Thursday, July 24, 2014

In quest of "THE" burger in Merida!

You know how different subjects come up in conversations with your friends when you're just sitting around BSing.........well, a few weeks back John, Barry and I were sitting at a downtown coffee house sipping our ground beans of choice and someone remarked, "who do you think has the best burger in Merida?"

Well, without getting into the details of that conversation let me just say that we decided that we would go on a quest to find the best burger in Merida.

Yes, yes, I know....who says it's the best, I may not like what you like and how do you compare, etc, etc

Well, after some discussion we decided that we'd play it this way: each Friday one of us will choose a place to go and that person drives and picks everyone else up,

upon arrival we order one burger medium rare with nothing on it and have it served on their standard bun. (the standard bun thing is only important if they have a special bun which is doubtful) We then cut it into three equal pieces and we each eat a third. During the eating process we discuss. comment and judge.

Next we each order a burger the way we like to eat a burger. There's no sharing this time as we all seem to not agree on the best toppings for a burger.

We eat our burgers and make comments as we feel the need and then decide what we think. Obviously this second tasting is for our own decision making process and carries no weight with the other judges.

Needless to say my blog report will reflect our opinions of the plain burger and bun.

If there are any “WOW” factor statements at any point for either burger I’ll let you know!

Ok, so let me start with one of our first stops on our quest! La Cabana Sonorense located on Circuito Colonias about 50 feet from Ave Aleman. So if you are headed out Aleman (sort of NE) turn right on CC and it will be on your right in about 50 feet, err, 15.3 meters.. They have three parking spaces to the left of the stairs if everyone parks correctly. It is very well signed………...

just look for the red bull with horns and the flame above its head.

After you go up the stairs it opens into a nice space with a good amount of seating in both the main room and......

the smaller room off to the left where we decided to sit.

It was spacious, clean and Pedro, the owner was at the table in a few seconds.

I might add that the beans on the plate of beans w/chips and four sauces he brings to the table are totally some of, if not the best beans I have ever had here!
We ordered our burger to share, ate it and we were very impressed. The meat was fresh and the patty was hand made. It was cooked to a perfect med/rare. Very juicy and it had a most awesome flavor. Absolutely delicious! No doubt a heavy contender and a force that will be hard to out do in our quest, imho!

Then we ordered burgers made to each of our specs and zowee! We were even more impressed when we got to bite into our individual burgers!

The fries were also extremely good but could have been just a wee bit more crispy. However there were none left on the plate.

I believe that we would all say that if you want a great burger you should not miss the opportunity to stop by La Cabana Sonorense!
BTW: the cost of the four burgers was 260p total.

On a side STEAK note, John and I went back a few days later in order to have a steak. It was part of one of our BDOs (boys day out) things we do from time to time. We like it and the wives like us to be gone! LOL!

Anyway, this visit was due to with the wonderful impression we got from our burger visit.

We talked to Pedro about the different cuts and after speaking with him John ordered the Ribeye and I ordered the Vacio. Pedro thought the Vacio had the best flavor and he was spot on! Both were cooked to perfection which was med-rare for John and rare for me.

The Ribeye was very good but John commented that it was a hair too lean as he likes them with a bit more fat/marbling in them. The Vacio (flank steak) was superb! Stupendous! A flavor that was over the top and very tender.

So I'd have to say that LA Cabana Sonorense is a must stop for any carnivore out there in Merida!

This will be a fun quest!  Stay tuned!

Check them out on fb @ La Cabana Sonorense

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Outback after 8+ years

A very special friend of mine, Gary Thomas, has his birthday today and he is really into gardens, plants, ponds, plants, and fish, and lots-o-green stuff.....oh did I mention plants?

He is just a breath away from achieving his Master Gardener's Certificate up on the Outer banks in NC.  He lives there with his lovely, Pammy whom I might ad has possessed a piece of my heart since we first met!
Oh, and they were the best man and woman at our wedding in 1974.

Well I thought it might be a good idea to send him some pics of our garden for his Birthday.
Debi saw me taking pictures and she asked what was happening and I told her that I thought it would be cool to send Gary some pics for his birthday.  She then suggested that I do it as a blog since we had promised a few other people current pictures of the back area of the casa.  Once again she was right on!

To remind some and introduce the starting point of Debi's Garden to others I have started with a couple of pics of when we bought the house 8+ years ago.
Debi has the green thumb and the vision which has grown into visions and the pictures I am posting will show her garden as it is today.

So here you go Gary I hope you find this post an enjoyable Birthday present and whomever else casts their peepers upon it I hope you enjoy it as well.

March 2006:
Standing just past the end of the pool and taking the picture towards the back wall of the property....

Similar shot today......

March 2006-turning around and taking a picture back towards the house.

Similar shot today.........

Ok, here's some picks of what's in the garden now.

These are some pics of the kitchen garden named because it is right outside the kitchen door.  The tree is a sour orange.

So that's about it!  Hope you enjoyed it my friend!  Happy Birthday!  Oh and always remember, mi casa es su casa!

Monday, January 20, 2014

”QUERREKE”.....150 Beers On The Wall

Ok the song was actually 100 beers on the wall but that was a song and this post is about a restaurant/bar out in City Center.

A few months ago my good friend John and I went out on one of our frequent Boys Day Out (BDO) excursions.   FYI: BDO is a manly thing that gets us out of the house and from underfoot of the wives. They get a break and we get to do guy things, like scratch, belch, walk leisurely up and down all the aisles in Home Depot, eat steak for lunch, and stop and investigate new places for a cold one or three!

On this particular day we had gone to City Center to buy some wine at La Europea.  After a few successful wine purchases we departed LE.
When you walk out of LE you can see the backs of all the shops/restaurants that are in the front section of the mall.  Most have entrances in the front and the back.
It was a hot day and as we walked out of LE we noticed this……..

It was an unusual name, there were beers on the barrel with a sign and the sandwich board had the beers of the day specials. Hmmmmm, a hot day and the "come hither" of a cold brew and they're offering "the good life"! It was a no brainer, we stepped in......

We were impressed with the beer selections.  We went back again on another one of our BDOs.
Here's a look at their list of beers and they have specials from time to time that are not on the list.

The jefe, Santiago, says that it is the only place in the Yucatan that has 150 beers available.  Now I haven’t been everywhere in the Yucatan to verify his statement but there were more beers there than any where I’ve been in Merida.

Ok, believe it or not it gets better!
John and I never ate there but last month my wife, Debi, and I went to a movie at City Center with our friends Doug and Robin and I was telling them about Querreke.  So we stopped in for a cold one and some lunch!  WOW!  We all thought the food was incredible.
So it’s a double whammy as far as I’m concerned!  Great brewskies and chow!  WOW!

I wanted to post about this place before but I also wanted to wait and check out the food one more time. So Debi and I just went back again last week and she got the same dish, salmon, as last time and it was just as good as the first time.....

I had a great meal the first time and the second time they had a seafood stew special called chilpachole. Delicious!

I'm a fan of dark beers, not necessarily stouts but the lager oscura Baja Black from Mexico is a most awesome beer in my opinion and it went so well with my special of the day!

There are 8 to 10 seats at the bar and about eight tables inside. The back has three tables outside and the front has a large patio with seating in the front which is shared by other establishments.

Omar was our waiter both times and he took good care of us. Heck you even get a cloth napkin!

So next time you're lookin' to have a good but different beer and something to make your tummy happy stop in and give it a go!

PS: no, I don't get a kick back or free beer! However my post is self serving as I want this place to stay open cause I like going there!

Monday, January 13, 2014

I want to share with you a story and a poem prompted by the story but first I want to say that the dogs and cats of the Yucatan would appreciate your help with the ongoing and upcoming spay and neuter clinics.  Your donations of time, food, money, water, old blankets, towels, newspaper, cardboard, paper towels, etc would be sooooooooo much appreciated.  
Always and forever are the needs of the shelters for your assistance of your time, food and donations!

The other morning I opened the door out to the street just to look up and down the street.  Always nice to see what's happening.
We have a tope just a few meters away from the front of the house.  It's one of those that is humped in the middle and it is very abrupt so everyone slows down for it.
Sitting right in front of the tope and next to the curb is an old man hunched over in a wheel chair.  His clothes were tattered, his back and spine were bent to one side and, well, I just got the feeling that he and the wheel chair had been together for a very long time.
The front wheels were against the tope and lying right beside him on the sidewalk is a street dog.  I could see patches of mange, a crooked ear, and a few ribs were showing.  Neither of them moving.  Friends? I didn't know.
I leaned against the doorway watching and carrying on an inner I go see if he needs or wants help to get over the tope?  Is he from this area?  I haven't seen him before.  The dog doesn't look familiar either but there are so many.  Did he come down the street by mistake and can't maneuver over the tope?  Is the dog his?  Will it try to protect him from this tall white dude?  A few minutes went by and still no movement.  Maybe he is just napping.......I wonder if he's dead?
I look up the street, no cars coming.  
Then his arms drop to the wheels and he slowly turns the chair to the left.  The dog gets up and looks to see what's going on.
Without looking up the calle the man slowly propels the chair parallel along the tope.  The dog walks along on the tope itself.  Now I can see his face and he is old, his face weathered but no sign of discomfort from moving the chair.  I wonder if he was one of those guys that used to unload the supply trucks at construction sites where they would carry two bags of sand or gravel at a time....which I still find totally amazing....and did he get hurt?  Is that the reason for the chair?  The bent back?
At about two thirds along the tope there is a spot where the cap is missing so the height is reduced by about three inches.  At that point the man turns the chair to face the tope.  The dog stops beside the wheelchair but doesn't sit.
More inner dialogue starts again as I wonder if I should now go over and help him to cross over the tope.  I hesitate as there is this machoness here and sometimes help that isn't asked for is not wanted and sometimes not appreciated.  I have first hand experience with it.  I go to my fallback position which is, he gets three chances and then I assist.  
I look up the street, no cars coming.
His first attempt got the smaller front wheels on top of the tope.  The dog was now straddling the tope.  The second attempt failed.  The dog stood still.  The third attempt got the back wheels on the tope and with an extra effort he was over.  The dog beside the chair.
Still no cars!
Without knowing I had moved. I found myself standing at the curb. Always strange how that happens.
I watched as they slowly moved over closer to the curb, dog at his side, as they went down the calle and turned at the corner and they were gone.
A car passed by. Tears rolled down my cheeks.
Was it his dog?  I don't know and probably never will.  But if even for a small period of time I know the dog was pleased to be with someone that didn't judge or show a mean hand.  But kindred spirits they most certainly were connected by all that life had laid at their feet.

No, I'm not a writer but I think certain things can bring out the writer or poet in someone.  This and the fact that I seem to be getting more emotional as I get older and things are affecting me more.

“I AM READY”.............the unspoken wish.

I am ready to go with you,
I am ready rain or shine,

I am ready to stand with you,
I am ready to sit with you

I am ready to share your sadness
I am ready to comfort you

I am ready to make you smile
I am ready to see you smile at me

I am ready to try so much harder
I am ready to do better and I will

I am ready to know you're there for me
I am ready to always be there for you

I am ready to feel your caress
I am ready to feel your love

I am ready to share my life with you
I am ready to commit forever

I am ready for you to want me
I am ready for you to care for me

I am ready to go home with you
I am ready to get off the street!

Tom Kuhn
January 2014

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Regardless of how we refer to tomorrow, either "the end of the world" or as we all know it better by "the end of the Mayan calender" the theme that is front foreward is "death".  The end, fin, kaput!  This event, in all probability, has made many of us think about "the end" more than we usually do, if at all. I've given it thought and wrote this to hopefully show respect for the big "D" and to postpone its visit not only tomorrow but many years to come for me and you!  I call it "End".

If you are the sunrise

    I am the sunset

If you are the seed

    I am the plant

If you are the spark

    I am the wet

If you are the egg

    I am the bird

If you are the song

     I am the silence

If you are the joy

    I am the sad

If you are the first breath

    I am the last

If you are the life

    I am the death

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New Kid In Town

I've been living in Merida now for five years and I've been drinking wine in Merida now for five years. 

Until recently the best access to wine that I knew about was either Costco, Sam's, or Covi.  Yes, there were some smaller neighborhood stores but they don't carry much of a selection. 

Merida is an infant in the wine scene.  Don't get me wrong, there are wine drinkers here and some with discerning tastes but for the most part they drank red or white.  Ok, what others are there besides roses?  None, without getting technical!  But there was little concern to the varietal (type of grape) that the red or white wine was made from. 
Over time the wine culture here has changed and is still changing and I hope it continues.......forever!
I see three main things that have made these changes come about.  One, the influx of people moving here to live from the northern parts of the country.  They bring with them a better level of knowledge and a more discerning palate.  Two, more and more gringos moving here also with a broader base of knowledge and desires for wines they want to have access to.  Three, the locals growing knowledge of wines and with that the desire to try other varietals. 
I think this is great for numerous reasons with the two biggies being a much wider variety and lower costs. 

Things are changing here and not only in regards to wine but many other things associated like food items and restaurants.  Go Merida Go!!!!

For a couple of years I have heard about and then came to know people that would drive to Cancun and/or Playa del Carmen to access a liquor store called La Europea.  Seems that they are a big chain in MX and they have a variety of wines, liquors, deli items, oils and nuts that puts all other similar stores to shame.

Well guess what?  Yep we have one!  It just recently opened at City Center.

You may remember my last post about going there but it being closed.  It did have a bit of a rough start and even though it is open now it isn't functioning at full capacity.
There is still some construction going on.............

and there is construction dust every where and there are prices missing..........

but it is a work in progress and it will be a great addition when it is finished!
These next two pictures are of the yet to be finished deli area.  From the looks of it it'll be quite large.  Who doesn't like a big deli!

It really gives me the feel of the large liquor stores in the states. 

They have all sorts of gift baskets and gift sets for sale too!

Plus they have oils, and nuts and all sorts of stuff!

So go, browse, snoop, check it out!  Who knows what you might find!

I can't wait to see it when it's running on all cylinders.  They do have wines I've never seen here before and they have some of the old reliable ones too.  However, I was impressed by them not being inundated with the wines you see very where else.  Ye they have some bu not shelf after shelf of things like Concha y Toro.  Ok, don't anyone get their knickers in a twist!  I like some of C yT's wines but I don't need to see them dominating the aisles and shelves. 
Give something new a chance.

Last, the prices were disappointing overall.  I thought when a big chain store came in that the competition would get a kick in the pants.  Not so much.  Of course I had to go on the same-o same-o and they seemed to be priced the same as other places. 
But, the variety was better than anywhere else in the city so I guess I'll  be learning about some new wines!  I love it!

Now I have been led to believe that there are case discounts but I failed to ask when I was there.  But you'll be going in to see the place I'm sure, so you can ask when you get there.  FYI: Roberto's name has been dropped as the go to guy for his knowledge and recommendations.  

Regardless, it's worth the trip just to see the place.  Kinda' gives you the feeling that Merida is growing up!

PS: I might mention that Cavit Italian Pinot Noir at 150p per bottle is a good wine at a decent price!