My Sweet Marie

Posts Tagged ‘playa del carmen

While in Playa Del Carmen this year we had a few new finds and one of my favorites’ was the Little Tea Pot. Denis and I both very much enjoy a pot of tea, we share a pot most evenings, so when we found this spot only a block away from where we were staying, BONUS!

Denis really enjoys dessert when we are out to dinner but rarely do I get to because of my allergies. So this one evening my dear sweet hubby says let’s go check out that tea place and see if perhaps they’d have a treat for you! We walked in and beside their huge selection of teas, I mean huge, they had cupcakes, cookies and all kinds of things but I did not spot anything I could have. Then Denis says, hey Marie, can’t you have those macarons? By golly, I thought I’d gone to heaven! They were definitely gluten-free so I got myself an order of them.

That night the flavor of the macarons was blueberry and I was the happiest girl in the world! Not only did I have a great relaxing day at the beach, but a great dinner out at Pantenegra and then macarons! I mean, come on, how much can a girl take in one day?

So we went a few more times, just to keep them in business you know, not because I am greedy or anything! I tried the chocolate with peanut butter filling, there was lemon one day and I do believe I had strawberry on another occasion! I had to do a lot of walking to earn the points for macarons!

Because they were so good, I ordered a bunch to take home for the grand-kids. I have to say, they liked them just as much as I did. I had met with Karla the baker and she was more then gracious and created recipes that were dairy and gluten-free. I was most impressed when I picked them up and she had bagged them with little green ribbon and all.

My dear sweet husband gave Karla a generous tip as he told her that she had made my trip special, with her macarons. He wasn’t lying, that just made my trip when I was able to have a sweet that was homemade, pretty and delicious and gluten-free! They are reasonably priced and so very tasty. She makes different flavors always and you best get there early to be sure to get some!

If and when you are in Playa Del Carmen, be sure to stop into The Little Teapot on 5th avenue at 28th Caille. You will be very glad you did and while you’re at it, try the cherry tea, it is so very delish. Denis will tell you that the Irish whiskey Black tea was his favorite though. Maybe you just need to find out what your fave will be!

Happy sipping!

Sweet Marie

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Recently my dear hubby Denis and I were in Playa Del Carmen again.  When we go to Playa we usually rent a condo and do some of our own cooking but usually go out for dinner every night. We are on holidays after all! So, this year we heard of a place in town that serves up the best chicken and it was run by French/Parisienne people, called La Brocherie. This I had to check out. So one day while out on one of our adventures, we found it and stopped in.

We walked in and we were greeted with “Bonjour”, I thought it was a trick so I replied with “Bonjour, comment ca va?” Well, not only did they reply but we proceeded to have a French conversation! I could not believe my ears or eyes! What an amazing thing to be in another country of Spanish decent, but to find French speaking people! I loved that!

So we sat down and Arlette began to explain that their chicken is done in the French traditional way. They marinate it overnight in a certain way, then in the morning they stuff herbs under the skin and cook it slowly on the rotisserie. Let me just tell you, it is worth a flight to Mexico to have this chicken, it is so moist and tasty, truly delicious! I ordered the 1/2 chicken dinner so that I could take home leftovers, and that I did! The 1/2 chicken dinner was only 80 pesos which to me was very worth the dish, that translates to $8.00 Canadian! It came with rice and I think vegetables, to be honest I’ve lost track but I know for sure the rice was very tasty.

While eating our lunch, I read on their menu board that on Wednesdays they do beef bourgignone. I said to Denis, if their beef is half as good as this chicken, we need to come back on Wednesday! So we talked to Arlette about it and she explained the process of the dish and we booked a reservation for Wednesday.

We were greeted by Fabian who sat us at our reserved table and served us a lovely beverage! When the dish came, you could smell it coming, I kid you not. There was a big piece of beef in the middle of the plate, with a few potatoes and carrots, all sitting in this delicious beef gravy/sauce. I’m telling you, it was scrumptious! I cannot think of a word big enough to explain how delicious it was, tender, smooth beef in a perfectly flavored sauce. There was a hint of wine in it, very little salt, perhaps a bit of pepper and likely garlic, absolutely prize winning beef bourgignone. You don’t need to go to Paris for this dish, simply get yourself to Playa Del Carmen!

Let me just tell you that Fabian, the owner/chef is incredibly gifted in the kitchen! The Beef Bourgignon was far superior to any I have ever had. I have made this dish myself countless times but never did it taste like this.

While we were dining, Denis and I were chatting away and I said, Denis listen to our ‘neighbors’, we were surrounded by people speaking French! It was incredible, here we are in Mexico and the language I was hearing was French! Apparently word is out in the French Canadian community that Le Brocherie is the place to go on Wednesday nights! And why wouldn’t it, for $12 you get a top notch dinner and the friendliest service in town!

For the record, Fabian and his wife are the owners of the establishment, Fabian being the master chef with his delicious menu dishes and great recipes. Arlette is Fabian’s mother and is the hostess with a very bubbly personality and warmest of  greetings. She had never met us before, yet spent time talking with us and giving us great tips on what to do and see in Paris for our next holiday.

Fabian and Arlette, I wish you much luck in the future in Playa, I know you’ve only been open less then a year but we’d never know it by your dishes. Keep up the good service, the delicious food and the very reasonable prices and people will continue to come and frequent your establishment!

My dear readers, if you find yourself anywhere close to Playa Del Carmen, you need to head over to La Brocherie on 15th Avenue between 4th and 6th streets.

sweetest greetings,

Sweet Marie

If you are lucky enough to get to Playa Del Carmen then I highly suggest you march straight over to Pantanegra restaurant for a lovely dinner! We were in Playa Del Carmen for 2 weeks and only found it on our second to last night there, what a shame! I would have eaten there far more often.

Pantanegra is a Spanish restaurant influenced by the Valencia region. They have been open for just a month now but you will see they are busy most nights. They are open for lunch, closed for an hour or so and then re-open at 7 for dinner. This gives them time to clean, re-stock and prep for dinner. The restaurant offers much wanted shade by day, outdoor dining and indoor when needed. The food is beautiful, so very tasty and the wine is worth going back for! We dealt mostly with Jaime who is Spanish but has very good English. I’m sure that is a big help in a tourist town where many of their guests are English speaking.

On our first night there we tentatively walked up the restaurant which is located on calle 26, close to 10th Ave. It was evening, the white lights twinkled, and then I noticed the candles in the big tree, that’s what got my eye! If someone is crazy enough to put a candle in a tree then by golly, I have to eat there! Frankly there was no signage so I had no idea what kind of food we would get but I like living on the edge!

Jaime came right over and offered us a wine list and I asked him what red he recommended, he brought over a lovely red from Spain and it was perfect. We sipped our wine and he quickly brought over an ‘amuse-bouche’ of pork tenderloin on toast points with a light bruschetta. I can’t have the toast but I did take a piece of the pork as I justified to myself, surely the tomato would stop the bread from touching the meat! I had to try it, it was just so pretty looking. The meat was absolutely melt in your mouth good. My husband who had the whole experience of bruschetta/bread and pork said it was a fabulous combination.The fact that I had never seen this combination before gave me the impression that this place was going to be good.

They like to serve their meals tapas style so they bring one dish out at a time and you share that dish. I love that idea. We really enjoyed our first dish of beef tenderloin in a white wine sauce, served with pine nuts. Again, a combination that was out of this world where your mouth is dancing when the food hits it! I loved it.

Next came our Paella which was a mixed chicken and seafood paella dish that was just so wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed it and didn’t leave a crumb for the birds or anybody for that matter! It had great flavor, I’m thinking there was saffron in there, a great mix of seafood and it was sizzling when it arrived at our table. What fun to share a dish like that.

Jaime tried to get us to do dessert but truly it is rare for me to find a dessert in a restaurant that is gluten-free and dairy free.  This is beside the fact that we were stuffed! So Jaime insisted he’d bring us a liquid dessert. sure enough moments later he showed up with sherry on ice and it was brilliant. I have not really ever been a fan but it was so refreshing and just the right touch to finish off a meal. I was very impressed and left a very happy camper.

With just one more dinner left to have in Playa Del Carmen we had to decide where to have a dinner, a big decision for me. Food is a huge part of my travelling experience. Having eaten at so many wonderful places while in Playa, there was not a doubt when I said to Denis, let’s hit Pantenegra again! And so we did.

On this our last night, Jaime brought over a beautifully presented dish of roasted veggies with goat cheese. You have to picture a plate that is drizzled with a brown sauce, then in the center a round stack of roasted eggplant, then topped with roasted red peppers and topped with melted goat cheese. It was absolutely wonderful in flavor and presentation!

We followed that by a calamari dish that was so good I wanted to lick the plate, but I’m thinking that might have been frowned upon! Because the paella was so good, we had another one of those and it was just as good as the night before! I have to say this is the best paella I have ever had so you must go and try it!

In my opinion is this were a restaurant in my home town, I’d visit it as often as possible. The chef is very talented, the service staff friendly, the atmosphere is warm, elegant and yet fun and an experience to just be a part of it! Please visit Jaime when you are in town and tell him Sweet Marie sent you!

Sweetest dining,

Sweet Marie

Some people head to Florida every year and some people take a different trip every year. For the last 5 years or so we have headed to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico for our winter break! We love that we know where most things are and are lucky enough to find new restaurants pop up every year! There is comfort in knowing where to go and where not to bother to go! We just love it there as there is so much to do and we are lucky enough to rent a great condo most of the time! This year we planned late so we spent 4 days in Cancun in a condo, then 7 days at our usual spot then 4 days at Casa Naaj. It may sound like a lot of moving but we had no issues with it. The last couple of moves we just walked to, no biggie.

Casa Naaj was a new place for us to stay in, serendipity landed us on their door step! We found it while looking online for something else and on a whim booked it. The place looks just like the pictures in the photo area of their website, it is very clean, functional and a nice short walk to the beach!  You can see for yourself at www.casanaaj.com Their prices are reasonable and they are very helpful and knowledgeable of the area.  I would recommend them for sure if you are looking for a condo in the area. The first floor unit is not huge but has an outdoor terrace and has great shade late afternoon after a hot day at the beach! Go visit their website to see for yourself! You can check availability at bookings.com

We spent the first 10 days of our holidays with great friends Paulette and Glen. I have known Paulette for many, many years so travelling together was a no-brainer this year. They spent a lot of time at the beach, who could blame them, while we went off on adventures finding new things to show them and others! We did spend time at the beach of course but we knew after they left, we’d be there a lot, and we were!

On one of our jaunts we found this great frozen treat spot. It was at the corner of 40th Ave and Calle 14. This lady makes homemade frozen treats, picture a drumstick in the shape of a fudgesicle! She had many flavours to choose from too, even some dairy free options! Denis’ favourite treat was the Oreo ice cream, dipped in Chocolate and topped with pecans! Really can you taste it, I was green with envy! I had a pineapple (pina) popsicle, it’s made from fresh pineapple and it’s fresh juice, oh my gosh I have to tell you it was delicious! Best part, they cost 15 pesos each, that’s like a $1.25! She had bananas dipped in a variety of chocolates and nuts, some were peanuts, pecans, walnuts and even coconut! She had a huge variety of fruits too, berries, kiwi, mango, oh I could go on and on. Go for a walk next time you’re in the area and give them a shot, soooo good! We went back a couple of times and I kept telling myself it’s a serving of fruit!

Discovering new things is my favorite part of a holiday and as long as I am with my sweetie then I am game! Having friends there for part of it was a bonus this year, we actually were bored at night after they left as we played cards every night that they were there! I really did enjoy that, even learned a new card game (to us), Hearts. Have you played it? It’s great fun, call Paulette, she’ll teach you how! They know many card games these guys!

I if you get to Playa Del Carmen for a holiday, be sure to spend some time on 5th Ave, it’s fun to hear the vendors try to get you in their shops, one guy whispered to me “come on lady, let me rip you off just a little bit!” I nearly cried out loud when he said that. Never pay what they ask as it’s a game with the vendors to see how badly they can rip someone off! There are some stores tho that don’t barter and that’s where I like to shop, at least I know what I will be paying.

But don’t spend all of your time on 5th Ave, go for a walk. there are many things to see, try 10th Ave or go to the Mega and shop for your groceries.  Try dining on 30th Ave, there many local restaurants that are much less expensive then 5th Ave. You will really get the local feeling, and be a part of someone else’s culture. See what they eat, drink and do. Mexicans are lovely people and will welcome you with open arms!

If you’re planning on visiting Playa Del Carmen, keep an eye on my blog. I will be posting more stories this week!

Warmest regards,

Sweet Marie

 

 

Denis and I were in Playa for 18 days and we got to have some pretty good eats. Here’s a few of our faves:

  • Los Amigos – on 30th Ave – good food, good service & nice atmosphere
  • El Fagon – on 30th Ave- Great tacos! All the food is good, the frijoles sopa a must have! Try the kebobs, delish!
  • Don Sirloins- 30th Ave – tacos and fajitas…yum!
  • Yaxche – great atmosphere, higher end, service is fabulous, Mayan traditional dishes, definitely a nice place to dine!
  • Blue Lobster- wonderful food and atmosphere. be careful if you order lobster, can be very pricey!
  • Mestizo’s on 30th at calle 24. Italian food by Italians! They even did gluten-free pasta for me…amazing!
  • El Pirate Pollo – BBQ chicken – very good! a complete full-chicken dinner for 95 pesos! on 30th at calle 32- a must have at least once!
  • Mannie’s Biergarden- German/Mexican food. Very good food at very reasonable prices. German beers to boot! Calle 34 between Avenida 30 and 25.
  • Las Aguachiles – great ceviche, fish tacos! A must every visit to Playa! On calle 34 at Avenida 25
  • Street Meat! Try the tacos from the street vendors, look for the vendors that are always busy and being used by the locals…you can get tacos for 10 pesos each! UNREAL GOODNESS! For $3 you have lunch that will make you smile!!

Those are some of our favourite places that we went to! We found that prices were fair everywhere we went but the nicer the table and chairs, the higher the prices. It was our private joke all week, do we want to have dinner on white plastic chairs or a nice wooden chair? I hope this info will help you while visiting Playa Del Carmen!

Cheers!

Sweet Marie

If you’re driving all the way to Chichen Itsa then you might as well stop in to Valladolid on your way back! We left Playa quite early in the morning to beat the rush of people at Chichen Itsa and boy were we glad we did! When leaving there were throngs of people in line to get into the park! When we went out to the parking lot, there were hundreds of tour buses and even more vans! Jorge was right, early to Chichen Itsa then we go to Valladolid.

Valladolid is a small city in the state of Yucatan. Named after Valladolid, at the time the capital of Spain, the first Valladolid in Yucatán was established on May 27, 1543 at some distance from the current town, at a lagoon called Chouac-Ha in the municipality of Tizmin. However, early Spanish settlers complained about the mosquitoes and humidity at the original location, and petitioned to have the city moved further inland. On March 24, 1545, Valladolid was relocated to its current location.

The central town plaza is what really interested us, it’s where locals and visitors congregate to sit on benches, mingle and enjoy the setting. It’s a lovely park with more park benches then I have ever seen! I wonder do they ever all get filled? If so, what kind of occasion calls for that many people in the square? We walked around town while Jorge slept in the car, keeping up with the tradition of a Mexican siesta!

On our walking tour, we spotted Mayan ladies in their traditional hupil hand embroidered dresses selling their wares displayed on the fence surrounding the zocalo. We bought this coconut sugar, which kind of looked like toffee, from an old woman for ten pesos! It is divine. She promises me there is no ‘leche’ in it, only sugar (azucar) and coconut. I’ve been nibbling on it every chance I get!

The Cathedral was what we really wanted to see as Denis had read about it in his research. It’s called San Gervasio and was built in 1706. There was a cathedral there before but was torn down by Bishop Don pedro de Los Reyes Rios because of it’s profanation in the so called crime of the mayors. So I can’t tell you what that one looks like, but this one is absolutely beautiful!

When we got to the gates we were sad to see it wouldn’t be open until four o’clock. I was stunned, as it was only two’sh. We walked around town, found another church locked and kept on walking. We found a great museum that had some very old artifacts from some of the ruins including Echbalon and Chichen Itsa. We ran out of time for Echbalon so I’m glad we saw bits of it at least.

We got back to the car at 3’sh and asked Jorge would he like to share a picnic I had packed? He had also brought his daughter Beri along and they thought that was a great idea. I packed some nachos, some fresco salsa, some fruit, veggies and salami! Doesn’t everyone bring salami on a picnic? They had never had salami…I liked that! They snubbed my yellow peppers but liked the carrot sticks, they’d not had this before!  Who knew a staple in your diet could be so new to someone else’s? Long story short, by the time we finished our nosh, it was four o’clock!

I am so very glad that we waited round to see the church. It is magnificent! In the entry to the cathedral are these huge, I mean huge, wooden doors, I cannot explain how big they are! When you walk in all you see is the simplicity in the layout of the church, very old style but so beautiful! The statues are all so old but in good shape. The pews all in a row all shined and ready for the next mass. There are alcoves with different Saint’s statues are displayed with candles and little kneelers are there for private prayer. The confessionals were present and I tried not to look as those things always scared me as a child!

Before leaving, we paid our respects  to the donation box and said a little prayer. I, for one, am very grateful for what and who I have in my life and thank God everday for that. I am thankful for having the freedom to travel where and when I want and that we have the ability to do so occasionally.

Sweetest blessings,

Sweet Marie