Sunday, March 18, 2012

The last week

I've started my final week here. It feels a little bittersweet. This is the first time since coming here 7 years ago that I feel that I will be ready to go home. I miss Bram, my bed, my things, my family and my friends.

Various pictures from the last week...

Yummy breakfast at Carboncitos. The french toast is particularly good. I think it's probably deep fried. Not kidding.

I was amused by this sign for the bathroom.


I had a craving for pasta, which is unusual for me, so of course I went to Util Pasta. Last year I had this awesome dish, so I asked for it again. What I got was completely different. In fact, it wasn't even pasta... it was crepes. I'm so confused.


A man and his pyramid.


Poor bunny. Must be someone's pet. I tried to catch him, but he was staying just out of my reach. It was very strange to see a rabbit in the middle of Playa.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Random Tidbits

Can someone explain to me why there would be a tanning salon in Playa?


Key lime pie. Kadri, I'm sorry I cheated on you. I never will again. It was not worth it.

For Alison, a close up of the pretty necklace I bought. It's not high end or anything, but handmade and interesting looking. I'm told this is alpaca silver, amber and a black pearl.


And of course the trompo of pastor meat is always worth a picture.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Weather

I've been under the weather for a couple of days (double entendre intended), so not as many food pictures.

One from a few days ago: La Pesca, a little seafood restaurant. Imperial shrimp: shrimp stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, then grilled. Way too rich. I could only eat 3 of the 7 that came.

The weather here is variable, and can change very quicky. I often hear people asking about the weather way in advance, or panicking a a few days before their vacation, because the forecast says rain. In reality, it's mostly sunny, almost always gets cloudy at some point during the day, and a good amount of time also rains at some point during the day. Here's how fast the weather can change.

Mostly sunny with some big, fluffy, interesting clouds.


Ten minutes later, the clouds were turning ominous.


And even more ominous, and it rained a bit.


Two hours later, I was at the beach and it looked like this. Note that the waves were pretty active, indicative of the previous weather system that had passed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cloudy=Hammock

Well, we've had 4 solid days of solid clouds. Lemons=Lemon Aid; Clouds=Hammock!

I just read a little article by Brene Brown that says to make a list of fun things that make you lose track of time, then do them. One of those things is spending time in my hammock, reading, watching movies or listening to music at Folk Fest. Other than Folk Fest, I seem to feast on this activity only in Mexico. Thank you Bram for finding sneaky ways for me to do this more often when I'm not in Mexico.

In other news, I've also eaten.

At La Parilla de Monolo, an Argentinian grill now relocated to 8th street, between 10th and 15th avenue for those who know the area and miss Monolo's.

Empañadas, one corn and pepper, and one mushroom. Jon, you would love the corn. The greasy-looking film (well, it is grease, not just greasy-looking...) is olive oil from the pile of chimichurri at 6 o'clock on the plate.

Also from Monolo's an Argentinian sausage. Very greasy, and very yummy.


At PG's, the best shrimp tacos in town. Large, lightly breaded shrimp, on a very thin, almost-crisp corn tortilla (I usually prefer flour, but these are amazing), topped with just the right amount of pico de gallo (fresh salsa), tamarind sauce, and habeñero sauce (muy picante, señorita, please be careful).


At Wah Wah's a beach bar, a disappointingly bland ham and mushroom brick-oven pizza.

South Beach Looking Inland

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hump Day

Well, today is officially hump day... I've been here 3 weeks, and I have 3 weeks to go. I feel pretty good about that. Usually vacation hump day is depressing. This year I've been doing a lot of healing and strengthening while I'm here, so I think I'll be ready to go home when the time comes.

A beautiful day at the beach...

Lunch at Titi Panini. I could only eat half of the serrano ham and goat cheese panini. Mmmm... love leftovers here! It came with a nice, very fresh salad bar, which is rare here. As odd as it is, it's actually difficult to get fresh produce here. Tropical fruit is usually available, but things like green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and other greens are usually lacking in either quantity or quality. And believe it or not, I can't eat greasy tacos every day!

Hammocked

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ribs & Suds VI

Six years running, Don & Deb have organized a "Peep Meet" at Manne's Biergarten. I'm thinking some explanation explanation is required here. First, a Peep Meet is a gathering of people (peeps) of the same feather; in this case, folks who love Playa, are in town at the time, many of whom frequent a Playa del Carmen discussion forum. Second, yes, there is a German beer garden in Playa del Carmen! Owned by ex-pat Germans, Manne and Susie, this little restaurant/bar is frequented by many tourists and local ex-pats.

I've managed to be here for 4 of the 6 annual Ribs & Suds nights. It's unfortunate that iPhones really don't take very good low light photos. That said, here is a group of us at a traditional beer garden communal table and wooden bench.

And here is our annual tres chicas photo: Kari, me and Dee Dee. Love those gals! Hmm... I need to get a close up of that necklace I'm wearing, a new bauble that I got here from a local artist's table. Look how blonde my hair gets after just a couple weeks!

Birds of a Feather

Annual Adventure Lunch!

I feel fortunate to be invited to an annual adventure lunch hosted by a local friend, Luis. When asked where we would like to go, our reply is usually "someplace we won't see tourists and that we would never find on our own". Today me and Winnipeg pals Don & Deb met up with Luis to head inland to a small restaurant featuring cheap, local, hearty food.

Here the staff are making our lunch right in front of us. The metal contraption in front of the woman is similar to a tortilla press, but longer, for the huaraches we ordered.


I ordered a gordita. It's sort of like a sandwich, but more like a heart attack. The outer layer is thick handmade tortilla-like "bread", fried on the grill. Inside is chicharron (fried up pork bits) and cheese. I literally saw them tipping it to the side to drain off some of the fat


Don, Deb and Luis all ordered huaraches. Kind of like our Canadian beaver tails, these are made from corn flour and topped with various savory toppings. This one had thin beef steak and cheese.

After a bit of a drive around tour in the residential area of Playa, we headed back to tourist zone where we stopped for dessert at Chez Celine. I've walked by this new french bakery/restaurant dozens of times, but never eaten here. Oh. My. Goddess. I had Tarta Maracuya (spelling?). When I asked what maracuya was, I was told that it was an aphrodisiac fruit. I now understand, since I had trouble keeping myself quiet while eating this little treasure. The chocolate ganache buds on top were the consistency of truffles... rich, smooth and melt-in-your-mouth. I've often said that it is difficult to find good dessert in Mexico, as it often looks good, but tastes bad. After 7 trips, I think I've finally found my dessert place! Thankfully I have a 3 mile run on the agenda tomorrow!