It's a tough job...but someone has to do it! I've spent the last 5 months visiting every restaurant, hotel, park, museum, you name it...in town. And I have enjoyed EVERY second of it!
On this particular day, I ventured off to Izamal along with one very food finicky friend. She is married to a New York chef. Need I say more? She told me about one restaurant that had captured her heart and was by far one of her favorites in the Yucatan.
I couldn't pass this up. We headed out of Merida on one cloudy February morning and arrived in Izamal forty five minutes later. My jaw hit the SUV floor as we entered this charming colonial town famous for its yellow colored buildings. This is no exaggeration. EVERY building in that town is yellow. It was love at first sight. This place is straight out of a Hollywood movie about Mexico....really. Beyond its picturesque cobblestone streets, Izamal happens have an impressive Franciscan monastery right in the center of town and the remains of Mayan ruins scattered about in the town. Its just stunning!
Eager to get a taste of the magnificent food we were there to have, we made a b line straight to the famed, Kinich Restaurant. Oh! What a treat of a place. The first two rooms you enter off the street are grand and serve as a beautiful entrance and gift shop. It is hard to stick around that space because just beyond a row of arches sits a lush tropical setting that serves as the dining space. If you can get past the splendor of that space, you may notice a tiny Mayan style hut in the back. This is where the magic happens! Well some of it. This is where two dedicated ladies hand make every tortilla served at the restaurant.
Once I could contain my enthusiasm for the setting, I focused long enough to make my selection. I opted for Longaniza de Valladolid, a Yucatecan sausage that is smoky and closer in appearance to pepperoni. I wasn't sure at this point how you would go about properly eating this but I was excited to find out. My friend ordered a venison dish called Tsi'ik de Venado. It is cooked in a pib, or underground oven, and then shredded.
Two refreshing micheladas later, we were piling our homemade tortillas high with longaniza and shredded venison meat. I didn't stop there (I probably should have), I was brave this time and put a smidgen of habanero salsa on my taco. Yucatecans love their habanero chile. I was in pain after my first bite but it still was not distracting enough to make me stop. I was blissfully sweating and eating at the same time.
The beautiful setting, excellent service and mouth watering authentic fare had me hooked! I spent the next hour enjoying the company of the owner and chef at our table. They were happy to hear about my big plans for my MexicaChica tours and all my HARD work paid off. Our mutual enthusiasm for Yucatecan food was sure to play a major role in my upcoming project. Be sure to visit my 'Culture through Cuisine' getaway to learn more about Kinich.