The Critic knows for a fact that many of the 19 readers of his ramblings have been – probably repeatedly – to eat at the market in Santiago, so he will just post a few photos of the delicious breakfast enjoyed recently in the company of the always charming Better Half and a group of amigos.
While checking out several haciendas recently, the Casual Restaurant Critic had the opportunity to visit – and have a meal, albeit a small one – in the restaurant at the Hacienda Temozon, an upscale hotel part of the Starwood Collection of very high-end hacienda accommodations in the Yucatan.
In the past, the experience in the restaurant has been a far cry from the rest of the delights offered to the senses when one visits this property; the gardens, the pool, spa and rooms are gorgeous, while the restaurant lacked the level of quality commensurate with the high standards set in the previously mentioned areas.
On this occasion, the Critic and two guests had a light lunch consisting of jamaica, the refreshing red tea made from jamaica flowers, a lime soup, a trio of panuchos and the Critic’s choice: a Kinich salad (photo pending). The food was tasty and fresh, particularly the salad, which was a real mix of typical Yucatecan ingredients including ground pumpkin seed and chunks of smoky longaniza sausage. On the service end, there is still room for improvement. Although the welcome was cordial and the attention to guests and Critic alike courteous and prompt, the Critic feels that in a restaurant of this caliber ladies should be served first and the typical arrival of the food on a tray parked next to the table, followed by the waiter picking up a plate and announcing it with a question should be outlawed. The reason they ask is because they don’t know who ordered what and this could so easily be solved, as it has been in countless restaurants around the world, buy a simple system of numbers corresponding to guests and their menu choices. This would eliminate the need for the question “Sopa de Lima??” and enable waiters to serve ladies first, not last, as was the case during this lunch.
The flies were also a problem, getting into the drinks for a swim, settling busily on the bread and in general causing much fanning of hands and napkins more akin to an experience at a much less luxurious dining establishment.
Prices were on the high end for the food offered (Yucatecan dishes at $150 pesos plus) considering what one can obtain for such a price tag at places closer to town and the service and fly details mentioned above. The view of course and the semi-outdoor experience of dining in such a beautiful space was fantastic however and for a special occasion, this might be a pleasant destination to head to for a special occasion.
If you have spent any time in Merida, any time at all, you have been to La Susana Internacional in Kanasin for panuchos and salbutes and perhaps a delicious caldo. If you haven’t, well shame on you!
Last night, La Susana Internacional threw at party to celebrate their 50th birthday and the Casual Restaurant Critic was there to partake in the festivities and a chunk of tres leches birthday cake complete with fluorescent, super-sweet icing. Imagine! 50 years this place has been operating, not in its present format as it once was a trailer-type stand. This beats Elaines, which recently closed upon reaching 50 years – it seems that panuchos never go out of style!
The restaurant was packed with larger than large tables and it seemed that entire Yucatecan clans came out in full force to celebrate and ; there were at least 5 tables of 12 or more people, happily enjoying their dinner to the sounds of live trio music, and the waiters were scrambling to get the food out of the kitchen.
Here are just a few photos; enjoy!
On his most recent visit to the best panucheria in the world, La Susana Internacional, located of course in the charm-challenged and very “real” Kanasin, the Critic once again accompanied his usual order of one panucho, one salbut, a half-caldo and a taco or two of chicharra, with the agua de chaya, which is – as many know – a spinach-like leafy plant grown on bushes in most real Yucatecans back yards and that is loaded with anti-oxidants which almost (but not really) makes up for all the fat ingested in those other menu items.
Pretty too, the way they serve it.
The Critic is pleased to report that what is arguably the the best panucheria in the Yucatan, La Susana Internacional, continues to maintain that which makes it so good in the Critic’s humble opinion:
- friendly service from quirky waiters;
- overflowing and oversized panuchos and salbutes;
- caldos loaded to the rim with actual shredded roasted pavo aka turkey;
- delcious, crunchy and chewy chicharra (pork rinds);
- refreshing natural fruit (and nutritious chaya) drinks
- amazingly accessible prices;
- that friendly parking lot guy.
In addition, La Susana Internacional, located just across from the El Chisme II store in beautiful (ok maybe a little less than beautiful) downtown Kanasin, had, on this most recent visit at 11 om on a Saturday night, an hipil-clad hostess to welcome patrons and there was a shiny, brand-new menu complete with package combo suggestions for 2 to 8 people.
Still haven’t been there? What on Chaac’s good earth are you waiting for?