Cruise Cuisine – Pancho’s, Cozumel, Mexico


In the duty-free marketplace on Cozumel, our intrepid fellows insisted that we have lunch at a local establishment they were already aware of. It’s called Pancho’s, as might be expected in the tourist area, but the food was not typical tourist fare. It was delightful to have real Mexican cuisine instead of the Tex-Mex hybrid dishes so profligate in Texas.

I started off with a coffee, while some of my fellow travelers indulged in frosty adult beverages as seen in a previous blog. The coffee was a locally grown blend, dark and rich, and served with heavy cream. it was so good I almost didn’t order food.


My empty cup.



My partner wanted to try a Mexican beer in Mexico. Upon finding out that Dos XX was available on tap, he chose to make that his beverage experience.


for the meal itself, we went with a couple of dishes we are quite familiar with, wanting to know how they would be served in their homeland. He went with the queso flameado (as we had previously learned to call it), while I settle for the chicken flautas.

The queso came all melty, as we know it, though it came in a shallower dish, and covered in a mild green sauce. It was served with flour tortillas as we are also used to. Somehow it tasted better than anything we had experienced back home.



The flautas were just as I had been told to expect in Mexico. There was nothing added. Roasted chicken was rolled into tortillas and fried. The chicken was flavorful, but without all the crazy spices Tex-Mex utilizes. The sauce it was served with was a little sweet and a lot spicy, just as I had hoped it might be. There was even a large spoonful of guacamole to help cool my tongue after the first taste of that sauce.



We were fortunate to be able to get a table on the “beach” as the hostess referred to it. It was outside on a built up bit of sand, with palm fronds for a ceiling and a view of old coral coastline and sparkling blue water.


We thoroughly enjoyed the laid back atmosphere and the chance to sit and do relatively little for an hour or so. We hope to be able to revisit Pancho’s and try some of the more adventurous items on the menu.

–Ann Cathey

Barcenas – Houston, TX

At first glance, Barcenas Mexican Restaurant looks like just another up and coming strip mall eatery. There area ctually three locations currently, serving Houston and Friendswood as well as the LaMarque location we were introduced to.

We happened to be there with some friends for a small wedding reception in the back room. Their Christmas finery was up and was fairly understated except for the whopper of a Christmas tree in the front entry. The rest of the decor was fairly laid back, but typical of the venue with broad swatches of earthtones highlighted by bright red and green accents.

Sadly I was unable to take photos of our food or the venue itself due to the occasion, but
rest assured it was very comfortable and the staff was on point.

When checking out a new restaurant, my partner and I usually have a specific dish that we
order as a litmus test. For Mexican food, that test dish is Queso Flameado. For those not
experienced with this excellent appetizer, it’s a hot dish of melted white cheese topped with chorizo. A lot of establishments will call it flameado, yet offer fajita chicken, beef or
grilled onions and peppers to top it off. Those variations actually have other names, but you get the idea.

The Queso Parrilla, as they call it, with fajita chicken was outstanding. The flour tortillas
served with it were a little small, and there were only three of them, but they were obviously made on site with a lovely flavor that complimented the buttery richness of the cheese.

While some of the rest of the party was much more adventurous, we stuck to known quantities for this visit. I ordered the flautas, while he chose a burrito plate. The portions were generous and very tasty.

Flautas – Three corn tortillas wrapped around Ranch chicken and deep fried, served with
Spanish rice and refried beans, a small bed of lettuce topped with sour cream and guacamole.

Burrito Azteca – A large flour tortilla stuffed with fajita chicken and white cheese, topped
with moderately spicy chipotle sauce. Served with Spanish rice and refried beans.

“Big, warm, and flavorful. Definitely a $10 burrito plate.”
— Christopher

A bar is available , specializing in margaritas, cocktails, and a small list of beer and wine. Check out their full menu  for the wide variety of entrees and appetizers they offer, then go give them a try when you are in the area.

Barcenas offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as banquet and party services, with three locations to serve you.

On the 1-5 scale, Barcenas gets:
Cleanliness – 4.5
Service – 5
Quality of food – 4.5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – 3
Overall experience – 4.4

Barcenas Mexican Restaurant
11013 Delaney Road
La Marque, TX 77568
(409) 908-9801

Let us know if you go, and what you think about Barcenas.

— Ann Cathey

La Rumba – Sulphur, LA


Once again we found ourselves along the I-10 corridor in Louisiana on a Saturday, and stopped to lunch with our friends there. They suggested a Tex-Mex hot spot and off we went.


Like a lot of places in Sulphur, La Rumba isn’t much to look at, just yet. They are doing a lot of renovation and updating to the building, so it may look a little different if you go to hunt it up. There’s a lovely porch for outdoor dining, and due to their popularity, another large section of porch with plenty of seating while you wait for a table to open up.


DSC_0868Inside the decor is typical of it’s kind, with faux stucco walls, heavy dark woods, Mexican ceramics and handicrafts, and a few horses thrown in for good measure. Both booths and tables are available. The floor space is a little cramped, but not too badly.

DSC_0872 La Rumba Dip

La Rumba Dip


We were urged to try the La Rumba Dip, which turned out to he a big bowl of hot cheese topped by beef, chicken and shrimp. It’s similar to a queso flameado, though the cheese consistency is more like dipping queso and there’s a lot of meat. It came with tortillas and a large side of pico de gallo.

DSC_0873 Small quesadilla

Small Quesadilla


Another member of our group had a small quesadilla as an appetizer.




The menu is packed with all the Tex-Mex classics and a short side list of American offerings like burgers and chicken fingers. The kid’s menu has the typical stuff kids enjoy including a personal size cheese pizza.

DSC_0875 Pizza for the kids

DSC_0874 Monster Burrito


One of the teenagers in our party ordered a burrito. We were not quite prepared for the size of the entree. To his credit, he ate the whole thing in one sitting.

DSC_0871 Flauta Mexicana

Flautas Mexicana



I ordered the Flautas Mexicana, and was not disappointed. Flour tortillas stuffed with chicken and deep fried, served with a small bed of lettuce topped by guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo.


Sadly, I missed out on getting photos of what everyone else ordered as we were all hungry and the food smelled so good! It lived up to the aroma with plenty of flavor and filling portions.

On the 1-5 scale, La Rumba gets:
Cleanliness – 4.5
Service – 3
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – 4
Overall experience – 4.3

La Rumba
1804 Ruth Street
Sulphur, LA 70663
(337) 287-4846

— Ann Cathey

All photos of individual minor models posted with parental permission.

Bronco Burrito – Galveston TX

This lovely island surprise is located in an old light blue building on Broadway. Don’t blink or you might miss it, which is apparently what a lot of Galveston visitors do.DSC_0009

Bronco Burritos is a small business that packs a large punch, right in your breakfast noms. The burritos are huge, well packed, and so fresh you will think they are collecting eggs from hens in the back yard.

There were a lot of work trucks parked outside, with electricians and plumbers and landscapers ordering to go, or if they had time sitting down in the tiny dining area to chomp their burritos.DSC_0004

We chanced to visit with some friends who live on Galveston Island a few weeks back. It was the height of the chicken-flu, and the restaurant had postings everywhere (even on the receipts) apologizing for the temporary price hike due to the price of eggs. Very nice of them not to surprise you with it at the very end like some places have been doing. The price difference was maybe 20 cents per burrito, so it wasn’t too horrible.

My partner foodies and I all ordered variation of the Bronco Burrito, the restaurant’s signature menu item. I subbed extra bacon for sausage and wheat tortillas. As you can see, it was still a monster.DSC_0007

The Bronco normally has 2 eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, refried beans and chorizo. Not a small meal. You may customize as I mentioned, including things like wheat tortillas, all egg whites, and additional veggies. They also offer burritos with barbacoa, carne guisada, machacado, and migas.DSC_0005

Burritos aren’t the only items on the menu at Bronco. The have a variety of breakfast plates including machacado, pork chops and tamales. The tamales a la carte or on my hit list for our next visit.

Each order is accompanied by a little pot of salsa. Watch out for this. It’s a bit warm for my tastes, but I like spicy salsas. It’s brownish with lots of tomatillo. The heat seems to be mostly from jalapenos, but there could be something more.DSC_0008

To give you an idea of how popular this place is, we visited on a Tuesday, and there were more than 30 orders placed (mostly to go) during our 45 minute visit!

This place get a definite thumbs up, and revisits as often as possible. Remember, however, that they are closed on Sunday.

On the 1-5 scale, Bronco Burritos gets:
Cleanliness – 4.5
Service – 4.5
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – 4
Overall experience – 4.6

Bronco Burritos
4917 Broadway
Galveston, Texas 77551
5am to Noon, Monday – Saturday

–Ann Cathey

Fast Food Tacos with a Sense of Humor

Here I go, yapping about a fast food chain again.

Surprising decor! A flower arrangement on every other table with taco sauce!

Surprising decor! A flower arrangement on every other table with taco sauce!

There are tons of taco shops and shacks out there, and a lot of them are truly wonderful, tasty creations. Torchy’s Tacos out of Austin, Taco Cabana, and all those food stands in Houston and Conroe are great examples.


The latest exterior for Taco Bell.

The latest exterior for Taco Bell.

Then there is Taco Bell. Some locations are snazzier than others. It probably has to do with the clientele, but don’t tell them I said that.




Soft and crunchy tacos, with a side of burrito.

Soft and crunchy tacos, with a side of burrito.

I swear they put something addictive in the meat, like a mineral or vitamin that tons of people are craving and don’t know it. We jokingly call their tacos “crack tacos”. When a craving strikes nothing else will do to quiet it but that we make a Taco Bell run.



A crunchy taco with sour cream.

A crunchy taco with sour cream.

Soft taco in mid-munch.

Soft taco in mid-munch.

Anyone else out there have this craving?




My traveling companion and I can’t seem to get enough on some trips!








Why, yes! Yes, of course!

–Ann Cathey

Leija’s Mexican Cafe – Cut-n-Shoot, Texas

Leija’s is a neat little place tucked away in the wilds of 105 on the east side of Conroe. Given that it is generally crowded with work trucks at lunch time, it promised to be tasty.

Leija’s is family owned and operated, giving it an atmosphere of caring – about the food, the service, and the customers – and not just another franchised operation where the wait staff gets stiffed all the time. It hasn’t been open long, just a few months, and already has my devotion.

Visitors are always set up with the obligatory chips and salsa selections. Be careful if you are capcasin sensitive. Both the red (tomato) and the green (tomatillo) salsas have some heat to them.

Chips and Salsa

Chips and Salsa

Last time we visited we ordered the nachos. My son has tried them and found them very pleasing, both to his tastebuds and his nose. This time it was our turn!

My partner and I order the beef and chicken nachos, respectively. As we have come to expect at Leija’s, the portions were definitely dinner sized. These nacho plates are meant to be shared.

Nachos Beef

Fajita Beef Nachos

Nachos Chicken

Fajita Chicken Nachos

Rather than having the additional salad goodies heaped on top and potentially making some of your chips soggy, they are served on a salad plate, You may partake or not, as you prefer.

Nachos Salad Plate

Salad Plate

They do not yet have a website to link to, but information other than what we tell you is available all over the web about this place. Here’s a sample with lots of info.

On the 1-5 scale, Leija’s gets:
Cleanliness – 4
Service – 4
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – Low to Moderate
Overall experience – 4.5

-Ann Cathey
Photos by Christopher O.