Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Playa Del Carmen - Part Uno

Last week I took a much-needed vacation and even managed to pull the technology heroin needle out of my arm. No phone, no laptop, no email, no blackberry, no watch, no anything that could remotely remind me of work. Don't worry, I laid on the beach and fantasized about work, which is almost as fun as being there.

We took a trip to a city I instantly fell in love with - Playa del Carmen - and stayed at a cool little hotel - Hotel Deseo, which I also loved (even though you need earplugs to fall asleep).

We ate, we drank, we walked around, we shopped. I got AT LEAST two shades darker. And while most of my vacations center around good food, this one was more about a good beach.

That said, this is a food blog, not a lay-on-the-beach blog, so here is a little quiz for you.
Playa del Carmen has really good:
1) Guacamole
2) Ceviche
3) Tamalas
4) Tortillas
5) Pizza
6) Margaritas
7) Salsa

Ding ding!! You guessed right. They have really good pizza. Super good, in fact... it's like, almost New York style good. Who knew.

Here's a slice of four cheese and a slice of mushroom... I also had pepperoni which was equally delicious. The place: Pizza Pazza on 12th.

OK, let's get serious. Nobody really reads these things, right? Just scroll down to see the food photos. I made a couple lazy grumblings along the way. (Geesh, I am turning into the laziest food blogger ever... please go here, here, here, or here if you want to read real food blogging that reflects time, thought and effort... I'm all out).

First up is a cute little Italian cafe called Casa Mediterranea. These people really care about they food they serve you, and they don't take credit cards. And they like to rhyme.

Complimentary Brushetta.

Roast beef with truffles and Parmesan cheese - this tasted a lot better than it looked.

Ravioli something or other doused in butter.

Gnocchi. I really love gnocchi and this one didn't have the best flavour, but it did have the best texture of any gnocchi I've ever had... like soft down baby pillows that melted in your mouth.

Overall, this was an average meal in a charming little place. If your mom cooked this for me, I would think she was a good cook. But your mom doesn't live in Playa.

Next, we went down to Tulum (Mayan ruins) and then to a really beautiful beach club (Paraiso) and then we had early dinner at Mezzanine, which is a hotel that has a Thai-flavored restaurant inside.

Umm... how can you not enjoy a restaurant when the view over your mango margarita looks like this?

MMMmmm. Mango margaritas. My favorite.

OK, I said the food was Thai-flavored, right? Not so much authentic Thai, but still relatively good. Made much better by the view of the Caribbean in the background, of course.

Chicken satay with peanut sauce and cucumber salad...

Crab wontons...

Vietnamese (or Thai-ish) spring rolls with a mango chutney

(not so) spicy beef salad - completely bland...

And the big winner of the meal... lobster curry, which was a huge fresh lobster tail that was doused in a mild-but-tasty green curry. Probably the best food dish of the trip besides the pizza.

OK, I've got to drag this into another post... more to come. Yes, I did actually eat some Yucatan food when I visited the Yucatan peninsula, that's coming next.


Eddie Lin said...

OMG, that lobster tail is obscenely large. But I'm sure it was just as obscenely delicious. I wish you posted video so I can see Bri-Bri choke that monster down.

Everything is better with crystal blue ocean views and soft, white sandy shores.

foodette said...

Amazing photos - that looks like a great time! I am surprised by the abundance of Italian food, and the fact that it's good! Crazi-ness

Daily Gluttony said...

wow, pizza in mexico--whodathunkit? that's like us trying to find good tacos in maui. only those sucked.

i'm glad you & b had a good vacation...you really deserved it!!! hope to see you guys soon!

Oishii Eats said...

Im so glad you're back! We missed you! Sounds like you guys had a restful vacation. So jealous! We'll see you soon mama!

1_healthnut said...

what IS it with amazing pizza on the riviera maya??

when i was in cancun years ago, we discovered a beach cafe [it was little more than a shack] right near our hotel, and this place served ridiculously good pizza. super-thin, blistered crust, light toppings...the way they make it in italy.

this stuff was absolutely some of the best pizza i've ever had...and i grew up in new york!

BoLA said...

Wow! I just came back from Cabo a couple weeks back and had some bad food experiences. Think, large party of 15 girls on wild bachelorette party invading local eateries. LOL! I should have done some research before heading out. DOH!

I *did* have the BEST tacos EVER from a little cart on the side of the road. Absolutely delicious at 4:30 in the morning! ;)

Food Marathon said...

You know you're on vacation when: meals are described as "ravioli something or other." Next time you venture southward check out San Pancho, just north of Puerto Vallarta. There are two amazing restaurants: Cafe del Mar and Mar Plata.

Chubbypanda said...

Lobster curry? What's next? Perhaps lobster katsu curry? Dare I dream the impossible dream?

Mike said...

Wow some great food, and you're right about the ravioli. It's practically glistening with butter.

Karla said...

I lived in Playa del Carmen for many years and having moved back to the US it is my second home, I am there frequently for business.

Playa has the largest Italian population in Mexico. Italy is in the process of opening a counsular office there. That explains the pizza and european flair the town has.

I was there last week and had fabulous middle eastern food on 5th & 28th at Maktub.

Please visit my blog for more Playa info and photos!

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Unknown said...

Photos are gigantic...sounds delicious.

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