Mexican Noms: Tulum, San Cristobal, Palenque

This year, my family desired to escape the freezing arctic temperatures of the east coast and explore foreign cultures. We allotted the time to spend Christmas and the first week of my month-long break in Mexico. No, I’m not talking about the all-inclusive experience, swimming with dolphins,  eating at restaurants where the margaritas are as big as your head, and a vast American tourist sitting next to you with a ferocious sunburn rendering him redder than a tomato. I’m talking about a real experience where you can genuinely lose yourself. My father, being the experience-seeking, wildman he is, decided that we would begin our journey by flying to Cancun. Then we took a local plane to Tuxtli in Chiapas, a winding car ride through the mountains to the ruins of Palenque, and finally a fourteen-hour public bus back to the coast to Tulum. Despite the never-ending, exhausting travel, my family was able to see many different towns, unique styles of art, experience regional cultures, and–most importantly– indulge in traditional cuisine.

We were trying everything and anything without fail, from spicy chili-covered mango candies and grasshopper tacos in San Cristobal. We tasted to hard-boiled egg enchiladas covered in pumpkin sauce and pineapple chili ice cream bars in Valladolid. Lengua (tongue) and Cabeza de Puerco (pig head) tacos were a delightful treat! We ate our way through Mexico. Everything we tried was delicious with the exception of some tripe tacos from a street cart that was vetoed by my brother and father. T

Mexico is comprised of 31 states each featuring different foods, cultures, art, and fashions. Through my dad’s desire only to spend two nights in each town and jump around countless times, we were able to munch on foods from Oaxaca, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Poblano and more. Along with eating well, we were exposed to breathtaking views of the sun setting over San Cristobal as we stood at a hilltop Church on Christmas Eve, free dive in Cenote after Cenote in the areas surrounding Tulum and snorkel in areas unique for their mixed salt and freshwater lagoons. A fantastic trip that I am sad to leave but glad to have had the opportunity to experience and share with friends.

So enough of my humble brags here is the best part shared through a mouthwatering collection of poorly shot iPhone pictures…I introduce to you THE FOOD.

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Passionfruit and Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
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“Paletas de Fruta” – Popsicles of varied flavors, we got Pineapple Chili, Horchata (cinnamon and rice), coconut and  Mango Tajin (lime chili powder) (Valladolid, Quintana Roo)
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“Cochinita Pibil” A traditional Oaxacan dish consisting of spice marinated slow cooked pork served with avocado, pickled onions and beans (Valladolid, Quintana Roo)
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Condiment bar at the Amazing Al Pastor place: spicy hot Sauce, Insanely Spicy Hot Sauce, cabbage, cilantro and onions, limes, radishes
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Two Al Pastor (marinated pork, spit roasted like shawarma) tacos and an Al Pastor Panucho (a tortilla stuffed with beans (almost like a quesadilla but replace the cheese with beans) and topped with al pastor (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
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Mmm all the Panuchos and Tacos a girl could ask for, all from this cheap hole in the wall, stand on the side of the road where the tacos are only 80 cents each (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
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A bucket of Horchata for the family, a traditional cinnamon rice milk beverage served chilled (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
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A Plate full of assorted carne (beef) and Al pastor tacos garnished heavily with cabbage, onions, cilantro, copious amounts of insanely hot hot sauce and lime (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
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Holy Al Pastor spit (traditional marinated pork), gracefully spiraling around getting crispy on all sides A Papaya, Passion Fruit smoothie bowl topped with bananas, papaya, pineapple and loads of superfoods, not Mexican but hey a girl has to get her fruit somehow (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
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Red snapper tacos, topped with a lime cabbage slaw and cilantro, paired with a lemon tartar sauce and herb oil A Papaya, Passion Fruit smoothie bowl topped with bananas, papaya, pineapple and loads of superfoods, not Mexican but hey a girl has to get her fruit somehow (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
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Carne a la Plancha: A traditional thin steak, grilled quickly over charcoal served most commonly with rice and beans and always topped with a roasted onion A Papaya, Passion Fruit smoothie bowl topped with bananas, papaya, pineapple and loads of superfoods, not Mexican but hey a girl has to get her fruit somehow (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
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A Papaya, Passion Fruit smoothie bowl topped with bananas, papaya, pineapple and loads of superfoods, not Mexican but hey a girl has to get her fruit somehow (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
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OOOOoo work
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A hearty coffee smoothie: Coffee, oat milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, bananas, dates (Tulum, Quintana Roo)
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Assorted pan dulce: sweet, usually sugar coated bread a cheap snack or breakfast eaten almost religiously in Mexico (San Cristobal, Chiapas)
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A pan dulce (sweet bread) bakery
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A little store front selling nothing but rotissere chicken which was a staple of every breakfast while we were here. The chicken, either served half or whole comes with a roasted jalapeño, a roasted onion and a bag of hot sauce (San Cristobal, Chiapas)
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A Chili mango cup from a bicycle street cart: Sliced mango topped with hot sauce and Tajin (A chili lime powder found commonly in all houses in Mexico (Palenque, Chiapas)
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A Peterson Family Christmas Breakfast: A whole roast chicken with tortillas, rice, beans, a mountian of pan dulce, loads of hot sauce, and huevos rancheros which came later and forced us into a painful food coma (San Cristobal, Chiapas)
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An assorted plate of heavily sugar coated Pan Dulce, a nice accompaniment to any breakfast might I add (San Cristobal, Chiapas)
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What healthy snacks they have in Mexico! Maduros, Churros, potato chips, chili chips and yuca chips (San Cristobal, Chiapas)
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Street food: A healthy snack of fried maduros (sweet plantains) drizzled with condensed milk and topped with a sugar coated churro (San Cristobal, Chiapas)

Screw Diets, For now…

Eat Good

Your Fellow Food Enthusiast,

Avery Peterson

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