Tag Archives: elmaloso

The Casual Restaurant Critic at Eureka!

Some finicky Lawson guests as well as many friends and acquaintances have all raved about Eureka and so, it is more than appropriate that the Critic take note and see what all the fuss is about.


Once again accompanied by the ever-present and charming Better Half, the Critic visited on a Sunday and experienced this latest Italian entry into the Merida restaurant scene first-hand. And what a great experience it was!

The Critic and BH we welcomed at the door by smiling faces that seemed genuinely pleased to receive new lunch guests. This is remarkable when you consider how many times your welcome at a restaurant seems less than cordial, or perhaps at some of these places they already know it’s the cranky Critic and are preparing for the worst.

Chef Fabrizio stopped by the table and said hello and told the Critic a little about where he had worked before and so on. Friendly chit chat that just seemed natural.

The menu is interesting in that all of the appetizers aka aperitivi, all priced the same, making it easy both for customers and wait staff to figure out the bill. Salads and soups too.

But you readers want to know what the Critic thought of the food, right? Well let’s just say it was/is sublime. Absolutely lip-smacking, finger-licking and palate-pleasing-ly scrumptious.


Mixed olive appetizer. And those garlic pieces.

To start, an appetizer of mixed olives with cured garlic (above) that sent Better Half to the moon and back, followed by an amazing mixed salad of the day and an asparagus/prosciutto/mozzarella appetizer that featured a fresh and creamy mozzarella cheese with a texture that straddled the line between fresh cream and soft cheese. You could have eaten it with a spoon and it was delicious!


Mozzarella, Prosciutto e Asparagi


Mesticanza del Giorno

Then, the main courses of salmon and pasta. The pasta is not the most photogenic of plates, but the Critic can assure you that this house specialty is an absolutely mouthwatering combination of flavors and textures. The pasta was a tiny bit inconsistent in texture, as in a few pieces a bit more al dente than others, but nothing to lose sleep over. The ragu sauce was so good!

The perfectly grilled salmon was dressed up with a fresh pea and leek puree sauce, and also outstanding. Even better, if that is possible, were the roasted potatoes served alongside the fish. These would be fantastic for breakfast with a little bacon a la German bratkartoffeln.


Riccioli Eureka


Salmone alla Flavia

And dessert? Well it had to be tried, although there was really no room whatsoever left at this point. The tiramisu is amazing.


Eureka is on Facebook and their address is there, as well as on the sign in the photo below.


If you are a fan of Oliva, Bella Roma or even Due Torri, you will definitely enjoy this new Italian restaurant that pushes the envelope yet again and raises the bar for anyone contemplating opening another Italian eatery in Merida. Grazie, Fabrizio e Vero!


The Funky Exhibits at the Manuel Crescencio Rejon Airport in Merida

Every once in a while, yet another friend shows up in Merida and I have to make the trek out to the airport to pick them up when they arrive on the flight from Continental which is now called United. In spite of the tone of the last sentence, I actually enjoy these little outings, what with the people watching opportunities, passenger and family member bingo (the gringo, 50 points, a mestiza, for 100 points etc.) and the expensive and consistently horrendous coffee at that little place next to Burger King which is always closing as we all wait for the flight to arrive.

On this last occasion, just about a month ago now, there was a new exhibit in the airport called Tesoros de Mexico (Treasures of Mexico) and so I had to check it out. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t figure out what in the hell this exhibit was about. There was a fancy chair, some coats of arms, a series of mini-pyramid sculptures but for the life of me I could not find a theme or even a reason for all this junk to be here. If you can figure this out and wish to enlighten me, please do. In my humble and always correct opinion, the exhibit should have been called “Shit I had lying around the back of the Museum” which would have been much more self-explanatory and then the items on display would have made some sense.

Look at the pyramids for example. In the absence of a sign or something, what are we looking at? Are the models to scale and the idea is to show how they stand up to each other in the great scheme of things archeological? Is it someone’s Lego set? There’s Mayan and Aztec stuff there. Why?

The fancy chair with the coat of arms of the state of Yucatan is there. Why? Did it belong to someone famous? Who? Does it belong to the governor? So why is it here at the airport then?

Here are most of the items you can enjoy while sipping that 700 peso coffee:

Things to look forward to as I age (can’t wait)

While this particular blog entry has absolutely nothing to do with Life in Merida from the Neurotic Foregners POV, the aging process is, nevertheless, a universal topic among members of my social circle and one with which I becoming increasingly familiar.

I look forward to becoming technologically impaired; that decisive moment when I decide that whatever technology is ‘new’ and therefore incomprehensible to me and just dismiss it as ‘stupid’ is a moment that will inevitably come, especially given the grade of neurosis I already posess. The new ‘FaceBook’ of the future will seem to me to be an invasion of privacy and just ridiculous and I won’t be able to figure out what the hell it’s good for, if anything. I will refuse to engage in conversation with my offspring, who will attempt to convince me of the benefits of adopting the new technology, that I have nothing to fear, that it is a good way to see what the grandchildren are up to. My derision will be accompanied by much shaking of my grey-haired head and moving my right hand from an over the shoulder and near my right ear position to a below the waist position (with an open palm, facing downward). These two actions will be taken while walking away from the person I am supposedly having a conversation with.

I look forward to not comprehending the significance of the future version of the CC button on the future equivalent of emails. I will complain therefore, in my self-pitying way, that it is craaaazy that people cannot communicate with each other normally and that I don’t understand if I just sent an email to one person that all the others didn’t get the message. I will not see that adding another email address in the future equivalent of the “TO” field on an email is not really that difficult and that I don’t have to go out in the winter cold, chop down a tree, put up a satellite dish and install another computer to send several emails at once.

I also look forward to forgetting how to spell my offsprings or their significant others names. To me, it’s all the same and I won’t understand the fuss and how could that tiny triviality possibly be any indicator of the depth of my feelings for that person or the significant other in question. Why are they all so grumpy, I will ask myself.

I anticipate (and this is already happening) abhorring (is it one R or two?) social engagements where loud music and loud conversation at too-large tables result in me staring abjectly at the people across the table, with whom I am unable to communicate beyond the occasional raised eyebrow and shoulder movements resembling dejected shrugs. The volume will put me in a foul mood that only a hasty exit to a more quiet environment can remedy, thereby forfeiting my right, should I be in Merida, to the lukewarm catered meal served at midnight as a strategy to keep us old folks hostage beyond the time we would normally tolerate the assault on our nervous system.

I will cope with and accept the increasing limits that aging puts on my body, from the newly discovered impossibility of climbing on the roof to enter my home when I have forgotten the house key, to the pain in my finger joints when I try writing as a method of communication as opposed to a keyboard (which funnily enough produces no such irritation).

There are many more things I look forward to as I reach the ripe old age of a half-century, and many of those will be positive I am sure. But this morning, I felt compelled to write about some of the less-than-stellar moments that I can look forward to (and I haven’t even touched on the GI tract).

Happy 2011!

Fun Merida Activities – The 9 PM Houston Flight Arrival Event

For those of you constantly whining about how this or that is not the ‘real’ Merida as if all Yucatecans had to wear starched white clothing, clunky sandals and balance a tray with bottle and glasses on their heads for your amusement, here is another unreal Yucatecan activity that you too can participate in!

There are tried and true Merida traditions, like frijol con puerco on Mondays, visiting the family home en masse on Sundays, and spending the summer months at the beach, that you are probably quite aware of. But there are also newer, more modern traditions that you may not be aware of or that are being crafted in our lifetime, right now! One of these is the cultural event that occurs almost nightly at Merida’s airport.

Each night at the Manuel Cresencio Rejon airport (who the hell was that guy anyway) here in the formerly white city, around 9 PM, a crowd gathers at the arrivals gate to welcome the passengers arriving on the almost-daily Continental Airlines flight from Houston, USA.

It’s always a fine cross-section of Merida’s population with all the socioeconomic groups represented.Look carefully!

There are the well-off Meridanos from the clase acomodada, awaiting the arrival of a tia or tio or perhaps a student – mi primo – returning from a semester in the US where they went to study English with all the chicanos and instead learned to appreciate the value of their muchacha as well as the recreational qualities of marijuana. These folks gather in small groups, often based on age groups, because they know each other and ask ‘a quien vienes a buscar‘ which is then followed by a lengthy conversation on the life of the person they are waiting for. This is also a good time to catch up on local gossip once the initial conversation has reached a saturation point and/or flight 1842 is late landing on the tarmac.

Also present is some sort of gringo element in the form of a single man or perhaps a couple, who have come to pick up one of their kind who is coming to visit or stay for an extended period of time in their newly renovated house. These people, wearing garb that ranges from monied and downright elegant to scraggly shorts and a wrinkled guayabera topped off with Felix the Cat facial hair and a bedhead do, are often standing alone and will keep to themselves, even in the presence of other gringos unless of course they are on speaking terms in which case they will make light superficial conversation about life in “Centro”.

There is almost always a family or two of people who fit into neither category, gringo or clase acomodada, and who probably live in one of Merida’s “popular” neighborhoods, “popular” being the local term for the poor and low income people that make up the vast majority of the Yucatans population. These people do not mingle with the aforementioned clusters and arrive in large familial units complete with a gaggle of children accustomed to unusual bedtimes and often with an hipil-clad abuelita in tow.

A fun activity is to try matching the passengers escaping the baggage claim and semaforo area with the people waiting. One can get the occasional surprise when, for example, the low income family with the hipil-clad grandmother is the group that welcomes open-armedly the solitary gringo with one carry-on piece of luggage. Hugs and backslaps from the males, polite handshakes from the women and shy smiles from the many children accompany the lucky gringo (you should consider yourself lucky to get such an enthusiastic reception) to whatever form of transporation is waiting outside.

While enjoying this entertainment, I recommend getting a pretty awful cup of coffee which costs about half a minimum daily wage 😉 at the place next to Burger King, or perhaps ordering some hot french fries at BK itself so you can munch or sip while watching the goings-on.

Look around folks, and welcome to the real Merida.

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

Burkhas and DSW – Houston Multiculturalism

We see so precious little of the flamboyant burkha in Merida, so it was a bit of a surprise to come upon a gaggle of burkha-clad women in what I thought was the last place I would encounter this always flattering attire: a DSW shoe store just off Westheimer near the Galleria mall in Houston.

Peering intently at the sandals and snazzy dressup shoes through those narrow, rectangular eye slits, they checked out the selection with enthusiastic interest.

This amazed ignorant me, because I assumed women bought shoes to be seen wearing them, and these womens’ feet were securely hidden under their burkhas.

So enlighten me. Is it just another manifestation of the fairer sex’s addiction to footwear, regardless of whether or not anyone will see them?

Coach Anita’s iPhone@TelCel Trials and Tribulations

Every once in a while, we here at lawsonsyucatan.com feature a guest griper who has a fresh and illuminating take on everyday life in the city we all love and find so, well, interesting.

Today’s contribution is from Coach Anita P. Beale; you may already know her! She hangs out in the mercado grande early mornings and is visited by many a local after a weekend night of partying. About 5 AM, when everyone is drunk or coming down from a drunk, they will announce “Vamos por Coach Anita!


The following is my account of my day at TelCel on Saturday…

I ordered my iPhone today… how exciting! It was a tedious affair of driving to one of only four authorized Telmex iPhone outlets at Alta Brisa Mall, checking in at the check in desk, standing in a long and very pedestrian line, and then finally getting permission to go to one of the 40 desk/booths to interface with some kid. Here are some of the highlights of the exchange, let’s see how it went, shall we?:

*Good afternoon, I’d like to discuss the purchase of an iPhone.

*well, we have a lot of different plans, do you know which one you want?

*yes, a friend told me all about her plan, and I would like what she has so I am prepared.

*do you want this in your personal name or the name of your corporation?

*name of the corporation please. (maybe we could get a tax credit or something)

*well it takes 5 days working to get it as a regular citizen and por lo menos twice that for the corporation, and we will need your acta constructiva, original and copies, bills for the last 2 years, originals and copies, taxes paid, names and signatures of each officer, signed form from the accountant of the corporation.

*never mind, just as a real live person.

*we need three character witnesses and their addresses and land-line phones, no cel phones, even though that’s what you are buying.

*didn’t have their addresses so made them up, Juanita had told me that they needed land lines so had those numbers with me, however they asked her for two, and now need three! Good thing I added an extra one to be safe (I guess I’ve lived here long enough to anticipate). They need land line numbers because of course one can’t trust cel phones at TelCel celular phone company.

*”representative” fidgeted constantly, rocking back and forth and up and down like he was comin’ offa crack or something. Cleaned glasses a minimum of 9 times. I do believe he farted twice as well.

*will I be able to keep my old phone number? Yes! But not if you want to keep your old phone.

*all names/numbers will be wiped out of your old phone before we activate your new phone, best to write everything down on a piece of paper. (Now wait just a minute… I can’t see that happening in San Francisco or London or Tokyo… do they ask them to do that there too?)

*May I see phone? See how it works?

*there’s one on display, but I’ll have to help someone else in line while you look, and you’ll have to wait until they are done before I can help you again…

*plus that one in display is out of battery and is a black screen anyway so there is nothing for you to see

*may I see the white one?

*no, all phones are sealed in boxes and only opened if you buy it.

*do you have any white ones in stock

*I don’t know, I would have to go in the stockroom and check.

*it doesn’t show that on your screen?


*would you check please?

*yes, but it will be around 5 minutes or so while I rummage through the stock room

*I want white, I think, please check and I will twiddle my thumbs while you check

*5 minutes*

*yes! we have white, but you can’t see it… do you want it?

*I guess.

*is all info correct on this sheet?

*well, it is Juanita, not Judith

*rips up page and throws in trash dramatically

*OK, is everything correct?

*well, Heitke is my apellido, not my nombre

*rips up page and throws in trash dramatically

*is everything correct?

*street is between 65 and 67, not 65 and 77

*rips up page and throws in trash dramatically

*is everything correct?

*my birthday is in July, not June

*rips up page and throws in trash dramatically

*is everything correct now?

*yes, it is!

*it will take 5 days to process your request, where should we call you?

*my home phone or cel phone number

*but your cel number will be disconnected by us, so we can’t call that and rules clearly state that we have to have two numbers. I cannot go forward without this information

*but you won’t disconnect it UNLESS my dossier comes through Interpol as a go, right?

*we will call your cel number

*would you like to pay by cash or credit card each month?

*credit card

*oh, your credit card isn’t a national one, is it?

*no, it is from the usa, but I use it every single day here in Merida

*I have to go check, this may take a while

*a while*

*computer says no.

*so would you like to pay by cash or credit card each month, but with a Mexican credit card?

*I don’t have a Mexican credit card, so cash, I will physically go to your office every single stinkin’ month to pay.

*OK, I think I have everything, that is all. You will be contacted if you are eligible.

*will I be contacted if I am NOT eligible?


The “Real Merida”

If there’s one thing that bothers me about idealistic folks coming to retire and/or live here semi-permanently, it’s those individuals that don’t visit northern Merida or go to a mall or eat at Carls Junior because it’s not, in their constrained and limited perception of what a modern Mexican city can be, the ‘real Merida’.

Maybe it’s because I have lived here for over 20 years and consider myself more local than foreign or maybe it’s because I am just a neurotic bastard, but this comment always manages to piss me off. It’s right up there with the ‘the children are so beautiful’ comment, which I have also had the pleasure of hearing on more than a dozen occasions and which also provokes from me the same, negative reaction. I feel like saying “of COURSE the children are beautiful – ALL children are beautiful, not just the brown ones that smile hopefully up at you, wealthy foreigner in shorts and sandals and flowery shirt.” It just seems so condescending, somehow.

Like the idea of a “real Merida.”

What is the real Merida? Are we (and I am speaking as a Yucatecan now) all supposed to run around in guayaberas and alpargatas and dance jaranas with trays of glasses on our adorable heads? Are we to eat only salbutes and panuchos and ‘typical’ food all week? The mistakenly romantic idea that in Merida time stands still and sushi, malls and Office Max are somehow contaminating someone’s vision of what the city should be is, again, condescending and frankly offensive.

I am motivated to write this little rant thanks to Beryl over at gorbman.com who just had a brush with the ‘real’ Merida; the Merida that most gringos don’t have to deal with and that, for the most part, lies just under the surface of the charming mess that is modern Mexico. You can read all about her brush with the ‘justice’ system in her fun account of what happened when she ran into Big Caesar (check out her photo to get a glimpse of Big Caesar)

Put your feet up, serve yourself a glass of typical cebada and enjoy a tale of one womans immersion into the ‘real’ Merida.

Remixto Brunch – Again

Apparently the Casual Restaurant Critic and his Better Half behaved themselves well enough to garner another invitation, this time to the second Remixto Brunch, once again graciously hosted by MexiChica and Casa Mexilio.

There is little to say that the Critic didn’t mention on the previous occasion, except that the heat/humidity was mercifully much more tolerable on this occasion, and the company that joined the Critic and Better Half was truly enjoyable. Oh, and the menu featured the terrific Lechon Benedict as well as a Henwich and Green Eggs and Ham.

In fact, one member of the group, who we shall call the YT Girl, took photos, a la the Critic, which are posted below!

If you have a chance, come to the next one!