Calle 61 between Calles 58 and 60
across from the Cathedral
10:00 am – 8:00pm Daily
The beauty of Mexican dining is that everyone seems to just do it right. Taking the time and effort to combine the ingredients in perfect order and letting them combine as long as needed. This patience is something declining in today’s immediacy.
While in Mexico, we dined in some of the finest restaurants in the world (Biko, Pujol) and ate blue-corn tortillas made by hand in the street. Somewhere in between these two lies Las Quekas, who, just like everyone else, takes the time to do it right.
While we were walking through downtown Merida looking for a calling, just across from the cathedral, we stumbled onto an unassuming little place decked out in orange and yellow. It was such an unwavering duo-tone that the instant thought is “franchise”. As we watched a steady crowd brought us in for a closer inspection. Once in nasal proximity, the fresh smells of steaming huitlacoche and melting cheese got us through the door and into a lasting relationship.
With other 5 locations throughout the city of Merida, Las Quekas is a sort of franchise. One that offers exactly what you want at times; Practically instant quesadillas that feel more like a guilty dessert then the hearty meal they are. We were in Merida for only 2 days, but at 5 different occasions we found ourselves lifting the mouth-wateringly good quesadillas to our lips. Crispy tortillas with steaming fillings of Rajas Poblano (strips of poblano peppers with onions in a creamy sauce), huitlacoche and corn, zucchini blossom, and of course the requisite meats stewed chicken or shredded sausage. Each combined with the beautiful soft white cheese that melts in a smoldering bliss.
At a little less then $1 each Las Quekas’s Quesadillas are just about the perfect meal, Healthy, Hearty and Happy.
42° Raw closed in 2013 & Papaya Playa Project has lost ALL its cool.
Avoid staying at Papaya Playa – it is now overpriced, under-whelming, dirty and haughty.
Original Post from 6/30/2012
Next to the reception at the Papaya Playa Hotel, a member of Design Hotels™, is the super yummy 42°RAW. This is a branch of the raw food bar started in London and Copenhagen by Jesper Rydahl. What a great surprise it is to find modern raw cuisine right in Tulum!
The 42° Raw bar has a botanic selection of fresh juices, and staple mains such as the raw Thai noodles and raw lasagna. This is perfect beach dining, starting with the raw hummus appetizer, one of the big salads and ever-present aguas. As always, the beauty of raw food is the guilt-less dessert! Decadent, rich, full of flavor but instead of bloating that bikini bod you’ve been working on for months for your trip to the beach, they are the nutritional equivalent of a protien supplement!
Unfortunately, we were not able to get inside the Papaya Playa Hotel, but we did get a look at their events schedule. There are all sorts of activities perfect for vacation – from movie nights under the stars, to sunset bar-b-que on the beach, to packages at the well known Spa. The trip we really wish we had time for, was the visit to the Tulum Ruins via catamaran! You arrive by ocean in style, like the 14th century Spanish – except this trip comes complete with champagne! Next time!!
As noted previously, Tulum is a hippy-chic hangout that makes room for all demographics. It is basically one beach road and all the hotels, restaurants and hangouts that fit long its 5k corridor. Sitting about in the middle is the the kitchy Mateo’s Mexican Grill.
Some might complain that Mateo’s is not “authentic” and too gringo friendly, but they would be missing the point. Like modern television, Mateo’s is a comfortable, friendly, easy place to go when you don’t want to think to hard about what you are doing.
They seemed to be open whenever we needed them to be and had the best coffee in the area. Sorry to report, this is not saying much as Mexican coffee in general is almost always like bad camping coffee, over-boiled café con leche. They do have a nice breakfast selection, tasty fajitas, totopos and of course a range of tacos. The kitchen is open and colorful with pyramids of fresh produce displayed in brightly painted crates.
Perched above is a viewing platform that in theory is an evening cocktail lounge for sunset viewing or maybe its a yoga platform? or a tanning deck? While it looked very interesting, it somehow wound up being closed for 3 different reasons over the course of our 3 days in Tulum. Maybe they just have it open in high season? Still it looks like it would be a lot of fun!!
While in Tulum we stopped by Mateo’s almost daily for the excellent smoothies and juices (and coffee fixes). Our favorite smoothie, which we have been recreating at home is the ‘Mayan Power Boost’. A vitamin packed cocktail 0f chaya (spinach), strawberry, pineapple and lemon. A wonderful way to get the day going as you head out to check some cenotes.
We can just about promise you that if you stay in Tulum, at some point you will find yourself at Mateo’s. Enjoy it for what it is and you will be a happy person!
papaya agua and ‘Mayan Power Boost’. A vitamin packed cocktail 0f chaya (spinach), strawberry, pineapple and lemon.