It’s hard to believe that this is Bruce and Mary’s third anniversary celebration in the Yucatan. Please join them as they celebrate their 36 years of wedded bliss, er, ahh, weddedness?
Bruce and Mary Toast Their Anniversary
I’m glad to be gainfully employed now, here in Mérida, and doing by some standards better than we ever have, because that means that I probably will not give in to my cheap inner self and diminish in some fashion, our 36th wedding anniversary.
Our anniversary was actually Thursday but, as that was a workday and a school night we have decided to celebrate today, Saturday. We begin our celebration by sleeping in. Then, having accomplished that we get our act together and walk up to California gym, our gym and we each have a very righteous work-out. We’re a little disappointed that we do not see any of our poster boy pals, but we are a little earlier than usual.
Three Bald Gringos Watch Futbol in a Mexican Bar
Back home we clean up and immediately head to our neighborhood bar, El Luceros, to watch USA vs Ghana in the World Cup, we’re a little late as our boys are already down 1-0 on an early Ghana goal. The place is packed but luckily our usual table with a clear view of one of many big screen TVs is available. We spot our pals Neil, Pete, and Linda at a nearby table in the big room and we’re a little surprised as we thought they were going to watch the match at Dave the Brit’s deli (not an option for us, no beer) but we find, as we join them, that for some reason he couldn’t tune it in on his cable. The first half ends with Ghana up 1-0 and Pete and Neil are upset with the Americans’ lackadaisical play. I am surprised at their disgust as they’re Brits, Neil from England and Pete from Wales, but Pete does have dual citizenship and his wife Linda is American. Evidently the American coach does as Neil suggests and puts a “torch up their a**es” as they swarm Ghana in the opening minutes of the second half and tie the score with a penalty kick. The regulation ends in a 1-1 tie so they go to a 30 minute overtime and at about the 20 minute mark a Ghanaian player scores on a helluva athletic breakaway. I was about to tell Neil that I guessed the bar was so packed with football fans because the locals were here to support USA, their neighbors to the north, just as every Gringo I know has been supporting Mexico in their World Cup bid, but wrong. The whole bar erupts with cheering and noisemakers when Ghana scores and again at the end of the game when they win. I take this personally as I survey the scene. Neil, generous soul that he is, speculates that a Ghana win perhaps advances Mexico’s chances. I doubt it. We say our goodbyes and head home where we gussy ourselves up in our wedding wear (Helen’s wedding that is), Mary in her custom-made dress, and I with my custom-made guayabera and linen pants. This marks maybe the third time in 2+ yrs down here that we have dressed up.
Bruce and Mary Enjoying the View from Rosas y Xocolate’s Roof-top Bar
We walk the 4 blocks to the new Boutique Hotel, Rosas y Xocolate, Roses and Chocolate for our anniversary night out. The sky is overcast but with no rain and it has cooled down mercifully for us in our fancy clothes. We enter through the main door to the dining room and passing through we climb the spiral staircase to the rooftop bar overlooking beautiful, tree lined Paseo Montejo. We pick a table at the concrete railing and take in the view as the bar keeper quickly scurries over to our table to take our orders, a Bohemia Obscura, my most favorite beer in the world and for some reason Mary orders Tecate light, ewww! I light up my Cohiba Esplendido to share with Mary and life is good. We take to the sheltered horseshoe shaped bar when a slight mist develops and we reorder our beers. Mary has come to her senses and orders a Bohemia as well. Mary espies a huge green parrot high up in a tree next door and snaps a pic of it. We are having a perfect moment and we stretch it out by slowly sipping our beers on ice and puffing away on the Cohiba when it is not resting in the cigar cut-out of the black Onyx cenicero, ashtray. Everything about this place is first rate.
Pescado del Dia
Finally our stomachs tell us it is time for dinner. We climb down the spiral staircase into the garden but we decide to take our dinner in the dining room proper as it is heating up again and we wouldn’t mind some air conditioning. We are seated at a table for two at a window facing Paseo and presented menus and asked about drinks. Mary has her usual beer but I ask for el vino rojo de la casa, the house red wine. Mary gets her beer and I am presented with two choices of red wine. I taste test them both and decide on the Chilean Merlot. I am no wino but it tastes mighty fine to me. Mary orders an appetizer para compartir, to share, a salad. But first we are served little tiny slices of bread, one with raisins and the other a sesame seed variety. Both are scrumptious and look funny sitting on our huge platters where we butter them. We marvel at the simple but elegant silverware. I hold up the spoon and see my reflection in it .Mary says, “But first there is no spoon.”
Mary and Carol
Carol, the owner, born in Mexico City, raised in NY and formerly out of Florida, his base of international travel for 35 years, comes over to say hi and we have fun telling him that our girlfriend, Connie, thinks he is hot. He says “Really, you know I am 64.” Well you’d never know it. I tell him that I would put him at my age, 57, or younger. He tells a charming story of his vodka tasting party attended by a number of 20 somethings and then he is off, wishing us, “Buen provecho!”
Our salad comes and it may be the best salad I have ever had. It is arugula placed artfully on a white plate splashed with a stripe of chocolate! Sandwiched in the mound of arugula are thin slices of firm, succulent pear and bits of pistachios. Hmmm!
We are served more breads and then the entrees come, a Chicken dish for Mary and Pescado del Dia, fish of the day, for me. The presentation is deceiving in that at first you think you’re looking at a classic gourmet presentation with about 200 calories of actual food until you realize that the bowl shaped platter is huge, seemingly dwarfing the entree but the tower of food is very generous. My fish steak sits atop a tall bed of nopal, seasoned cactus, all on top of a meaty tortilla base. It is very good, but you want to be a nopal fan for this dish, which I am, as the nopal taste is very strong. Mary’s chicken dish consists of chicken breast sitting atop a lentil salad with some arugula and lettuce like mache and it is fantastic (she shares!) There is a bit of guyaba puree on the side which complements the flavors incredibly well. There are no leftovers!
We are patting our bellies as we notice a couple coming in the front door. It is Juanita and Jan (Yon)! Juanita is the editor at Yucatan Today who published our book and she is a good friend we have not seen for quite awhile. Juanita is there with her husband, meeting another couple, to write her restaurant of the month review and this month she is featuring Rosas y Xocolate. We get caught up and then see them off to the table where their friends await.
Mary is served coffee and I still have my vino to finish when a plate comes bearing a triangle of dense, moist chocolate cake with a dallop of icecream on top with a lit candle. On the plate is scribed, in a drizzle of chocolate, “Felicidades!” Courtesy of Carol. I don’t have to tell you it is to die for, especially for a chocoholic (Mary hides it in the house) like myself.
We ask for la Cuenta, the check, and after a 20% tip, the whole evening comes to 869P, about $69.50US, not bad, eh?
We say goodbye to Juanita and Jan and in the process meet their friends Ralf who has a T-Shirt shop in La Gran Plaza, and his wife Maru who has a cookie business, and then we’re out the door walking Paseo on a Saturday night wondering how an evening could be any more perfect. To you Mary: I am truly a lucky man.
Thanks for visiting gentle reader. Bruce and Mary have found that the longer they live in Mérida the more enchanted with the city they become. Mérida is truly muy bonita and muy tranquilo. Hasta pronto!