This afternoon, still wallowing in disappointment after cancelling our weekend getaway to Cozumel, I dragged the kids off to the beach. Rob will attest to the fact that I am always whining and complaining that we need to do more NEW things, go to DIFFERENT places and generally make an effort to get out of the ex-pat rut. Despite my prodding, often I end up doing these things on my own. Most times, I have a blast. Other times, like today, I am reminded why sometimes it is easier to just keep on doing the same old thing, in the same old places, wth the same old people.

I have been wanting to check out Zenzi Beach Club for some time now. So rather than haul the kids all the way down to Captain Dave's, like usual, we walked the few blocks from our house to the beach at el faro. It's a really sharp looking bar and restaurant in a drop dead gorgeous building. Above, the condominiums at Corto Maltes were finished late last year and sold out quickly in pre-construction. The beach at Zenzi is wide and smooth with chic beach cushions and billowy linen sunshades in rows, five deep to the ocean's edge.

We were able to find a set of cushions with shade and settled in. Our server looked less than thrilled about the children taking up valuable beach space in his section.

It was good beach day for the kids so they romped around in the surf while I dug into the next in my series of Jimmy Buffet reads. (Anything to prolong the "vacation high")


Shirley Temples and Frozen Margaritas. Darn tasty!

Later, we ordered the Zenzi Sandwich (tuna fish salad and smoked salmon on fresh bread served with pommes frites and a garlic aoli) and a delicious Asian Ceviche (not on the menu - recommended by Jez) delicately flavored with sesame, thinly sliced mango, ginger and fresh mint. While I waited quite awhile to place our order and the food was slow to arrive, it was delicious and enjoyable and the presentation speaks for itself. The Zenzi menu well exceeds the normal Playa beach fare.

All in all, aside from the fact that I only received half of the beverages that I ordered....when I had a server to order them from....my afternoon was quite pleasant. Unlike some, I rather like that cool trancy music they play. I find it easy to relax and read to. It's a pretty place and the beach cushions are quite comfortable. Given the opportunity, I could have easily sucked down half a dozen or so frozen Margaritas. Maybe I'm not young enough. Maybe I'm not pretty enough. Maybe I didn't realize that a "child free zone" had been assumed here. Whatever...I don't think I am this particular beach club's target audience.

OK, so I'm old and un-cool. Not exactly a news flash for this chica. Now comes the part of the day that always sends me: the settling up of the tab. This is where I really weigh the fun of trying new places with the familiarity of the old stand-bys. Predictably, the server approaches me and and attempts to tally the bill in his head. I do the same. His tally has 4 Margaritas on it. Mine has only 2. We settle on 2 and he rattles of a random sum, looking expectantly toward me for immediate payment. I politely ask for a written check, la cuenta por favor. He wanders off. I wait. He returns, visibly annoyed, and tells me a new sum for the bill. Again, I request a written accounting. It is at this point that I pull out the big gun: I tell him I need the receipt in because I am writing a review of the beach club and need to turn in my receipt to my editor.

Well, as you can imagine, that worked like a charm. We still had to go through the dance where he tells me the total does not include the tip and I have to show him on the bill where the tip has been "suggested" into that total. God, it really does get old sometimes. So, in the end, he didn't get double tipped and I didn't squalk about the fact that my children's "Shirley Temples" (Sprite and grenadine syrup) were charged to me as "Smoothies" at a whopping 35 pesos a piece. Nice.

So, have we found a new cool hangout for my family that is close to our house? Not yet. But, the location is spot on, the drinks are well mixed and the food is fun and fresh.
Will I go back to Zenzi with my husband and friends for cool drinks on the beach and a light dinner. Yes. I'll just go with my eyes open and my guard a little bit raised.
Would I recommend that you give Zenzi a try? Yes. Your experiences may differ from mine. Perhaps you are young and cool.