Here a walk through three cities of Yucatan, plate by plate. I’m going to skip the gastronomic offer of the plane to tell you directly, with words and images, the delight and pleasure of eating in the Riviera Maya.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN
LOS AGUACHILES – Marisquería y Cantina.
Its specialty is toast and tacos. The place is casual, but once you sit down, you don’t pay attention to your surroundings and just look up to find someone to take the next order. I previously visited 6 years ago and came back in fear of not finding this place.
It was still there, with the tuna toasts that enter through your eyes and, once in your mouth, you never forget them. We were recommended to order the Wicked Shrimp (camarones endiablados), and by the third visit to the place, (in another city) we already ordered it by heart.
If you have the opportunity to visit, do not forget to complement the whole experience with the amazing cilantro, tamarind, chipotle and habanero sauces. They go with everything, even with the cookies to snack on.
It was not the top recommendation, but it was on the list of what Yucatecan natives suggested (translated to friends of Mérida). Here we order by instinct and nobody was disappointed.
Cheese melted with pork rinds – cheese is cheese, and melted and with pork rinds, in an omelet with a little habanero … order it to open your appetite to the rest of the dishes.
Steak Tacos with Cheese – you can’t lose with this one, the lemon touch that enhances all the flavors is necessary, add it.
Tacos al pastor – comes with a few pieces of pineapple, do not panic, it unifies the taste of corn tortilla, pork and sauces that choose to add.
Cochinilla Tacos – the pork crumbs effortlessly from the rib. Accompanied by a slightly sweet sauce, you can build your taco with beans as a side dish.
Shrimp enchiladas – Flour tortillas stuffed with shrimp, in seafood sauce, almonds and chipotle. The almonds had me, they were perfect in everything. The sauce reminded me a little of the white sauce that goes in the cauliflower my mom makes, so, memories…
PAPAYA PLAYA PROJECT
When we asked for recommendations in Tulúm we got this one. The place is amazing, among tall trees and overlooking the ocean. We had breakfast with flavors based on Mayan and Mexican traditions and a little experimentation with organic ingredients from the local market. It was a kind of brunch really.
⅗ from the table ordered chilaquiles, two with green sauce, one with red. ⅕ enchiladas in green sauce. The last fifth ordered a granola.
The enchiladas were perfect for noon. When you feel like breakfast and lunch, these tortillas with Oaxaca cheese, purple cabbage, chicken, onion, green mix and, what brings everything together, the green sauce. I don’t know if the sauce is always as spicy, but this time it was a bit strong. But it won’t stop you from eating. Finally you don’t know if you reach your limit because of the spicy or the amount but it tastes delicious and would definitely come back for more. (NOTE: the red sauce is not spicy).
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This place was recommendation from Trip Advisor and did not disappoint at all. After some disappointments with Meridan gastronomy, we couldn’t find a flavor that defined our time there, so we went to the center of the Yucatecan capital and finally we loved everything we ordered.
Appetizer: octopus ceviche and ax callus. The best fusion of flavors I tried throughout the trip. It comes with chintextle, Oaxaca chili paste, serrano mayonnaise, avocado, purslane (a kind of succulent), lime and coriander. The octopus is fresh and clearly marinated in lemon. It is refreshing and a delicacy as a lunch appetizer.
Tiradito short rib: Here I need to use this emoticon: ? this is a rolled braised rib, avocado, smoked chili dressing and lemon vinaigrette. The slices are very thin and they melt in your mouth, but the avocado gives it more consistency so that the experience lasts a little longer. The lemon even brings out the flavor of the grill. Order two per table.
Chilaquiles with tuna: it sounds like a typical dish but the preparation of the tuna stands out over the chilaquiles. You get sealed tuna steaks, chilaquiles in chili sauce, avocado, cilantro, serrano pepper and fresh cheese. Its flavor works perfectly with chili sauce. It is an entry to share. If I am very honest, I loved the taste of octopus ceviche so much that I found it natural to use it for this entry. And I was not wrong. The tuna also gets along with those flavors.
Also shown in the photo: Folded Tlayuda: a very large semi-toasted charcoal tortilla, beans, cabbage, flank steak or chorizo and quesillo. I couldn’t taste this dish because I was waiting for my main course but the comment of those who did was that they were consistent and very rich.
My main course: grilled shrimp: Mexican pesto, mashed sweet potato, fried cassava and Dutch habanero, and of course, grilled shrimp. From this dish, at first glance I was impressed by the size of the shrimp. What caught my attention was the mashed sweet potato and the pesto on top of the shrimp. The first bite confused me because there were many flavors that initially did not feel unified. For the second bite I was already delighted with the mash, not only for its color, but its texture was very soft on the palate and simply complements the whole experience of eating this dish. At first I ate it with corn tortillas, then I thought it would be more subtle to eat it alone, I could isolate the flavors and complement them in more personalized portions.
This was my brief gastronomic tour. I can say that any taco of picaña or shrimp and the right amount of habanero and lemon can satisfy anyone in this coastal offer that does an incredible job integrating the cheese without being sold as the main ingredient.
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