The Surfin Burrito

One of our favorite places to go when we have nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon is The Surfin Burrito. It’s located in the Cancun Hotel Zone, and since it opened a few months ago it’s become quite popular with tourists and a lot of my expat friends. It’s also open 24 hours a day and right next to Party Center, so it’s perfect for some 4 am burritos right after you leave the club.

They have beers, cocktails, tacos, ceviches, burritos and even some burgers, perfect for a quick and delicious meal.

This Sunday, Jorge and I ordered some pico de gallo ($25 pesos) that was absolutely perfect… spicy, but not so spicy it makes my nose run! Then we split a build-your-own burrito (around $70 pesos), with fish, a spinach tortilla, chipotle, rice, beans and God only knows what else!


I love this place… it’s super tiny (only 3 tables), very casual, and always has a mixed crowd hanging out and talking about their latest escapades.

We spent $160 pesos (about $13 US) total, including our pico de gallo, 1 burrito, some sodas and a tip.

Yet another Cancun restaurant that fits the 3 B’s: Bueno, Bonito y Barato!

5 Year Anniversary Surprise

Can you still celebrate dating anniversaries once you’re married?

Well, we did it anyway.

On Friday we had our 5 year dating anniversary, and Jorge wanted to take me on a dinner date to a surprise location. I wore my favorite yellow dress because I don’t get many fancy occasions for it.

I was really excited when we got there and I found out we were going to Elefanta, an upscale Indian restaurant at Plaza La Isla. We had a table under a palapa by the lagoon, which was lovely. About halfway through the meal, we felt water misting our feet. The waiter explained it’s their bug repellant spray to protect the legs. Pretty cool.

We’d never had Indian food before, but it was DELICIOUS. We started with potato and cheese naan bread, then had saffron and cheese shrimp and some kind of amazing spiced chicken for the main course.

I didn’t take many pictures because who wants to take pictures on a date? Plus “romantic lighting” isn’t very photo-friendly. You can check out Elefanta’s photo gallery, though. It’s a really, really beautiful restaurant.

All I have for you is a shot of my view of the lagoon:

I love upscale restaurants, hotels, etc, but for some reason I always feel out of place in fancy venues. What if the waiters find out that I’m not rich like the rest of the customers? That we had to save up for months for this dinner? That this is my only (sort of) expensive dress? That we took the city bus to get here? Totally irrational. But I love going anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

 

**Update: By “popular” demand, here’s a picture of my favorite yellow dress:

Splash! Restaurant in Cancun’s Hotel Zone

Right after our afternoon at the beach last Sunday, Jorge and I took the Hotel Zone bus to a restaurant we’d been wanting to try called Splash. It’s located right on the lagoon (by where Basic nightclub used to be, for all you partiers) and has some pretty decent prices!

My lettuce tacos (shrimp, salmon/caviar, and tuna)

Jorge with his michelada

We spent $260 pesos total (several tacos each, drinks and tip).

Jorge says we have to return because this place has “The 3 B’s… Bueno, Bonito y Barato“!

Cheester: Is There Such a Thing as Bad Publicity?

One of my Cancun favorites, Cheester restaurant put up a post on its Facebook page this past Saturday that sparked quite the controversy all over Cancun’s social media culture:

hola amigos de cheester es de vital importancia que si es tu piensas festejar tu cumpleaรฑos, reunion, posada, graduacion etc debes decirle a tus amigos que mesas mayores a 12 personas esperaras por lo menos 45 min si llegas en horas pico digamos entre 2 y 6 y entre 8 y 10 de la noche y que tenemos un consumo minimo de 100 pesos por persona, mas el 15 % de servicio asi que avisales a tus amigos, esto quiere decir que si vienes a ocupar un espacio y no vas a consumir mejor vayan a mac donalds evitenme la pena de causarte un mal momento SI ESTAS DE ACUERDO CON LAS REGLAS Y SON PERSONAS CIVILIZADAS ESTAMOS EN LA MEJOR DISPOSICION DE ATENERLES ( MESAS MAYORES DE 12 ES CASI IMPOSIBLE DE SERVIR DEVIDO A LA CAPACIDAD DEL RESTAURANTE ) POR SU COMPRENCION GRACIAS Y LOS ESPERAMOS

Here’s my rough translation (complete with spelling and grammar errors):

Hello friends of cheester it’s of vital importance that if you’re planning to celebrate your birthday, get-together, posada, graduation etc you should tell your friends that tables of more than 12 people will wait at least 45 minutes if you arrive during peak hours let’s say from 2 to 6 and from 8 to 10 at night and there’s a minimum bill of 100 pesos (about $10 USD) per person, plus 15 % service so let your friends know, this means that if you’re coming to take up space and you’re not going to eat you’d better go to mac donalds don’t make me have to ruin your evening IF YOU AGREE WITH THE RULES AND ARE CIVILIZED PEOPLE WE ARE MORE THAN HAPPY TO SERVE YOU ( TABLES MORE THAN 12 ARE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO SERVE DO TO THE CAPACITY OF THE RESTAURANT ) THANKS FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDIN AND HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON

Followers were immediately in an uproar over this statement, mainly due to the mean tone of the post.

I was upset at first as well because it made me feel unwelcome as a customer, but I’m ok with it now for several reasons:

  1. Cheester is and has always been known for its sarcastic, no BS attitude. Their original restaurant even has a list of rules posted, insisting you not be cheap and tip your waiter, no special orders, we close promptly at 11, etc etc. I’ve been personally yelled at by the chef for making a special order, and the chef has also come out to tell my friends to stop using their Blackberries at dinner (haha). They have always been known for their acidic humor and everyone just thought it was funny, so why should they be expected to change now?
  2. If I read over this carefully, they’re actually pretty good rules and advisories.
    • The restaurant is VERY small, and doesn’t fit groups of 12. Thanks for the heads up.
    • Yes there will be a wait, especially for groups. Cheester doesn’t accept reservations and is always packed. Again, thanks for the heads up.
    • Automatic 15% service for large groups is standard for pretty much every restaurant.
    • $100 pesos minimum… I think this is a bit high considering Cheester dishes each cost around $100 and are meant for 2 or more people… but I get their point that you can’t just be sitting there taking up space.

New anti-Cheester Facebook groups have been formed calling for boycotts, and many are using the hashtag #CheesterSucks on Twitter.

Cheester has since posted 3 apologies on its Facebook page.

What do you think? Did they cross the line this time? Should they have to apologize? Is this good or bad publicity for Cheester?

Juan, Viri, Jorge and me at Cheester a few months back

Casitas Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Cancun

Last night I had an amazing opportunity to go to the Ritz Carlton Cancun to see their first baby turtle release of the year. Within the next few weeks you’ll see more about their turtle program, but for now I wanted to share other parts of my visit.

When I walked into the lobby, I was excited to see an old buddy from college at the reception desk! (Cancun is a very small city.) So while I waited for my hostess, Eduardo (“Lalo”) and I got to catch up on old times. Paulina Feltrin, the hotel’s PR Director, came to greet me and gave me a tour of this immense hotel. It was amazing! Luxury restaurants, beautiful artwork, gorgeous facilities… *sigh* Everywhere we went, we were welcomed by smiling and attentive staff.

What really caught my eye was their culinary center. They offer cooking classes with Chef Rory Dunaway in this amazing kitchen:

I know, right?

As of now my cooking skills are limited to sandwiches,ย  spaghetti and some pretty great guacamole, but if my kitchen looked a bit more like this… I’d make cooking a priority! (Then I’d invite all of you guys over for fabulous brunches.)

After the turtle release (more on that later, I promise!), Paulina and I had an incredible dinner at their beach restaurant, Casitas. It was a truly beautiful setting in a private cabana overlooking the Caribbean. I got to practice my nighttime photography, which you guys know I’m still trying to master… so you know, apologies in advance for all blurriness.

Casitas Restaurant

Our private cabana

We started the meal with their seafood platter: shrimp, Alaskan king crab (my new favorite), lobster, oysters, tuna tartar and a variety of amazing dips.

**Word to the wise: You’re supposed to swallow oysters whole, not chew them. Learned this the hard way.

For the main course, I ordered the Petit Filet Mignon, which came with a selection of salts as well as chimichurri and bearnais sauce. Anyone who has had a meal with me knows that I tried them all! I also asked for a side of mashed potatoes with grated cheddar, which reminded me of my mom’s Twice Baked Potatoes. The entire main course was to die for, but unfortunately I was too busy enjoying it to take pictures. (shameful behavior for a blogger)

I did make up for it by taking pictures of dessert: a sampler of all their dessert options!

From left to right: chocolate with brownie, Key Lime Pie (best I've ever had!), orange and mandarin pannacotta, tiramisu, upside down pineapple cake, and cheesecake with raspberry cream

Paulina and I talked in Spanglish about culture, family, tourism and food throughout dinner, and completely lost track of time! It was 10:30 before I left to go home. By the time I walked out the door, I had fallen in love with their beach, the hotel, their community programs and Casitas restaurant.

Thanks so much to Paulina Feltrin and the Ritz Carlton Cancun for their incredible hospitality.

Sunday in Playa del Carmen

This Friday, Jorge and I will have our 1-year wedding anniversary… I know, time flies, right? Since we’re booked up with plans for our friends’ wedding next weekend, we decided to celebrate yesterday by heading down to Playa del Carmen for the day.

We had a late night Saturday (bachelor and bachelorette parties) and didn’t wake up until 12:30 pm! We didn’t arrive in Playa until about 4 in the afternoon… which actually worked out great because we avoided the heat!

After a quick late lunch at Subway, we walked down to the beach. Jorge and I aren’t huge fans of the water in Playa del Carmen (we’re too spoiled from all or trips to Isla Mujeres), but you can’t beat the vibe of Playa! There were acoustic artists and bands playing at the nearby beach clubs, providing us with a great soundtrack to our afternoon.

Once the sun started to go down, we walked up and down Playa’s 5th Avenue (great for people watching!), then decided to try Wicky’s Beach Club for dinner since so many people have recommended it. It had very cool modern design, and a great location set right on the beach. When we sat down and looked at the menu, however, we realized it was a bit out of our price range for the day (embarrassing! although I suspect it’s more affordable at lunchtime), so we just ordered some smoothies. I highly recommend the blackberry smoothie. It blew me away!

Shamed by our lack of cash, Jorge and I decided to go to an old favorite… 100% Natural. This beautiful outdoor restaurant is filled with towering trees and vines, giving it a jungle-like atmosphere. As always, I had to test out my nighttime photography skills. Definitely improving! (sort of)

I had garlic shrimp with veggies (I have never had such fresh, delicious veggies in all my time in Mexico! I’ve never been so happy to see a green bean) with agua de jamaica, while Jorge got some kind of immense and amazing chicken sandwich.

By then it was pretty late, so we walked back to the bus station and made our way back to Cancun. I think I’m the only person in history who has ever been SAD to return to Cancun… what can I say, I love Playa del Carmen!

Beachfront Lunch in Puerto Morelos

First of all, thanks to everyone for the advice last week on this post. I was expecting it to be more of a unanimous opinion, but everyone had something different to say!

I think everyone was right, which was what made this a difficult decision. In the end, Jorge and I decided that we won’t be getting involved in real estate anytime soon, and there will probably be more courses available in the future, so we’ll save the money now and take a course later!

—————

Anyway, moving on…

This weekend was a blast! On Saturday, my friends Juan and Viri invited me to lunch with their families in Puerto Morelos, a small beach town about 20 minutes south of Cancun.

I’d passed through Puerto Morelos many times, but this was the first time I’d seen the beach!

We had a late lunch at Pelicanos restaurant (lunch in Mexico is at about 3 – 4 pm). The food was ok, but the drinks and the view were AMAZING.

Pelicanos restaurant
View from our table

My shrimp ceviche... not bad, but a little dry!

Juan Sr's giant fried fish

The boardwalk

The dock and the beautiful Caribbean

*sigh*

Viri and I stopped by this neighboring restaurant for some Kahlua flan.

"La Panza Es Primero" - "The Stomach Comes First" .... amen.

My strong but delicious mojito!

I’m so glad I finally got to spend some time in the town of Puerto Morelos! I could enjoy those views (and those mojitos) for a lifetime.

Cheester Pasta

Last night, Jorge and I went to dinner with 2 of our best friends at one of my favorite restaurants… Cheester!

Cheester is a great casual outdoor restaurant that sells ENORMOUS pastas. Customers can write all over the walls, and the menu is written on a chalk board inside. It’s ALWAYS full!

First, they bring you rolls with a DELICIOUS habanero sauce... this sauce is so spicy, you can't eat more than a few drops of it! ๐Ÿ™‚

The lamps over the tables are made of plastic funnels ๐Ÿ™‚

Juan and Viri ordered the Don Corleone pasta... this is also Jorge's favorite!

I ordered Margarita pasta (and shared a little with Jorge, who'd already eaten dinner). Lots of cheese, red sauce and pesto! Mmmm! Definitely a serving for 2 or 3 people.

Juan, Viri, Jorge and Gringation

Good luck getting a table! Only downside is that this place closes at 11 pm… very early by Cancun standards.


Cafe Marakame

First of all, thanks to everyone for their awesome comments on my last 2 posts!!

It was AWESOME reading about everyone’s dream home. How cool is it that everyone’s idea of a dream home is SO different?? Not a single one of them was like the rest.

And it’s always nice to know that everyone hates Bob as much as I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last night, I got together with Lauren from On Mexican Time for some drinks. We may or may not have gone through 2 *small* jarras de sangria.

We went to one of my fave places, Cafe Marakame. Whenever I go here, I feel like I’ve stepped onto the Quinta Avenida in Playa del Carmen. It’s like a fairyland in the middle of the city! They have an outdoor terrace, an indoor area with AC, and an upstairs balcony area.

The drinks are great, the food is ok, and the ambiance is unbeatable.

Wing's Army: A New Bar in Downtown Cancun

On Monday night, I met up with a bunch of my college friends to go to a new downtown bar called Wing’s Army.

Wing’s Army is situated in a plaza across from Cancun’s bull ring, right near the entrance to the Hotel Zone. Since it’s on the third floor, it has some awesome views of the city from its terrace.

It specializes in selling all sorts of international beers (not easy to find in Cancun!). Mondays and Thursdays, many of the beers are 50% off.

It’s no secret that I hate beer. Still, I went anyway to see some friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. I couldn’t stay very long, but it was a great time ๐Ÿ™‚

**As usual, I apologize for the bad nighttime photography. You gotta admit, it IS improving!