A Feast for the Senses, Eating My Way Through Mexico

I haven’t written in my blog for so long, but I had a good reason. I took an almost 2 ½ week vacation to Mexico. I haven’t taken a real vacation for something approaching seven years. Since I felt 2+ weeks was a long time to be gone from work, I worked extra hard up until the day I left, March 10, to wrap things up at work and make sure my co-workers wouldn’t have too much to handle while I was gone. Because of this, my blog fell by the wayside in the weeks prior to my departure. As for since my return, well, let’s just say things have been very chaotic since then. I might write more about that later, but for now, suffice it to say, my career and my future are a little bit up in the air. But for now, I’d like to think about happy memories, so I will tell you a little bit about my trip to Mexico.

I went to Mexico with a tour group. I learned about this tour through a blogger I had recently started to follow: Wandering Earl. I didn’t know a soul that was going on this tour, but, as it turned out, that was also true for all but one couple that went on the tour. There ended up being twelve of us, Derek Baron, aka Wandering Earl originally from Massachusetts; his sidekick, fellow travel blogger and tour group herder Anil Polat, aka Fox Nomad originally from Turkey; a lovely married couple from California, via Canada originally; and eight single women including me. I was the lone Minnesotan in the group. Two women were from Chicago, two were from Australia, one was from New Zealand, one was from California (originally from the Philippines), and one was from Colorado (originally from Russia). We had a fabulous time, a beyond-fabulous time, something I attribute in no small part to the excellent and diverse group of individuals on this trip.

We visited several locations and got a really good taste for the Yucatan Penisula, Central Highlands, and Southwestern parts of Mexico. I flew into Cancun and met up with my group in Playa del Carmen. It was a leisurely, beach-front start to our vacation and gave us all a great opportunity to get to know each other.

Italian gelato not far from the beaches of Playa del Carmen

Over the course of the next several days, we had the opportunity to visit several Mayan ruins in the area, including Tulum, Chichén Itzá, and Palenque as well as the Aztec ruins of Monte Albán. We visited charming cities with amazing architectural features including Valladolid and the splendor of Izamal, the city of all yellow buildings, where we climbed the ruins of Kinich Kak Moo. We floated past crocodiles through the Sumidero Canyon.

We visited San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan (the place of flowers). The sustainable farming practices of that area were so cool to see, including seeing some simple, terrace farming. Parts of the hillsides reminded me of Tuscany. Sheep, chickens, rabbits, and turkeys were the most commonly spotted farm animals.

Oh how I cracked up seeing the bunnies and chickens together in the same pen. They really appeared to enjoy hanging out.

We saw the most incredible church in San Juan Chamula (but weren’t allowed to photograph the inside) where pine needles and thousands of candles covered the floor (see Wandering Earl’s article The Most Amazing Church I’ve Ever Seen & Can’t Show You). If you were hoping to rid yourself of a spiritual problem you would bring a chicken with you into the church and a medicine man or woman would periodically feel your pulse. According to the medicine man or woman when your pulse was calm your spiritual problem had entered into the chicken, which they would then kill and bury.

We visited a family home where they made us homemade tortillas with white beans and crushed pumpkin seeds and gave us a shot of “Posh” which is an alcohol which is about 80 proof on its own. For us, they mixed it with a little Hibiscus juice to make it more palatable. We saw some beautiful hand woven handicrafts at this home, as well.

We spent a few days each in the much bigger cities of San Cristóbal de las Casas and Oaxaca, the first reminding me more of what I had thought of when I pictured a traditional Mexican city, and the latter more sophisticated and European feeling—very much reminding me of a cosmopolitan city in Spain.

Various market candies of San Cristóbal de las Casas
Marzipan-like duck
Various Market Baked Goods of San Cristóbal de las Casas

I could go on and on into much more detail giving you a play by play of each day’s activities, but I will leave that up to our fearless leader, who has already written quite a lot about the trip. You can find his articles here:
Recap of Wander Across Mexico Tour
I Bought A Zoo While Traveling in Mexico
Is Mexico Safe To Visit?

Since my blog is, after all, supposed to be a cooking blog, not a travel blog, I am going to spend the rest of my space telling you a little bit about the food I tried. You can also read a more extensive blog about the food experience, on the Wandering Earl site, as well, Oh How I Love To Eat In Mexico!

Since I didn’t want to have a lot to carry with me (I prefer to travel light) I didn’t bring my nicer, that is, bigger camera. That means my photos were all taken on my iPhone 3, which iPhone aficionados will know is the version of the iPhone that did not come with a flash for the camera, so it goes without saying that these photos are low resolution. Hopefully they will be just enough to whet your appetite to take off to a new location to try some new and tasty tidbits of your own.

Eggs and Avocado over a green chili sauce
Alambres de Pollo: chicken, cheese, and veggies
Chicken on a grill in a village just outside Chichén Itzá
Having a bit of a Cheetos addiction, I made a point to try all the flavors Mexico offers, as well as some new non-Cheetos chip flavors. I wasn’t too impressed, if I’m being honest with you.
Especially gross was the Horneados in the purple pack that came with a side packet of salsa that you were to pour over the top. Cheetos fingers are one thing, but Cheetos fingers also covered in sticky salsa–yuck!
Chicken in Valladolid
Cream of Broccoli Soup
Tequila tasting with the lovely single ladies of my tour group (from left to right): Queenie, Anastasia, Rashelle, me, Cindy, Alison, Michelle, and Laura
Azteca Soup (chicken soup with lime and tortillas)
Delicious fried plantains with rice and a lovely side cream that tasted like yoghurt and sour cream.
Terrible photo of best soup EVER–in a darkened restaurant, late at night, Carrot Soup in the city of Palenque–so delicious!
Chicken Caesar Salad with YUM more avocados. The avocados were SO FRESH in Mexico. I ate them every chance I got.
Mushrooms and cheese
Empanadas with fresh guacamole
Baked goods basket that came with breakfast in Oaxaca
Fresh fruit vendors were everywhere. Most commonly-sold fruit was papayas, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapple.
Mexicans love their meat.
Fried chapulines with chile, that’s crickets to you and me!
Yes, I tried the crickets–actually, I even tried two.
Mexican salad
Tomato Soup
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2 thoughts on “A Feast for the Senses, Eating My Way Through Mexico

    • With your super sleuthing skills, you found my top secret blog!
      All those links back to your articles left quite the cookie trail, I suppose.
      I am trying to record all our family recipes via this blog so I can put together a photo scrapbook, like the kind you can order on Snapfish, for my female cousins and sister-in-law.
      I so frequently get off track, though. Where to travel to and eat next? 😉

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