Thursday, May 28, 2009

All You Can Eat in Tulum, Mexican Paradise

Forget the media hype. The beaches of Mexico are the smartest vacation destination right now. it’s probably safer to be in the Mayan Riviera than many places in the US. AND you get a great discount on your vacation along with impeccable hospitality.

What better place for the journey of beyond burritos to go international for the first time than the Yucatan peninsula? The beaches of Tulum are an hour and a half south of Cancun, and each resort is isolated to create a serene environment of its own. It was a feast for the mind body and soul let alone the stomach.

Apart from having beautiful fish eating bananas from our hands in the crystal clear ocean water, our encounters with the food in the Catalonia Royal Tulum all-inclusive resort were surprisingly surprisingly delicious and very satisfying.

Our food adventure was limited to the resort since the authentic ingredients and wonderful hospitality gave us few excuses to leave.

We ordered a combination appetizer that consisted of creamy guacamole, chicken flautas, steak sopes and huitlacoche (corn mushrooms/truffels) quesadillas. Atypical of most all-inclusive resorts, their food was thought out, very fresh and well prepared. My favorite appetizer was the huitlacoche quesadilla.
I'm not sure if it was the lack of hormones but cheese tastes so much fresher down south.

For entrees we had a steak dish and a chicken burrito that did not merit pictures but both were quite tasty. The shrimp above were a little overcooked but the sauce was delicious, and the shrimp themselves were very plump. Overall, they had just the right amount of heat with a garlic and tomato undertone. Mixing the sauce with the rice behind the shrimp was a delicate combination.

For dessert, we split a piece of coconut flan, which was unlike other flans in that the taste was much smoother and easier to enjoy.

Overall, the Mexican food at the resort had Jaquie raving about the fresh ingredients that tasted just right. While the preparation of most dishes we tasted was not traditional, the flavors still hit home and satisfied our longing for real Mexican food.

trip would only be complete if she had coco con chile, sal y limon (coconut w/ salt, lime and chile powder). Luckily our only trip outside of the resort to the ruins in Tulum, gave us the opportunity to savor this refreshing snack, which is native to the Yucatan. While Jaquie was in the bathroom of a hole-in-the-wall tourist bodega, I asked the guys to chop up some coconut using the machete sitting at the entrance. After we drank the water, the machetes were blazing and the hard round coconut became what you see above. Laced with habanero chile powder, salt and limejuice, this plain ol' coconut was the highlight of Jaquie's trip and a new experience for me. A fun fact: Coconut was named after the Spanish word for boogeyman "el coco" because of it's three spots and hairy surface.

I love animals... I couldn't fight the urge to post a picture of my iguana buddy. We saw dozens of them in addition to nutrias, raccoons and countless exotic birds in the jungle pathways of the resort. Even though we didn't venture out much, we met a taxi driver that promised us discounted tours of the cenotes (caves and underground rivers) and other places where the classic authentic foods of the region are best prepared. Expect a post detailing the sequel of this journey after our trip in January ’10

Rest easy… we're back in NYC swine free. Last week we went to Toloache (251 w 50th street btw 7th and 8th/212-581-1818) and had quesadillas de chapulines (grasshopper quesadillas). Don't be grossed out just yet. Wait until you hear how tasty they were and yes, Jaquie had some too...

Enjoy Cabo San Lucas resorts with fine restaurants on your Mexico vacation.