Playa del Carmen

Picking up where we left off in the in this Playa del Carmen – Part 1 post. We had dinner at Almirante Pech and I loved every. single. thing.

 

ALMIRANTE PECH

 

Playa del Carmen

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We started out with the excellent Fresh Fish Ceviche which comes with pickled red onions, radish, salicornia (grasswort), and a chaya and sour orange sauce. Love that in lieu of tortilla chips this ceviche came with sweet potato chips as well.

 

Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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For my main dish I got the Chemuyil Lamb, a slow roasted hunk of lamb dressed with a leek puree and a roasted tomato and avocado sauce. Simple but so, so good. I could eat this forever.

 

Playa del Carmen

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And for the dessert we all shared this Burnt Milk Cheesecake which came with a banana ceviche, mint, and a walnut praline. Half of our table adored this and could not get enough of this super rich cheesecake and the other half was less fond of it. I was firmly in the omgrukiddingmeYES camp.

 

Playa del Carmen

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They also made the bride-to-be (at the time, as of this past Saturdays she is officially a wifey) this elaborate free drink that was on fire. I didn’t take any pictures of it but its in the Playa del Carmen video diary I’ll post sometime.

 

Playa del Carmen

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CENOTE:

The next morning we did breakfast at Regina’s again (of course) and then some of us decided to go visit one of the many cenotes in the area. Cenotes are created from sinkholes, the soft limestone ground collapses and exposes crystal clear groundwater underneath. They are common in the Yucatan peninsula and you have your pick of quite a few in the PDC/Tulum area. When deciding which one to go we just asked the cab driver which one was the most beautiful. Unfortunately that one was a bit far so we settled for the second best one.

 

The cenotes usually charge about 100 pesos (roughly $10) as an entrance fee. As far as getting there if you do not have a car you can take a taxi and arrange a set fee for the cab driver to take you there, wait in the parking area and then take you back. For us this was 600 pesos or $60 or so for the 45 minute drive there and back along with waiting for us for maybe 2 hours. This was probably one of my favorite activities of the whole trip. You can just sit around and chill in the water, snorkel, swim around, admire the scenery or work up the courage to do some cliff jumping. No fishing though :)

 

Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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The water is a bit chilly but given how hot it was after a minute or two it becomes a great swim. The cenotes can get a bit crowded so if you can get there earlier in the morning you can have more room to yourself / prettier pictures. Not gonna lie, I definitely erased a person or two from my pictures. What are you gonna do ¯_(ツ)_/¯

 

Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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After the cenotes we went back to our AirBnB and just hung out by the pool and made margaritas. Followed by more margaritas at Regina’s. We then took our party to the beach to watch the sun set.

 

Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Our last dinner plan was for Maiz de Mar, a taco bar by chef Enrique Olvera, the same chef behind the critically acclaimed Cosme in New York. This was also the site of one of funnier moments of the day. As our friends who spoke Spanish left earlier in the day I was tasked with ordering in my made up Portuguese-Spanish (Portuñol). So after 2 agonizing minutes of “quieremos uhhh…margarita de tamarindo….mas tienes una grande como um pitcher? E lo pulpo es frito ou….grelhado. Wait is grelhado the same in Portuguese and Spanish??” And so forth the waiter nods, smiles and says “Um. I’m from Chicago”

 

FACE PALM

 

Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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The tamarind margarita was excellent (and yes did come in a pitcher). I also got a drink with mezcal and cucumber that was quite nice. The crispy octopus was indeed fried and although I prefer grilled octopus, these were tasty tacos. I think out of the tacos I tried the carnitas were my favorite. And the guacamole was one of the best I’ve had, it’s definitely a must order.

 

Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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After dinner we decided to stop by one of the bars to watch the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. We found a bar with a spare table and with flower crowns on our heads and with bellies full of tacos and margaritas we sat and watched the most boring fight in the world. Luckily after 20 minutes we decided it was ok to stop trying to pay attention and go back to more lively pursuits (namely more margaritas). I had a 7 am flight to catch so I woke up quite early to catch a cab back to the Cancun airport. But I heard they had breakfast at Regina’s the next day…

 

Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen

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Mangoneada

I’m a snacker. I grew up always looking forward to what kinds of goodies I got to eat after school. Sometimes it was yogurt, sometimes it was fat squares of warm from the oven carrot cake, sometimes it was white bread and Nutella (hold the crust), sometimes it was a whole bowl of cherries, and for a couple precious weeks of summer during the World Cup when McDonald’s in Brazil made special sandwiches for every team it was the McFrance (–> which apparently this guy finds ‘nauseating’). Sometimes after swim practice it was all of those things together. Sidenote: Seriously if you are 12, in the middle of a growth spurt, and you swim you can eat Michael Phelps-ian amounts of food and still be skinny enough that your nanny calls you ‘mosquito legs’ (true story) (I miss those days). But even as an adult I am a huge proponent of after school work snacks.

 

And I could not live without them. During the summer for me, it’s often figs with crumbled over ricotta salata and honey. For a long time it was banana coconut smoothies with cashews. And now for the past god knows how long it has been mangoes with Chamoy and Tajin. Every damn day. I am entirely addicted.

 

Mangoneada

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Mangoneada

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Which is why it is extremely convenient that there is an El Salvadorean drink called a Mangoneada that contains all of these things together. If you are not familiar with Tajin, it is a Mexican spice that contains powdered chiles, lime and salt. Although it goes swimmingly well in savoury applications (especially avocados) it is also widely used in Mexican fruit salads. These are usually served in a large cup with spears of pineapple, cucumber, mango, jicama and watermelon sprinkled with Tajin and finished with a squeeze of lime.

 

Chamoy is actually a bright red sour condiment that is believed to be inspired by Japanese umeboshi, or pickled plum. Chamoy is made with fruits like apricot, plum or mango that are salted and packed in a vinegar brine. The mixture is then seasoned with chile and reduced. This sounds really bizarre but trust me if you like sour/dig Warheads Chamoy will be your friend.

 

Mangoneada

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So there it is: sweet mango frozen and pureed into a bright orange slushie mixed with a layer of tangy Chamoy, topped with spicy Tajin and then finished off with a stick of sweet tamarind-chile candy for the sake of tradition. And to break with tradition as well as for a bit of extra flavour I like to add some corn to to it. I discovered this combination on accident wanting to add a scoop of corn ice cream to my mangoneada at Neveria Tocumbo in Chula Vista just to try their corn ice cream. Eaten together it turned out to be a great combination of flavors and the corn rounds out the bold flavors in this drink. It’s super easy to make and somehow the mixture of sweet, sour, salty and spicy is the most refreshing thing ever. Drink by itself or with some pupusas please.

 

RECIPE:

 

Mangoneada
Makes 1 large cup, multiply accordingly

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup frozen mango
  • 1/3 cup steamed corn, unseasoned (about half a cob)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave or honey
  • 2-3 tablespoons Chamoy
  • 1-3 teaspoons Tajin
  • 1 tamarind-chile candy stick
  • Optional: fresh mango to top with

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Blend the corn with the water thoroughly. Once blended strain and set aside.
  2. Rinse out the blender and then add the frozen mango, strained corn and water mixture (I really didn’t want to refer to it as ‘corn milk’ or ‘corn juice’), and agave/honey. Blend until smooth and slushie-like in consistency.
  3. To assemble add half the mango slushie into a cup, layer Chamoy in, top with more mango slushie and then add more Chamoy. Top with tajin, a stick of tamarind-chile candy, and if using some slices or cubes of fresh mango.

 

Mangoneada

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Mangoneada

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Mangoneada

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Mangoneada

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Mangoneada

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Mangoneada

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Mangoneada

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It is possible to find Tajin in the Mexican section of your grocery store but for the Chamoy and tamarind candy you may have to resort to your local Mexican market. Alternatively, long live Amazon. Also if you are out of mango I think this would also work with pineapple and very ripe peaches.

 

Oh and someone needs to add tequila to this and tell me if that works, because YES (I think it would work).

 

Mangoneada

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4th of July

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In lieu of a fourth of July post here are some of my favorite 4th of July posts spotted around the web (do people still say ‘the web’):

 

 

Steph’s flag mini pavlovas

 

The perfect summer uniform

 

Alana’s amazing flag chocolate haupia tart

 

Girls on the 4th of July be like.

 

MINI. BLUEBERRY PIE. ICE CREAM. SANDWICHES.

 

This Reddit thread on the most beautiful sentence or paragraph you have ever read.

 

Not explicitly Fourth of July-esque or American but Betty’s Berry Japanese soufflé cheesecake is red, white and blue.

 

Feeling like not turning your oven on? Fourth of July ice cream cake!

 

Red, white and peanut butter. Cuz that’s American too.

 

And lastly I’m sad I missed this epic Canada Day burger at Burger’s Priest. But I will be in Toronto next week and cannot wait to go eat at all my favorite spots. I might even revert to my high school diet of sushi, Diet Coke and raspberry yogurt muffins from Pusateris, with the occasional late night nachos at Sneaky Dee’s or subs at Belly Buster’s (do those places still even exist!!!).

 

That’s it. Hope you guys have a safe and fun holiday! Unlike that picture up there from last year’s 4th of July where the bf wins the award for the saddest you can ever look while on a freakin’ America floatie.

 

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