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Tulum, Mexico tops our charts of 2018. If you’re the type that keeps up with travel news, you’ve probably heard of Tulum. It’s about a two hour drive south of Cancun yet worlds apart. Cancun is the “let’s get hammered with cheap tequila” capital of the world and although there’s probably a solid food & wine experience somewhere within its walls, we didn’t go looking for it. We spent five days at Hotel Unico on the Yucatan Peninsula of Quintana Roo. Akumal, where Unico is, and Tulum are on the western Caribbean coast of Mexico and the water, the food, the hospitality are world class. Mexico really sets the hospitality standard and that’s no more evident than in the Cancun airport. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the airport’s concierge are there for you and want to make sure you’ve got everything you need to enjoy yourself. And it just got better from there. Case in point: when we wanted to go to Tulum (about a 35 minute drive south) for the evening, one of the taxi drivers stationed at the hotel offered to take us, wait for us nearby, then pick us up when we were ready, all for $75.

The food, the culture, the natural scenery of this part of Mexico is stunning. The people are incredibly hospitable, the food is brilliant, the Caribbean is crystal clear and teeming with life. Seriously this is an incredibly inviting part of the world and worth every penny. Go!

After our photos of Mexico, enjoy these highlights of our best bites of 2018 and let us know if we missed something. And find the link to the podcast at the bottom of the page.

Mur Mur, Tulum, Mexico

Kitchen of Mur Mur. If you’re a US health inspector, this is enough to give you heart palpatations.

Hostess at Tulum’s Mur Mur. Thatch roofs and outdoor cooking

Produce delivery, Mur Mur

Hotel Unico, Akumal, Mexico, looking towards the Caribbean

Hotel Unico, Akumal, Mexico

Queso de Bola with Stewed Papaya, Hotel Unico, Akumal, Mexico

Cheesecake. Local fruits, Macarons, Xiabentun Pearls, Agave & Vanilla Glaze, Hibiscus blossoms, Cueva Siete at Hotel Unico

Quail Egg, Beef Tongue, Braised Pork, Puffed Tortilla, Salsa Verde. Cueva Siete, Hotel Unico

Handmade wooden utensils, Hotel Unico. In the foreground is a molinillo, a wooden whisk for frothing hot chocolate

 

Cafe tres leches at Greenville’s Methodical Coffee

Fried Oyster sandwich and fried chicken at Leon’s Chicken & Oysters in Charleston, SC

Beth McPhee of the Anchorage at the Highlands Food & Wine Festival

Fried Beets at Kitchen Sync, Greenville, SC

Chocolate Hazelnut Croissant from Loaf Bakery, Durham, NC

Horchata at La Cabana, White Horse Road, Greenville, SC

Beignets with three sauces from Founding Farmer’s in Washington, DC

Hole Doughnuts, Asheville, NC

Las Meras Tortas, Greenville, SC

Smoked Pumpkin Chess Pie with Pumpkin Caramel courtesy Rhubarb’s Kelly Laird at the Highlands Food & Wine Festival

Killer Bees Honey, Brevard, NC

Honey Cake by Amy Malik, Tin Roof Farm

Noodles in Turmeric and Roast Tomato Broth and fried Pork Sandwich at Rose’s Noodles, Dumplings, and Sweets. Durham, NC

 

Nico. Mt. Pleasant, SC

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