Tomatoes: I am not a big fan of raw tomatoes unless they're excellent. I basically only enjoy them in August in the NY/NJ area. In Mexico though, even in May, at really cheap places, the tomatoes are pretty good. Not peak NJ tomatoes in August good but surprisingly palatable. I'm guessing that the extra sun here brings up the average quality of tomatoes year round.
Beans: nearly every bean preparation has been amazing. Mexicans have some kind of secret. Any kind of frijoles refrito here is just guaranteed to be really good. We had a Mexican place in Brooklyn that served this incredible black bean puree that we still talk about, and it was vegan! Beans here have lived up to that standard, and I have no idea what they're doing to them.
Fried corn or tortillas: if you're eating cheap here, you're almost definitely eating a lot of this. Not ideal for health.
Avocados: we made a pit stop in a random Mexican town on our drive from Bacalar to Valladolid today for lunch. We wandered into a slightly intimidating open air food vendor market where every stall is offering you a seat and a menu and there are no prices on anything. As we were waiting for our fried corn-based meal, I noticed that the avocados our stall was using were totally different. I actually thought it was some weird papaya at first. They were much more elongated and taller. The skin, rather than being a pebbly brown was a smooth firm green like a papaya. The seed was not smooth and dark, but was an odder shape with convolutions, and a light grey brown. The meat looked about the same. I'd read before that Mexican avocados (and probably other places in Central and South America) are different breeds so this makes sense. I believe avocados are a rarity in the produce world: there are many competing varietals grown, but instead of each having some trade-offs on flavor, shelf life, ripening, ease of growth, size, etc, basically the Haas avocados we are familiar with in the US are simply the best across the board. AND those Haas avocados are all descended from one freak tree that someone named Haas found decades ago that produced amazing avocados. It's not usually the case that one varietal is just across the board: better. But interesting to see that the older varieties are still around in Mexico. I couldn't taste much of a difference.
|Chorizo y papa empanadas, fried|
|Salbutes with ground chicken, a corn tortilla just like a taco but lightly fried,|
so it's puffy but still flexible. Good, but we are overdosing on fried
corn products because they are the cheapest.
|Melissa made a new friend!|
Palu, one of the cuter and nicer dogs we've met on the trip. Quite a stinker!
|Motorcycle helmet parking in Bacalar|
|Fancy dinner in Bacalar: conchinita pibil tacos, baby shark empanadas (felt unsure about ordering that one), seafood escabeche tostadas, shrimp broth soup, and a local pepita specialty dip, which was possibly the best thing|
|Sopa azteca, comes with chicharrones, cheese, tortilla strips|
|Cool door in Cancun|
|Cool door in Cancun|
|Marinated, possibly roasted garlic half head. More sour and mellow than rich.|
We ate it all. Behind is a very spicy pico de gallo type salsa.
|Queso fundiiiiiido con chorizo, excellent|
|A very good beef steak for me, shrimp spaghetti with limes for Melissa...|
|What is this, my dream coffee shop?|
|About a $4 dinner in Tulum, I think it came in under a minute after we ordered.|
Tacos al pastor, beef head, chicharrones, carne asada.
|Tortuga graffiti in Tulum|