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Hola Tulum: Part III: Food

Our trip to Tulum!
This is part 3! There's also part 1 and part 2 (which features monkeys)!

Hola Tulum: Food

We ate very very well during our trip to Tulum

Urge Tacos
Fish tacos. Conch & Shrimp Ceviche.Even though we went to Urge Tacos twice, I am not sure I completely loved it. Their thing is that they do their fish and shrimp tacos in a tempura-esque batter that on paper seems like something I'd love, but I always found them a bit too over battered. That said, we still came here twice. Their taco 'fixings' bar had lots of tasty options such as pickled onion, cole slaw, and mango salsa.
I'm building a taco fixings bar in my kitchen.

Oh, their ceviche was uber-tasty.

El Pollo Broncho
El Pollo Broncho is a little place in town. I think we picked it because it had no tourists in it and the family sitting by the door looked like they were enjoying themselves immensely. Simple: roast chicken served with rice and tortillas. The chicken was delicious - delicious to the point that I probably ate too fast.
Naturally, it was pretty cheap. We had a half chicken and two cokes and I suspect it was under $5.

Taco Mania
After lunch at El Pollo Broncho, we walked up the street to get gelato (which is seemingly sold everywhere (or maybe it's just my imagination)). We passed Taco Mania. Based on the name alone I knew we had to come back. A few days later we came back and had their cochinita pibil tortas.
Super tasty, altough not what I was used to as far as tortas. They were basically pork and rice. The bread was perfect.

Zamas was the more casual dinner of our trip. Their claim to fame is their pizza. It was actually pretty good - crunchy crust from their woodfired oven.
But, probably the coolest aspect is that you can sit feet from the ocean for dinner. I also recommend the churros for dessert served with a chocolate sauce.

Casa Banana
This was the restaurant that was part of our hotel. The owners are from Argentina and in the evenings they fire up a huge grill and serve Argentinian beef - something we can't here in the US (for complicated reasons I am not smart enough to discuss). There were also sausages, which were possibly the best sausages I have ever had.
It's an open restaurant and surrounded by the jungle and candlelit with the stars above. Oddly, not very buggy. The staff were wonderful and they had a good wine list as well.

We also ate here every morning as this was where we got our free continental breakfast. Papya, mango, pineapple, kiwi, awesome coffee, crusty toast accompanied by their locally made jelly or honey. 5:12pmOur favorite was the banana and canela (or plantanos y canela) and the honey with peppers. It was a great breakfast.

They offer lunch here and will deliver it to the beach. We did that once (fish tacos, chicken tacos, beer, pina colada) but it was a bit pricey.

Dinner at El Tabano

El Ta'bano
Located on the beach road, El Ta'bano was one of the more interesting restaurants.
We started with a pear with brie. They took a pear (I just wrote 'bear' by accident) and sliced it and put brie on top of each piece and then stacked each slice back together and poured honey on the top and garnished it with something nutty. What a simple idea and it was visually cool looking and I am totally stealing the idea for home.
The other starter was poblano chile crepes. Awesome.

For our main course, we had their tortilla lasagna with roasted vegetables. Another idea I want to steal - instead of lasagna noodles, they just used tortillas. There was also a pork ribs type of thing that was super tender.
It was a cool restaurant. All the seating is outside and candlelit, the menu is printed on large chalkboards near the kitchen and their wine list is primarily Spanish wines.

Lovely. Located in town, Cetli does modern interpretation of classic Mexican dishes. Probably the coolest aspect is that the chef and owner is also your waiter. This was great because she was able to answer all sorts of questions and you could tell she was very enthusiastic about her dishes.
I started with their version of tortilla soup (which was my go-to dish for this trip for some reason). Mrs. Robot had a salad with fruit and a great dressing with sesame seeds in it.

For our main course, we both went the chicken route. Mrs. Robot had the chicken with macho banana (aka plantain) and a black mole sauce - the sauce was unbelievable. I helped her clean her plate.
I went for the chicken rolled with chaya and covered with cactus jelly. On their menu, chaya is described as being like kale. It was a very cool looking dish as the chicken had been pounded flat and then rolled (almost like sushi) with the chaya. The cactus jelly sauce was also great, but I don't think my brain or palate is clever enough to describe it.

We had dinner at Hechizo


Dinner at HechizoHoly moly. My only regret is that we went to Hechizo on our last night in Tulum. If we had gone there earlier, I would have voted to go again. And possibly again. Do you want to go? I'll go with you now.
This may be Tulum's most high-end restaurant. The location is gorgeous - just the walk up from the parking lot to the restaurant you kind of instantly know that this is something different and special.

Their 'thing' is that the menu is verbal. It apparently changes quite often depending on what is in season and what the fishermen catch. You are seated by their very professional waitstaff who take your drink orders (good wine list) and then the chef comes over and tells you what is on the menu for the evening.

I started with a salad of a block of watermelon with discs of goat cheese on top. This was on a bed of small greens and covered in a balsamic dressing. The balsamic + goat cheese + watermelon was delicious. Mrs. Robot had the crab cake which I think was very good, but I was into my salad a bit too much.

For our main course, Mrs. Robot had tuna. It was seared and was gorgeous.
I had probably one of my favorite dishes on the whole trip: scallops on top of a pasta with cream sauce and topped with white truffles.
Actually, just the pasta with the truffles was something that I could be happy eating for a long time. The scallops were icing on the cake. The earthiness from the truffles along with the cream sauce on the pasta paired with the acidity from the Chardonnay we had was perfect.
Delicious. Delicious. Delicious.

For dessert, Mrs. Robot mentioned to the chef that this was a birthday vacation, so we they put a little candle in their molten chocolate cake. Sweet.
Now, as far as the dessert, it was spectacular. The chocolate cake stayed in the oven for something like 10 minutes getting all molten-y. They served it with a scoop of coconut ice cream and a little cup of passion fruit gelatin (not sure how to describe that one). The flour less chocolate cake is done everywhere, but this one was outstanding.

9:20pmWhen we got the bill, the chef had drawn a little candle next to our dessert order.

Facebook Status: was overwhelmed by truffles.

Now, summarize
First, all the meals were reasonably priced - apart from the tacos being delivered to the beach lunch (but then again, they did bring you tacos on the beach). The dinner at Hechizo, the best of the trip, was in the $80-$90 range which was a steal considering the caliber of food and service.
Service at all these places was great. People were friendly and either spoke great english or helped us through our spotty spanish.

The other oddity was the consumption of wine. By us.
In NYC, if we go out to dinner and order a bottle of wine, we can sometimes barely finish it. And if we do, we are pretty goofy on the way home. But, it was probably being on vacation and our bodies and minds are much calmer and we finished all our wines - often before dinner was over.
Must be a vacation thing.

That was a well-fed vacation! If you do the pear-brie thing at home, email me or post about it. I love love love pears. And cheese.
»lisa ||  2/18/2010 ||  9:22:01 AM

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