Good morning, foodies!
Vegan week is over and I’m kind of sad. Last night I celebrated by eating a chicken sandwich and had some frozen yogurt, but I ended up feeling kind of guilty…weird. I can say that my week of being vegan definitely changed me. I felt lighter, never bloated, clean, healthy and energized. Although it was frustrating at times, for the most part, eating vegan made me realize it is possible. For now I will try to lead a well-balanced food life, switching between meat and meatless, dairy and dairy-less. If I can have a meat substitute or a soup without dairy, I know I will go for those options.
Now I can talk about other foods!
What: upscale Mexican and American
Where: Akumal, Mexico (Riviera Maya)
The best food south of Cancun. A 1.5 hour drive from the Cancun airport, rests a beautiful white sand beach town along the Riviera Maya called Akumal. A quaint quiet family town that was originally a coconut farm then a small yacht club, Akumal was founded in 1968 by Pablo Bush Romero, a businessman, diver, archaeologist, writer, historian, hunter, philanthropist, adventurer, you name it. When Romero founded the town, it was a great spot for scuba divers, as “Akumal” means place of the turtle.
Romero, who happens to have been my boyfriend Ryan’s grandfather, passed away when Ryan was still a young boy. An amazing man who seemed to have accomplished almost everything and anything in his lifetime, from discovering a shipwreck right off Akumal bay to going on safaris in Africa to writing several books, he left his legacy as well as the beautiful Akumal for all to enjoy. With it, the Hotel Akumal Caribe was born, which has been under the ownership of Ryan’s parents, Laura and David Wolfe for years and years.
Lol Ha, the main restaurant of the resort, is the most successful and delicious eatery in all of Akumal. Yes, you could call me biased, but I’m proud to say they truly do serve the best dishes. Lol Ha keeps up with the food trends in the U.S. and still stays true to the Mexican classics done right.
Before we start, I’d like to say my photos don’t do the food or drinks justice. I’ve eaten at Lol Ha more times than I could begin to count, and this is one of the first times I tried to take photos of the food. Because of the dim lighting and the night of sharing pizza, I didn’t get to snap photos of some of the dishes I enjoy every time I’m there. So I also took some from the Lol Ha Facebook page.
This is a photo of the original beach bar in 1974. This structure is actually still in place, with several other palapas surrounding it today.
This is the interior of the charming Lol Ha by night. There’s live music several days a week and gorgeous lighting that makes for a romantic setting.
One of my favorite Mexican classics: the queso fundido. A creamy, thicker version than the “queso” you may know of in Texas, this “queso” is thick enough to put in a taco and add chorizo or even seafood. I like it with chorizo, and the richness of the Oaxaca cheese makes for an overwhelmingly delicious appetizer. I’d recommend sharing with at least 2 others, otherwise you won’t have room for the main course.
My go-to dishes at Lol Ha are the tampiquena and the Chilean sea bass. The tampiquena is unlike any other–it’s made with beef tenderloin instead of flank steak. It makes a huge difference. The dish comes with rice, beans, guacamole (only the freshest), tortillas and a little quesadilla with salsa. You can eat the tenderloin alone or you can make tacos with all the fix-ins. I’m not much of a red meat eater anymore, but when I do eat it, I can’t resist the Lol Ha tampiquena.
Their sea bass comes resting on a bed of creamy fettucini with a bit of bacon, cherry tomatoes and arugula. The sea bass is a buttery texture that just melts in your mouth. So delicious, and a great option for a lighter meal.
As simple as it is, Lol Ha does their brownies right. They’re the perfect consistency, not too hard not too soft, and they have melty chocolate chips throughout the brownie. An impressive dessert list, Lol Ha offers everything from bread pudding topped with house made meringue to chocolate lava cake to homemade key lime pie, to everything in between. And unfortunately, it’s all good.
Their homemade key lime pie rocks. Not too tart and sweet, and a homemade crust. Yum.
The impressive chocolate mousse.
Not pictured are their awesome cocktails and an extensive beer list. Bar manager Sam will whip up any cocktail you can dream of and more. My favorites are their mojitos, caipirinhas and the new basil cucumber gin drink. Pick your poison, they’ll make something you’ll love.
So, if you’re ever in the Riviera Maya (i.e. somewhere between Cancun and Tulum) you must stop by Akumal even if it’s just for happy hour and a snack. If you can stay for dinner, even better. The atmosphere is unmatched, and there’s no better place to enjoy dinner than on the beautiful beach of Akumal.