The Mayan ExperienceOn the way to Chichen Itza our tour guide, Francisco, took us to Valladolid, a colonial city where you can do some quality shopping and enjoy a local delicacy called cochinita.

I was really excited to try the authentic Mexican dish; cochinita, a traditional, slow-roasted pork dish that is moist, flavorful, and full of delicious herbs (annatto), citrus, and a harmony of chiles.  For detailed information about this local Yucatan dish, go to

My mouth is happy to report the cochinita was tender.  The restaurant made fresh, crunchy taco shells and the hot sauces were piquant.  I will equate cochinita to Italian porchetta sandwiches that you normally see at festivals – porchetta tacos, that’s amore!

Diana from Occidental Sales Office recommended a local fish restaurant, and I knew she had good taste – I could tell by her shoes and Marc Jacobs handbag, what every fashionista looks at, ha!  She assured me there would be no tourists; it would be affordable and have the best, freshest fish in Playa Del Carmen, and she was spot on.

Diana’s co-worker, Rudy, surprised the heck out of me with his Philly accent and mention of how much he enjoys Pat’s King of Steaks.

When we arrived at Los Aguachiles, it appeared to be someone’s backyard in South Philly with plastic chairs and tables.  Diana was right, no tourists, except for us.  Thank goodness three of us spoke Spanish; we could translate most of the conversations taking place between the Chef and waiters Diego and Dario.

We started our meal with homemade, thick-cut tortilla chips, freshly made guacamole, and a parade of house-made sauces like: chipotle, cilantro mayonnaise, hotter-than-hell habanera sauce, roasted tomatillo sauce, and a tamarind sauce; they were all fantastic.  I loved the atmosphere here, no pretense; the staff was pleasant and tried to accommodate.

Our main courses were delectable; some had tacos, one tried scallops and shrimp with a black bean sauce, which is the house specialty.  I tried the Sashimi Tuna Tacos, which were very fresh, a little dollop of chipotle mayonnaise and topped with a few slices of purple onion and avocado, delicious.   Finger licking good is all I could say about the tostadas; they were crispy and freshly made.  Our three course dinner, two beers, and sodas for five people, plus tip came to $70.  Wow, great and affordable…I had money left over to buy a silver and turquoise bracelet on Fifth Avenue (Playa del Carmen)!

Stay tuned for more information regarding the upcoming Mexican culinary tour; join our community to stay informed…