The markets of Oaxaca, Mexico draw tourists from across the world who come to shop for the unique and wide array of traditional Mexican crafts, foods, and to soak in the enchanting atmosphere.
It’s a tiny speck of land sitting a short ferry or yacht ride from Cancun. There’s a point where the ferry lands that has become a sort of satellite Cancun atmosphere where 2×1 margarita specials and crummy t-shirts are dime a dozen, but the rest of the island is still enchantingly pure and quiet.
The Riviera Maya on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula is more traditionally thought of as dead space for the adventurous foodie. Most assume that, like Cancun, it’s filled with American chain restaurants and overpriced resort food. To some extent that’s true, but there is also some excellent street food, regional restaurants not aimed at tourists, and a growing group of internationally trained chefs that are utilizing the products of the Yucatan.
Across from a Mega super store the world’s saddest looking mariachi is playing to a packed open-air grill, Taqueria El Fogón. There’s not an open table in sight. One large horno a la leña, wood fired oven sits on one side of the restaurant. A cook is preparing Tacos Al Pastor. He’s cutting off pork from a tower of spit-roasted meat, a Shawrama like cooking style brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. Beers are served michelada, with hot sauce, limejuice, Worcestershire sauce, and a salted rim. Waiters race across the restaurant with trays of Alambre Beef, Chorizo Quesadillas, and Tacos and Tortas of various fillings. Three bowls of hot sauce sit on every table. It’s lively and local, though a few tourists wander in. When the mariachi is done he packs his things up in a wooden crate and covers it with a black garbage bag and walks off into the night.
Every May 5, you hear of a holiday called Cinco de Mayo, and, even though you don’t really know what it celebrates, you know that Corona and salty margaritas are half price at the bar around the corner.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico is a city that didn’t really even exist 15 years ago. It’s surrounded by jungle, now the city has been infiltrated by hundreds of hotels and even more restaurants, many of which serve stylish, contemporry food. Being that there was nothing here before and Cancun was never exactly a gastronomic hotspot, where do the chefs come from?
Not far from the Señor Frog’s restaurant and jewelry shops where the more than one ginormous cruise ship docks each day in Cozumel’s main town of San Miguel, there’s a small market serving the local population. Few tourists venture past Avenida 10, so the market sits several blocks beyond the border of where real Cozumel begins.
Until a trip to Mexico last week, I have never quite grasped the concept premium, sipping tequilas. While I’ve always dug margaritas in just about any flavor, well tequila shots have lead to far too many bad incidents that I tried to avoid “My Mexican Cousin” at all costs. With the number of 100% agave Reposados and Anejos now on the market in the United States growing daily, I knew I couldn’t avoid exploring the better end of the spectrum any longer. My first purchase, a Partida Reposado.
A tweetpic from Chicago chef & Top Chef Master Rick Bayless roasting a tray of tomatillos gave me this salsa idea for the leftover tomatillos I had in my fridge. I’m not a fan of canned tomoatillos, so try to get fresh if you can.
Interesting article by David Karp in the LA Times, Tejocote is no longer forbidden fruit, about the Mexican fruit Tejocote, once the most smuggled fruit in the United States. The fruit is an essential ingredient to Ponche, a hot fruit punch drank during the holiday season in Mexico and Guatemala. Because… Read More →