Playa del Carmen update - day 2.
So far, after a TON of walking: La Taverna is closed. I loved their camarones en molcajete con cebollas verdes. Cocina 38 is closed, their chef is cheffing at Drupas 38 nearby, equally good. La Mission looked so threadbare it was uninviting, and they had no boquinette or conch. I can't find huachinango or chiles en nogada (Jaguar used to have them) anywhere. I can't find Havana Club blanco ron.
The good news: I had dinner my first night with Per and his wife, and Babes is as good as ever. They closed the "Little Italy" shop and enlarged the original. His wife still makes the sauces at home with love, and Per still makes swedish meatballs and peels carrots with love. They are fastidious about quality control and hygiene.
Star of the show so far: La Pesca, on 30th Ave. across from Mega, day 2 for dinner. Only place I have found with conch. As I sipped a perfect 'rita that my server Rodolfo prepared (no mix, no sugar) I could hear the beautiful sound from the kitchen of my conch being pounded. And pounded some more. Conch is not a menu item there - I had a chance to ask Antonio, the new owner, (I had never met him), and he asked about my conch experiences in the region. I volunteered El Pelicano in Puerto Morelos, La Choza in Cozumel, and La Cueva del Pescador in Axumal, all of which are 45 minutes from PDC by car or boat. Antonio brought me a complimentary plate of caracol al mojo de ajo, conch grilled with garlic and butter, that he is experimenting with as a menu item, and it knocked my socks off, althought I don't wear socks. My plate of conch ceviche could have fed a family of 4, and I enjoyed the remainder for an excellent lunch today.
New guys in town: Aldea Corazon - Ave. 5& Calle 14, Imprevist Ave. 1 entre calles 14-16, Il Baretto esquina de Av. 5 & 26, Y calle 8 Y Av. 5., Italian and pizza. More italian: Lucky Luciano, 24 & 5, La Choperia, la misma esquina.
Cactus is now closed -bummer. Frederique did a nice job for years. Now there are no chiles en nogada anywhere in town that I know of.
Boquinette with a side of Veracruz sauce at La Bamba Jarocha last night was as good as it can be.
Lots of new slick Euro places on 5th in little Italy, too many to keep track of. Had good tostadas de atun for lunch.
After a full day on the tender-tummy disabled list, I finally found a chile en nogada for lunch - and a good one - at Tropical, on 5th Ave, entre calles 8 y 10. Bad news, the special ends today. They are saving me another for dinner tonight. I am feeling as content as a man who just successfully wrestled an alligator.