Saturday, February 6, 2016

Paloma Bonita

For our final dinner in Cancun (4 years ago today), we were finally able to try Paloma Bonita, the Mexican restaurant associated with our resort. Paloma Bonita was a little different from all the other restaurants included at the all-inclusive Dreams resort since it was open to the public and required advanced reservations the day of your visit. Since it was located right next to the resort, it seemed like they set up a special arrangement to reserve a few spots every night to give resort guests a special prix fixe menu. We definitely wanted to try this out since we were trying to hit up every restaurant venue during our stay, but also, it was the only Mexican restaurant included at the resort. How could we go to Mexico and not go to the one Mexican restaurant that was there?

From the special menu that the restaurant gave to resort guests back when we went, we ordered one shared starter for the table, one salad each, and one entree each. We don't remember if we were limited to that number of dishes (plus drinks) or if we were trying to be good and not eat everything on the menu. For our shared starter/snack, we opted for the tacos al pastor servidos con cilantro, cebolla y piña (marinated pork tacos served with cilantro, onion and pineapple). From what we remember, these were really good tacos. The pork had good flavor, and the onion, cilantro, and pineapple accompaniments were fresh and bright. Two meals in a row with great tacos and we were feeling pretty happy.

One of the salads that we got was the torre de nopal y queso añejo preparada con nopales, tomate, y queso añejo, aderezada con vinagreta de cilantro (cactus and aged cheese tower prepared with cactus, tomato, and aged cheese (which they called old cheese in the English translation on the menu) with a cilantro vinaigrette). 4 years later, we sadly don't remember too much about this other than it being light and clean, but it was probably the best plated dish all night. It was also a preparation of nopales that we had never had before, since we usually get them in tacos, so it was nice to try something different.

The other salad was the cebiche verde - cebiche de filete de mero preparado con pepino, pimiento verde, cilantro, albahaca, y hierbabuena, marinado con jugo de limon y aceite de olivo (green cebiche - grouper fillet prepared with cucumber, green pepper, cilantro, basil and mint, marinated with lemon juice and olive oil). First, this was topped with avocado and avocado wasn't mentioned anywhere in the menu description, so that was a nice surprise. That aside, we don't remember much about the specifics of the flavor of the cebiche (this is why we should write posts before the 4 year mark!) but we do remember that the grouper was significantly better than the grouper we had at the Japanese restaurant a couple of days earlier. What we do remember is that it had a nice, bright acidity, but that is true of any good cebiche.

For my entree, I went with the suprema de pollo Oaxaca, rellena de queso Oaxaca y rajas con salsa poblana (chicken breast Oaxaca style stuffed with Oaxaca cheese and slices of poblano pepper). I imagine that this was probably good, but if you thought we didn't remember much about our appetizers, I remember even less about this entree. I had to look through all the entrees on the menu to even remember what I ordered (since I didn't caption this day in our photo album very well). This is probably less about the quality of the dish, as I'm sure it was fine (or else I would have remembered more), and more about (1) the passage of time and (2) the fact that A's choice outshined mine so much that it is pretty much one of the only things either of us distinctly remembers about the entire meal this many years later.

A got the lasaña de cochinita pibil preparada con tortilla de maiz amarillo y gratinada con queso Oaxaca (cochinita pibil prepared with yellow corn tortilla and topped with Oaxacan cheese). A was really smart with what he ordered. We were in the Yucatan, and he got the one distinctly Yucatecan dish on the menu, so it's no surprise that this was delicious and the most memorable thing we ate. Cochinita pibil is a traditional dish in the Yucatan that consists of slow roasted pork with seasonings of achiote and other local spices. The Paloma Bonita version came with a bunch of layered tortillas topped with the pork and cheese. The flavor of the pork was so rich and so good, and we really wanted more of this.

Between Paloma Bonita and Seaside Grill, the best food we ate at Dreams Cancun (outside of the Mexican buffet at breakfast) definitely came on our last full day in Cancun. Even if we don't remember all the specifics about dinner, we remember our general feeling as we walked out of Paloma Bonita, that we had just had a really good meal, a memory that has lingered to this day. While we were happy to have such tasty food at all on the trip, we were sad that we only discovered the "good stuff" on our last day when we'd have no chances to get them again before we left. At least we would be ending our stay on a very tasty note.

No comments:

Post a Comment