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Trip Report - Best Meals, Worst Deals


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#1 DJDiverDan

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:19 PM

I just got back from 9 days in Cozumel. I went down for ScubaBoard's 2012 Cozumel Invasion, which was based at the Hotel Cozumel & Resort. The pakage deal for the trip, which included 5 days of 2 tank boat dives in the morning, 5 days of 1tank boat dives in the afternoon, and unlimited shore diving, also included the All-inclusive at the Resort. I've been coming down to Cozumel for about 22 years now, and this was my first experience with an AI, and will almost certainly be my last. With the exception of breakfast, the food at Hotel Cozumel's buffet was TERRIBLE. I ate dinner there on Saturday and Sunday after checking in, and told myself that I'd rather starve to death than eat that food the remainder of the week. In the Hotel's defense, I talked to several of the other ScubaBoard Invaders about the food, and several seemed to think that the food was "just fine". But these same people invariably told me that they viewed food as just fuel for the body, and really didn't care much about taste. If you fit in that group, then you might prefer an AI. If you think, like me, that food is not just a necessity, but one of the great joys of life, definitely avoid the AI program at Hotel Cozumel and Resort. The Hotel was otherwise fine - very comfortable rooms, nice pool, pleasant and helpful people.

My new absolutely favorite restaurant in Cozumel is Kinta. The meal I had there was a transcendant experience. I had the Spinach Salad with green apples, blue cheese and toasted sunflower seeds with a tamarind viniagrette - it was amazing. Then there was the Pescado Mango - seared Tuna steak, cooked perfectly, served over a mango and black bean salsa, with a poblano sauce. Absolutely delicious. Even the garlic mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables were excellent - when was the last time you put a piece of steamed carrot in your mouth and thought to yourself "Damn! That was a GOOD carrot!". A cup of expresso and some coco helado was the perfect end to a great meal.

I had eaten at Kinta before, but i had never eaten at Kondesa, a relatively new restaurant (18 months?) owned by the same owners. My meal at Kondesa was nearly as good as the one at Kinta. I won't go into all of the details, but the Double Chocalate Cake, served with a Kahlua and Chocolate ganache sauce and melon balls was definitely a winner.

I also ate at some old favorites, like Ernesto's for fajitas (still the best fajitas, IMHO), La Terraza (not as good as the old Prima when it was at that location, but still good), Rolandi's (I think the quality here has declined; it may come off my list unless it improves). Looking forward to my next trip.
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#2 mstevens

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:25 PM

I feel the same as you about AI versus enjoying the great restaurants in town. I've stayed at Hotel Cozumel with friends but did not go for the AI option. We cajoled our friends, who do always go AI, to go out to eat with us. From then on, they shamelessly invited themselves along for every meal even though they had "free" food at the hotel.

Kinta for the win. My son votes Kondesa, but he's a teenager so what does he know?
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#3 MarkC

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:09 AM

I agree mostly in the above that the food at the AIs are not as good as the restaurants. However, it is very convenient. That with an open bar makes it worth it to me. I f I am feeling lazy, I can just relax and rely on the AI to provide rather than have to wander into town or whatever. Plus a buffet is ready and no wait.

That being said, this last trip when we did eat outside the resort was at Earnestos, Mezcalitos and Coconuts. And we had one meal at Kellys with Paula and Greg. We found ourselves at the beach bars every other day too...

I have nearly perfected Mezcalitos Margarita recipe:

They told me it was:

1.5 oz el jimador tequilla (I used Millagro)
1.5 Couinteau Triple Sec
1.5 Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp sugar
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#4 mstevens

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 04:55 PM

I have nearly perfected Mezcalitos Margarita recipe:

They told me it was:

1.5 oz el jimador tequilla (I used Millagro)
1.5 Couinteau Triple Sec
1.5 Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp sugar


I'll bet you it's Controy rather than Cointreau. Controy is a Mexican orange liqueur that comes in a green square bottle shaped very much like a brown Cointreau bottle. I find it more tasty and a better match for tequila. If they really are using Cointreau with el Jimador they've overspent on orange liqueur compared to their tequila. Nothing against el Jimador - it's my favorite everyday tequila.

Controy is secretly available in the US. "Patron Citronge" is Controy in a different bottle. Unfortunately, it's priced more like Cointreau.

A 1:1:1 ratio is unusual for a margarita - light on the tequila and heavy on the orange liqueur. I'll have to try that.
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#5 artgirl

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:22 PM

Currently dabbing the drool from my mouth.... sigh!! 12 days and change until I can indulge in those scrumpdillyicious restaurants!! Kinta is my hands down fav for dinner out and plan to indulge til I'm good and gorda and my skin pops!!!
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#6 DanB

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:08 AM

I saw a utube video with Josephina (the 'cooking class' lady recommended on this site) with her making her margarita recipe. She used equal parts tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup. I have used an inexpensive reposada tequila, limes, and simple syrup from Mega. I usually have to go to Covi to get the triple sec. Have not been able to find it at Mega.
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#7 Kandy

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:49 AM

For those of you who love Kinta - I like it, too, BTW - I highly recommend that you try Buccano's dinner. They are only open on Friday and Saturday nights 6-11 pm. It is, hands down, the most exquisite food and atmosphere on the island. The sunsets are breathtaking and the food is indescribably delicious. They will be closed September 1 until Thanksgiving day, so there are only a few weekends left to spend a great evening with them. Tomorrow night for me!!!!! Posted Image
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#8 MarkC

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:34 AM

You guys constantly plug some of these places to eat and i cant pull myself away from the beach bars to go!! LOL

the coiuntreau is the orange flavored triple sec.

BTW - without the 2 tsp of sugar, it wont work - it's BITTTTTTER w/o it.

MC
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#9 broylance

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 11:07 AM

The recipe we have for the Cucumber/Jalepeno margaritas from Wet Wendy's isn't a 1:1 ratio on the liquid, it is 3oz. Fresh lime juice, 1.5oz. Triple Sec, 3oz. Tequila, 1.5oz. Simple syrup so it is 2:1:2:1. And they are so yummy!!!! :P
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#10 MarkC

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 02:27 PM

I'll bet you it's Controy rather than Cointreau. Controy is a Mexican orange liqueur that comes in a green square bottle shaped very much like a brown Cointreau bottle.


I asked my GF what we used, and I was wrong about countreau - it was grand marnier.

Re: Wet Wendys: Frozen marg taste was average, nothing special, strength was pathetic at best. Live guitar music from the legless guy in the wheelchair was the best part.

MC
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#11 cvchief

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 03:53 PM

I really like a nice Wet Wendy's with cilantro. very fresh tasting....
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#12 mstevens

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:27 PM

simple syrup from Mega.


You know simple syrup is equal volumes of water and sugar, boiled, right? I've made it in hotel room microwaves. I can't imagine buying it pre-made. That's sort of like buying toast.

I usually have to go to Covi to get the triple sec. Have not been able to find it at Mega.


"Triple Sec" is a generic term for orange liqueur, usually reserved for the cheap versions. Mega definitely has both Cointreau and Controy, though I usually get my Controy from Chedraui because it's cheaper there.
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#13 broylance

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:36 PM

Mark,
Never tried the frozen margs at Wet Wendy's just the cucumber/jalapeno. Just not a fan of frozen...they all seem watered down to me.
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#14 mstevens

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 05:41 PM

I saw a utube video with Josephina (the 'cooking class' lady recommended on this site) with her making her margarita recipe. She used equal parts tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup.


I am at the present moment sipping a margarita made by my wife according to the recipe from "Cocina con Alma" (Josefina's cookbook), which does indeed use a 1:1:1:1 ratio.

It's good!

The official IBA recipe is 7:4:3 (tequila:Cointreau:lime), and that's how I've been making them since bartending school in college in the early 80's.

IBA is wrong on this one. The 1:1:1 ratio still has a good tequila taste, but mellowed by the higher proportion of orange liqueur and jazzed up by the much higher proportion of lime. I would have thought adding sugar equal to each of the other ingredients would make it too sweet, but it doesn't. This is probably due to the higher lime content balancing the sweet with sour. I also always thought of tequila as the predominant ingredient, but here too I have been wrong: the 1:1:1 margarita is a citrusy drink (from the lime juice and orange liqueur) with sufficient tequila to make it clearly a margarita. It's more balanced and all-round yummier.

The recipe is pretty hard to forget, too.

Henceforth, I will proclaim the gospel of the 1:1:1 margarita. It's the real deal.
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#15 DanB

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 06:59 AM

Glad you like it! I LOVE lime juice so the intense lime flavor in Josephina's 1:1:1:1 recipe is just perfect for me. Also, my wife also tells me that I should make my own simple syrup but it only cost a couple bucks for a bottle and more convenient when you are staying at a cheap hotel and only have access to a hot plate. Now that I've been told I'm a type 2 diabetic, I going to have to figure out a way to make simple splenda instead. I wonder how that will taste.
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#16 alma

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 08:33 AM

Try this when you are too lazy to make a margarita or want something without the sugar: squeeze 1/2 of lime into a cocktail glass, add the squeezed lime, add 1 shot of tequila, fill glass with diet squirt, add ice. It is very refreshing and easy. I love the Jarritos brand grapefruit soda but have not been able to find it without the sugar.
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#17 dawnb

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 09:05 AM

Dan, agave nectar might work, it's diabetic friendly.
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#18 BronxJoe

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 09:11 AM

Dan,
I am also a type 2 diabetic. You can get a good flavor using liquid stevia drops to get the proper sweetness . Be careful with alcohol intake. it does evil things to your blood glucose if you have 1 too many. The cordials in a marg have a lot of sugar
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#19 DanB

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 09:16 AM

Thanks for the suggestion. Can you get diet squirt (or diet anything other than cola) on the island? In my horrific spanish I have a standard routine every trip. I go to the pop/soda isle. I find a stock person and say "Conoces coke zero, si?" And he says 'si'. Then I say "Tienes sprite zero?" And so far he also says, No senor, no sprite zero? Anywhere I should look?
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#20 MarkC

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 09:20 AM

I ran out of margarita supplies last week. I made it to centennial last night for our sailing trip tonight on lake grapevine.

here is what I bought:

1. El Jimador tequila (reposado is the exact one IIRC @ mezcalitos)

2. Grand Marnier - orange and cognac

3. fresh squeezed lime juice from central market

I put one large shot glass full of each, then added about 3-4 tsp of sugar.

As a new test, instead of adding sugar, my GF got out the agave nectar and it can be easily substituted - could not tell the difference.

Oh, and we only had one margarita and it was more than enough lol

guess i'm a lightweight now
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”




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