When in Tulum...
 

I've been to Mexico a handful of times, but always stayed at a resort. So the thought of traveling to Tulum was super exciting because:
1. Exploring the local area!
2. Trying authentic food!
3. Dining in the jungle, boho chic shops, tacos galore; Tulum is literally every blogger’s (and non-blogger’s) dream come true.
4. Traveling with Ronak for the first time :)

Incase you're planning to visit, here's a mini timeline of our trip to Tulum (pronounced Too-Loom), which I hope can help you ease the planning process! 

We flew from JFK to Cancun, where we rented a car to drive to Tulum, which was ~1.5 hours away. I knew cell service would be spotty so I created a Spotify playlist to jam to (turns out he's a singer too)..but mostly, music just makes everything better!

Rented at an Airbnb in Aldea Zama, a private area in Tulum with lots of condos. We had a pool at the top which was really amazing to relax on in the early mornings/late evenings. There was a 24/7 security guard and we felt safe. 

We basically ate our way through the city (see recs below!), went snorkeling in crystal clear blue water at the Grand Cenote, and visited the Mayan Ruins. After 6 days we made a spontaneous decision  to leave Tulum a little early and spent the last night at a resort in Cancun. I loved this because the hotel was 5 minutes from the airport, so instead of driving before our flight, we were able to sit back, relax and enjoy the pool!


OK, convinced you need to visit Tulum yet?!
Here are a few helpful tips:

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  1. CA$H!!! Bring lots of it. 9/10 restaurants are cash only.
    Consider bringing a credit card that doesn't charge conversion fees.
  2. Bug spray. We used it everywhere we went. Remember, everywhere you go...restaurants, bars, shops, it's all outdoors in the middle of the jungle. Don't spray at your own risk. None of that organic, herbal stuff! This is something I don't mess with - bring on the chemicals Johnson & Johnson!
  3. There’s a grocery store called Chedraui, kinda like the Walmart of the town, you can find food, alcohol, sunscreen, bug spray! If you plan to go snorkeling I'd actually rec buying gear here bc it will cost you about the same to rent old ones (however we rented ours at the cenotes, and lived to tell it lol) 
  4. Sun screen - don’t be the person who sacrifices their health for “beauty” ...you can wear sun screen AND still get a tan! Fact.
  5. We still didn't figure out the water sitch. We drank and brushed our teeth with bottled water only, but the ice cubes at the restaurants/bars were tap water (we asked) and I'm proud to report that there were no GI issues on this end. *pun intended*

    OK. On to the important stuff...

After eating our way around the city, heres 7 restaurants that you need to try when in Tulum:

El Capitan

A no frills local taco spot! This was the first restaurant we went to when we arrived late in the evening. Honestly was a little nervous because I had never eaten “local” food before.. my stomach is incredibly sensitive and I make it a point to only dine at A-grade restaurants in NYC (I once met members of the NYC Health Department who explained to me the methods of the lettering system and I forever scarred!)

I tried my best to keep an open mind - this place had great Yelp reviews  and the flavor of the tacos lived up to its hype. Shrimp ones were way better than the fried fish. Ronak liked the beef ones better than the chicken! We came back here another day to get our taco fix for lunch!


Del Cielo

Super Instagram-able breakfast spot. Yummy food but has more of an Australian/American vibe to it. The atmosphere is fun and inviting, would recommend coming here if you’re feeling a light breakfast or refreshing smoothies. 


Don Cafeto

As authentic as Mexican food gets! We discovered this gem on our last day and had we tried it sooner, we would have def eaten here for breakfast and dinner!

They give you free nachos, guac, salsa and pickled veggies. Every dish we had was flavorful.

Do not visit Tulum without coming here. 

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Burrito d’Amour

AH I pride myself on finding this spot cause the atmosphere around sun set is just so cute! Plus, live music. *dusts shoulders off* Serious note, the burritos are unique in that it's 75% veggie/protein and sprinkles of rice (whereas in the US it's like 50-70% rice)

They offer a handmade coconut flour one (even the BF approved) and juices/smoothies/kombucha which was a much appreciated switch up for moi. The burritos changed my idea of what a burrito was back in the states.

Forget everything you know about Chipotle and don’t leave Tulum without trying an authentic burrito from here. 


Ki’bok

We came here once for brunch and twice after for our morning coffee. When it comes to coffee we mean business - the cortados were 👌🏽.

This was the only place I came across that served non-fried/nonbattered shrimp tacos and OMG I could’ve had another order to myself. Think al pastore but swap the pork for beef!

Fruit platter with the large mango won us over - if you’re one of those people who have trouble moving their bowels on vacay (hey just keepin it real!) highly recommend eating fresh fruit and lots of water. You can thank me later. 

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Kitchen Table

Ronak surprised me with this find and it was both of our favorite of the “fancy” restaurant series! I’m a sucker for lights and when we came here for dinner, the atmosphere was que romantique!

Imagine sitting in the middle of the jungle with candles everywhere, music, they even had people walking through with smoke buckets which was added to the dreamy atmosphere and helped keep the mosquitos away. If you can sacrifice taking pretty pics of your meal, come here when the sun sets! 


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Arca

So this has been labeled the best, most well known restaurant in Tulum. So we had to go there! It was super cute, food delish. Save this place for a special group of friends or a special one ;)

 
 
Laura IuComment
Best Carrot Cake Muffins
 

Do you have a food that you really like, but don't eat very often?
And when you do, you are instantly transported back to that moment in time when you were really happy? 

For me, carrot cake is just one of those feel good foods. 
I remember my mom buying it for me as a kid.
She'd always get me either a carrot cake or a strawberry shortcake for my birthday. 

So when Ronak and I were talking carrot cake the other day, I was super excited when he told me that it's also one of his favorite cakes.

I thought, instead of making cake (which I'd probably end up waiting until the evening to enjoy with him after work) ... why not make a carrot cake MUFFIN so we can both start our day off with feel good vibes?! 

AND OMG - if happiness were a muffin, these are it!

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They are:
Moist
Hearty
Sweet
Chewy
Flavorful
 

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I just have one confession.
Whenever I Google search something, I always add "best" in front of it.

And so I felt compelled to write "best" in front of this recipe because I kid you not, these are seriously the *BEST* carrot cake muffins ever. I'm so glad the recipe actually came out to make 18 muffins instead of the traditional 12 count, because I was able to keep several for us while being able to adequately share it with family and friends!

Now you can too.

I hope you enjoy the recipe below and as always, I love seeing your creations so be sure to tag me if you make these!

Lots of love,

L <3

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INGREDIENTS

2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts, diced
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup pineapple, diced (fresh or canned)
1 cup shredded carrots, minced (I bought a bag of shredded carrots, then chopped it. you can also use a food processor)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F.

Lightly grease a muffin pan with canola oil or use muffin cups. I used a silicon muffin pan and lightly coated it with oil.

In a large bowl, sift the whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and sugar. Set aside.

In another large bowl, add the wet ingredients - the eggs, canola oil, vanilla, pineapple, carrots, walnuts, raisins. Whisk together.

Next, combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients in one bowl.
Gently mix until flour is combined.
Be careful not to over-mix as this can create a tough muffin! 

Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup.

Bake for 20-25 mins, until golden brown and center comes out clean.

As promptly as you can, remove muffin cups from the pan so they don't continue to bake in the hot pan. Set aside to cool. Refrigerates well for ~2 weeks.

 

 
Best Banana Bread
 
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Some people dread brown bananas... but me? I love them because it only means one thing: that banana bread is in my very near future!  

And for me, banana bread is just one of those things that don't get old. 
I like to enjoy it topped with a nut butter
Warmed with a scoop of ice cream
Simply as is.

Unfortunately, bread has gotten such a bad rep *ahem diet culture* that it's almost always tied to some form of food label to entice people to buy, eat, or bake it.
You'll see recipes for bread and products on the shelf gilded with the labels: Gluten-free/ Grain-free/ Dairy-free etc. 

Holy crap. How many more restrictions can we add on before bread is no longer bread?! LOL.

I don't know about you, but if you like good ol' fashioned banana bread, you're going to love this recipe.

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This banana bread is:
soft
moist
tender
flavorful

 

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups mashed banana (3 medium very ripe bananas) 
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Use mixing bowl or fork to whip in air. 
Add mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking soda.
Combine wet and dry ingredients, gently folding until all ingredients are wet. DO NOT over mix!

Pour mixture into pan, place in middle rack and bake for 50 minutes.