Tag Archives: Valladolid

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.

 

 

 

La Taberna de los Frailes – A Second Visit

On a trip to Cancun and back yesterday, the Critic and his Better Half had enough time to stop for a ‘nice’ restaurant lunch as opposed to the usual (but always delicious and eminently satisfying) Doña Tere at the toll highway isla near Valladolid.

This time, the Critic veered off the highway and landed – after some meandering among the twisting yet bewitching back streets of Valladolid – at the Taberna de los Frailes restaurant, reviewed previously by the Critic. Yesterdays visit was as good, if not better, than the first one.

The menu is a real mix of things innovative and things Yucatecan and things both innovative and Yucatecan. Think Thing One and Thing Two. No, on second thought, don’t.

For example, the Critic ordered a Valladolid Temptation appetizer. What the hell is that you ask? It is two slices of grilled watermelon with a thick, gooey semi-melted (molten?) slab of panela cheese in between. Served with a little fruit sauce dip and grilled tomatos and a sprig of lettuce
bathed in balsamic vinegar, it was completely out of the ordinary and quite delicious not to mention unexpected. Is this Valladolid? A glimpse at the crumbling stone wall of the monastery across the tiny street confirms that yes, it is.

Then there were the nachos. Thankfully ordering only this one other appetizer the Critic, who is not shy about finishing his plate, could not finish these nachos. Arriving on a very hot plate the size of a small indoor swimming pool, the nachos featured tostadas that were thin and crispy, not the thick and crunchy ones usually found here. The cheese was apparently cheddar but the Critic can’t be sure but what was innovative about these nachos is that they were made with Longaniza de Valladolid, the citys famous smoked sausage, and served with a small dish of chopped pickled onions along with the usual jalapeno peppers. Again, please be aware that the size of this platter is on the huge size and the contents will feed a small village the size of Xcunya without much
difficulty.

Better Half ordered a lime soup and Dzotobichay aka Brazo de Reina which is a Yucatecan treat that must be tried at least once during any visit to this part of the world. The tomato salsa on top was fresh and very tasty. Again, the portion was quite large.

Service, from the same waiter as on the last visit, was courteous and friendly. Prices were reasonable, in the Critics humble opinion.

La Taberna de los Frailes – A Valladolid Find!

Whilst visiting the monastery of San Bernadino in Valladolid yesterday, the Casual Restaurant Critic noticed a new (for the Critic anyway) restaurant directly in front of the parking lot of this often visited Valladolid attraction.

After touring the monastery and its multiple austere charms, the Critic and a guest had lunch at this restaurant, owned by a talented Valladolid woman who is also responsible for the upscale cafe on one corner of the city’s main plaza.

The restaurant is very attractive, with a low-tabled bar at the entrance, followed by a high-tabled bar area under a lush maracuya (passion fruit) vine and an elegantly appointed palapa restaurant in back with real tables and comfortable, cushioned chairs. One is struck immediately by the formal table setting in this casual atmosphere, complete with heavy silver and glassware, starched linen napkins wrapped in handmade napkin rings (made from the thorns of the henequen plant among other things) and tablecloths. No plastic Coca Cola tables here!

The food is fantastic – the Critic ordered the Relleno Negro plate while his guest had the Tsik which is usually made with venison but here is prepared with tender smoked pork and served in a lec (gourd) and is both refreshing and delicious.

Service is very attentive and gracious. While the waiter did not speak English, he was very receptive to some English terminology thrown his way, repeating each word carefully to memorize them.

As far as price goes, the total came to $300 pesos before tip, which included one margarita, a Coke and a bottle of water.

Highly recommended!