abracapocus i have a serious brain disease. please bring me a cat.

September 27, 2014

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

 

 

 

September 24, 2014

Eating vegan in Playa Del Carmen, Part 1

As I mentioned in a previous post, Kevin’s company does this reward trip, usually every June, and we get to go. Free trip, woohoo! This year’s trip was to Playa Del Carmen. Mexico. His company chose an all-inclusive resort as they are wont to do, Royal Hideaway Playacar. This one is also adult only, which was a nice bonus. Also, we got to go with our friends Ken &  Leigh again.

Before I talk about food, here are a few photos from around the resort.

Our room:

royal hideaway playacar room

Kevin playing beach volleyball

beach volleyball

A couple of bird friends at the beach

seagulls on the beach

These little guys, agouti, were everywhere. We called the scrabbits because they were like half squirrel and half rabbit.

agouti

Now, on to food at the resort. I emailed ahead and was assured there would be plenty of vegan options for us. The reality when we got there was a little different though.

It was lunch time when we arrived. So we settled in then headed to one of the cafés. There was an arugula quinoa salad on the menu that came with hummus and pita. Well that sounded reasonable! Except it was very, very small. A side, not a meal. So we ended up eating a bunch of fries and chips & guacamole until we were full.

quinoa arugula salad

Dinner was with the company and all arranged ahead of time. It was a buffet for everyone else, and then we were brought separate plates. On the buffet, there were a few appetizers we could get into:

chips guacamole jicama salad

No such thing as too much guac, I suppose. That jicama salad was a nice surprise. And this was our dinner: a bunch of veggies and a portobello mushroom cap. I’m glad there were appetizers.

vegetables and portobello mushroom

The next company dinner, they took us over to the buffet to show us our dish, all covered in cheese. Yay. So they put something together in the kitchen that was basically the same as what you see above presented slightly differently.

more vegetables

Some beans would’ve been cool, but it just wasn’t meant to be I suppose. The staff also seemed pretty confused about the whole vegan thing, despite the assurances I had via email. They clearly had it confused with gluten free. *sigh*

Now breakfast, breakfast was pretty awesome. The hot foods were pretty much off limits, but they had vegan cereals, soy milk, fruits and a make your own smoothie bar. Grab a bowl, throw a bunch of stuff in it, including peanut butter, and the dude will mix it up for you. Or they had a smoothie of the day. Right on.

smoothie

I’ll admit, it was pretty awesome to chill under a cabana while a regular supply of cold adult beverages were brought right to me. But it was in no way worth what it costs to stay in a place like this.

margarita

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of delicious vegan food in Playa Del Carmen. It just wasn’t at this resort. But we were only here four days. So look for future posts full of tasty bits that we ate when we finally got out of the resort.

July 2, 2011

Vegetarian restaurant in Cabo San Lucas

Filed under: food,photo,travel,vegan/veggie/ar — Tags: , , , , — laura @ 3:05 pm

Who knew there was a vegetarian, mostly vegan, restaurant in Cabo San Lucas? We sure didn’t until we saw their sign from the main drag. The El Ameyal Hotel and Wellness Center has a vegetarian restaurant that you get to by walking through the center courtyard of the hotel by the pool. You dine under a grass hut outside but don’t be put off by that. It’s perfectly comfortable under there. They only have a Spanish menu, but the staff was able to help translate enough to figure it out.

First off, they brought this delicious vegan cream cheese and some sort of dark bread. I would be happy to eat that spread on bagels every morning.

Kevin got the Pastel Cubano. It was a layered dish of black beans, plantains and tofu and came with a side of veggies. It was tasty but a little too much mush for me.

Beth got the Seitan al Chimichurri. And boy was that a lot of seitan! They tried to rely on the sauce too much for the flavor rather than seasoning up the seitan really well. It would’ve really been awesome cut in strips in a taco or burrito. Also, did I say that was a ton of seitan?

Taylor ordered Tofu con Hongos Mixtos, tofu stir fried with mushrooms with a side of brown rice. Also a huge portion. I’m weird about mushrooms and have to be in the mood for them. It was pretty good for being mushrooms and all. Taylor seemed to like it, so that was the important thing.

And I got the Albondigas de Espinacas, balls of spinach in a béchamel sort of sauce with a hint of nutmeg and a side of brown rice. I’m not sure how the spinach balls were formed. Maybe just pressed together, possibly baked? They weren’t crisp like croquettes. Whatever, it was awesome.

And yes, they had vegan desserts that weren’t just a pile of fruit. I didn’t really love them though. Kevin got this Tofucake that was similar to key lime cheezecake, but I think they used agar as a thickening agent. So it was a bit weirdly smooth and the texture just wasn’t quite right. The taste was nice and so was the crust, made of raw nuts and dates, I think.

If you’re a vegan vacationing in Cabo San Lucas and are getting tired of chips, guacamole and questionably vegan beans, you should definitely seek this place out for some tasty, healthy food.

May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

Filed under: photo,travel — Tags: , , , — laura @ 5:17 pm

No, I’m not doing anything for Cinco de Mayo other than posting this photo I took in Puebla. Well, I’m baking a banana bread. That doesn’t count though, does it? 

Just for the heck of it, here’s another favorite from that trip. Swine flu be damned, I wanna go back! See the whole set from that trip here.

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