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30 de mayo del 2012 – Sale y Pepe and Complimentary Breakfast

Today, we made another make-shift breakfast in our kitchenette quickly and checked out of our hotel in Playa del Carmen at 11am. We got a taxi for $50 Pesos to the ADO bus station and bought two one-way tickets to Tulum for $124 Pesos. The bus came within 20 minutes and we were on our way.

We finally arrived to iTour Mexico, our tiny hotel (only 6 rooms). It looked awful on the outside and I though to myself, “Oh my god, what did I get us into?” But there had to be a reason I booked this place! I TripAdvisor’ed every place we stay on this trip. Once we got inside, we realized why I’d booked it. The outside does no justice to the quality of this place. Did I mention a bunch of Italians run this place and serve free espresso, croissants and ham and cheese sandwiches? Score!

Sale y Pepe

This little restaurant is actually connected to iTour Mexico hotel. Ironically, being as all Italians run this hotel, the restaurant serves Italian food. We only had to walk, literally, 20 feet to reach our table. We sat on the patio. The temperature was about 85 degrees but it was raining/thunderstorms. It was beautiful! We ordered a Bohemia and a Lime Aguas Frescas. Our drinks were $55 Pesos or about $4.

And a “Cesare Ensalada,” which was tastier than a regular Caesar because they had fresh toasted croutons and smokey bacon on top. This was $80 Pesos or about $6.

For dinner, I got the special, which was Espageti con Almejas or Spaghetti with Clams in a white wine, garlic, butter and parsley sauce. Delicious! $120 Pesos.

Finally, we ordered what our host Marcos recommended, which was the Pizza. We got a half Proscuitto and half Estrema (pepperoni and garlic). This was really tasty and Rafa killed the whole thing by himself. mmMM. I’m sure we’ll eat here again in the next few days because we’ll be here until June 2nd.

31 de mayo del 2012 – El Camello Jr. & Mangos Filipinos

El Camello Jr.

El Camello was recommended to us within the first fifteen minutes were arrived to our hotel and it has been the best food Mexico so far (trumpting the Polloa Asadero). It was so good, in fact, we went back the next day and ordered a different combo of dishes. First of all, El Camello gets rave reviews from trip advisor. It is at the end of town before small town Tulum turns into thick jungle. We walked the first time because we didn’t realize how far it was, then after consuming the MOST delicious fried fish, the MOST delicious and HUGE ceviche mixto and 2 aguas frescas plus 4 Bohemio Oscuros…we were two happy people!

El Camello Jr. is just a bunch of plastic tables (inside and out) with male servers. They receive shrimp and fresh fish as you sit there. It is comforting to know that the turn-around for fish is high so you know you’re not eating old fish…I can’t say I feel the same about the Chinese food place I saw in Playa del Carmen…

First, each table is served what our server called “cazado,” which he says is implied that a dish prepared in a “cazuela” or a stew pot. Instead of serving you the typical chips and salsa, they bring you cazado, which is warm fish stew. I could point out a handfull of ingredients – tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, white fish. It’s warm and is served with fried corn chips. A LOT of fried corn chips.

Next, I saw everyone eating ceviche. There was no way I was leaving this place without stuffing myself full of ceviche. Unfortunately, you eat with your eyes and I ordered a large. Oh well- I was still happy.

Rafa ordered a fried whole fish. It came with pureed black beans, salad, tomatoes/cucmbers and rice. They also brought some diced tomatoes for him and a couple of hot sauces (both habanero based – neither were tasted).

Final dishes on the table…

Mangos Filipinos

On the way back from the restaurant we stopped at this little old man’s fruit and veggie shop (open air). The owners name is Raymundo and he is 80 years old with only 4 or 5 grey hairs. He speaks Mayan and we sat with him for a while. I fed his cat my leftover Ceviche and he taught Rafa some important life lessons. He was a kind and incredibly intelligent old man.

1 de junio del 2012 – Tulum Ruins and Round Two at El Camello Jr.

Today we woke up and grabbed some free bikes from our hotel. We headed to El Asadero, which out hotel guide also recommened but they were closed. Because the sun was beginning to fade, we decided to skip lunch all together and go see the Tulum Ruins and go to the beach first. We’d eat later.

After we saw the ruins and a ton of HUGE lizards up close and too personal, we decided to head to El Asadero to eat, but it was still closed. They didn’t open until 6pm! What the heck! Well, we hadn’t eaten all day and El Camello was sounding pretty darn good again, so we headed there.

I ordered the Camarones al ajillo or Garlic Shrimp and Rafa ordered the fried fish again. Delicious as usual.

The food here is consistent and delicious. Our meal today, including a Coca Cola and a Lime Aguas Frescas was only $249 Pesos or around $18-19!!

Tomorrow we head to Chichen Itza. We’ll be watching the Light and Sound Show at night, since the trip is 3 hours from Tulum and we don’t arrive until mid-day. The following morning, we’ll see Chichen Itza in the day. Food will surely be different and less seafood based far from the coast.

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