Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cha Cha Cha Changes.... & Closings

Pane y Vino moved from the location in front of Teatro Merida on calle 62 to the corner of 64 and 59. They now open for lunch but the buffet they offer looks somewhat "cat sucked". Buffet is just a bad idea in this climate FYI. Buffet pasta, NO! I rather liked the filthy walls and posters in the old location. I walked out of a concert at intermission this week and went to look for a place to eat. I passed by Pane y Vino and thought I should give it a try but I didn't see the owners inside and that's a bad sign. I walked over to Santa Lucia and read the menu of the new Poblano-Yucatecan restaurant but It leaned to heavily on the Yucatecan side and the menu was to shinny. I guess I'll try it but not soon. I walked up 62 where all the restaurants were empty and I had about 15 menus shoved in my face by the desperate staff's of the tourist traps between Santa Lucia and the Zocalo. The table on the Zocalo were full of locals and tourists but I suspect the locals were employees and the tourists could not have been happy campers. When my friends came out of the theatre I was there on the steps and we went home, opened a bottle of wine, and in 20 minutes we were eating Pasta Puttanesca on my terrace.

Lifted from the front page of Yucatan Today this morning is their restaurant review of La Vie en Noir.

"Can you imagine dining in the dark? I don't mean dim mood lighting, I mean pitch black. Think about it...your other four senses will be compensating for your temporary lack of sight. La Vie en Noir is a new restaurant in Mérida (since November 2008), with this unique concept beautifully executed. There are over 20 cities all over the world with the theme of gourmet food in the dark. La Vie en Noir is the first one in Mexico.

Dark dining is the brainchild of Jorge Spielmann, a blind clergyman from Zurich. During dinners at his home, Spielmann began blindfolding guests so they could better understand his world - and stumbled upon a new dining concept. In September 1999, Spielmann opened Blindekuh (Blind Cow) in Zurich, and the trend has spread."

NEWSFLASH !!! They closed 3 months ago. I've eaten a lot of food in Merida that I wish I'd never seen but I've never eaten anything that I couldn't see before I put it my mouth.

On a Positive note. I hear the gordita's on the corner of 71 and 64 are great. I'm going to try them now.

Update: I Spoke too soon they were not so good after all. But they were closing and we got the dregs. I'll go back earlier in the day when they might be better. The Masa showed promise if fresh. They don't seem to have a name or need one. Hours 7am-1pm. Chicharron, Papas con Charizo, Papas con Rajas. Waynes and Anna Sabrina do all of these fillings better....

Saturday, October 03, 2009

C'a D'Oro Revisited

Finally! Someone with a passion for food has opened a restaurant in Merida. Ca' D'Oro is an Italian restaurant with a Venetian owner and Neopolian Chef. It opened 2 weeks ago in a horrid strip mall called Plaza Mayor off the Paseo Montejo next door to Segafredo with a stunning view of Carl's Junior. The first thing you'll see when you step through the door, if you don't slip on the over polished marble floor is the amiable chef. Kiss his feet. You already feel transported to one of those modern over lit over mirrored bars in Milan. You'll suck in your gut and square your shoulders as you glance around to see if Donatella or Georgio are tucked into one of the banquettes sipping Negronis. I've been there 5 times already. I loose patience with the menu after 45 seconds. It's too big but in 45 seconds I've already found 10 courses I want to try. There's a page of antipasti, two pages of pizza, two pages of pasta, a page of meat, a page of seafood, and so on and so on. I've already thrown up my hands twice and just asked the chef to bring me some food. They have their own boats in Sisal that bring in seafood daily. The veggies come from Mexico City on thursdays. All the wine is Italian.

I have a fear that they will try to train a local person who's never eaten in a restaurant to cook. This happened to Pane y Vino and it's also happend at Elio Al Mare when the owner turns his back on the kitchen. But for now in it's infancy Ca' D'Oro is perfection. I'm not going to waste my time eating anywhere else until I've tried everything on the menu and then I'm going to start over again.

Ca' D'Oro
Plaza Mayor
Prolongation Paseo Montejo x Calle 34
Colonia Emiliano Zapata Norte

999 948 11 55

UPDATE: 8 July 2010
Today I revisited C'a D'Oro for lunch.
The chef is gone. So sad, there goes the entertainment of watching the chef and the owner trade insults on the dining room floor. I guess he took all the clients with him as well. In the hour (2-3) or more I was there another customer graced the threshold. Without a chef we decided to make it easy on them. They have gone to the trouble to edit the menu. They have taken a few things off and changed all the prices. Instead of reprinting the menu they have cut out little rectangular tags and glued them old prices and my what a good job they have done. Then they took tape and taped over the new prices. It just looks lovely and I'm sure their imaginary customers are going to be happy to paying higher prices. The pizza still has fake cheese on it. The mineral water was delicious and I enjoyed the air conditioning...

UPDATE 2011 C'a D'Oro closed owner MIA chef went to Hyatt but I think he left there too.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Occasionally, unavoidably I find myself dinning out after dark. But I've whined and moaned for so long now to friends that invitations from that quarter have dwindled. Normally I cook 3 times a week for the 4 dogs ( a Xoloitzcuintli and 3 fox terriers). I make a boeuf a la mode or short ribs paprika in the crockpot. I alternate the beef with pork and make a pibil or a chicken & rice dish. So I dip into the crockpot or invite friends over for some dogfood which causes much confusion in my canine household. When guest come to town and we are compelled to put on long trousers and go to a restaurant we only have a few choices. XCANATUN'S CASA PIEDRA is the safest choice for guests. I've been there once a month for the past year. I still prefer the barking dogs on the terrace to the piano concerts in the dining room. I was going to a new Argentine "style" restaurant on Montejo called LA RECOVA every couple of weeks but I've given up on the place as of this week. I've order the most expensive steak on the menu, a moderate one and then I just stuck the hamburger until this week of all horrors they decided to add a relish, a cheese like substance and a heap of garlic powder to my burger. For me the hamburger is sacred. When I fell of the vegetarian wagon back in 1981 it was for a hamburger. Still If I were forced to chose between the ever popular TROTTERS (no relation Charlie Trotter & not visited by me this past year) and La Recova I'd chose the latter and have a salad and lots of beer. I might even order a steak and send it back. But sadly a trip to Costco for a bag of mixed greens and a ribeye & shrimp to throw on the grill will produce a meal far superior to anything you are likely to experience in the most popular and expensive eateries frequented by the local gentry, expats who haven't lost their savings and tourist who venture out in search of a normal meal. Last year I was a regular at NECTAR where the owner chef is a talented and gracious guy. But sadly 50% of the food that comes to the table is just downright weird. I'm tired of sending food back or playing Russian roulette with my stomach. I'm also tired of over paying for a bottle of wine and so I've only been there once or twice in the past year. I've no plans to return. My last meal there cost me $75 and that was more than any of the meals I had in NYC in October and not half as good. Oh dear what does that leave. I have close friends who use Via Italia as a canteen. They love it and I don't hate it so I do eat there. I go to CAMPAY a couple of times a month for dinner and once a week for lunch. LA PIGUA is renovated and now open on weekends for dinner but I cannot imagine myself there after dark. I go there every 10 days or so and eat ceviche, oysters or octopus. I never eat the fish only because I eat fish filets every week at MARLIN AZUL.

Now for you fortunate few who will not be having dinner with me in Merida there are still some decent options. You can still have a perfectly decent meal at Meson del Segoviano, Casa de Frida, Villa Maria or Pane y Vino downtown and pretty much any where else you're screwed. Or if you don't care about booze with your food you can eat at Rafello's Pizza or La Reina de Itzalana both of which I frequent.

For the rest of you I can recommend the dog food. Just don't come on the night I feed them sardines or chicken livers it always puts them in a bad news. I'd offer to share the special diet lamb and rice croquets from the vet's but I cannot afford to share them with you humans