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#61 Aaron T

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 08:54 PM

In Playa there is tons of development going on. A ton of real estate offices too. All along the highway from Cancun to Tulum and beyond there are condo developments going up. It really seems like a free for all.

I hope the beach at Tulum doesn't get as built up as Playa del Carmen. That would be a shame.

I thought of MFers when I passed the signs for the Swim with Dolphins. The picture on the billboards was pretty funny.
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#62 omnivorette

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 11:29 PM

Tulum is going to be just as built up - it's already happening. The difference in Tulum every year is striking. I've been going down there for 20 years. The early years when I went to Playa, it was a small town, even smaller than Tulum is now.

If they build it, they will go.
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#63 juuceman

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 03:42 AM

QUOTE(omnivorette @ May 12 2008, 04:36 PM) View Post
This is why we fly into Cancun and drive 4.5 half hours south.


This is why we fly to Huatulco and drive south a few hours..

#64 Orik

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 11:35 PM

QUOTE(Aaron T @ May 12 2008, 03:54 PM) View Post
I thought of MFers when I passed the signs for the Swim with Dolphins. The picture on the billboards was pretty funny.


Oddly, most of those signs along the 307 are gone, maybe the dolphins have had enough?

I never said that

#65 Sneakeater

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 11:48 PM

Their love of turkey isn't irrational. There's a native kind of wild turkey (oscillated turkey? something like that) that's plentiful all over the peninsula. If you hike through the brush you run into massive numbers of them. The people there love turkey cuz it's there.
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#66 Orik

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 12:39 AM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Feb 21 2009, 06:48 PM) View Post
Their love of turkey isn't irrational. There's a native kind of wild turkey (oscillated turkey? something like that) that's plentiful all over the peninsula. If you hike through the brush you run into massive numbers of them. The people there love turkey cuz it's there.


Figures. Anyway, fish and seafood (and fruit) seem to be the things to focus on around here. Ceviche, cazon, grilled fish, fried fish... all good.

I never said that

#67 Orik

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 09:53 PM

How to eat in Playa these days:

Start on 40th street & 10th ave at Cocteleria el Pirata. Take the salpicon or a mixed ceviche, and fried fish.

Then stroll down to 38th & 5th and get tacos with octopus, cazon, smoked marlin, shrimps a la diabla at Kool Fish.

Take a right around the corner and get a Choripan at the Argentinian hole in the wall.

Now a left into Cueva del Chango for fruit and chaya juices and stuffed poblano.

Avoid Yaxche, there be Disneyland.

The shrimp tacos at El Oasis on 5th and 8th are nice, but avoid that block on weekend nights (Coco Bongo, apparently a major local attraction)

On 10th avenue, between 8th and 10th street, there are two places deserving your attention - Tachochido - where you can get (WILFRID, pay attention), tacos with tripes (both honeycomb and the small intestine-ish kind), chorizo that is more like morcilla, brains, tongue, and just plain old carnitas. There's also the tacochido - a very large tortilla with a mixture of those. Right next door - Dr. Taco, serves good fried shrimp and fish tacos, somewhat "expensive" in local terms but very tasty. Open late.

Near the bus station on Juarez, as you already know from reading this thread, there are several taco stands in the morning - cochinita pibil, relleno negro, stuffed chilis, fish, shrimp, sometimes cazon. Mind you, this is the warmest spot on the planet, cleverly sloped so as to face the sun at all hours. (I don't know how you got here in the morning given all those other places you've already been, but so be it)

There is a more exciting stretch if you go up 30th avenue, from about 38th st. to Avenida CDM... more spread out, but a really wide range of tacos, tamales, churros and whatnot. Also on 30th avenue, south of 38th st, are La Pesca, which can be very good or not very good, depending, El Fogon, which you will read good things about but you should not believe them, and several markets and supermarkets.

El Faisan y El Venado on 2nd-ish street and the highway has improved and the range of animals available over the weekend is impressive (no faisan, but barbacoa and sausage of venado, pork in all its forms, beef, chicken, turkey). Nice cochinita pibil. The kind of place where the amuses are as likely to be pig cheek salad as they are to be refried beans ( huh.gif )

Right across the highway there's La Borrega, which specializes in barbacoa. Order the mixed lamb barbacoa - a combination of lamb meat and mixed offal, and the lechon. (comes by the 1/4, 1/2, 1 kilo)


There are countless other places, many of which are little more than someone's living room that's been opened to the street, they come and go (Jim Leff's wet dream and worst nightmare combined). The area above 38th street in particular is unexplored, not to mention everything on the other side of the highway. Many restaurants will have a branch or two you'll read about in CH, because it's in the touristy bits, and a branch uptown that is undocumented. (not sure if it's better or not, just that it doesn't exist on google)


I never said that

#68 Wilfrid1

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 02:21 PM

Tacochido. Got it.
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#69 Orik

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 11:45 PM

An update.

Playa is constantly in all kinds of world record lists as the fastest growing city anywhere, with annual population growth rate in the 15%-25% beating anywhere in China. This means things change fairly rapidly, mostly for the good but with some old favorites being wiped out by development. Two important changes we've observed there are that the local Italian and French populations are now large enough to support some good food businesses, and that there's increasingly more skilled and stable staff around.

From the previous list, Cocteleria El Pirata is still going strong, but Kool Fish seems to have become more of a bar. Portena, the Argentinian hole in the wall has changed ownership twice and now serves about a dozen dishes from about 50 sqft of grill+prep area, didn't get to try it. Cueva del Chango remains the same, Yaxche has moved to and even more Disney-fied location. El Oasis has vanished (building gone?), Tacochido is in the weeds - you can use Taco Gomez on 2nd Street instead, the carts on Juarez still the same (now a peso more expensive and sporting fancy stickers saying they're regulated by someone, El Faisan still great on weekends (has a bigger, somewhat nicer location down in F. Carillo Puerto), La Borrega going to close as soon as they sell the building (new overhead highway makes the location undesirable).

To this list I'll add:

Isola Dolce - an Italian pastry/coffee shop with locations in Florence, Playa and maybe Cancun too - the pastries are excellent, better than at Tarallucci & Vino for example (sorry but my frame of reference for Italian pastries isn't exactly huge), the coffee is some of the most highly caffeinated I've had (usually I can have 6-7 shots before I feel any effect, a second cortado here was almost too much), and the crowd... priceless. If there's nobody to serve you downstairs they're probably smoking their joints upstairs.

Not quite as nice ambiance-wise - Chez Cecile - a French pastry shop and cafe - the croissants are better than adequate, the bread is poor (and most of the cooked food I saw looked poor too), decent coffee, gets very busy with a largely French crowd.

Luna Maya - this is a seriously good restaurant (I wouldn't have been surprised to see it getting 2 stars from Sifton although it's probably 1.5 stars in long term nytimes ratings) serving upscale Yucatec cuisine with a couple of big steaks and lamb chops thrown in for tourists. Service was at a level not usually seen around those parts, with the waiter managing to figure out exactly how much he needs to slow down his Spanish for us to be able to follow, beaming with delight when we figured out their "house terrine" was really a play on tostada de pata (and refering us to the best place in town to have that) and generally a very smoothly running operation. Cochinita Pibil sous-vide, Tikin'xik, green pozole with lobster, veal shank with various local herbs, and several other dishes were beautiful. Good wine list with fortunately many bottles from Casa Madero, the only Mexican winery I've found to produce decent stuff. I hope it lasts. Check for two in this super-expensive place was about $100 to $110 including a $50 bottle.

In Tulum - El Camello Jr. - a seafood and fish joint at the southern entrance to downtown Tulum - great ceviche (made with chivitas - a kind of local fresh water snail), great spicy seafood and fish soup, decent octopus with mojo de ajo. The awning may look like it's providing shade, but it doesn't seem to filter out UV, sit inside or become a lobster.



Pummarola - one of the longest operating Italian places in Playa has relocated recently (well, opened three or four locations, then closed all but one). Pizza and lasagna are perfectly acceptable (which normally isn't the case for Pizza down there), and it's hard to complain about a place that thinks of two (very good) meatballs as an amuse.

Pozoleria Mi Abuelita - I'm not a big Pozole fan so I had a menudo / mondongo / pancita that was very nice (Although I didn't try it in any of the other several hundred places that serve mondongo on weekends, so I can't compare) and not exceedingly smelly, Sivan's pozole (rojo, they don't do green) seemed nice too.

Como Como - on a strong night modern Italian with many local touches (one of the few tourist oriented places that use the local fish rather than rely on frozen seafood mixes, salmon, tuna, etc.), on a week night a study in not very successful dish concepts. Annoying service. Another good wine list.
I never said that

#70 Orik

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 03:59 AM

Luna Maya - this is a seriously good restaurant (I wouldn't have been surprised to see it getting 2 stars from Sifton although it's probably 1.5 stars in long term nytimes ratings) serving upscale Yucatec cuisine with a couple of big steaks and lamb chops thrown in for tourists. Service was at a level not usually seen around those parts, with the waiter managing to figure out exactly how much he needs to slow down his Spanish for us to be able to follow, beaming with delight when we figured out their "house terrine" was really a play on tostada de pata (and refering us to the best place in town to have that) and generally a very smoothly running operation. Cochinita Pibil sous-vide, Tikin'xik, green pozole with lobster, veal shank with various local herbs, and several other dishes were beautiful. Good wine list with fortunately many bottles from Casa Madero, the only Mexican winery I've found to produce decent stuff. I hope it lasts. Check for two in this super-expensive place was about $100 to $110 including a $50 bottle.


Still going strong. The sous-vide pibil has been improved - they now toss in a few pieces of charcoal near the end to give it a great smokey flavor. I can't imagine there's a better Mexican restaurant in the yucatan at the moment.
I never said that

#71 Orik

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:06 AM

1989:

Posted Image


Today-ish:

more or less the same area

I never said that

#72 Orik

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 05:06 PM

Luna Maya is gone.

 

Chez Cecile is really called Chez Celine

 

Pummarola is undergoing renovations, but the owners were just caught with 33 kilos of cocaine in Louisiana, so I dunno... Pretty funny to read about it after I was telling our local rep that if they've moved spots 7 times in as many years and have been bankrolling three high end gyms and several other spots that keep closing, moving, etc, there might be something going on. 

 

A similarly fluid situation with Isola Dolce - now Tiramisu and located on 4th Street and 25th Ave. In its old location - Afrodisiako - a nearly identical Italian joint that serves Tiramisu's pastries, but is allegedly unrelated. (although these guys... I think more into weed if anything)

 

There's a new Enrique Olvera concept, which we may try tonight (was closed for some reason) http://maizdemar.com/sitio/  - yes, from taco carts near the bus station (now relocated to the not very lovely park nearby) to Enrique Olvera in 7 years, even faster than Brooklyn. 

 

I'm not sure if I wrote about Aguachiles - what started as a single location serving tweaked versions of local-ish seafood cuisine at a decor and price range designed to appeal to Mexico City hipsters (the owner is half of Thievery Corporation), is now 2xAguachiles (+1 in Tulum), Canibal Royal - a beachfront version with some more serious offerings (like a very good boquinette veracruz midweek, and an even better whole steamed/baked fish on weekends, large enough to feed six, or two :blush: ). They also have a new place called Almirante Pech with similar dishes, and I think two more spots. I think I'd have enjoyed it more if I didn't have to first tell them to take two courses back as there were already four plates on the table, and then to send them back again and say I didn't mean for them to just put them down somewhere and bring them back 20 minutes later.  :D


I never said that

#73 Orik

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 02:35 AM

There's a new Enrique Olvera concept, which we may try tonight (was closed for some reason) http://maizdemar.com/sitio/  - yes, from taco carts near the bus station (now relocated to the not very lovely park nearby) to Enrique Olvera in 7 years, even faster than Brooklyn. 

 

 

Very good raw bar (ceviche, aguachiles, vuelve a la vida, tiradito, etc.), very good mero al pastor, meh mero tikin-xik (although the fish itself was very good, a real misunderstanding of the dish). Feels like a fast food franchise, though.

 

Then 10 minutes of torrential rain, far better than today's Tokyo weather.


I never said that

#74 joethefoodie

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:28 PM

Pummarola is undergoing renovations, but the owners were just caught with 33 kilos of cocaine in Louisiana, so I dunno... Pretty funny to read about it after I was telling our local rep that if they've moved spots 7 times in as many years and have been bankrolling three high end gyms and several other spots that keep closing, moving, etc, there might be something going on. 

 

 

Calling Tony Montana...



#75 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:57 PM

well here's your problem right there - a guy named Mohammed flying a private plane into a small airstrip.  He could have been transporting orphans to meet their adoptive parents and still gotten cavity searched on landing.


Why not mayo?