Tag Archives: guacamole

Casual Restaurant Critic at Sabor a Mango

A good location and a good sign – even if it is blocked by that large SUV with CDMX plates parked on the corner where the yellow curb means no parking, but some folks are special

In the nearby town and soon-to-be suburb of Merida of Cholul, there is some new investment happening. Along with the fancy new shopping area on the corner of the square, there are some new eateries as well. Today the Better Half and the Critic had breakfast at Sabor a Mango, one of these new restaurants with a huge outdoor garden area and an interesting and delicious-looking menu.

Perhaps it was because it was Sunday and because the place was packed, that exactly four servers ran directly in front of the Critic and his Better Half with not even a glance let alone a greeting. They were extremely focused on the paper in their hands or their destination as they hurried by. It took a moment for someone from way back in the restaurant to notice and send a staff member to say hello, perform pandemic protocols and assign a table.

Sabor a Mango has the perfect pandemic environment, under large shady trees and with plenty of fresh air, inviting one to remove one’s mask without nary a thought of a stray Covidian droplet making its way up one’s nose. Speaking of masks, just about all of the staff was fully and properly masked with one (extranjera, obviously) exception holding out to sport the ever-popular under-the-nose method which has proven so effective in deterring absolutely nothing.

Once the order was in, the food did not take as long as expected to arrive at the table and when it did, it proved worth the short wait. The cheddar cheese with bacon grilled brioche sandwich was amazing, as were the fries. Crispy and thin, they are the kind of fries you can eat for hours and never get tired of. Their take on guacamole is delightful; a perfect combination of creamy avocado, chewy and crunchy pork with the surprising pop of sweet, yellow kernels of corn. Better Half’s eggy enchilada was reportedly scrumptious.

In general, there might have been a little less salt than the Critic normally enjoys but that is a personal preference and at the end of the day, it is much healthier to include less salt in one’s diet. So thank you Sabor a Mango for that!

For drinks, a rather sour and chunky jugo verde and Better Half’s tea could have benefitted from more heat.

Would the Critic consider going back? Definitely. There is a lot more on that menu that beckons for another visit!

The amazing guacamole, with all the goodies
Those addictive fries and there is chorizo and bacon peeping out from between the brioche grilled cheese sandwich

El Catrin, a New Merida Centro Bar Option. The Casual Restaurant Critic, yet Again.

El Catrín, calle 47, Mérida

Accompanied by the Better Half and Mini-Critic, the Casual Restaurant Critic visited this 6 month-old addition to the Merida centro bar and restaurant scene, located on the up and coming gourmet stretch of calle 47, which already features 130 Grados, Oliva, Caffe 47 and others, and was suitably impressed by both the place itself, and its food. Gracious and friendly service rounded out the very positive experience.

The giant mural in the back, outdoor area of El Catrín

Artist credit. Murals and framed art inside as well.

Outside design and cool-ness


These are napkin holders

Esquites, corn, queso fresco and plenty of zest. If you don’t like esquites, try this anyway. You’ll love it.

This caldo cantinero is a perfect seafood broth. For those who love chilpachole 🙂

Carnitas; can’t go wrong with carnitas

Good stuff to sprinkle on your carnitas, including chicharron

Carnitas deserve a close up, don’t you think?

Empanadas, beautiful

Guacamole w grasshoppers and cherry tomatoes

Fabulous chocolate brownie that looks like a tamalito, hoja santa ice cream and popped corn and strawberries and and and…

Casual Restaurant Critic visits La Gloria Cantinera

img_5007In the strangely named Plaza Mangus, which is home to several culinary offerings including the heavily overpriced and nothing special yet somehow still around Tony Roma’s, there is a new restaurant that the Critic can recommend highly, based on now two visits.

Located in the space once occupied by the Bodeguita and directly across from Los Trompos at City Center, La Gloria Cantinera is a cantina run by the folks who own La Recova and it is a quality operation from the food to the service to the actual room.

The guacamole presented in a molcajete is excellent, as are the spiced tostadas accompanying the fresh and zesty salsas, served tiny stone pots. Anything pork has proven to be outstanding including the chamorro cooked with mezcal, the slab of ribs with a hint of spice cooked to tender perfection and the chicharron which makes an appearance here and there. The sirloin tacos with tuetano (bone marrow) are fantastic, the tortillas are hand made, the cucumber lemonade is a great non-alcoholic drink and the salmon tostadas that the critic tried on this visit were amazing.

The churro cart for dessert is not only original, it’s contents are amazingly addictive. Have them take those crispy sugary treats before you eat them all, which you might, and then regret as your stomach protests. The churros are accompanied by three dipping sauces: berries, chocolate and Bailey’s. You have been warned.

Service is professional, cordial and the way it should be – attentive but not intrusive.

This restaurant may well be on the Critic’s short list of best places to eat in Merida, based on the experiences had so far!

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The Casual Restaurant Critic at Tio Ricardo


The TV. Perfect for sports events and not thinking about the service.


If you have lived in Merida for any length of time and have had the misfortune to have to listen to a local radio station, you may have heard the ads for this restaurant, which have not changed in the last 5 or more years, where two males with fake northern Mexico accents make the smooth transition from talking about how difficult life is to deciding to go to the Tio Ricardo restaurant, “un rincon de Monterrey en Merida

Yesterday the Critic and a supplier of shirts who we shall call Mr. Shirt went for lunch at this restaurant, located at the corner of 8 and 23 streets in Itzimná in the formerly white city. Not because life is particularly difficult but because Mr. Shirt thought that it would be a good place for lunch and that the guacamole there was the best in town.

The Critic hadn’t been at Tio Ricardo for at least 20 years and was surprised to hear it was still around. It was, although how they manage that is a mystery.

The tables and chairs are real (not plastic) which is always a plus in the Critics book, and the walls feature a lot of wood paneling and photographs in black and white of things from northern Mexico. The waiter who the Critic saw upon entering the place with Mr. Shirt was busily stuffing something into his mouth, half hidden behind a wall. The place is essentially a house, with the different rooms turned into dark, woody caves that would be ideal if you were planning on a secret meetup with someone and needed discretion, perhaps.

When the waiter – and here the term is used loosely to describe an individual who has the task of taking food orders and bringing them to clients tables – came and asked what would be the order. Mr. Shirt began by asking about a “package” for two people that had an assortment of meats and so on.

“We don’t do packages” was the curt reply from the unsmiling, unwelcoming and evidently uninterested individual brandishing his little notepad and pen.

Mr. Shirt, unfazed, continued “but I am pretty sure there was a parrillada (grilled platter) or something for two, no?”

Curt was equally unfazed. “No, we don’t have that” No mention of anything that might please his client or a suggestion perhaps. No additional information came out of his unsmiling mouth as he impatiently waited, pen poised at the ready over his notebook.

Finally, a pair of steaks were ordered, along with the entradas, apparently a “package” but for one person at a time. “What appetizers do you want to repeat?” asked Curt, since each steak plate came with two appetizers and there were only three on the menu – melted/baked cheese, guacamole, and grilled sausages. Since Mr. Shirt had mentioned the great guacamole, the Critic said “bring us two guacamoles” and Curt left without further comment.

Curt returned with the drinks and eventually the appetizers. The guacamole was good, served in the form of a block on a side plate like it had been prepared in a tub, refrigerated and then sliced off like a huge swath of green banana bread. The chips were crunchy and they have the giant flour tostadas that one could find in Monterrey restaurants. Tortillas too. The sausage was, in the Critics opinion, the cheap fatty kind and not great, while the melted/baked cheese was pretty tasty.

The steaks finally arrived, while Mr. Shirt and the Critic were treated to an episode of SmokeJumpers with Spanish dialogue on the large flat screen TV on the wall, being watched by another table and two waiters who occasionally glanced down at their cell phones to update their Facebook accounts or whatever they were doing. The steaks, one rib eye and one New York, can be ordered medium rare or medium, blue rare or tres cuartos but however you decide you want your meat done, it matters not and the steaks will be (and were) well done. OK. The Critic was not going to fight with Curt on this occasion, and especially not since Mr. Shirt had picked the restaurant. But, really?

Other things the Critic noticed included the fact that there were other waiters in the restaurant, none of whom seemed particularly pleased to be there and perhaps were only filling in time on a prison work release program. The men’s bathroom, thoughtfully and overwhelmingly perfumed with Pinol floor cleaner has no door, and there is no evident ventilation system so if you do have to eat here, I would suggest a table as far away from the mens’ room as possible, as the possibility of bathroom smell interfering with the enjoyment of your well done steak might be less than pleasant.

The Critic always enjoys a lousy restaurant and this one is not worth the time or the calories or the money – not much, the bill came to $250 pesos per person with a 10% tip and no alcohol – and there are SO many new and infinitely better options in Merida now. While the food is not horrible, the “service” certainly matches that description perfectly. How this place survives is one of those mysteries that Gordon Ramsey might enjoy.

You have been warned.


On the plus side: real chairs.


They are crunchy and that’s another positive.


A chipped salsa bowl that should have been thrown out years ago.


A guacamole brick. It is cold and tastes fresh.


The melted cheese is a highlight.


Skip these. Your arteries will thank you.


Order it anyway you want. It will likely be well done.