Monday, June 27, 2011

Pyramids and Restaurants in Tulum

It was another day in Riviera Maya with lots more food (and drinks) to try. We were heading to Tulum for the food tour, but first we were going to see the only archaeological site on the Caribbean Sea.

We were leaving Grand Velas Riviera Maya fairly early to go to Tulum, so I ordered breakfast from room service. The Banana Nut Pancakes were one of the items on the 24 hour room service menu (included in the all-inclusive plan) and they arrived quickly. The ride was about an hour and I was rather surprised when we arrived at the mix of old and new with trams leading to pyramids, and Mayan dancers next to a shopping mall. When we got nearer to the sea, though, it was clear that what we were looking at was closer to the ancient than the modern.

This site is one of the last of the cities built and inhabited by the Mayans.  It’s hard to imagine that this one time fortress was consider a modern city hundreds of years ago and even more amazing how well it still stood up. We toured the pyramids for awhile before we were given some time to explore on our own. Since my back was still an issue that was keeping me from doing much climbing, I went straight to the beach instead of climbing the pyramid to get the view from the top. Either way, it was still beautiful, with ancient ruins in front of the blue water.

There was nothing ancient about the meal we had when we left the site. Piedra Escondido is the exact place you want to be in Mexico – eating delicious food, drinking wine, and looking at the stunning beach right in front of you.

The guacamole was wonderful, the Bean Dip highlighting pumpkin seeds and the Portobello Avocado Taco just spicy enough. It went well with a glass of 2009 Casclecca Seleccionada, a mix of Chardonnay and Viognier. The chef, Sergio, brought out some lobster tacos and mussels, and then went around to make sure those of us who were allergic also had our own treat. For me, it was Breaded Goat Cheese in a Honey Sauce, which was delicious – especially with the light and fruity Vinos Domeca Grenache Rose.

The next stop was quite different. El Tabano is all about the environment and even has its own compost and recycling. Suzanna greeted us and told us about the mix of Spanish and Mexican, as the couple who owns this restaurant represent both. We also had the opportunity to bring in yet another culture as we were told that the owner of La Mande was coming over to start us with some Italian Food, which would go well with the 2009 Monte Xanic Chenin Columbard, a bit like a pinot Grigio with hints of green apple and lemon.

We enjoyed the selection of pizzas that came around, with a wonderful crust and lots of cheese. It was great with the salad of carrot, spinach, apple cheese and carrots. I thought the Eggplant Parmesan could have used more cheese (must be the Italian in me). We didn’t even have a chance to finish any of it, though, before the Red Chicken with Rice came out. That had a nice kick to it  and filled us up. We were glad to hear that we were done with actual food for awhile, but it was time for dessert!

It was good to get into the car and have some digestion time before we arrived at Le Bistro. I think we all walked in thinking that we couldn’t possibly eat anymore. Then, we sat outside and dishes of Chocolate River and Cream Puffs with Gelato came out! Everything was covered with fudge and we just had to sample away! The cappuccinos came out to aid with digestion and we all walked away swearing that we could possibly eat again. Of course, that was not the truth because it was our jobs and we still had more work to do. Fortunately, there would be a break for us before we would head to Hacienda Tres Rios for a tequila tasting and back to Grand Velas Resort in Riviera Maya for a late dinner.

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