Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Casual Restaurant Critic revisits SOMA, now in Merida. Multiple mouthgasms result.

If you didn’t read the previous great reviews on SOMA you can have a look at them here and here.

SOMA, run by the talented Alberto and dulce Linde, is a restaurant that really stands out from Merida’s other restaurant offerings not just because of the food, which is truly extraordinary, but also the warm and fuzzy (and authentic) attention you get from the owners and staff alike.

The Critic won’t get into an entire review again, because it is just as good as ever and the new Merida location is a blessing to those who live in the formerly white city and are too lazy to trek out to Chelem (that location is closed by the way – sorry beach people).

On this occasion, Better Half and the Critic made it simple. Looking at the appetizers, it was decided to just order one of each. Six in total and each one better than the last. The grits with Spanish chorizo and sauteed shrimp were outstanding and Better Half raved about the calabaza soup, a creamy concoction bursting with squash flavor. The salad with real oysters and Spanish chorizo, the warm bread and butter, the ginger peach tea – everything was absolutely scrumptious.

This restaurant is heads and shoulders above what some of the more ‘famous’ restaurants in Merida are offering, no offense.

Directions to this restaurant (in a car) are below the photos. Note that there will be a Christmas Eve day serving as well as New Years Day brunch. What a perfect way to start 2015, ¿no creen?

Hush puppies!

Hush puppies!

Mac and cheese (and bacon, yum)

Mac and cheese (and bacon, yum)

Crispy oysters on a salad

Crispy oysters on a salad

Squash soup!

Squash soup!

Close-up of the salad

Close-up of the salad

Grits, SOMA style

Grits, SOMA style

The famous cookie w ice cream dessert

The famous cookie w ice cream dessert

Coming north from el centro along Montejo, turn left at the Burger King fountain and the silly underpass. Note: you need to get in your right lane to do the roundabout and make that left. Proceed to Calle 60, where you will turn right. At the calle 21 lights (car wash on your right), make a left, cross the train tracks and calle 60 and straight ahead on calle 21 for a block to where the trees are. SOMA is on your right.

Coming south on Montejo from the beaches, turn right on calle 21 (burnt out Parisina textile store and Waldo’s on your right) and proceed to the lights at calle 60. Go straight over the train tracks and 60 and then about a block down, where the trees are, is where SOMA is, on your right.

 

 

The Casual Restaurant Critic visits Yerbabuena, del Sisal in Valladolid

On a very recent visit to the Valladolid area, the Casual Restaurant Critic and the three ladies known as the Belle Groupe (it’s a southern thang) followed up on Casa de los Venados owner John Venator’s recommendation to try a restaurant he likes, called Yerba Buena.

A colorful facade

A colorful facade

Located across from the convent, this restaurant was previously unknown to the Critic and so, in the spirit of research and with the hungry Belle Groupe de acuerdo, this is where lunch was had.

Among all the pretty painted colonial facades across from the convent and right next to a video rental place (do video rentals still constitute a viable business option one wonders) was Yerba Buena. It’s even more colorful facade and interior, compared to the rest of the houses nearby, was a delight to behold.

The colorful entryway and restaurant

The colorful entryway and restaurant

A most accommodating young man, friendly as one can be, asked if the group would enjoy a table in the garden and there, several tables of Europeans were enjoying the sunny, cool day and zen-like atmosphere, surrounded by eclectic decorative items and a ton of jungly greenery.

It only got better.

The Critic was amazed at the level of kind, friendly attention and service and the freshness of the food. When asked about a menu item involving corn masa and maculan or hoja santa, the waiter promptly disappeared into the foliage and came back with a leaf of this plant on a plate, for the group to examine and sample.

Maculan, or hoja santa

Maculan, or hoja santa

The items had for lunch included smoked meat tacos (a standard for this area, where longaniza and smoked meat are a specialty), smoked meat in a Oaxacan mole sauce, a poblano chile stuffed with cheese and quesadillas. All were beautifully presented and very sabrosos. There are four salsas that are brought to the table: roasted tomato, xcatic and habanero. But it is the green tomatillo salsa that will blow the taste buds off your tongue. The Critic has never tasted a fresher salsa verde. Anywhere.

Prices were beyond reasonable and the entire staff was welcoming and friendly. Try their ginger honey drink!

Definitely a highlight of the trip to Valladolid and, along with the Taberna de los Frailes, one of the best restaurants sampled to date in this ever-more cosmopolitan city. highly recommended.The Belle Groupe and the Critic were all most impressed at this find!

More info on their Facebook page here.

Enjoy the photos!

Menu at the door

Menu at the door

Color everywhere

Color everywhere

Chips and salsas

Chips and salsas

Smoked pork tacos and fresh avocado

Smoked pork tacos and fresh avocado

There's smoked pork under that rich Oaxaca mole sauce

There’s smoked pork under that rich Oaxaca mole sauce

Chile poblano

Chile poblano

Quesadillas

Quesadillas

The fresh corn tortillas with maculan or hoja santa attached

The fresh corn tortillas with maculan or hoja santa attached

The maculan plants are the ones with the big leaves

The maculan plants are the ones with the big leaves

Eclectic ornaments in the garden

Eclectic ornaments in the garden

One happy chef, preparing a giant vegetarian burger

One happy chef, preparing a giant vegetarian burger

Hard at work

Hard at work

Chef number two

Chef number two

How often do you find a happy dishwasher and cooks assistant?

How often do you find a happy dishwasher and cooks assistant?

The view from the front door.

The view from the front door.