Let’s see. We’ve been in Quintana Roo for a week. A every turn, we’ve found a way to cram some form of food or drink In our mouths. So, what should we do on our last full day in Playa del Carmen? Why, attend a food event featuring many of the region’s finer restaurants, of course.
Taste of Playa took over Playa’s Parque Fundadores this afternoon. The main event began at 3 pm, but we got VIP tickets, availing us access at 2 pm. In marvelously typical Mexican fashion, many of the booths were not even close to ready at 2, so while we were very important, we were apparently not important enough to feed. Just the same, there were plenty of vendors at the ready to sate our hunger and slake our thirst.
In fact, right out of the gate, our first visit proved to be one of the best of the day. Maya Luna had an array of nibbles including tiny chimichangas, pulled pork tortinas slathered in sauce, and this delightful tamal of platanos with mole negro.
Food and drink were paid for with “Playa Pesos,” square plastic chips that you could buy at the rate for 10 for $100 MXP. In other words, each Peso rates about $0.75 USD. Everything at the festival cost one to three pesos, so at most you were shelling out $2.25 for sometimes rather hefty tastes.
The lovely folks from Co.Cos, where we took the cooking class the other night, were there serving forth chicken satay skewers, which were lovely, as well as potato and cheese boraki that looked delicious, but we never managed to return for.
I’ve been impressed with the global flavors of Playa in our time here. Coty of Co.Cos herself has worked in Thailand, and you frequently see Asian influences on menus all over town. In fact, last night we had a fantastic meal at a relatively new spot in town, Imprevist, half of whose relatively tight menu is dedicated to Asian dishes. dpaul had a pad Thai with amazingly bright, fresh flavors, unlike any I’ve had before.
Many chefs in town have either worked or studied abroad, or have their roots from elsewhere. The owner of Curry Omm is obviously of indian descent, but is in fact a recent transplant from Palo Alto. In fact, you saw a lot of expats both in front of and behind the booths at this festival, which gives you a sense of what drives the economy in this area.
An hour and change later, and several gut-busting tastes literally under our belts, we still had 11 Playa Pesos between us. So we pooled our resources and raided a local bakery’s booth, and after we sampled their salted caramel and chocolate-habanero ice creams, we loaded up on cupcakes, cookies and cheesecake to take home. The Taste of Playa festival will continue on, later tonight, in the elastic-waisted comfort of Kathleen’s home.