On Sunday around lunchtime, we were walking around downtown Merida where a variety of outdoor food vendors cluster to serve the shoppers and walkers.  I wasn't very hungry but was hoping to find some Sopa de Lima (Lime Soup), a classic Yucatecan soup I'd heard so much about.  Although the booth we stopped at said they had it to lure us in, they didn't actually, though they had some other kind of chicken soup.  Realizing it was probably too hot for soup anyway, I settled for a cooling Horchata (a traditional rice beverage) to drink, and Barry got a panucho.
Picture
Food stands
Picture
Where we had our snack
Picture
Panucho
Street food in Mexico is incredibly cheap and makes a good choice for lunch or a quick snack.
Picture
Horchata -- delish!
Since we had such a light lunch, we decided to eat dinner early and tried one of our Tripadvisor picks, Amaro.  Since we were eating so early, we had the place to ourselves.  I started with a michelada, another specialty drink in Mexico, and Barry had one of their special cilantro/habanero margaritas.  We also ordered some guacamole, chips, and salsa to whet our appetite as we perused the menu.
Picture
Cilantro margarita
Picture
One of our favorite things to eat in Mexico!
I still had Sopa de Lima on the brain, and we'd planned to go for sorbet after dinner, so I decided to have a light soup dinner.  Barry had a chicken dish. 
Picture
Sopa de Lima
Picture
Barry's chicken with sides
After our relatively light meal, we strolled back up to the Paseo de Montejo for some sorbet.  We'd eyed this place the night before but had chosen fancy desserts at Hennessey's.
Picture
Some of the flavors were obvious, some we had on our cheat sheet, and a few we had to ask about.
Picture
Heck if I can remember what flavors we got, but they were very refreshing!
We neglected to get a photo of the breakfast Larry prepared for us on Sunday morning, but it was very good -- fresh fruit, granola, yogurt and toast.  On Monday, the day we were hitting the road again for our next destination, we asked for a hearty breakfast (but sans meat) since we'd be eating only snacks for lunch.  
Picture
A nice setting for breakfast at La Casa Lorenzo
Picture
Veggie eggs and toast - excellent!
Before heading to the bus station to be on our way, Barry was determined to stop at the French pastry shop, Cafe Creme, very close to where we were staying.  A Frenchman owns and operates it, so it is authentic and lovely.  We figured we'd pick up a couple treats for the bus ride, since we wouldn't be having lunch.
After meeting the owner and getting a few free sample tastes, we picked our poisons.  It was all so delicious we could hardly go wrong with any choices.
Picture
Barry's selections -- some kind of decadent chocolate pyramid, a fruit tart, and banana bread
Picture
I added this lacy cookie
Picture
Close-up of tart
Picture
and mystery chocolate pyramid
Picture
A happy traveler
Stay tuned as we travel from Merida to our next destination, Campeche!
 
Not too long ago we were excited to hear that Carib beer, brewed in St. Kitts & Nevis in the Caribbean, was coming to Belize.  Since only a small variety of beers are sold in the country due to the Bowen & Bowen Belikin brand being a virtual monopoly, it is always nice to have a new option.  We first tasted this beer, served with the customary slice of lime, years ago in the British Virgin Islands, where it was as ubiquitous as Belikin is in Belize.
Picture
Barry pouring a Carib in Virgin Gorda, BVI, December 2003
We bought a few of new Carib Lagers recently to see if they were as tasty as we remembered.  Interestingly, the bottles available in Belize are small, just like Belikin.  This little guy is just 275 ml, which is approximately 9.3 oz, rather than the typical 12 oz bottle size in the United States.  I don't know if that's done to hold prices down or in an attempt to get people to drink less.  Or maybe it's just the opposite -- these go down so quickly on a hot day, it's likely you'll want another!
The label looks very similar to the 2003 label, and the taste was just as I remembered.  This is no insipid beer -- it has a robust flavor that pairs well with a slice of lime.  And the alcohol content is 5.2% -- maybe that's why the bottles are small!

We bought our Carib at the Liquor Box on Middle Street.  They frequently run specials of three bottles for $10 BZ ($5 US).  That's $10 US for a six-pack of the small bottles -- not cheap.  But then again, not much is very cheap on an island, and Belikin is only slightly less ($3 BZ per bottle at grocery stores in town).  One bonus is that the store is heavily air-conditioned, and to score your Caribs, you get to dip your hand down into their ICE cold water cooler.  It's pure bliss on a hot day.  I wanted to jump right in with the beer!
Picture
"Real Beer served here"
 
We'd been collecting Belikin bottles for awhile as I'd been enjoying the Sorrel Stout holiday brew leading up to and during the holidays.  Barry, silly boy, doesn't really care for Belikin, so I can't even blame any of the empties on him.  A few days ago, renters in the unit next door to us left us a large number of empty (and some full as well) soda bottles and a soda case that they hadn't had time to return to Belikin for their deposit.  It looked like free money to us, so who were we to say no?  

Since we don't have a golf cart, we have only one way to get such a load back to the distributor, and that's via bicycle.  Fortunately, Barry has some excellent utility baskets on the rear rack of his bike that enabled us to get the whole load of bottles back to town.  Good thing the biggest and only hill is the Sir Barry Bowen bridge, as this was quite a heavy load, but Barry was up for the challenge.  I bet Sir Barry Bowen himself would have been proud!
Picture
All loaded up and ready to go
Picture
Both baskets were brimming with heavy bottles
And we're off to town!  
Picture
Wish I hadn't sold my full-suspension mountain bike -- it would help on these rough roads.
Picture
In front of Barry are workers heading from a job site back down to Grand Caribe's wood shop.
Picture
So far, so good
At our destination, we unloaded all the bottles and made $13.75 (BZD, half that in US dollars) for our efforts.  This would have gone towards a Belikin "party can", which is the easiest and least expensive way for me to buy beer for home consumption here, but they were all out.  I guess that was a popular holiday item.  
Picture
Made it!
Since party cans were sold out, I had to content myself with a few bottles of Belikin from the grocery store, thus beginning yet another bottle collection.