Saturday, July 26, 2014

"THE" Burger Quest second outing

As the old saying goes, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry" seemed to be with us on our Quest yesterday.

Each Friday in the afternoon we take turns choosing and driving.  This was my week so after picking up Barry and John I headed for Angry Angus out in Fracc. Las Americas. I had looked at their fb page and thought I saw that they were open at 1 PM.  Well, for those that have been there before you know that that is correct but just on Saturday and Sunday.  They open at 7 PM through the week.
Of course as will be said way too many times during this quest, old guys, retired, plenty-o-time so no set back is devastating in any way.  Options abound when it comes to burgers.

The option that presented itself was Salamanca Grill.
We noticed it on the way to AA, no the other AA!  So it was a likely stop to see if they serve burgers for lunch.
Now some may ask, "why would a well known steak restaurant not sell burgers for lunch?"  Well, never take anything for granted here because things are not always, shall I say "what you might expect!"
Many of you probably know about the La Rueda steak houses.  If you don't you certainly should!  I know of two of them.  Regardless both are open for lunch.  The one out on Ave 2000 aka 128 is open for lunch but doesn't serve burgers until they open at 7 in the evening.  The other in Emiliano Zapata Norte cooks burgers outside during lunch but they can only be purchased and carried away.  No eating burgers inside until they are served in the evening.  Just another one of those great mysteries that keep us intrigued here in Merida!

We found this out the day John and I returned to La Cabana Sonorense for steaks.  We both figured that La Rueda would do a killer burger.  So I stopped and john went in to see.  FYI: John is our official "burger checker outer" (BCO) so he is sent in to recon any time we're not sure.  It's good to have an official BCO along on the quest!

Moving on......we pulled into Salamanca's parking area and sent in our BCO.  I mean no sense we all get out of the ac car and go see when you have a BCO!  LOL!

After a minute or two he returned and gave us the high sign.  Barry and I get out and we all go in and sit down.

 Things looked new and spiffy and a waiter was there immediately.

As you can see it wasn't busy when we arrived but about 45 minutes later a few more tables started to fill.

So it was time to order the burger after we ordered our beverages of choice.  

Then this is where the miscommunication comes in.  Now I know we have just started this quest but to date no one understands that we want a burger cooked medium rare on a bun and nothing else.  Huh?  Say what?
We can only figure that when we tell them that they either think that we are old loco gringos or we're messing with them.  And even though we are sure we have told the waiter exactly what we want in Spanish, (solo carne y pan, sin cebolla, sin lechuga, sin tomate, sin tocino, sin queso, sin habeneros, sin ketsup, sin mayonesa, y sin mostaza....nada mas solo carne y pan!) that between us, him and the cook, well, something gets lost.  The waiter asks if we want it cut and we say yes....tres piezas.
The cook, once seeing the order, has to be in the back thinking that the waiter has had to of totally gone off the deep end and has screwed up the order because when and who, in their right mind, has ever ordered a burger on a bun and nada mas?  Simply unheard of and he/she isn't going to send out any burger naked!  No!  No!  Not on their watch!

Ok, now to all that you have to add the fact that there are three guys sitting at a table ordering this one, only one, very non conventional burger to be divided between them.  Yet another huh from the waiter?  WTF?
Yes, we explain as best as possible that we will each be ordering a burger after we eat the first one but that seems to get lost some where along the way.

So as the order is placed with all the "sins" the waiter, as he is walking away, I hear him say "solo?"  I look at Barry and John, whom by the way are the Spanish speakers.......way, way better than I, and I say I think there will be an issue.  They protest at my suggestion as it was made perfectly clear what we wanted.

So we're talking and drinking our chilled beverages as the burger arrives.  As the waiter sits it on the table the melted cheese is oozing and the bacon is sticking out at weird angles from all four pieces.

We all look at the burger, then at each other and we start laughing and start scraping off cheese and bacon.

After the cheese and bacon were removed we tasted and commented and feel that the burger is very good.  The burger was pre-made/pressed and came to Salamanca frozen according to the waiter, Alex, that replaced the first waiter after he didn't show up again.  Loco gringos!!!!

We then ordered our burgers the way we like them........

Our combined thoughts were that the burgers were very good but the toppings were too slight for the size of the burger.

Two out of the three buns didn't seem real fresh and were dry.  Of course we are talking about the top of the bun since the burgers are very juicy and the bottom of the bun was soaked.

The meat was cooked to everyone's satisfaction.

Two of us thought the fries were just a wee bit over cooked and the other thought that they were spot on.

None of us three burgerteers would have sent our burgers back but all agree that La Cabana Sonorense holds the edge.

Would I go back to Salamanca for a burger.....indeed!

We were burgering at Salamanca Grill on Calle 74 in Fracc. Las Americas.
There's another one on Calle 28 No 401 x 35 y 37 in Col. Emiliano Zapata Norte.

On a different meat note I will add that if you haven't been to Salamanca for a steak then you are without a doubt missing out on a wonderful experience, imho!

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!