After 5 days of the being at the Barcelo and enjoying the ease of the all inclusive lifestyle it was time to go out on our own and move on to a villa. Nikki has always wanted to do this but I have been reluctant to rent a car. I also did not really want to spend vacation going to the store and cooking!!!! I get plenty of that in my day to day life.... right!?!?!?
Well the last time we went to Mexico we did a bit of exploring and I visited a couple of grocery, and farmers markets. I found so many things that I wanted to cook on those trips that I started thinking cooking down there would be fun and exciting. Nikki also researched numerous restaurants in the Tulum area so we could eat out if we did not want to cook.
We checked out of the Barcelo fairly early in the day and drove to Tulum and did a little bit of grocery shopping at The San Fransisco Super Market. The SF Super Market is pretty much the same as any small to grocery store with a wide variety of food, beverage, housewares, and other random stuff. It is a bit less intimidating than the small un-air-conditioned markets like the "Pool Market", which has more of a sense of urgency to it, eat now or it will spoil kind of feel. The Pool Market was a bit overwhelming for the kids, it was hot, fairly stinky, and everyone was speaking Spanish at a fast pace. The Pool has some really awesome produce which more than makes up for it's roughness.
I stocked up on some of the basics, avocados, fresh tortillas, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, poblano peppers, mangos, bananas, melon, coconut oil, soy milk, Zucartitas, and pasta. We also picked up some orange Fanta, beer, and tequila.
As you can see from the first picture the beach was unbelievable. The entry to the bay was grassy, but the water was bathtub warm and the villa was literally 15 yards from the waters edge. The villa is named Casa Del Corazon, which had three sleeping areas, a living room, dining room, a very well equipped and fully functional kitchen, and a gas grill. There were some basic provisions in the pantry, spices, pasta, tomato sauce, oil, and believe it or not there was tofu!!!
Of course they also had some non vegan basics in the pantry too, but nothing offensive!!!
The first order of business was to go swimming and hang out on the beach. In the late afternoon, I cleaned all of the produce. Everything was rinsed with Microdyn so that we would not have to worry about tummy troubles!!! The water for the villa is trucked in and is pumped with low volume pumps which really helps limit your faucet water use. There was also a large bottled water set up on the counter for drinking and cooking.
I will do another post on meals at Casa Del Corazon, because we had many very nice ones, I will alos do a post on eating at restaurants and while traveling.
Our first meal was almost all cooked on the grill. Took all of the veggies I had on hand and brushed them with coconut oil and garlic, and grilled them. The grill was built into a counter top, it had good controls and well.... cooked things just fine. We had grilled: peppers, onions, carrots, squash, potatoes served with black beans and mole(not the animal, say MO-lay - a traditional mixture of dried chilis, spices, corn flour, coffee, chocolate and oil that is ground into a very thick paste) we ate this with tortillas and then we licked the plates!!!!! The picture is not very good because I was hungry and did not want to find the camera. OH YEAH, there was a few beers and tequila involved too. In addition to this meal I also prepared garlic pasta for the kids!!
The plate below was one of our last meals it was simple canned black beans, white rice, avocado, tortillas and grilled potatoes. The avocados were so good that I was tempted to just eat them with a spoon.
Cooking was really fun, I enjoyed having some new items to cook with. I liked that there was no microwave, although I realized that I really rely on mine for cooking fast. The cooking did take some time, but I liked the fact that we did not have to get cleaned up and dressed or drive anywhere. In fact I cooked with no shirt and no shoes!!!!!
I enjoyed going to the store, especially when Addison went with me, fun adventures trying to decipher labels. We did buy mostly fresh produce so that was not too hard. She enjoyed hearing stories about when I used to visit my grandparents and go to the crazy markets in Oaxaca.
The picture below is my cooking buddy while at Casa Del Corazon ~ Pekas the dog was ever present during cooking time, well for that matter he pretty much stayed in kitchen all of the time!!! Pekas lives at Casa Del Corazon and has an interesting story. When we first arrived we were greeted by several smaller dogs, then when we got to our villa there was Pekas waiting. He looks a bit rough, and he sounds like Darth Vader, when we first brought our bags in I thought there was something seriously wrong with him that required immediate medical attention!!! I was afraid that we were going to spend the rest of our vacation taking Pekas to Vets and trying to figure out how to get him back to Kansas!!!!! (I could tell you some stories from past Mexico trips)
We asked the couple who manage the villa what his deal was, he has throat cancer and the tumor causes him to have very raspy breathing. He has had some surgery and had chemo treatment before we arrived. Perfect dog to have camp out with us!!!!!
Well as Pekas and I worked out our cooking system I lovingly started referring to him as "Darth" or "Lord Vader", not to tease, but to endear. He was a steady helper, watcher, and cleaner of plates!!!!
After this trip, I think that I would prefer staying in a villa, being vegan really requires careful attention to so many things, it is nice to be able to relax and not have to worry what you are eating and enjoy the rhythms of life.