Oct 28, 2010

Jul 3, 2010

New Reviews now up at LawsonsYucatan!

There was some eatin' going' on in June by the Casual Restaurant Critic! Not as much as one would like, but there is the cholesterol, waistline and wallet to consider.

Here are some of them:
There are others, so do have a look around, or click on the Casual Restaurant Critic ´tag´and you will get all the latest reviews.

Happy eating!

May 23, 2010

New Reviews Up!

For those of you still subscribed to this blog, I would like to let you know that there are some new Casual Restaurant Critic reviews up at lawsonsyucatan.com!

A Vegas Breakfast - The Hash House A Go Go

Another Vegas Breakfast Option - The Coffee Cup Cafe

Apr 7, 2010

New Reviews now up at LawsonsYucatan

As you know, the Casual Restaurant Critic is now on the same page (literally) as the NotTheNews / ElMaloso neurotic foreigner blog.
Here are the latest restaurant reviews:
Happy eating!

Feb 22, 2010

New Blog for NotTheNews/ElMaloso and Casual Restaurant Critic

Here's a link to the new home of NotTheNews AND the Casual Restaurant Critic, which will be under one roof:

All you have to do is click on the Casual Restaurant Critic category or headline and all posts by the Casual Restaurant Critic will be displayed, including the ones in this blog, which have been moved there.


Feb 18, 2010

Rosa y Xocolate - Breakfast after Valentines Day

The Critic and his lovely Better Half enjoyed a very civilized breakfast at Rosa y Xocolate, on Paseo de Montejo (it's pink and you can not miss it).

In a beautifully restored building, right on Merida's finest avenue, unfortunately littered with the debris and haphazard beer huts and chain link fences that characterize the Carnaval, is a pretty little restaurant with pink and brown everywhere. Water and plants in an inner courtyard that opens up to the sky makes for a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle outside.

The Critic had huevos a la mexicana which were just fine and the Better Half had a toasted bagel with smoked salmon along with great coffee, excellent pastries and homemade bread and berry jam.

Service was very good, almost excellent except for quibbling details like not taking away a dirty ashtray, leaving the menus on the table once orders were taken, that sort of thing. Nothing serious and the waiter more than made up for it by being so polite and attentive.

The place is beautiful and there will be a return visit to sample the very interesting-looking lunch and/or dinner menus!

Feb 11, 2010

San Marino Seafood Restaurant - Progreso, Yucatan

February, 2010 - The Casual Restaurant Critic doesn't get much opportunity to visit the restaurants out in Progreso, so when the folks from Arkansas wanted some fresh fish and cold beer, the Critic went along for the ride. Parking the car in front of the San Marino restaurant on Progreso's malecon or boardless boardwalk, the idea was to walk to Buddy's since that place has numerous decent reviews on other boards, particularly the Cruise Critic board, but the Arkansas folks were happy with the palapas on the beach at San Marino and so it was decided to have lunch there.

Yucatecan beach seafood is pretty well all the same, the same botanas served with your beer or drink, the same fried and grilled fish options; the Arkansasians (?) decided on a grilled 2 pound grouper that the waiter Eric, brought to the table uncooked to have a look at. Well seasoned and delicious it was a perfect meal for almost 3 people and the Critic managed to get in a few bites.

Tortillas were corn and of the machine-made not-very-good variety, but the service by friendly Eric who spoke English and was working on his French, made the meal that much better.

Afterwards, leftovers and bits of tortilla were fed to the seagulls which was a fun activity and probably the best thing that could be done with those tortillas other than use them as coasters.

Jan 15, 2010

Real, Delicious, Scones in Merida - El Postrecito

The Casual Restaurant Critic is not a huge fan of scones. Usually, they are these dough-y mounds of white flour biscuit that require several glasses of liquid to swallow; however, the Critic had some scones made by Alejandra at the El Postrecito café, just off Montejo on Calle 21 (the one that goes to Plaza Fiesta).

These are light and fluffy inside, full of buttery flavor and the outside has a sprinkling of sugar which makes them lightly crunchy. The Critic doesn't even know if they are on the menu but if they are, you should try them in their regular (with what seems like a touch of lemon or lime) or chocolate chip versions. If they are not, order a dozen for your next breakfast meeting or social event.

Eat them hot and you will not be able to stop.

Jan 11, 2010

Ca d'Oro - Italian in Merida, Yucatan

The Critic and Co. had lunch yesterday at the new Ca d'Oro Italian restaurant, located in that plaza on Prolongación Montejo where Carls Jr hamburgers (formerly Checkers) is located, across from the giant Interceramic tile store.

The Critic had read a good review on gorbman.com and so was excited to have the opportunity to give this relatively new restaurant a try.

The two appetizers ordered, suppli al telefono and melanzana were good; the melanzana or eggplant was rich hearty and very satisfying while the best part of the suppli was the great presentation in a paper cone. Others in the party thought the suppli a little bland, but the accompanying cooked tomato sauce perked the little rice/cheese balls nicely.

For main courses:
  • an abundant fusilli in a tomato sauce which, according to it's owner, was good;
  • a roast duck with a lemon sauce;
  • a Pecorino cheese pizza;
  • and the Critic had the tagliatelle with panna and prosciutto.

Overall, reviews were generally good on the food. The pizza and the duck were outstanding, while the tagliatelle was quite bland. If it hadn't been for the prosciutto, it would have tasted like not much of anything.

Bread seemed homemade and was warm, crispy and light; while the three accompanying butters (habanero, chile de arbol and garlic) were very good although it could be that the butter was actually margarine, if such a thing were possible in the Ca d'Oro.

As usual, the Critic is critical of the service. If you are tired of reading this same old criticism of Merida's restaurants, stop reading here and go outside and play.

But it seems that the owners of Ca d'Oro have spent a lot of thought, time and money on the decoration, the menu and some wonderful food. The waiter was slow, charmless and not particularly knowledgeable. When asked when the restaurant opened, he seemed unsure and said 'it's my understanding that they opened about year ago'. When asked is they had mineral water his answer was 'yes'. When asked further what kind of mineral water, he replied 'Perrier'. When asked if they had Pelegrino he replied 'yes'. Upon returning to the table to remove finished plates, he went on just a little too much about how it was evident that the group enjoyed the food (the empty plates).

If this is nitpicking, so be it. But one only has to have dinner at La Recova, or for really outstanding service, La Dolce Vita in Cancun, to see what a difference well-trained, knowledgeable and professional waiters make.

Final verdict? Try it yourself. There are a lot of items on their menu and the Critic is sure that there are some real gems in there.

Jan 4, 2010

Doña Tere - Merida Cancun Toll Highway

Being as the Casual Restaurant Critic accompanies Lawson wherever he goes, he has had his fill of Yucatecan food lately at Doña Tere, on that service island 1.5 hours out of Merida on the Merida-Cancun toll highway.

There have been at least 7 drives back and forth, picking up people from Cancun and bringing them to Merida and ALL of them have been forced to stop and eat at Doña Teres' fabulous place.

Yesterday was no exception and the Critic has never seen that many people waiting for tables as the waiters and cooks scrambled to keep up with the demand. It's the end of the holiday season and there were at least 60 people in and around the restaurant trying to get their teeth on Relleno Negro, Cochinita, Lomitos, Tamales and cheese empanadas.


Jan 1, 2010

Happy Eating in 2010!

The Critic wishes his readers a happy 2010, full of exciting, new restaurants to try and plenty of good health in order to be able to properly enjoy them. The Critic will continue to praise and trash restaurants in Mérida and beyond, in that socialist schoolboy way, which so many have come to love and hopefully will come in handy when making a 'let's go out for dinner' decision.

All the best,

The Casual Restaurant Critic