As I sit down to write this post I realize that my lovely golden tan is already fading, oh well, that's how it goes with winter in Canada. Trev and I had an amazing vacation in Mexico with my parents and sister; it was great to spend time together as a family. You can fit in a lot of activities into ten days, so I'm going to split our adventures (culinary and otherwise) into a few separate posts.
We love the Mayan Riviera and Playa del Carmen. Quinta Avenida (5th Ave.) is a lot of fun, but very touristy. The restaurants (for the most part) are just okay and expensive by local standards, so Trev and I always look for places to try that are 'off the beaten track'. While picking up vanilla and chocolate at Ah Cacao I asked the cashier for a restaurant recommendation. All of the guys working in the shop chimed in with their recommendations, and with my limited Spanish I was able to get directions to El Fogon. It was about a 10 minute walk from 5th Ave and we found it without difficulty. (Located at Constituyentes & Avenida 30 and a location at Calle 6 & Avenida 30)
As promised, the restaurant was filled with locals and the aroma of charcoal grilled meat was enticing. The menu was entirely en Español (a good sign) and once again, I was able to muddle through it with my one-semester of Spanish. Our waiter was excellent and made a few recommendations for us. We ordered chorizo tacos, tacos al pastor (roasted pork), pollo tacos (chicken), aracherra tacos (steak), and ranchero tacos (a combo of steak, bacon, onion, peppers and cheese). Oh, and we enjoyed fresh salsa, guacamole and chips as well as pickled cactus (nopales).
Everything, and I do mean everything, that we ate was fantastic. My favourite were the chorizo tacos, but running a very close second was the tacos al pastor. The smoky charcoal taste of the pollo and aracherra tacos was delicious, especially with some spicy salsa verde on top. Everyone loved the ranchero tacos, but every so often you got a bite of something seriously spicy!
El Fogon also had a good selection of beverages, and mexican beers were only about 20 pesos. Their margaritas were also fantastic, and tasted like they were made with fresh lime juice.
We made it back to El Fogon for more than one meal (and our waiter recognized us each time). I would have eaten there every day if possible. I can't describe how much I loved this place, other than to say that I've never before wanted to eat my own weight in tacos!
I couldn't find a website for El Fogon, but you can check out some other reviews on TripAdvisor