Rumor on the street was that the micheladas at some of the cantinas in Merida are big – like REALLY BIG……so we set out on a Cantina Crawl to seek out the “world’s largest” (Or at least Merida’s largest) michelada.
What’s a michelada you ask? It’s kind of like a bloody mary – but made with beer instead of vodka. It can be made with tomato juice or a variety of juices….served with lots of ice and a salted rim on the glass.
With our goal set we headed out on the streets of Merida…….the cantina crawl begins!
But first…..breakfast. It’s always important to start a cantina crawl with a complete breakfast….we walked up to Rosas Y Xocolate. The breakfast was amazing…and yes, we will go ahead and count this as stop one on our cantina crawl as we did have Bloody Mary’s…
Check out the bathrooms….
Here’s the men’s bathroom…
And the women’s…
Pretty clever to use eggs to label the restrooms, right?
Ok – all fueled up with a good breakfast it was time to begin the michelada search!
First on our list was La Casita de Paja…..here’s a picture of the streets on the way there….or so we thought…….Lisa was not the best with her directions since the streets were all numbers…and we know how Lisa just cannot process numbers…..
We found it!
This cantina is known for it’s large micheladas served with a huge chunk of ice in them…
That’s a pretty big drink!
We opted for the Tecate Light – trying to keep it healthy….
Did you know that there is some kind of law that requires cantinas to just give you free food while you are there drinking? (it’s a good thing we ate breakfast, right?)
Here’s the food they brought out at La Casita de Paja…
Our best estimates are that the food consisted of chili con queso with liver, beans, bread, chips, spicy melted cheese and scrambled eggs with chicken(?) in them. The snacks were pretty good….just enough to balance out the beer.
Here is the inside:
It took us over an hour to consume our one drink….the entire time we were thinking this is the easiest waitress gig ever….
Success! This cantina was definitely a “one and done” bar…
They didn’t have WIFI but there was a payphone outside that we could put money in and get WIFI……for some reason this just seemed like a bad idea….
The bathroom was clean, but in typical cantina style was missing the toilet seat…..Lisa said she should have done squats in preparation for the cantina crawl…..but they had toilet paper! So that was a bonus.
We were totally blending with the local lunch crowd until Lisa brought out the map to plan the route to the next cantina…….do you really believe that???
Back out into the Merida heat we walked to our next stop…El Porvenir Cantina here we come!
Our second cantina was much easier to find since Ronnie took over the navigation…..
This place had this very interesting mural painted on the wall behind the bar…..anyone wanna comment on what this scene is about or who is in it? We have our thoughts…but don’t want to ruin the fun!
Cool cantina doors….
This cantina had great ceiling fans and our beer choices were Sol, Superior or Dos Equis. We opted for the XX…
But we ordered those before the people at the table next to us got their mango michelads…..what?!?
Lisa was in…..She doesn’t like mango but figured she would try it….how could it be bad served in a huge tin mug?
Ronnie trying it…he made the executive decision that we probably didn’t need two of these at our table…..good call!
Their slogan should be:
Mango micheladas bigger than your head!
(at least they were bigger than Lisa’s). We have a winner in our quest for the world’s largest michelada!
Lisa said even though she doesn’t like mango, it was pretty good when mixed with beer, salt and lime.
Wondering where our cantina snacks are? Oh they are coming…..this place brought out two rounds of food…that’s right – TWO!
Here was round one –
The first round of food contained hot dogs with ketchup/BBQ sauce, stewed vegetables, eggs with chaya, something red that Ronnie tried but said, “hmmmm……that’s not good” and spicy queso and chips.
While we were snacking people were playing tunes on the jukebox (is it still called that, or did that term become extinct in the 50s with Fonzi?)…anyway Ronnie put his 5 pesos in and played Aerosmith’s “Big 10 Inch Record”…everyone loved it. That song kicked off a “who can play the best rock-and-roll song competition”. We were the only gringos in the bar but these locals knew how to pick tunes – one guy even played some Cure songs….a very unusual but enjoyable choice, for a cantina in Mexico.
Round two of snacks arrived….somehow we don’t have a picture. This round consisted of a spicy pork soup, spicy cucumber slices with cilantro and something else….it looked like chicken skin covered in chimichurri sauce – Ronnie tried it and determined that yes – that’s exactly what it was. It was literally chicken skin covered in chimichurri sauce and that’s it. Cooked? Maybe.
Needless to say the one, dime sized piece he tried that took 5 minutes to chew as it seemed to grow in size, was the only piece he ate.
At this bar we noticed something interesting….as you drink, the glasses and beer bottles are left at your table…..
They brought out a box for us to keep all of our bottles/glasses…
Ronnie figured out that this was the cantina’s way of keeping track of our bill….and their inventory. We named it the Cantina Point of Sales System.
Who needs a computerized system when you have a box?
As much fun as we were having at EL Porvenir it was time to move on to the next cantina….(and yes, Lisa did finish her drink)….
Next up…El Gallito! (for some reason Lisa forgot to take a picture of the outside…..wonder why….)
Any guesses what beer they served here?
They had a giant list of beers…so we opted for Victoria..(we’re rebels like that)
We met some new friends there and they bought Lisa a rose……
And they took our picture!
And yes, they brought us food too….
These snacks were pretty darn good…chicken tostadas, bean dips and spaghetti. It is really nice to be fed all day while you’re out drinking….
It was at this point we were getting full on all of the food and beers…….time to change up our drinks….we looked at their drink menu:
Red Bull and Vodkas for 35 pesos….WHAT?!?! That’s only $2.25 US per drink……we’re in!
After finishing up our snacks and consuming a few Red Bull and vodkas it was time to pay our tab, say goodbye to our friends and take to the streets in search of our next cantina…..
We have arrived…La Negrita cantina!
This place was packed….but we were able to find a small table by the window…
It was happy hour when we arrived…..lucky us! We were able to get vodka and tonics for $1.25 US….we are definitely loving how cheap the vodka drinks are in Merida.
They brought us snacks too…just a couple, but the rolled tacos were delicious!
Time to move on…we have two more cantinas to try….and uh oh, it’s getting dark already.
Next stop….El Estado Seco Cantina…
This cantina was run by a really nice family….they offered us food but we declined…..we were definitely stuffed!
They convinced Ronnie to try this beer…..great name for a beer!
Lisa was “beer-ed out” and spotted a bottle of Absolute Vanilla on the wall…..she asked if they could get it down and mix her a drink….of course they could!
We had one last bar on our list for the day – Hennesy’s Pub….
We stopped in there for dinner (because we needed more food) and drinks (because we needed more drinks)….we are so glad we stopped in – their French Onion Soup was the best we’ve had in years and they had Young’s Double Chocolate Stout!
What a perfect way to end our 12 hour cantina crawl!
In case you were wondering….yes, we broke every “rule” about what not to eat in Mexico…and neither of us got sick.
We may not have abs of steel – but we definitely have stomachs of steel!