Just when you thought I had moved on from tacos and tequila, here I go again. I just returned from a long weekend in Playa del Carmen, so the ski trip report has to be on hold for one more post. Just when I finished writing about Playa del Carmen, I did it again– I went back! This trip was not just any trip, it was a surprise from my husband– for our 5th anniversary!
Five years ago, Nick and I went to PDC with 85 of our closest friends and family and got hitched. A return trip seemed like the perfect way to celebrate our life together, so we went back to the hotel where we got married. While much is the same, a lot has changed– and I don’t mean just the hotel and the town. I mean us too. The town is so much more developed than it was only 7 years ago when we went for the first time. I’m not always sure I like it this way, but it does have some benefits– more restaurants to choose from and more options for accommodations. As for the hotel, The Royal, they have added many rooms and many beach chairs, so it felt more crowded than it ever did before. The Royal is an all-inclusive hotel, and the all-inclusive concept is funny to me. It can be so much fun to not have to bring money with you anywhere you go. However, then you feel like you have to eat there, and then you miss out on all the great restaurants in town. I definitely don’t think it’s a bargain, but I do think there is a time and place for the all-inclusive.
The food at The Royal has changed a bit, and I think what has changed the most about us is our taste in food. If it is gourmet food, it should truly be gourmet. Otherwise, for me, keep it simple, and make it taste good. Here is my biggest issue with these places: many times they try to be something they are not. They try to have fancy, sophisticated food, and often times, it’s just not. Ever notice that the all-inclusives in Mexico don’t really have a lot of Mexican food? It seems to me that they think their guests want American, French, Italian, or Asian food– or any cuisine other than Mexican. But when I go to Mexico, I want Mexican food. After all, isn’t the local food why we enjoy other cultures? So while I was slightly disappointed at The Royal’s failed attempts to offer luxury dining– or the attempt to try to trick me into thinking the food was luxurious– I was ecstatic to see that they added tacos to their menu! Down near the beach is their “Tapas/Pinxtos” bar. They have a pretty good Tortilla Espanola and some really decent tapas, but now they have TACOS! Finally, simple Mexican food, so I can go back to being boring and eat the same thing everyday. (There goes that groove or rut thing again!) But really, this is what they do best, so why not highlight what they do best? To me, the fish tacos rivaled those at La Fragata and Las Palapas. We did have to make a visit to Carboncitos one night, and as always, it didn’t disappoint. That said, the chicken and steak tacos at The Royal were excellent. This brings me back to my original conclusion. Keep it simple, and do what you do best! I wonder how the world would be if we all started living our lives this way!