While the Critic is on the subject of botana, it might be interesting to readers to know that this tradition extends to the farther reaches of Yucatan’s beaches. Just this afternoon the Critic had to pick up his mini-Critic aka daughter in the semi-charming hamlet of Chuburná, located 2 kilometers beyond Chelem. This name might be familiar to some as it is the home of expat internet guru and empresario Robert Harker, of YMB Realty, that wild-eyed, Rod Stewart look-a-like. But the Critic digresses.
While waiting for the teenage offspring to get ready, the Critic popped into one of those beach fish restaurants comprised of plastic tables and chairs provided by the beer company (it’s either Corona or Superior, never both) and several youths probably related to the owner of the converted house who play the part of waiters. The ambience is true Yucatecan beach, which means its minimal and economic ie cheap and haphazardly thrown together to take advantage of the hordes visiting from Merida to escape the heat.
A beer was ordered, Modelo Especial, and it was so frosty that chunks of slushy ice were floating in the bottle. It went down very easily on another 42 degree day! While the Critic contemplated ordering some food, one of the aforementioned youths stopped by the table with a large tray full of little plates of food! Botana! There were two kinds of excellent fish ceviche, some dippy concoction with a fishy flavor, chivitas (a kind of weird little shellfish that is chewy) in the same lime, onion, tomato and cilantro dressing as the ceviche, warm (!) and crispy tostadas and the ubiquitous refried beans. As the Critic finished the last ceviche, another plate made its way to the table with 3 mini-kibis, topped with chopped cabbage. These were piping hot, crispy and tasty. All the food groups were represented in one fell swoop! So, no menu food was necessary at all and the bill came to a ridiculous 26 pesos for one beer with all the trimmings.
The Critic thought it was a great deal and left a $50 and the waiter/relative was a happy guy.
The name of the restaurant is probably irrelevant; all the places in Chelem and Chuburná serve botana, especially during weekends and holidays, so head out as soon as you can!