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Happy Mother’s Day!!

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Yes, it was a few days ago, but we’re in Mexico, so you have to account for jet streams and prevailing winds …

We had two wines lined up for y’all this week that we were pretty excited about.  Then, it occurred to us that Cara might not want to spend Mother’s Day watching us cook and drink wine, so we went out.

Cara drank wine.  I drank beer.  Megan drank mineral water.

What we drank was not important.  Where we went and what we talked about was much more important.

Where we went was a little-known place in Playa del Carmen called Manne’s Biergarten.  The front of the restaurant features nook-like ambience with a touch of Montreal-meets-student pub.  In the back, there is a little courtyard with picnic tables and string lights hanging from bamboo in the trees.  Very charming and very cozy.

It does not feel like a place where wine would govern, however, and I generally allow my wine snobbery to warn me when I think an establishment may not have the most drinkable of wines.  Kind of like a really useless form of ESP.  So I went with beer instead.

Seeing as it’s a German biergarten, I thought I’d sample two German beers.

Beer: Köstriker Schwarzbier (Black Beer), Germany
Rating: One Bottle

This is why I’m not a fan of certain dark beers: they’re only good when they are very, very cold; otherwise, they taste like sweet garbage.

Cold, this dark beer is very drinkable.  Hoppy and sweet at the same time, it’s not what you would call refreshing, but it makes for a nice beer to start with.  On a hot Caribbean night, however, the molasses starts to stick in the back of your throat and you regret your decision to venture down Dark Beer Alley.

So, I drank it as fast as I could.

That over, I switched to a Pilsner.

Beer: Bitburger Pilsner, Bitburg, Germany
Rating: Three Bottles

I generally prefer darker beers, but a good Pilsner is like heaven.

Crisp from start to finish, when you drink Bitburger you will find yourself in shock when suddenly your glass is empty.  Hoppy without being too forceful about it (like certain I.P.A.s I know), Bitburger would be a welcome addition to anyone’s evening.

But as I mentioned before, the evening was made more special by the conversations we had.  Being Mother’s Day, most of our talk floated around being parents.

Even people without kids have theories about the best way to raise them.  After two years, we’ve developed a few of our own, but we’re still left with far more questions than answers.

When is the best time to start teaching a child critical thinking?  At what point should you encourage your child to question what she is being taught in school?  Is a didactic approach to learning favourable to a more Socratic method?

Cara and I are somewhat opposed in our beliefs.  She believes you explain your values to your child and let her decipher them as she will.  I believe that you probe the questions with your child, allowing her to come up with her own clumsy solutions.

My thoughts are this: if a child is told what the answers are, even if those answers are peppered with disclaimers, you are forming archetypes that will be difficult for her to break.  If, however, she forms hypotheses of her own, she meets the world with a set of filters that she can adjust throughout her life.

I was also very curious to know at what age should a child be taught to pick pockets.

Who knows?

We also talked a great deal about Star Wars.

Well, Rene and I did.  The girls rolled their eyes a lot.

The food at Manne’s Biergarten is awesome.  Sunday nights they serve prime rib, which can be hard to find, and even harder to find done well.  Manne does not disappoint.

If you are visiting Playa del Carmen and you want to check out a place that offers a unique setting in which to tip back a few, get great service, and enjoy a fantastic meal, give Manne’s a try.

On a slightly tangential note, we would like to wish all the mothers out there a happy Mother’s Day and to thank them for helping us become the people we are today.

On a more personal note, I’d like to wish my mom a happy Mother’s Day.  Thank you for everything, mom.

And to Cara, thank you for giving me Caia.  Every day I see you with her I’m reminded how lucky I am to have you both.

Until next week,


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