Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bye Bye Baktun 13

Meanwhile 5, 120 years ago the 13th Baktun began and in 5 days it's going out with a gastronomic whimper here in Merida at least.  There is a new interest in Mayan Food around the world and all of the good cooks are working in private houses (see Saveur Magazine) or San Francisco.  Here we are left with the dregs.   Chaya Maya has opened a new place on Calle 55 x 64 y 62 that has the same menu I've heard and cost more I assume and it's called La Chaya.  I'm going to stick my head in today on my way to see Ana Sabrina to talk tacos and catering.  (It was closed for lunch today but then I drove by and saw it open for dinner).

The NY Times Style magazine arrives this week to talk about Stylishness in Merida and then World of Interiors is coming to see what they can see next week.  What will all of these people eat???   I gave my recommendations here.

But here are a couple of new places in town

Vite is an Italian place that is somehow related to Elio del Mar in Progresso.  I went there with David Vincent and Laura Kirar and the household of Manolo Maestre and we were underwhelmed.  But it should be's new so there's room for improvement.  Maybe they'll work the kinks out.  I hope so.  Throwing out the polyester burgundy table cloths from 1972 would be a start in the right direction.

calle 16 no. 111 x 13 & 31(circuito colonias)
Colonias Mexico

Chaya Maya is still rated at the top of recommended restaurants at Trip Advisor and it's just not that good. But they have a new place that is prettier and roomier (I hear) so I'm going to at least stick my head in the door today.  I might go eat there too.

La Chaya
Calle 55 x 62 &  64
Centro Historico

Mansion Merida on the Park is a new hotel in a beautiful old Casona on one of the nicest and noisest parks in Merida.  Lots of bus traffic going down calle 59.  It opened just before the Phillip Glass concert at Ochil so there were a lot of fancy folk staying there from all over the world & many who stayed there were horrified at the service, accommodations & the food.  I walked through the lobby into the restaurant and into the bar.  It knew before I asked to see the menu that I would never sit down in the hotel and chance are slim that I will ever sit down under an umbrella in the park but that is more likely.

Mansion Merida on the Park
Calle 59 at Calle 62
Centro Historico

Slow Food Market

On the corner of Calle 72 (Reforma) & Avenida Colon is an ugly strip center mall and at the back of this compound on Saturday mornings there is a farmer's market with a few suppliers of fresh veggies and a lot of decent prepared foods.  Italians making cheese-Hippy Chicks making bread. Checz making kraut and bunny pate.  Somewhere nearby is a black hole that is sucking all of the energy out of this solar system and producing krypton.  If you drop by and scoop up your arugula and tomatoes and don't get sucked into the granola vibratron you'll survive to shop another day.  I lived two years in a commune when I was 15 years old and I do yoga 4 or 5 days a week.  I like to think I am immune from most new age nuageness but this place give me the Soylent Greenish creeps.

Platos Rotos same location as slow food.

I've started eating in this place again...Chilango menu.  I eat the vegetarian things.  Love the croquets and the huitlacoche quesadillas.  Great salsas.  Fresh fruit aguas.

This has nothing to do with Merida except it's the reason I can live here...I leave in the summer.

I've just come back to Merida from a 2 month trip in Europe which started on July 7th in Paris and ended on September 8th in Paris. Since I lived in Paris for 12 or 13 or 14 years depending on how I count I decided to not enter any of my old favorites like Chez George on rue du Mail or Anahi on rue Volta. I ate where my friends ate now. My best new find was Chez Rene on Bvd. St. Germain and a tiny little place on the edge of the Marais called Thai Spices.

A year later...

I went back to Europe for July and August again in 2012.  This year I flew to Madrid where I stayed for 3 days to get over the jet lag.  I hate to eat alone so I ate in the food stalls at the Mercado de San Miguel.  Greek food is great in Greece but I've never had a Greek meal anywhere else that compares.  In Syros the food was outstanding and in Patmos this year almost every meal was out whereas last year every meal was in.  In Turkey they've just seem effortlessly produce the most tasty dishes from thin air or the sea. In Paris I learned to not look back...the places I liked last year had lost their luster and my favorite place this year was Bob's Kitchen for lunch and the food stalls at Marche des Enfants-Rouge. I went to Shropshire for the first time and London for the first time in almost 20 years...a memorable lunch at home in London and a great dinner with two Grand Dames at 4 Cheyne Walk in George Eliots home.  It was my second year in Tangiers and I don't think I've had a meal in a restaurant yet...the local expats know how to party and entertain and the grilled sardines and frites on the beach in Assilah are unbeatable.

a year later...
Josh and I both went to Europe this summer from the end of June til the end of August.  Back to Paris of course and ten days in Provence which I'll never do in the summer again.  It has become a EuroDisney version of itself.  Then ten days in Cadaques at a friends house...Cadaques is one of those places you should have been going to for the past 30 years and it's too late to start unless you tag onto a friend like we did.  Then ten days in Morocco from Fez to Volubulis & back to Tangiers...Then for three weeks we wandered around Spain.  Mostly in Andalusia where I have fantasised about buying a summer house.  Now I understand tapas and I'll never reach for the Italian olive oil again.