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Paradisus Playa del Carmen, Day 3

See Day 1 & Day 2

Normally we’d use this free day to go diving, but our attempts at arrangements failed. We did end up diving on Monday though.

I completely failed to get a picture of breakfast from the buffet at Paradisus this trip. Breakfast usually ends up being one of the easiest and most satisfying meals. There’s always lots of fresh fruit, cereals, bread, and peanut butter. There was a smoothie station, but I just stuck with the fresh green juice they had. There wasn’t any out, but the server brought us soy milk for our coffee and cereal.This is usually how it works at resorts and on cruise ships.

daiquiri on the beach

beach playa del carmen

We spent the morning at the beach and the afternoon at the pool. I may have had this daiquiri before noon. Sue me. In between, we grabbed a light lunch from the buffet. As I’ve probably said before, the buffets are often your best bet.

vegan salad guacamole chips

We had dinner with the company the last night. We were greeted with trays of margaritas. I had a standard one or two but then the guy somehow pawned off this electric green one on me. It was green apple, I think. It was too sweet but I drank it anyway.

electric green margarita

Like the first night, we went up to the buffet to get salad. They had jicama this time, yay! Also, Guacamole. Every. Meal.

vegan salad, jicama, guacamole

And then they brought us a “special” vegan main dish. A vegetable lasagna. It was .. okay. It’s just disappointing when you know they have a nice array of ingredients to choose from and yet they choose a pretty boring dish to make.

vegan lasagna

In general, I’m just glad there was enough food we could eat. But these resorts aren’t cheap. A quick search of the resort’s site quoted me $340/night. Who knows how much Kevin’s company is paying. Unless we were both heavy drinkers, it just isn’t worth that much for us to ever consider staying at one of these resorts on our own dime. Especially when you see in upcoming posts what we got for less than a third of that.

Anyway, the bottom line is that as a vegan if your company takes you to one of these resorts, you will be fine, but the vegan food is generally not at the same level as what they serve everyone else.

 

 

Vegan Meal at Molé at Paradisus Playa del Carmen

Near the main lobby and all the bars, there are pools filled with Koi and turtles. Little Koi and huge Koi. Apparently they get fed a lot of scraps by guests. If you stood on the edge the water would roil with them. I’m not pro keeping fish, but I did enjoy their antics.

koi fish

koi fish

The second day at Paradisus, we had a breakfast “meeting” then the group activity. It was a crazy long day. We took a bus ride for about 45 minutes. We were outfitted with snorkels and masks and then we headed to Akumal Beach where we got to snorkel with big ol’ sea turtles and rays. It’s a protected area for the turtles. The people are roped into an area, but the turtles are free to come and go. So there’s no danger of them being harassed; they can just leave.

We went back the jungle area, changed clothes, and ate lunch. Sadly, the beans weren’t vegan so we ate tortillas and guacamole with some steamed vegetables. Not too bad.

Then we climbed up a huge, rickety tower and repelled off the side of it. You know who went first? The ladies. The first four down were all women. Yeah.  After that we climbed more rickety towers and zip-lined around. It was my first time repelling or zip lining. Honestly climbing the tower is the worst part.

After that we cooled off in a cenote, a fresh water river under ground in a cave. The cave was full of bats. I love bats. The tour we took last year was a much longer tour of a cenote. We wore wet suits then. We did not have on wet suits this time and it was cold! But refreshing after the day’s activities.

Oh yeah, no pictures of all this. But the company got pictures from the tour company, so maybe I’ll get my mitts on those at some point.

One of the reasons why people book resorts like Paradisus, other than the all-you-can-drink plan, is the food. The resorts usually have an assortment of specialty restaurants serving all kinds of different fare. If you’re lucky, one of them might actually have the cuisine of the country you are in.

Eating at Molé

Friday evening, after all the activities, the company people split up into groups and had reservations at the various restaurants. Our group went to Molé, which specialized in contemporary Mexican cuisine. Woohoo! This was the only time we went to one of these restaurants this trip, but they went out of their way to take care of the vegans.

In addition to guacamole, that was prepared at the table, the kitchen sent out this off-menu appetizer for us. It was beans and maybe a squash pureé on tortillas, I think. It was tasty whatever it was.

vegan appetizer at mole paradisus

guacamole at mole paradisus

Oh, and margaritas. Cucumber margaritas.

cucumber margarita

Next, this gorgeous salad with an agave dressing.

vegan salad at mole paradisus

Our main dish was black bean enchiladas. Sadly, the molé contained chicken stock so they substituted this red sauce. It was delicious, but I’d hoped to have an authentic molé. That’s okay, I got it later after leaving the resort.

vegan enchiladas

Before dessert, I think, we got a little dry ice show. It was pretty dramatic.

dry ice show

dry ice show

At first, our server thought that mango sorbet would be our only vegan dessert option. But the chef whipped up something for us so we got two desserts! It was a sweet nut mixture wrapped in phyllo dough. Pretty much a Mexican baklava. And it was awesome.

mango sorbet

vegan phyllo dessert

The vegan meal at Molé was the best we’ve had at a resort, so I highly recommend it. Even though that’s a pretty low bar to clear.

And thus ends day two. For me at least. Kevin went back out to hang out with work people and a bunch of crazy shit went down. Because alcohol. But you’ll have to ask him about that.

Vegan at Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla, Day 1

soy vegano - i am vegan

Kevin got to go on the company club trip again this year, which means I got to go, which is pretty cool. They decided to go back to Playa del Carmen this year, but booked a different resort, Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla. There are actually two sides to this resort and La Perla is the adults only side. Thankfully.

Last year when we went, I made a few posts about vegan food in Playa del Carmen. This year’s visit will also generate a few posts. Especially since we were there for two weeks. Let’s get back to the resort though.

At check-in, we got these nifty cards to show wait staff. “I am vegan.” And I will say that unlike last year, the staff generally seemed to understand what that meant. So that was awesome!

paradisus playa del carmen la perla room

Since I’m really terrible at getting good pictures of the room, I just took one. There you go. It’s huge and ridiculous with a sitting area, a tub you could host a party in and a two-sided shower that’s about the size of my current whole bathroom. If you want pretty pics, check out their site.

After we got checked in, we got on our bathing suits and headed to the little grill next to the pool. Or, a pool. The one nearest our room. The pickings were a little slim on the menu but we weren’t starving so we were okay with chips and guac, fries and fruit. The fruit was super fresh and tasted amazing. I hadn’t had it served with lime and chili powder since I visited Mexico back in 2006 and had forgotten how amazing that is. I recall it being standard on the breakfast menu at the Mexican hotels we stayed in that trip.

french fries

fresh fruit with lime and chili powder

vegan chips and guacamole

The next big decision was what was going to be my drink this trip. The resort is all-inclusive as they are pretty much every year, so that’s a situation I like to take advantage of, just not to the point of illness or verbal diarrhea. So I started with a gin and tonic. It went down okay, but I switched to frozen lime daiquiris. I can make a gin and tonic at home, but I’m way too lazy to make a frozen daiquiri.

gin and tonic

After spending all afternoon at the pool, it was time to go get dressed for the opening reception. The theme was blue. Everybody wear blue. Blue isn’t a color I generally wear, so I found the cheapest thing I could at Old Navy that looked reasonable, a dress for about $12. Score! To be extra ridiculous, Kevin raided their promotional items for a racing shirt with the company logo on it. There’s a picture. If I get a digital copy, I’ll add it to this post.

The company dinners are usually buffet style. We eat salads from the buffet and then they bring us a vegan main dish. Here’s what we ended up with the first night.

The salad assortment. The dressing was really nice for the green salad, a hibiscus vinaigrette, I think.

vegan salads and bread

And this is a vegan ratatouille, I think. I’m not a big fan of eggplant, so this was pretty meh for me. It tasted fine, I just hate when you come to another country and you get some random dish like this. But that seems to be a running theme in these resorts.

vegan ratatouille

Oh dang, the drink of the night was some blue drank. I have no idea what was in it, but I drank a couple. Sadly, no picture.

Thus ends day 1. I got sun burned a little. And didn’t get drunk. So it was a good day. I’m probably going to post day by day at the resort and then maybe two more posts. That should be plenty.

 

 

Final roundup of vegan food in Playa Del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico is super vegan friendly. As I covered in my two previous posts, resorts are not your friend but Kaxapa Factory definitely is. This post will cover all the rest of the vegan food in Playa Del Carmen, at least the food that went in my mouth.

First, you need coffee. Well, I need coffee. Yeah, there’s a Starbucks. Yay. But there’s also a local chain called Ah Cacao Chocolate Café. They’ve got soy milk and a couple of things marked vegan right on the menu.

ah cacao menu playa del carmen

We were there in June, so it was HOT and the Espresso Frappé was the perfect foil for the heat. It’s three shots of espresso, sugar and ice blended on up. It’s not overly sweetened like a Starbucks drink and it’s so good you’ll want to just drink them all day. But don’t unless you want to start vibrating on your own.

vegan espresso frappe

The other vegan drink on the menu was sipping chocolate. It’s a little shot of melted chocolate. It’s perfect after a meal when you want a little something sweet. We definitely had a few of these during the trip.

vegan sipping chocolate

When we moved place into our little hotel in town, we gained a little kitchenette, or at least a mini fridge, a sink, a hot plate and a blender. We weren’t really going to cook, but saved a little money by having breakfast in the room most days. So we headed out to the health food store DAQ to pick up cereal, milk and bananas.

There’s a little cafe in the corner of the store called La Ceiba de la 30 that had veggie options so we had lunch there. I had a couple of burritos. It wasn’t a memorable meal, but it also wasn’t memorable for being bad. There are many tastier options, but will do if it’s convenient.

la ceiba de la 30 menu

vegan burritos

We ate at Bio-Natural a couple of times. They have plenty of vegan options on the menu. And there’s a tiny health food store next to it about the size of a single car garage. The first thing I tried was the falafel pita for lunch one day:

falafel pita

And then another time I had this quinoa salad with their house cashew cheese. By the way, most of these places make fresh juices so we usually got in on some of that.

fresh juice

quinoa salad

Another place we went a couple of times was La Senda Restaurante. This one is 100% vegan so you can eat all the things. The first time we went, I had some enchiladas and Kevin had the tofu tacos. I think the white stuff is their cashew cheese.

vegan enchiladas

IMG_1017

Our next visit, I tried the mango jicama ceviche which was outstanding. It’s also pretty easy to recreate at home. I need to do that again soon. And then I got a burger of some kind, chickpea maybe. I remember it being falafel like. It was okay, but it was crazy filling. The side salads that came with the dishes were always outstanding.

mango jicama ceviche

vegan burger

The last morning we decided to have breakfast here because we heard about this thing. Yes, that’s strawberries and bananas wrapped up in an oat pancake and drizzled with chocolate.

oat pancake

So good! While we were there this pulled up with a delivery. Cargo bike is how a lot of deliveries are made in Playa Del Carmen and I think that’s pretty awesome.

cargo bike delivery

And the last restaurant I have to tell you about in Playa Del Carmen is Babe’s Noodles & Bar. They have a number of noodle, rice and salad dishes that can be made vegan. I had the Vietnamese salad. I liked it and might’ve gone back, but it’s not my first choice of food when in Mexico.

vietnamese salad

Whew! That’s about it. Hopefully this will help fellow travelers find vegan food in Playa Del Carmen.

Vegan Venezuelan food in Playa Del Carmen

Eating vegan in Playa Del Carmen, Part 2

Once you get outside of a resort, the vegan options in Playa Del Carmen improve immensely. I’ll round up the rest of the options in a future post, but this one restaurant deserves a post to itself.

Kaxapa Factory is a short walk from the center of town. It is a small space with an outdoor patio owned by a Venezuelan family that makes fresh, authentic Venezuelan food, including vegan Venezuelan food. Lots of vegan options. It was so good that we went pretty much every day.

Naicel and her father are usually handling the front of the house. Both are a joy, but if you are vegan, Naicel will probably help you because her English is better. They are also not afraid to stray from the menu and make substitutions, so you can totally build your own meal. Now, let’s get on to the food porn.

The first thing I tried was a Patacon. It’s like a sandwich with fried green plantain discs as bread. I think this one was filled with tofu, avocado and black beans. Yeah.

vegan patacon at kaxapa factory

And these were some tostones with tofu. This was just my taste. It was a bigger appetizer that was shared.

tostones

And here’s a look back at Kaxapa Factory. That’s Naicel in the doorway and her father in the back with the cap. Her mom does the cooking.

kaxapa factory interior

Next visit, Kevin and I both had the soursop drink. Our first visit, Naicel’s dad gave us samples of all their house made drinks.

soursop drink

And this time, I got their namesake, a Kaxapa. It’s a pancake made by pounding a special corn into a batter. Mine was full of stir fried vegetables and tofu.

vegan kaxapa

Oh hey, look, we’re back again, chowing on fried.

tostones appetizer

And this time, the Venezuelan lemonade to drink.

Venezuelan lemonade

And finally, time to have an arepa! This one is filled with black beans, avocado, tofu and sweet plantains.

vegan arepa

And, we’re back again. This time I’m getting up on another Kaxapa.

vegan kaxapa

Naicel felt really bad that they didn’t have any vegan desserts. So she set about making one for us at home. On our previous visit, we saw her randomly head out to the street and hop in a cab. She came back about 15 minutes later. She said she had a vegan dessert for us at home but forgot to bring it. She took a cab home to get it and then didn’t have her key with her. OMG! Seriously, this is how nice these people are.

So this night, she had the chocolate mousse she had made. It was a lovely sweet touch to the end of the meal. But she wasn’t done with dessert experiments.

vegan chocolate mousse

Oh yeah, back again! Can you blame us? This time I had the hibiscus drink.

hibiscus drink

And this is the appetizer we got when Kevin said “surprise us”, mini Kaxapa with toppings. I didn’t take a pic of my main this time, so it must have been a repeat.

mini kaxapa

When brainstorming vegan dessert ideas with Naicel, we decided she should try filling their empanadas with fruit. Both are things they already had on hand. So this last meal at Kaxapa, we had mango (I think) filled empanadas that were absolutely perfect.

vegan fruit filled empanadas

 

 

 

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