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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

More of Mérida’s obscurities: 5 food finds and handicraft discoveries

Maggie Cale's unearths yet more hidden treasures, from perfect pizza to hand-made pillows, pom-poms extra

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Maggie Cale
Maggie Cale was born in the United States and has lived most of her life in Pennsylvania. She has a social work degree from Penn State University and finished her career in Washington, D.C. working with families. She moved to Yucatán in 2017 and has worked part-time ghostwriting for bloggers. She lives in Itzimná with her two dogs.

My adventures continue. These will fit you if you are a foodie, shopaholic or looking for great service. 

A taste of Belize comes across the border to the Yucatán Peninsula. Photo: Maggie Cale
The husband-and-wife team of Liz and Mariano Calderón brings Belizian barbecue to Mérida. Photo: Maggie Cale

Taste Belize by Liz: a takeout-only spot open just on Saturdays, so plan ahead. The family relocated here from San Pedro, Belize, five years ago. Liz and Mariano Calderón have been bringing this taste to Mérida and surrounding areas for one year now, continuing the Belize tradition of barbecue on the weekends. Liz has a great menu of Belizean flavors; appetizers such as wings, homemade cheese dip with freshly made tortillas chips, and stuffed jalapeños. The main menu offers chicken or ribs; combo packs available for 200 pesos. The rice and beans are made traditionally with coconut oil or fresh coconut milk. This also comes with coleslaw so offering two sides. She also makes homemade desserts with my favorites: frozen key lime pie or cheesecake. A whole one is 180 pesos. My ultimate favorite is fresh coconut pie that is so creamy you will want to eat dessert first. Event catering is also available, and they work with Uber for pickups. Place orders on WhatsApp at 999-142-1499 or on Facebook messenger. Calle 44, 478 between 23 and 25, Col. Los Pinos

Rescue Pizza’s veggie toppings are this writer’s favorites. Photo: Maggie Cale

Rescue Pizza: I am always looking for the ultimate dough-to-sauce ratio with good melted cheese. Rescue Pizza has a wide selection of toppings, and vegetables are my favorite. The crust is crispy and the cheese is a true mozzarella. They also serve fresh-cut fries with toppings like marinara sauce and chorizo. The real story of this pizza shop is the family. As all individuals have been hit hard with the pandemic, they donate a percentage of their everyday profits to purchase food for families in need or to a local orphanage. They have the true spirit of giving back to their community every day. Their prices are amazing, with a pepperoni pizza for just 100 pesos. They also have delivery. Calle 45, 563A between 80 and 82, Centro, 999-550-0076

Caffe Latte in Itzimná is known for good coffee and attentive service. Photo: Maggie Cale

Caffe Latte: a favorite place to get freshly roasted coffee beans. Caffe Latte has been brewing coffee and roasting beans in Itzimna for about seven years. They carry about 25 different types of coffee and also will deliver for a fee of 25 pesos. A great place to purchase flavored syrups for your coffee as well as Italian sodas. The strawberry or lemon Italian sodas are my favorites — bubbly, but not too sweet. A cucumber lime drink is also very refreshing and is currently on special. They serve frappes and cold brews along with a great creamy mango pie. A limited amount of fresh sandwiches are also available with the chicken sandwich ranking high, in my opinion. The staff is pleasant and attentive. Calle 18, Avenida Rotary Internacional, 101, Itzimná, 999-927-0410

Photo: Maggie Cale
Reyna’s Place: A place for crate and fancy bottles. Photo: Maggie Cale

Reyna’s Place: this was certainly a rare find. While helping a friend with her new apartment, I found Reyna. Reyna Luceli Ek Torres lives in a small house out near the Harbor Mall. It is a small business run out of her house. Her husband makes wooden crates in all different shapes and sizes, ranging in price from 40 to 100 pesos. So great for storage, especially in an old colonial home with no closets. However, a side surprise was to find she also decorates used bottles with many different themes. Some look old-world style, a few holiday festive types, and soon for Día de los Muertos. She will add festive twinkle lights inside if you would like. You are welcome to bring your own bottle and suggest a theme. What a great way to make a memory or give a gift. Call 999-992-5427 if you speak Spanish or locate her on WhatsApp. Calle 48 #302 between x17 y19, Col. Nueva Revolución

Pom-poms are just a little extra at Textiles Xhilia. Photo: Maggie Cale

Textiles Xhilia: for well-made throw pillows, cushions, table runners, bedspreads or special orders on Mexican blouses or dresses. Lucia Burgos Buenfil uses material made on Oaxacan looms to develop her stock. She has a showroom that is by appointment only and is very responsive. She carries so many colors and sizes or you can special order. Want pom-poms on your pillows? She will add them. I found her to be creative and friendly. Certainly, a fun-filled way to shop. Approximate prices are a table runner for 250 pesos and a pillow for 200 pesos — add pom-poms for 75 pesos more. Calle 38, 324 between 45 and 47, Col. Buenito Juarez. 811-289-4985 

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