The first day we arrived in Playa del Carmen, we checked into our hotel and walked over to 100% Natural. Since it was so close to where we were staying, and since it offered the most fantastic fresh juices, guacamole, and some tofu options, it became one of our regular stops for the rest of our stay. Most of the seating is outdoors, surrounded by big trees. The weather was perfection: about 75 at night with a slight breeze, 85 during the day. It was a pleasure eating outside!I loved the prices: this enormous and insanely delicious juice was something like three US dollars. My favorite juice combinations were the California (apple, lemon, orange, and pineapple juices), the Bali (pineapple, lemon, spinach, and orange), and the Oasis (pineapple, strawberry, and orange). 100% Natural also has veggie burgers and a fried veggie/noodle dish with plain silken tofu.
After dinner, we'd walk around Quinta Avenida and wander in and out of all of the little shops.I loved the architecture and laid-back attitude. Though there was no boardwalk, it sort of had a boarwalk-vibe in that there were tons of tourists walking up and down this pedestrian only street just steps from the ocean. Some stores were just crammed with affordable tourist-y trinkets. I loved the bright colors! Other stores sold Mexican art (Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were well-represented on almost everything from magnets to stationary), and still others sold Havaianas and T-shirts. I almost bought one of these jellyfish lamps:Dia de los Muertos figurines were everywhere. This bride and groom were life-sized! The last thing I expected to find was Thai food in Mexico, but we ended up eating some sort of Thai influenced dinner pretty often. Babe's is a noodle bar. That is, they serve delicious noodle dishes and huge, cheap and delicious icy drinks. It's casual, Thai, simple, fresh, and fun. This isn't authentic Mexican food, but it was delicious, cheap, and filling. Our favorites were the spring rolls and the spicy fried tofu.
Speaking of authentic Mexican food, it was kind of hard to find something sin pollo, carne, pescado, huevos and queso. Our one night at an authentic Mexican restaurant was just OK. They put some kind of weird cheese all over the guacomole and the fried veggies and rice were just mediocre.
Prepared for the worst, I actually packed some food and made sure our hotel had a kitchen. This worked out really well, we were able to cook and save some money. Plus, it was so convenient to store last night's leftovers in the fridge, then heat them up for lunch the next day in the microwave. Breakfast usually consisted of tofu scramble or oatmeal. I brought silken tofu, tofu scramble mix, and little oatmeal packets.
There was a Starbucks right around the corner from where we were staying, and while we totally supported Java Joe's often for delicious espresso, it's worth noting that the Playa Starbucks has soymilk!
In my next post, I'll write about Akumal...land of many sea turtles and more great vegan food!