Palette Places: Tulum, II
What I loved most about Tulum was the experience of the landscape. From the edge of the perfect ocean to the inland Cenotes and ancient ruins. Then adding to the scope, all of the incredible food and the rush of bright colors…
From the Cancun airport, we rented a car and did the straight-line hour and a half wild highway drive to Tulum. Coming into town and driving onto the lush beach road Boca Paila, there is the initial turn around the bend where you have your very first glimpse of the open water. There lies the most brilliant clear blue ocean with white sand,framed by dense palm foliage. You live through it simply with no distractions - no computers, no internet, no phone service, no loud noises or bright lights. All of these places on the beach road rely on generators, wind and solar power for energy. Everything is brought down to the most casual and easiest way of living.
With open fire cooking that you can watch, the majority of restaurants along the beach road are situated outdoors, including the kitchen. What I was most impressed by was the readiness of homemade, fresh and healthy food. From the fifty-cent tacos at the humble roadside stand Taqueria Honorio to the impeccably grand Argentinian style steak and potatoes cooked outside at Casa Banana (Andrew's favorite). Everything we ate was amazing. There were always big green sprouts, avocados, tomatoes and some type of fresh fruit at every meal. Meat and eggs come from free-roaming animals. Most of the time we had all kinds of seafood - more than once we would watch as buckets of fresh catch were carried into kitchen. At El Tábano, we watched them make mole outside the traditional way with a hand mill and enjoyed the varied menu with so many different tastes to try for the first time. Posada Margherita has the freshest handmade pastas that they cook up right before serving, with a huge complimentary plate of cheese, baked breads and cauliflower always as a start. In town at El Camello, a favorite of local fisherman, there are superb fish tacos and ceviche in the most generous of plates. Next door, Los Aquachiles,has quick lettuce wraps and further down the street, there is a freezer full of colorful paletas at the frutería Flor de Michoacan. Our finale dinner was at the very beautiful and delectable Hartwood (that graces the cover of The Edible Selby), which felt like we never even left Brooklyn.
With the land made out of limestone, all of the water in Tulum is underground. The various holes in the porous stone that open up to these clear blue underground rivers and pools create Cenotes, which you can swim in with a snorkel mask to see to the bottom and through the caves. It was one of my favorite things that we did, besides watching the different formations of sunsets each night and just enjoying the stillness of the beach. This time, I brought along Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter to read. It ended up suiting the occasion, as she spent some time in Mexico and everything always came down to all of the different landscapes that she so loved.