The Riviera Maya, especially in small towns like Tulum or Playa del Carmen, is one of my favorite places to get away and kick back, to eat shrimp tacos and drink mescal without a care in the world, but I could never do that at a huge resort. Here are my favorite small hotels on the Riviera Maya.
James Greenfield of Casa de las Olas is the go to source in Tulum for local fare. He draws everyone staying at Casa de las Olas a map listing taquerias, juice stands, and his local haunts that he has picked up on over the years. Here’s a rundown.
Cooking with fire is the oldest form of cooking. Cave people did it. At the end of 2012 I found my self in Stockholm, Sweden at Niklas Ekstedt’s newly Michelin starred restaurant Ekstedt. Rather than focusing attention entirely on Nordic ingredients like every other of the moment restaurant in Scandinavia,… Read More →
Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya aren’t the charmless nightmare that is Cancun. True, Señor Frogs and Sandals are there, but there are some hotels that really help you get the most of a real Yucatan experience without camping on the beach in Mayahuel. Here are my three picks:
About a month ago I stayed at the Fairmont Mayakoba on the Riviera Maya. While there I was pleasantly surprised with the resorts commitment to sustainability, particularly in their restaurants, two of which are AAA Four Diamond Award Winners. I was impressed with the chef’s garden, use of sustainable seafood and lobster bought from the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, and not shying away from the likes of geoduck, tiradito, and Mexican wines. The Fairmont Mayakoba’s Executive Chef, David Andrews, was kind enough to give us this interview.
Few realize that Cochinita Pibil is actually a Mayan dish. It’s quite common now all over Mexico, especially in the Yucatan where it originated, and I see it often at Mexican restaurants and Taquerias in New York and around the States. Traditionally, cochinita refers to a slow roasted baby pig, though pork shoulder (which is actually pork butt) is more common now. The signature spice in the seasoning is achiote, the orangish-red seeds that give off a deep, earthy flavor and are used habitually in Mayan cooking. Cochinita Pibil is the dish that Rick Bayless won Top Chef Masters with (and his recipe from Mexico One Plate At A Time was very influential in this one).
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.