Stef’s Trip to Mexico! (and New York)

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Me and my husband Nick, recently managed to get away for 10 days. Mexico was top of our list as it’s one of our favourite places. We absolutely love the country, the weather, the beaches, the people, the wildlife, but more importantly THE FOOD. Anyone who knows me will know that I have a bit of an addiction to Mexican food and have done for some time. But as we wanted to make the most of our time, we decided to squeeze in 3 days in New York first, in the hope that we’d have a relaxing 7 days in Mexico afterwards (wishful thinking) – more on this later!

Top of our list was a restaurant some friends had recommended. ‘Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse’ – I mean, it would be rude not to, right?! So glad we did, the food was great. Nick had the ‘Nick Burger’ (obviously) and I opted for the chicken chop chop salad (after a few days of American overindulgence I felt like I needed it!) Would really recommend this place, and definitely have a Vanilla New York Cheesecake too – amazing!

nick burger nick and stefs salad

So, our highlights of New York. I would really recommend taking a walk through all 3 of these places:

1 Central Park – might sound obvious, but I don’t think I imagined how amazing it would be!

2 Brooklyn – loads to see and do. Make sure you go to Grimaldi’s – THE best pizza I’ve tasted, even if you do have to queue to get in!

3 Chinatown – so much going on there. Street markets, fresh fish stalls, and even taekwando practise in the park!

park grimaldis chinatown

As it was our first trip, we obviously did lots of research of all the best attractions, best restaurants and best neighbourhoods to take a stroll in. There was just so much we wanted to see and do, so we hoped we could just walk around all day and see all of these amazing things in 3 days…which we did…and by the end of day 3 we were just.so.tired. So off we set to Mexico, Playa Del Carmen in the Yucatan Peninsula, for a beautifully relaxed 7 days, or that was the plan anyway, but after a few hours attempting to get a tan, on the beach, with a margarita we decided we weren’t ‘lie down on the beach all day’ kind of people anymore and set ourselves up for another few days of craziness!

First up was Coba. These Mayan ruins are set in deep thick jungle, only accessible by bike. You can still climb the ruins here and the view from the top was breathtaking. It was really interesting learning about the ancient Mayans and the Mayan calendar -we were told many things along this trip, although I’m not too sure how true they all are… Mayans are believed to be descendants of Mongolia, Mayans use lots of salt in cooking as it’s a sign of wealth and also invented chewing gum (I can totally understand why after eating Mexican breakfasts every day!)

On the way back we stopped for some lunch. Lovely tortilla soup made with cornmeal and tomatoes topped with fried ancho chillies and cheese, and one of my all time favourites Pibil chicken – slowly roasted in banana leaves, marinated in sour orange juice, herbs, spices and annatto seeds to give it a lovely red colour.

coba  me coba

soup  pibil

Next up, we had researched the best place to go for authentic street food in the area. El Fogon (meaning ‘the stove’) was apparently the place to go. The waiter recommended we try the chorizo and cheese tacos, so we ordered these along with chicken tacos, nachos and guacamole (obviously, we are in Mexico after all!) The food came with some great accompaniments, an ancho salsa, a deliciously hot habanero pico de gallo and nopales – cooked cactus paddles (for those who are wondering, it tasted to me like a meaty green bean! Worth a try!) It was all some of the best, messiest but most simple food I have ever tasted! (The pictures really don’t do it justice, you’ll just have to take my word for it!) I will be doing a post on some PROPER Mexican nachos soon – so good.

el fogon

chicken

guacamole

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On our supermarket trip, we were amazed by the quantity and quality of the fresh produce. There were mountains of avocados of varying ripeness which were just SO cheap. There were some new vegetables to me. Jicama (mexican yam – texture and taste is a bit like a savoury melon? Apparently, the next new superfood…), chayote (a type of squash) and this funny shaped unidentified green squash looking vegetable at the end (if anyone knows, let me know! Looks interesting!)

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It was our 3rd wedding anniversary while we were there, and we chose this day to visit the beautiful Tulum ruins overlooking the beach. However, we got a bit lost and ended up walking for miles through a road in the jungle, but we did enjoy seeing lots of great nature, iguanas and Yucatan jays! We eventually found ourselves at a much needed beach bar, where we spent some time sampling a few Mexican beers!

IMAG0334 ruins

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There’s so many more tasty things to tell you about from this holiday, including some traditional Mayan food specialities, but I am trying to hold back so I can test out some of these recipes at home myself and share them with you (hopefully this will keep me occupied enough to stop me booking a flight back to Mexico immediately!!)

 

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