Today was the first of what we hope will be an annual food festival here in Playa Del Carmen…the Taste of Playa! The Luna Blue Hotel and Bar was proud to be an early supporter of the Taste of Playa and was an Executive Sponsor of this wonderful and unique event.
The Taste of Playa brought together over twenty five restaurants in one lovely outdoor setting to showcase the amazing variety and quality of foods available to locals and visitors alike. In the Parque Fundadores overlooking the Playa Del Carmen beach and the blue, blue Caribbean Sea, crisp white tents sheltered some of the region’s finest chefs as they prepared sampler “tastes” of their best cuisine.
Guests wandered from tent to tent and counter to counter tasting cucumber martinis, salmon and spinach salads, roast beef sandwiches, chicken in peanut sauce, raviolis, ceviche, sausages, shrimp skewers, steamed mussels, and dozens and dozens of other dishes and recipes. Visitors could purchase a “VIP Passport,” allowing them to sample the foods of every participating restaurant, or purchase individual tastes from specific restaurants. Most restaurants prepared from one to five different samples and would allow you to sample each one if you asked. Some restaurants changed their dishes throughout the day, so earlier arrivers tried different dishes than those who arrived later in the day.
We arrived as the festival opened at two o’clock and ate our way through half of the offerings, went home, took a nap and returned for the second half of the festival offerings this evening. (After sampling at ten different tables, we were stuffed!) We tried almost everything and it was all good. One of our favorites was the coconut shrimp from Zenzi Beach Club and restaurant. They were fantastic, and everyone was talking about them—definitely the best coconut shrimp we have ever tasted. And since we saw almost everyone carrying around plates full of them, it seemed like others shared our opinion.
We also enjoyed a dish from one of our favorite restaurants, Kalaka. They offered a shrimp cocktail with avocado in a sweet cream sauce. We also really liked the Thai coconut soup from Babes and the crème brulee from La Route des Vines. We finished off with chocolate and lime gelato from Ciao Gelato and incredible crepes with nutella and strawberries from a new restaurant, D’Light, which is very conveniently located near the Luna Blue Hotel (and which we definitely plan on checking out in the near future).
It was a great day for all. Most of the ex pat community showed up so it gave all of us locals a chance to see each other. Out of town visitors came and were able to truly experience the wide range of foods offered by Playa Del Carmen. We saw many of our own guests from the hotel happily munching away on delicacies. It was very hot, but there was plenty of shade and lots of cool beverages, which made the event even more enjoyable.
We often hear from people that they worry about the food on a visit south of the border. They wonder if they will have nothing but long lines at a buffet table at one extreme or tacos from a street cart at the other. One of the reasons we chose to sponsor this wonderful food festival was that it showed Playa has a large and diverse culinary community that can offer something for any taste or preference. The Taste of Playa festival showed positive proof that Playa has become a culinary capital of the Caribbean.
We can’t wait until next year!
Logos of the sponsors like the Luna Blue were on display
Our dear friend Michele Kinnon, one of the organizers of the event, looking stylish as always
Pretty girls from the Tequila Barrel making margaritas
A chef preparing his samplings
Popular restaurant Yaxche’s table
The chef from D’Light making us a nutella and strawberry crepe. Mmmmmmm.
Samplings from Kalaka and Chicago Don Jose
The chef from La Route des Vins caramelizing creme brulee
Our good friend Rick, wandering around in a food daze
The view from the festival
The Zenzi Beach Club & Restaurant sample table
The display at Zabor’s table
Samplings from El Bistro
The girls of the Dirty Martini making cucumber martinis
Preparing shrimp ceviche for Cafe Tropical. Notice the cool carved watermelon!