We set out for dinner as soon as we arrived back from our tour. We knew if we dawdled, tiredness from the day would creep through our limbs and overtake our need for food.
We were on our way to town, but stopped part way to eat at Mandarina, the restaurant that is in the Casa Las Tortugas hotel.
The restaurant was busy, but we were still able to get a cozy table in a corner.
The décor, as well as the other diners, had a European air. Many of the guests appeared to be speaking French, or Dutch (we would discover the next day that the island had been taken over by Dutch travelers). Men in khakis and pastel button ups, and women wearing flowy shoulder strap sun dresses, sat sipping glasses of wine at the white washed restaurant tables.We were still wearing our comfortable trekking- in- the- hot- weather- on- a- tour clothes and felt a bit under-dressed.
We started off with mojitos. They were the best mojitos we have ever had. The problem most often with mojitos is that one ingredient, rum, mint, sugar, etc… usually over powers the others, but the mojitos we had that evening were perfectly balanced. Now every time we have a mojito we say, remember the mojitos we had at Mandarina?
Warm fresh baked rolls were set on our table,
along with the tasty seared scallop appetizer we ordered.
For our entrees, I had the fish of the day served with a mango salsa and something that sounded strange, but turned out to be delicious, pineapple mashed potatoes.
The pineapple tasted grilled, so it was not overly sweet. I wondered why I never had yummy pineapple mashed potatoes before.
Shannon had the steak. He said that it was very good.
While we were eating our dinner a man entered the restaurant. He set down a little low to the ground chair, took out an instrument that we learned was a hang drum, and began to play. He taped, taped, taped at the round drum, creating pretty, Zen like, soothing tones. He played a few songs, accepted tips and/or sales of his cd, packed up his things, and left. I wondered how one takes up hang drum playing. Did he just make up the songs as he went, or was there actually music, and if so what does hang drum sheet music look like?
The next night we were walking through town and heard the graceful pleasing sound of the hang drum. We followed the music like children following the Pied Piper and saw the hang drum guy in another restaurant. We deduced that he must make the rounds each night playing at the various restaurants in town. There were more questions to follow. Did he live on the island? Was this a side gig, or did playing the hang drum at restaurants really pay the bills? Is it a low stress job? How could I become a professional hang drum player? So many unanswered questions.
After our entrees, we were waffling on whether or not to get coffee with our desert, but after our French Canadian waiter informed us that in his opinion, they had the best coffee on the island, we were intrigued.
The coffee was great, though I’m not sure any while- on- travels coffee will ever compare to our now defunct Panama Durand.
The crème brulee we shared was good, but not overly exciting.
It turned out to be our fanciest dinner of the trip. The mojitos were perfect, the food delicious, and the atmosphere elegant but not stuffy. It was the cherry on top of an already spectacular day.
On the way back to the resort, we took a slow stroll along the beach, taking account of all of the wonderful experiences we had that day. We stood on the beach and looked up at the star covered sky.We knew that it was time to go back to our room and go to bed, but it was difficult to close our eyes on, and say goodnight to the best day in Mexico.