We traveled to Mexico in early June and I am just now getting to back to a place were I am caught up enough to get caught up with SHIFTvegan. I have decided to break our recent trip into several posts, I have many pictures and observations. Our trip was arranged in into two parts, half at an all inclusive resort and the other half at a villa, right on the beach. This is part one of the visit to the resort.... specifically dinners.
One of the best parts of traveling is supposed to be eating local foods and enjoying local traditions. When you are traveling as a vegan family you are jumping into an abyss of uncertainty.... and the inevitable list of questions.... that well.... make traveling a bit stressful!!!! Add in a couple of moderately picky kids and traveling and eating are tenuous at best!!!!!
We have traveled to the Mexican Riviera a few times and have generally found that the all inclusive resorts offer the ability for vegans to add a few pounds while traveling... just like everyone else!!!! Often the resorts have pretty decent selections of vegetables on the salad bar, and usually there are plain pastas offered, and you can find unpolluted rice and beans. There are usually a few made to order offerings that are prepared in front of you so if your Spanish is ok, and you keep your eyes on the cook you can build some nice custom vegan delights. And if you cannot find healthy choices, you can always find, fries, guacamole, sugary tropical drinks and beer!!!!
The resort, Barcelo, is much larger than any we have visited before, and the only reason we went to that resort was because they were virtually empty because of the Swine Flu scare, oh yes their rates were lower than normal too!!
The resort was quite nice and the food was pretty darned good. The first picture is of gazpacho, which I added lettuce and extra cucumber and some very good wheat bread with olive oil.
This resort also had a wood fired pizza oven, and at dinner time you could order pizza with whatever you wanted. Of course you have to take a little time explaining what you did not want too!!!! The first couple of times we went to Mexico after becoming vegan it was really frustrating trying to explain, but we have found that persistence + smiling + saying thank you over and over really does make a big difference.
This pizza was "todas vegetales con salsa tomate solomente, SIN QUESO POR FAVOR!!!!" or "all of the vegetables, with tomato sauce, without cheese please!!!!" I am sure that there is probably a better way to say it, but I'm a vegan not a Spanish translator. I do have to say that sometimes it is helpful to pull the fake allergy card, so that perceived threat of pending death helps trumps the dumb why are you vegan questions!!!!
Carter ate quite a bit of pasta the first few days of our vacation, but that suited him just fine. They also have the best simple breads, I wish that in America you did not have to go to a specialty bakery to get simple breads without milk, eggs, and honey!!!!! He ate like four bolillos(rolls) at every meal. He also liked the pizza with just sauce, SIN VEGETALES!!!
When you go to the all inclusive resorts you eat most of your meals in buffet/cafeteria areas. It is fairly easy to pick through the offerings and find the vegan stuff without having to do much ordering. Nikki generally eats way more fresh produce than the rest of us do, but on the Mexico trip she is in salad bar heaven, there really are quite a few choices and they are not her normal fare. Good salsas, jicama, several types of beans, raw veggies, capers, olives, nuts, and fresh fruit, yum!!!
At dinner time you do get to make reservations at their special restaurants once or twice during your stay. Usually this is an alla carte menu, that is tailored to all of the things we do not want to eat, so we have shied away from these the past few visits. During our trip this year we made reservations for the Thai restaurant, and they had several vegetarian offerings that were easily veganized!!!!
We had a very nice waitress who really worked hard to understand our limitations and the food was excellent. I do find it interesting that we seem to get pretty positive attention from the service staff and the cooking staff even though we are making special requests.
To start we had miso soup and spring rolls. For main course we had broccoli and tofu, and pad Thai. Carter had rice and broccoli. Addison loved the pad Thai!!!
The pad Thai was particularly good with just the right amount of sweetness and saltiness, this was the only tofu we had on our trip.
The resort it's self was like I said before very nice, but it lacked the charm of the smaller properties we have visited in the past. The kids loved the pool, Nikki and I loved the beach, none of us liked the fact that you spend half of your time walking from one thing to the next. The walking did help work off the some of the extra calories, but it takes so much time dragging all of your stuff around.
We have really grown to love the Mexican Riviera, and highly suggest a visit there, I will be doing additional posts on the rest of our trip to share some of our new vegan experience there. The best is yet to come!!!!