March 23, 2011

Welcome Spring...

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. ~Nadine Stair

March 6, 2011

Como Como

Not sure how I managed but I somehow failed to document our dinner at Como Como.

Como Como came highly suggested to us by several people - not to mention is raved about on We attempted to have dinner there the evening of day 2 but were turned away for lack of a reservation. Having secured a reservation for the next night we set off down the street to La Bodeguita del Medio - a great second choice.

We arrived at Como Como Saturday evening at 8:00 and were seated immediately.

We ordered a nice bottle of Pino Grigio and the tuna tartare to start. The tartare was truly one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. It in and of itself is reason enough for a return visit.

As a main course the Senor ordered the seafood spaghetti, BIL the roasted chicken and I the ravioli with ricotta and spinach.

We snacked on the tartare, visited about our afternoon at Akumal and Xpu-Ha and had a glass of wine...

we snacked some more, visited some more and had another glass of wine...

the tartare gone we had another glass of wine and visited a little more...

the nice folks next to us (who not only arrived after us but waited a bit to order) received their entrees...

we ordered another bottle of white, had another glass of wine and, well, you get the picture.

Finally, concerned that we might finish the second bottle of wine without ever seeing our meal we decided we should probably inquire about our order.

Upon inquiry our entrees were immediately delivered by three very frazzled looking young men. One of them apologized saying the chef was very busy although that seemed hard to believe as two tables had emptied and waiting for the next reservations to arrive.

Famished and slightly intoxicated we devoured our food and, let me tell you this, it was oh so good! The ricotta in the ravioli was so light and fresh and the pasta was honestly like none I have had before. BIL raved about his chicken and the Senor enjoyed his seafood spaghetti with beautiful muscles, clams and shrimp very much.

Perhaps they were having an off night but from what I saw the service at Como Como leaves much to be desired. With that said, the food is spot-on so perhaps folks will be willing to overlook lack of service for to-die-for tuna tartare and scrumptious ravioli. I know I'll go back.

March 5, 2011

Going home day...

Oh sadness - day 5 - otherwise known as going home day. We got up and started trying to gather some of our things but decided pretty quick that breakfast had to come first (of course!).

We walked down the beach to our old breakfast stand-by, Playa Maya, for some chilaquiles rojos. Well, I had the chilaquiles rojos - The Senor and BIL had bacon and eggs or pancakes or something - I was much too focused on my chilaquiles rojos to worry with what they were eating. Breakfast at Playa Maya is always good. It's simple, the service is good and there are always some interesting characters hanging around regaling folks with stories of the night before.

After breakfast we walked back to the condo and went about the business of packing our bags. Even though it would be several hours before the van would be there to pick us up there were new guests arriving that day so we needed to vacate the condo by 11:30. We decided to take this opportunity and spend a few hours at Cannibal Royal. The BIL had never been there and The Senor and I love its funky vibe so we grabbed a taxi and off we went.

Cannibal Royal was as funky as we remembered it (although their furniture has become VERY weathered) so we settled in and enjoyed the ambiance for a couple of hours. While there The Senor and I discovered a new smoothie that is out of this world. From what we could gather is consists of guava puree, mint and lemon (which I feel sure means lime) juice. Very refreshing! We decided to try to duplicate it at home so I searched our local specialty food store for guava puree but struck out. We went ahead and tried it using guava juice, lime juice and mint and although it wasn't exact it was pretty dang tasty. I love it when things work out that way!

We decided we should have a little snack before heading to the aeroporto so we ordered their yummy sashimi tuna flatbread and papas fritas (I swear the reason they are so good in Mexico is because they are fried in lard!). I had been craving the flatbread since our visit LAST February and it was just as good as I remembered it to be. The flatbread is crunchy and super thin, the tuna fresh out of the sea; it is sprinkled with purple onion with a chipotle aioli sauce drizzled over the top - oh my, a tuna lovers dream!

Our pick up time was drawing near so we headed back to home base to pick up our bags and meet up with our driver. As always I said goodbye to Playa with a heavy heart but happy knowing I would be back again (I just took a peak at my vacation counter and we only have a mere 125 days to go!).

We got to the airport and breezed through check in because - woo-hoo - WE GOT OUR UPGRADES! I failed to mention in my day 1 trip report that not only did we get our upgrades on the way down but we flew a 767 so we were in high cotton with the 767 seat/beds and all. Loved it! The plane on our return flight was a 757 so no fancy seats but we still got our upgrades both ways - yea us!! Entry in to the good 'ole USA was quick and painless and we were back home and on our sofa by 9:00 PM.

Whew, what a trip!

March 3, 2011


Day 4 - We wake up Sunday morning to the realization that we only have two more breakfasts until we have to get on a plane and head back to Texas. Oh my, decisions - decisions! I was really wanting to try Nativo but we hadn't made it to La Queva del Chango yet this trip - we discussed it and the monkey cave won out.

La Queva del Chango is booming on Sunday mornings, packed with both locals and tourists alike. There was a 20-30 minute wait and I visited with the most delightful 5 year old during our wait. Turns out she lived in New York City and was in Playa trying to escape the cold. Yes, she and everyone else from the good 'ole US of A!

Without going in to too much detail about what happened next I will just say this - about half way through breakfast our trip took a real sharp turn from laid back fun in the sun to dead-stop serious. From this experience we learned the following:

when in tropical climates one should drink a lot of Gatorade to ward off possible dehydration - water does not have the same effect as it does not contain electrolytes and escapes the body quickly

the wait staff and manager of La Queva del Chango are some of the kindest people I have ever met

orange juice with lots of sugar added can help to bring a person out of shock

pure honey can also assist in this effort

very low blood pressure is a symptom of shock

Dr Carlos of Xcaret not only wears great shoes but is a really good doctor

Needless to say with what little you now know about our breakfast at La Queva del Chango we spent the remainder of our day back at the condo napping and if there was any drinking going on it involved shots of Gatorade.

That evening we took a stroll up to Don Mario's for dinner. BIL had the Fettucini Alfredo, The Senor a pizza and I the Caprese Salad. I had recently read some not so flattering things about the food and service at Don Mario's and was very relieved to find that our meal was, as always, fabulous.

Following dinner we headed back to the condo where we sat on the patio and listened to the sound of the surf. As I sat there I said a little prayer and thanked God for the beauty of Playa, for the kindness of its people and for my family whom I love.

to be continued...

Just another day in paradise...

Day Three...

We started off the day with a hearty breakfast at El Bistro at La Tortuga. I have read rave reviews of El Bistro - especially of their Eggs Benedict - and let me just say, we were not disappointed!

The Eggs Benedict were dreamy (in fact I would LOVE to have an order right now) as were the coffee and orange juice. Brother In Law (going forward to be known as BIL) says the guacamole was the best he has ever had. The sad thing about that is that up until then MY guacamole was known as the best he ever had! Oh well, El Bistro is definitely not a bad place to be beaten out by!

It turns out breakfast at El Bistro was just what the doctor ordered for a little self-inflicted case of the "virus"! Chris and I must use the same doctor because we ran in to she and Josh while we were there and she said she had a little case of the "virus" too!

With breakfast behind us we were off to meet Jerry; our taxi driver for the day. Jerry picked us up at 11:00 AM sharp and we headed south for some relaxing time on the beach in Akumal.

The Senor and brother in law found themselves a couple of stools at Lol-Ha and I found myself a perfect spot for a siesta (is that a view or what?!).

After a few cerveza's for the boys and a nice siesta for me we located Jerry (who had parked himself under a nice tree as well and was enjoying his own siesta!) and headed for my happy place - Xpu-Ha. My motto, a day at Xpu-Ha is a day in paradise.

We settled in at The Beach Club at La Playa and had some lunch - yummy!

My darlin' BIL had the shrimp brochette and The Senor had the fried fish. I personally do not care to eat anything that has fins and is staring back up at me from the plate but he swears by it and orders it every time we're there!

I didn't get a shot of my food as I my favorite thing to eat at La Playa are the papas fritas and guacamole and I had scarfed them down before I thought about the pictures so you'll just have to take my word for it that they were, in fact, yummy.

The Beach Club at La Playa has live music these days so we hung out, listened to some music and basically spent a few hours in this beach lover's paradise.

to be continued...

March 2, 2011

Day 2 - a wedding planner, a beach and a little Havana dreaming...

Our second day in Playa we slept a little late, enjoyed the view from our patio and set out about 10:30 to meet with what turned out to be one delightful lady!

Our son and his fiance are planning a July wedding in Playa and asked that we meet with Maria of Our assignment was to check out Maria, the proposed wedding venue and sample the venue's culinary offerings.

We met Maria at Fusion for a quick smoothie and then rode with her to The Beach Club at Grand Coral.

Before I tell you about the beach club I must say this, riding with a local in Playa is an adventure. Maybe even more so than riding in a taxi. Also, it should be mentioned that Maria is Italian. And, to quote Maria (imagine hand gestures moving dramatically through the air!), "the Italian in me comes out when I drive".

With this said, Maria took a "shortcut" to avoid the highway construction. The "shortcut" gave us the opportunity to see several Playa sites we had never seen before including a gentleman carrying two chickens by their feet. The chickens had apparently just met their demise and were off to what was surely a large pot of boiling water.

On our return trip I would bet my bottom peso we actually collided with another car. The other driver and Maria exchanged words through sign language without ever slowing down.

Just when I wasn't sure what might happen next our delightful Italian lady gestures to him as only she could and says, "oh, **** off"!

The Senor, brother-in-law and I sat in silence willing ourselves not to laugh. All I could think was, well, all righty then!

Back to the mission at hand...

We found The Beach Club at Grand Coral to be the perfect venue for the upcoming nuptials.

Our report back went something like this:

Maria is (I'll say it again!) delightful!
The venue is spectacular!
The food was muy excelente!
Let the festivities begin!

We spent that afternoon at the beach basking in the beautiful sun, sand and atmosphere that is Playa (oh - and I had a massage!).

The beach was crowded and I enjoyed listening to the various accents from around the world. Dutch, French, German, Spanish, English and some we didn't recognize.

To quote the song, it was a "lovely day...lovely day...lovely day...lovely day"!

We had dinner that evening on the north end at a very cool Cuban restaurant, La Bodequita Del Medio.

The food, the service, the atmosphere and the band were all top notch. La Bodequita Del Medio is now on my "highly suggested" list.

Like most of our nights in Playa we ended up at Fusion...

watching the moon...

and the stars...

listening to the waves...

and trying to solve the worlds problems...

March 1, 2011


The Senor, brother-in-law and I took off for a long weekend in Playa.

Note to all, February in Playa is fabulous!

We decided this trip would be all about trying new places and with the exception of a couple of old standbys we kept to our word.

Day One...

a little beach time...

a little Carboncita's...


a "bar crawl" with a bunch of "peeps" from Playa Info...

The "peeps" were from various parts of the US and Canada and a really fun group of "peeps"!

Chris, our leader, is darling. The rules were simple, Chris had a list of 11 places to visit. We would spend 15 - 20 minutes (or one drink) at each stop. When it was time to go Chris would blow her handy-dandy whistle and the group would then follow her like a flock of ducks to our next designation. Simple enough!

We started out at Luna Blue.

Luna Blue is owned by a couple of ex-pats from San Francisco who sold everything and moved to Playa to follow their dream. They run a funky little motel and bar in Playa that people rave about. The Senor and I stayed there once and, quiet frankly, weren't all that impressed. With that said, they have added the bar (with swings) since our stay and I will admit it turned out pretty cool. Tony, one of the owners, stopped by the bar and was very friendly. Perhaps the Senor and I are willing to give them another chance!

Next we went to a new place called Reina Roja Hotel and Bar or as some call it "the red bar". All I can say about this place is it is "different"!

I'm glad we went so I can say I saw it but I doubt I would go again! Someone spent a tremendous amount of money on the decor (which is the weird part!) and the place is huge. It has a very cool roof-top pool that wouldn't be a bad place to spend a few hours. We didn't see the rooms but I understand they are very different but in a cool way. The place is definitely aiming for a younger and more "progressive" group than the three of us!

After leaving the Reina Roja we headed over to Kitxen on 5th Avenue. We have walked by this place many times but never stopped in. So glad we did. The bartender was super friendly and band was great. We will definitely drop back in the next time we're in Playa.

From Kitxen we headed around the corner and down to 1st street to Martini Bar. The Senor and I have been there before and this place is TINY but very popular with the ex-pats. It adjoins a really cool hotel with an outside lobby and a bunch of us planted ourselves on their sofas (that is until they told us we had to leave!) and never even attempted to get inside Martini Bar. Before long the whistle blew and we were once again on our way.

Next stop Basico on 5th Avenue. This is a rooftop bar that overlooks the pedestrian walk-way so is a great place to watch the world go by from up above. Our group were the only ones there when we arrived and we enjoyed checking out the cool layout, people watching and taking advantage of a few photo ops.

From Basico we headed to my favorite spot in town - Fusion.

Fusion is on the beach, is very bohemian, has great music, is right next door to our home base and just all-in-all a great place to hang out. It is also where the "bar crawl" ended for the Senor, brother-in-law and I. It was midnight by then and, let's face it, we're not really what one would call "bar hoppers". We did have fun though and it was good for the three of us to "crawl" out of our comfort zone!

to be continued...