Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Last day in Mexico and the best Mexican meal ever!

While in Mexico, we couldn't pass on visiting the historical sites which, after all, make traveling what it is. Jeff and I saw the ruins of Tulum, which were built by the Mayans on tall cliffs along the Yukatan coast. The establishment was known as the City of Dawn, as it faces the east. It housed about 1,000 people and was surrounded by a wall, pretty well preserved until today, actually, that helped the Mayans defend against the Spanish, of course up to the point when diseases caused majority of deaths in this culture.
As you're travelling you need to keep in mind that certain (most) tourist sites are very old and it takes a lot of effort to keep them standing for the generations to come. This particular city was built in 13th century but judging from tourists ignoring the "keep away" signs and climbing the ruins I do not know how much longer it will stand there.

This photo is just absolutely magical.

Looking down from the edge of the ancient city at the beach.

Aaand... we're back in Minneapolis... welcomed by a snow storm preventing us from driving home that night. We spent the night in Minneapolis and since we were not satisfied with the amount of Mexican food we had in Mexico, we ate enchiladas at a delicious hole-in-the-wall place called Andale Taqueria Y Mercado (click in the name for their website and here for the Yelp reviews).The food was truly amazing; I don't visit MSP too often but I will be sure to stop by next time!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Salt Lake City and the hidden treasure

Salt Lake City is one of my favorites. I love walking around the Temple Square, enjoying the flowers or Christmas decorations and meeting missionaries from all over the world.

We had an opportunity to watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practice. Simply put - amazing. I love listening to their music during the holidays; it makes it so much more celebratory.

One of the most memorable moments was... you guessed it - good food. Approved by Moby, who apparently is a frequent customer at this restaurant, Sage's Cafe proved to be a great find. Organic and vegetarian, fresh and colorful. Check out their menu and I think you may be pleasantly surprised by the gourmet look and acceptable prices for these unbelievably creative dishes. The only canned foods used for preparation are coconut milk and tomatoes and all of the ingredients are organic and locally purchased first. If you want to find out more, please visit the "about" section of their website (click on the name for the link).

Lynne Marie enjoyed her French toast with apple carrot butter. Yum!

I, of course, opted for something south of the border inspired. Here are my tofu tacos with home-made salsa and guacamole. 

Now, I am unsure what Jeff ordered; it looks like the Mountain, according to the online menu. It features a tofu scramble with a faux sausage on top. Usually I don't trust the vegetarian sausages featured in the frozen section of the grocery store as I find them too processed (just look at the ingredients!) but this "sausage" was reported as homemade from tofu, nuts and other secret ingredients. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What's for dinner, Mexico?

Staying in an all inclusive resort certainly has its advantages, all listed below. Forgive me for no dessert photos, I got to them too fast...
Despite my expectations, the meals and the restaurants were pretty high quality. I do wish, however, that we had more opportunities to try Mexican food. The resort had one Mexican restaurant on site and snacks by the pool, otherwise we had an opportunity to eat at one of the places in Playa del Carmen but we didn't as we were in a hurry to get to the Tulum ruins... wait for the next post!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hola Mexico!

This December we decided not to shiver in North Dakota's beginning of winter, but to fry in the sun instead. Having never been to Mexico, my expectations were certainly exceeded. The coast of the Yucatan offers sandy beaches, beautiful water and amazing people.
Being an adventurous person I felt that staying in an all inclusive resort took away from my venturesome nature, but I can assure you that you can still get out and do all kinds of activities, although passing on free drinks, beautiful resort and free food can certainly prove difficult. We did however go kayaking (got flipped by the high waves and promptly returned to the shore), snorkeling with the turtles and swimming in fresh water caves. Visiting Playa del Carmen was a treat in itself, as the town was a little more commercialized than I expected it to based on my other previous travels, but it did make for a great occasion for Christmas shopping!

I met new friends, but I didn't get too close... ;)

Playa del Carmen and a giant bottle of tequila - I did not purchase it as it clearly spelled "trouble"!