Posted by - 07 October 2009 - No comments

Mas quesadillas por favor

Eat Drink Sleep Shop in Mexico
Last week the AB and I spent a week in Mexico's Yucatan Pennisula in a beautiful spa resort near Tulum called El Dorado Seaside Suites. The resort was named most romantic hotel in the world by and is famed for its a la carte restaurants, which is unusual for an all inclusive. It would have been so easy to have spent our time in Mexico eating at the hotel, but we couldn't come all this way and not immerse our self in the culture and history of the beautiful country we were visiting, so on day two we left the hotel and headed to the nearest town Playa del Carmen.

One of my favourite things to do on holiday is indulge in my love of street food or infilitrate local haunts. So Ignoring the concierge and also the taxi driver's advice to head to 5 Avenue (pronounced Quinta Avenida), a strip which is like a cross between an Egyptian Souk and Oxford Street on a Saturday, we bypassed the sombreros and tourists and went to 10 Avenida. Here between we jostled amongst the locals to enjoy some of the best Mexican street food we've both ever eaten.

Home to the best quesadillas in the Playa del Carmen

One of our favourites was a nameless place selling one quesadilla for 1 USD with a choice of fillings including shredded chicken, beef, pork, chorizo and beans. The flour tortillas are made fresh on the premises, with the flat bread rolled and pressed on a wooden tortilla press before being cooked on a makeshift skillet consisting of a large pot lid placed on top of on a gas stove. 

The tortilla is cooked on both sides for about 1 minute until golden and then filled with a meat or bean filling, and then topped with grated panela, a white Mexican cheese and onions. It's then sealed on the skillet before being served. Before eating you customise your quesadilla with a choice of pickled and very spicy red onions, salsa verde and rojo. The quesadilla was light and incredibly moreish, and so far removed from the toasted things I'd eaten in London it's embarrassing . 

Quesadillas heaven - shredded chicken and cheese

They were so good that we returned to the same place again after we'd visited the other stalls on the parade to have one more, and again later in the week during our stay in the Yucatan with the AB's friend from Melbourne Nando and his girlfriend Bel.

Next door to the quesadillas place
Next stop on our street food quest was a shop specialising in gorditas - it's to the right of the quesadillas place. If you've been watching Jamie's American Road Trip you'll know that gordita means fat girl in Spanish, and is a thick corn flour tortilla shaped like a pocket pitta. 

A gordita filled with pork, shredded lettuce and salsa

Like a quesadilla these are filled with a variety of meat, fish and refried beans stewed and topped with salad, panela cheese and salsa. Unlike the quesadillas the tortilla were already made, so we didn't have the pleasure of watching the gordita being prepared from scratch, but it didn't matter as the tortilla had been made fresh that day and tasted delicious. We went with the pork filling and added a selection of condiments from the tiny salsa bar which included a selection of fresh salads, salsas and lime.

We completed our evening with a trip to a tacoqueria located to the left of the strip (I think it was called Tacochido) serving a range of different street foods including tacos, tostadas, burritos and quesadillas filled with questionable cuts of meat such as tripe and intestines stewing in a large pan of oil. 

Strange meat stewing in a pot of fat
We ordered the beef taco which included what I think was slices of flank steak served on a corn tortilla topped with onions and corriander. Suprisingly, the meat was moist and flavoursome. Out of the three places we'd visited it was my least favourite, but this may be to do with the fact that we'd already eaten quite a bit so far.

Taco filled with flank beef
I can't remember the exact calles or streets the places were located between but if you're walking along 10 Avenida head pass Coco Bongo on your left and it's two blocks down, opposite that traditional Mexican DVD store Blockbusters, between calle 10 and 8.   And one final tip, make sure you arm yourself with a few words of Spanish as unlike 5 Avenida, 10 Avenida is for the locals and no-one here speaks English.
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