Taco Crawl! Taco Crawl!

Avenida 5
The fabulous 4 taking over Avenida 5!

I woke up this morning at 9:30 thinking, surely the girls have been up for hours and already got coffee and beach time.  Being notoriously the last to wake up, I was shocked to find I was the second person awake!  Should I go back to sleep?!  Nope, time to see what Playa has to offer…the other girls got up shortly thereafter, so we popped downstairs to Imprevist, one of the restaurants associated with our condo group, as we had vouchers for a free breakfast.  Breakfast was quite a spread of goodies, with orange juice, tea, homemade bread basket, tropical fruits, and an arrangement of granola/yogurt/honey.  And that was all the shared goodies before our entrees!  I barely had room by the time my chilaquiles hit the table but boy was it good.

Bread basket full of mini cinnamon rolls, palmiers, muffins, breads, and fruit preserves
Bread basket full of mini cinnamon rolls, palmiers, muffins, breads, and fruit preserves
Our little spread of granola, yogurt, and this amazingly delicious honey
Our little spread of granola, yogurt, and this amazingly delicious and fun honey
And now for the main event!  Chilaquiles, crispy tortilla chips smothered in red sauce, crema, red onions, and chicken
And now for the main event! Chilaquiles, crispy tortilla chips smothered in red sauce, crema, red onions, and chicken

To work off our lunch, we took a stroll north up Avenida 5 to window shop, then around Calle 32 we cut over 2 blocks across to see the beach.  It was much cleaner and accessible than the beach by our hotel, which had boats docked right up front which made it hard to swim.  We relaxed here for a bit, then walked back to our hotel by way of the beach.  Good timing, because as soon as we got inside, there was another downpour!  Confined to being inside, the girls used this time to do yoga and read while I went to the gym (rare but true story).  Thankfully these storms passed quickly, so we were out in the pool in no time.

Craving tacos, we headed out for a late lunch at a popular spot called Los Aguachiles.  With its plastic chairs and laid back vibe, it felt much more like that authentic spot we were seeking.  And with $2 tacos, the prices made it feel like we were finally in Mexico too.  We were introduced to a plethora of different sauces in plastic squeezy bottles – jalapeño, tamarind, chipotle, cilantro, habanero lime, and more – so we went to town on our chips along with some guacamole that we ordered.  The taco list was extensive, but I settled on a shredded pork crispy taco and fish tempura soft taco which were both so fresh and yummy.  Gathering from the mmm’s and temporary lull in conversation around the table filled with ceviche tostadas, shrimp tacos, and more fish tacos, I think everyone enjoyed it as well.

Beata and Thanh, standing pretty on the flower-lined streets of Playa
Beata and Thanh, standing pretty on the flower-lined streets of Playa
Good thing I just learned to appreciate guacamole, just in time...
Good thing I just learned to appreciate (fresh) guacamole, just in time…
Fish Taco
One of the dishes Los Aguachiles is best known for, the fish soft taco
Pork crispy tacos
My favorite taco of our trip…super flavorful pork in a crispy taco, courtesy of Los Aguachiles

After another stroll, Beata and I stuck around after lunch to get some beers at a place called Casa Adela, then eventually made our way back to relax a bit before – you guessed it – we went out for more tacos!  As a disclaimer, though it may not appear to sound this way, we only had 3 meals today so we were NOT excessive pigs (not in my book at least).

There was another place that came highly recommended called El Fogon, which was a local spot known for their grill, so Beata and I set back out for what would turn out to be quite the adventure.  This was off of Avenida 30 and Calle 6 bis, and we learned that once we were off of the popular and touristy Avenida 5, things felt much more local.  Going up Calle 8, we soon encountered this crazy fair, with families lined up for blocks to ride the ferris wheel and other amusement park rides. Going a bit farther, there were live auctions, each very loud, going on side by side to each other, selling ceramics, plastic ware, and every houseware imaginable.  And then around the corner with policemen with their giant guns at attention…how safe is this family function?!  The restaurant itself was a few blocks from here, and even though we weren’t even hungry, we split an arrachera (beef) tacos dish, one taco al pastor (shredded pork), and two gringas (tortillas grilled quesadilla style stuffed with shredded pork, oaxaca cheese, pineapple, and onion).

On our way home, we encountered a very strange situation.  We walked past a few clubs down the street from our hotel, by 11pm they were in full swing.  Just a few steps later, several police trucks pulled down the street slowly, with policemen dressed in full camo garb and guns drawn.  Pretty scary!  We stopped to ask someone what could possibly be going on and they said drugs, so I wonder if a bust was about to take place next door…needless to say, we did not stop to find out, and boy were we relieved to be inside our hotel minutes later.

First, Beata made new friends with a giraffe down the street...
First, Beata made new friends with a giraffe down the street…
Then we ditched the giraffe for some Tecates down the street over people-watching
…then we ditched the giraffe for some Tecates down the street for some people-watching
Taco al pastor (grilled and seasoned pork).  Pretty small portions right?
Taco al pastor (grilled and seasoned pork). Pretty small portions right?
...wrong!
…wrong!  That was the $1 taco.  This was the real meal, which we could hardly even make a dent in after the earlier round of tacos.
Especially since we each also had the Gringa, a grilled taco filled with pork, pineapple, oaxaca cheese, and onions.  Mmm!
Especially since we each also had the Gringa, a grilled taco filled with pork, pineapple, oaxaca cheese, and onions. Mmm!

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