow Fan rice and an order of Tres Torolos sushi. Neither the Critic nor the Better Half understand the Torolos moniker, but there were three kinds of seafood on these rolls; salmon, shrimp and tuna if the Critic remembers correctly. The sushi was, unfortunately warm and so the Critic didn't even go there. Warm sushi is a no-no. The fish was draped rather sparingly around the rice stuffed with cream cheese and avocado. It seems that folks here think that anyone can whip up some sushi; nothing to it! Wrong.

Service was pleasant and the food arrived quickly at the table as it was prepared. First the Chow Fan, then the Chi Maa chicken and lastly the "sushi".

There are two televisions, one at either end of the restaurant, which somehow detract from the dining experience, since obvious attention was paid to the china (plates etc) and it seemed a little too nice for a restaurant that shows soccer games on TV. Air conditioning is good.

The bill came to 256 pesos for the above mentioned meal, along with a limonada and a Coca Cola, served from a bottle, thank you very much as opposed to a can or the pre-mix version.

Would the Critic return? Maybe. For the time being, Shaolin is nothing to write home about.