Nov 9, 2009

Mision Fray Diego - Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

Two nights ago the Critic found himself with his Better Half, waiting for some out of town people who were staying at the Fray Diego hotel on 61 street in Meridas' occasionally charming downtown. While waiting, the Critic thought: here's a chance to review a new restaurant for his avid readership!

Yucatecan food was on the menu and that what was ordered.

A crunchy longaniza sausage appetizer, crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, served on some lettuce leaves with pickled red onions and some roasted tomato sauce. Quite tasty. Then two orders of the Critics' favorite: Queso Relleno. The presentation was plain, but the dish itself was good, although not as good as at La Tradición which is in a class apart and has been reviewed to death by the Critic on this site.

A pity about the tortillas, which, although warm, were not hand made. But the Critic supposes the clientele here is not that demanding in the tortilla department.

The service was quite adequate and the bill, with two Cokes, came to 350 pesos. Reasonable. The garden setting on this cool Merida night was beautiful, with a fountain bubbling happy among a quartet of chac√° trees. A nice place to relax with a good drink and a smoke.

Nov 7, 2009

Pappadeaux Revisited - Houston Airport, TX, USA

The Critics' favorite airport restaurant is still in Houston but their buffet is not a gastronomical experience the Critic would recommend or repeat.

Upon being seated, the Critic and his Better Half were informed that ordering was possible off the menu or that the buffet was available until 3 pm for only $10.95. A deal! The Critic and the BH ordered the buffet, which, upon closer inspection, consisted of the following:

  • Mixed Green Salad (pretty plain, but alright)
  • Penne Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese (bland, not much going on here flavor-wise)
  • Breaded, Deep-Fried Chicken (just OK)
  • Breaded, Deep-Fried Fish (ditto)
  • Catfish Filet (this actually looks good, but is pretty bland)
  • Cooked unpeeled Shrimp (yummy, too bad there were only 5 of them)
  • Gumbo-like Soup with Rice and Shrimp (hot, peppery and delicious)

There is the hilarious moment when you unwrap your napkin to find your fork and spoon, in authentic silverware. Then the waiter appears with a plastic knife, since having a real metal knife would pose a deadly temptation for those would-be seafood-loving terrorists. The Critic imagines that stabbing someone with one of those metal forks would be more effective than any damage one could cause with dull silverware knife.

In general the buffet food is bland, but this seems to be a constant in the U.S. With so many concerns about salt content, and appealing to the masses, kitchens in many restaurants eschew flavor. The Critic recommends skipping the buffet and ordering from the menu, which has many a delicious, plentiful and well-presented dish.

Nov 1, 2009

Miyako Tokio Sushi - Vancouver, BC Canada

The Critic is going to get mercury poisoning from eating all this sushi!

The typical Vancouver cold October rain outside made the place probably seem cozier than it was. Huge portions, good service, very neighborhood-y feel. Try the Crunch and Munch, their version of the BC Roll with crunchy salmon skin inside.

Nothing too fancy, just good sushi at good prices!