Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mexico, delicious Mexico

I miss Mexico.

We got back earlier this week from a trip to the Yucatán Peninsula, where we spent nine glorious days exploring Playa del Carmen and the surrounding areas. We toured archaeological sites including Tulum and Chichen Itza, snorkeled among sea turtles, explored cenotes and soaked up plenty of sun while relaxing on the beach.

We also gorged on some delicious food and drinks.

On our first night in Playa del Carmen, our wonderful hosts Sev and Mitch took us to one of their neighborhood favorites, HC de Monterrey, for arrachera, Mexico’s tender, delicious take on flank steak. I liked it so much I ended up ordering arrachera a couple more times at different restaurants, but dinner that first night, served with a baked potato, lime, avocado, a grilled jalapeño and sour cream, was the best.

Other Playa favorites included pizza at Piola and some delicious shrimp tacos at Los Aguachiles. The cold Dos Equis Ambar was especially refreshing with my aguachidos tostadas (a shrimp tostada topped with onion, cucumber, cilantro and cabbage), shrimp popeye taco with creamed spinach, and shrimp taco al oro negro (with refried black beans).

We ate at the Turtle Bay Café in Akumal twice – lunch of arrachera quesadilla and chicken tortilla soup was great, as was breakfast a couple days later, when I devoured an omelet stuffed with shredded chicken, cheese and ranchero sauce. Heaven!

Other highlights included:

Piña coladas at a swing bar at Xpu Ha

A smoky chicken tamale at a café near the Cathedral of San Gervasio in Valladolid

I also enjoyed dorking around at Mega, a huge grocery store in Playa. While Sev took care of some shopping, Chris and I ran around the store, our cameras in hand, playing tourist.

The Squeeze Cheese actually comes from Wisconsin

Milk and eggs aren't refrigerated

The most hilarious name ever for toilet paper

Mega was the source for the only souvenirs I brought back from Mexico — queso jalapeño microwave popcorn, some creamy poblano soup mix and some tlalpeño, barbacoa and pibil bouillon cubes.

We spent the last couple days at the Hacienda Tres Rios Resort for the wedding of friends Doug and Shannan. This was my first experience at an all-inclusive resort, and the food was pretty good. The quickness with which they refilled our Tecates was even better. The all-inclusive dining plan might have made it a little too easy to order tequila all around at the reception.

It was pretty hard to get off the plane in foggy Sacramento, but the post-vacation withdrawal is well worth it for a wonderful time in Mexico.