Monthly Archives: November 2010

Pimienta – Good Seafood-y Pasta

The Casual Restaurant Critic had driven by the restaurant called Pimienta, located just a few blocks beyond the Consulado de los Estados Unidos de America, when heading south-north, just before the street opens up to reveal the estadio Salvador Alvarado on the left.  The Critic had also heard some rumors and whispers that this little restaurant was actually pretty good.

So, upon hearing that dear friends were going to visit and were requesting the dubious pleasure of the Critics company, he dusted off his dancing shoes and took the Better Half along with Miss Tenerife and joined aforementioned DearFriends for dinner.

And what a surprise! Pimienta, whose owner was on hand to welcome the group, is indeed a little gem of a restaurant with great food, an elegant room and a waiter with a personality.

As far as food goes, there was pasta had by all. From green linguine buried in a delicious red sauce that the BetterHalf raved about the next day to the scallops in the Fruti di Mare pasta had (for the first time ever) by Miss Tenerife to the Mona Lisa had by the Critic to the pasta with shrimp and an appetizing chunk of meat whose names escape the Critic as usual; all were delicous!

Appetizers included tender, zesty flavored mushrooms sauteed with guajillo chile and sprinkled cheese on top and bruschetta.

Desserts were had as well, although there was absolutely no need to subject the groups digestive system to such abuse; a homemade Tiramisu, a light, just right lemon mousse and a dark chocolate pyramid.

Service was friendly and for the most part right there when needed (ocasionally he could have been a little more attentive) with the only quibble being that the he could have ironed his shirt to be more in keeping with the rest of the dining room which was impeccable.

All in all a pleasant surprise. Recommended!

Frijol con Puerco – A Monday Tradition

Usually made on Mondays because it was “easy” to prepare, frijol con puerco is a true Yucatecan classic I have come to love.

There is the colorful, aromatic array of finely chopped condiments (above), with onions, radishes, limones and plenty of exotic cilantro; these are added to your plate according to your preferences. I’m not a huge fan of onion breath myself so I don’t put more than a teaspoons worth in mine.

Another selection of condiments offered included chopped cucumber, a first for me (below) and creamy avocado which of course helps to boost the dish’s already stratospheric calorie count.

In addition to the condiments there should be a fresh roasted tomato salsa as well as fire-toasted habanero chiles ground with the juice of freshly picked limones, preferably from the obligatory backyard tree.

Once it’s all mixed and prepared as you like it, roll up a hot tortilla, grab that spoon with the other hand and dig in.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Aioli Restaurant, Le Meridien Hotel, Cancun

The Casual Restaurant Critic and his beloved Better Half spent a night in Cancun and tried the Aioli restaurant in the Le Meridien hotel in Cancun’s hotel zone. Recommended by a friend, the Critic and BH had stayed at this fine hotel a while back but did not have dinner on that occasion, preferring to visit an old Cancun favorite, La Dolce Vita, which turned out to be a bust and resulted in its being eliminated from the favorite restaurant list.

Aioli is an elegant little restaurant with impeccable service; service that went over the top to ensure the Critic and BH felt welcome and appreciated. For example, when they found out that on this occasion the Critic was staying at another Starwood property, the manager personally came over to the table and said thank you for choosing his restaurant and would we like a glass of wine on the house to show his appreciation. The Critic and BH picked up their chins from the floor and thanked him for his gracious offer, opting for a glass of house red, which was very good.

The restaurant has a small menu, but all the dishes are expertly prepared and beautifully presented. Portions are small to medium sized but the flavor and presentation, combined with the attentive and friendly service, justify the price tag, which is not overly hefty but neither is it cheap.

The Critic had an Angus steak which was perfectly cooked and served with baked potato wedges and served on a sauce of red wine and caramelized onions. Better Half enjoyed a roast duck breast with exotic trimmings. Before that, a seared, sesame crusted tuna appetizer. Desserts were outstanding; a traditional lime pie and a cheesecake. The lime pie was garnished with what seemed like tiny gelatin cubes of vodka that melted in ones mouth. Coffee was made at the table in individual french presses; hot, fresh and aromatic.

In addition to the complimentary glass of wine, a further 20% discount was applied to the bill and another complimentary glass of wine offered at the end of the meal. These folks went above and beyond to make the Critic and BH feel spoiled and pampered.

A civilized meal with outstanding food and service without any hype or flash. Highly recommended. (iPhone photos not great due to low lighting)