WanderFood Wednesday: TBEX Cancun Recap!

by Samantha Scott
( September 16th, 2014 )

Dancers at Xcarat

So last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend TBEX, a travel blogging conference, held this year in Cancun, Mexico. Here is my TBEX Cancun Recap!

What a spectacular couple of days, meeting some wonderful people and fellow bloggers, and even some fellow WanderBloggers: shout out to TrailBound and Luxury Nomad!

Expedia Party at TBEX

The conference features a packed schedule of talks and networking sessions and was centered at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun. As such, meals were not exactly the focal point. I didn’t get a real sense of Mexico through the food I encountered, both at the resort and at various TBEX events, but I’m not sure I’d expect to. All inclusive resorts, in my view, tend to cater to a certain type of traveler, one that is maybe slightly less adventurous. The resort featured three restaurants in the section I stayed in, one Japanese, one Mexican and one Italian.

I ate at the Mexican restaurant, which was a buffet set-up, twice and was heavily underwhelmed. Being that I was visiting Cancun for much other than the food, I was fine with this, but disappointed at not having enough time to explore true Mexican cuisine beyond the resort walls.

Naturally Flavored Water at Xcarat

However one meal that stands out was from the opening night party at Xcarat. This extensive park features a popular performance in the evenings that is basically a history of Mexico through dance, costume and dramatization. It was a vibrant, colorful and impressive show, but what made it even more special was the “dinner theater” set up we had the opportunity to experience.

Xcarat Dinner Show

The food was surprisingly good, featuring an opening course of small plates, followed by a soup, then chicken and after that a lovely dessert. Highly recommended if you ever go!

First Course Xcarat Dinner Show

My experience at TBEX was incredible, I’m already looking forward to next year!

Were you at TBEX Cancun? Say hello!

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

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WanderFood Wednesday: 5 Must Try Mexican Foods

by Samantha Scott
( September 9th, 2014 )

Headed to TBEX in Cancun this week and having never been to Mexico, I’m very excited to sample some authentic Mexican dishes! As a first timer, here are my 5 must try Mexican foods:

1. Gorditas: A small fat tortilla that can be made sweet or savory. Usually stuffed with ingredients such as salsas, grilled meats, beans and cheese.

Gorditas

2. Chicken Mole: Mexico is well known for Mole sauce, and there are many variations. Most Mole recipes feature slightly different ingredients as they’re often based on old family recipes. Chicken is one of the most common ingredients paired with Mole, but it can be used over other things as well.

3. Tostadas: Essentially open faced tacos, tostadas are fairly basic, but delicious. Also can be made to be sweet or savory depending on the toppings.

Mexican Breakfast Tostadas

4. Stuffed Poblanos: I have had these before and love them. Also something with many variations, there are no real traditional ingredients. Poblanos are incredibly flavorful, and not terribly spicy without their seeds, so they make an excellent side dish for parties.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

5. Mexican Rice Pudding: This kept popping up while searching for traditional Mexican desserts and well, I’m pretty anxious to give this a try! Yes, even though it’s normally served with raisins…

What are your top 5 must try Mexican foods? What else should I try to sample while I’m there?

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

Photo Credits

Gorditas: Luna sin estrellas via Flickr

Tostadas: Jeffreyw via Flickr

Stuffed Poblanos: Farther Along via Flickr

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WanderFood Wednesday: 5 Tips for Pairing Wine and Food

by Samantha Scott
( September 2nd, 2014 )

Have you ever been at a restaurant, perhaps trying to impress your date with your wine knowledge, only to be completely at a loss with where to start? Here are 5 fool proof tips for pairing wine and food guaranteed not to lead you astray.

White Wine tasting

1. Whites are generally a safe bet with seafood, especially shellfish. They also work very well with spicy food, especially in the Asian realm. Mexican or Spanish spices tend to work better with reds because of the heavier nature of the food.

2. Reds are generally a safe bet with red meat and heavy winter dishes. Think stews, roasts, and earthy root vegetables.

Comparative Tasting

3. Taste different wines often and pay attention to descriptions. Often nicely detailed wine descriptions will give you a clue as to what they should be paired with. For example, if you might normally garnish a grilled meat with a sweet chutney, try a wine with bright fruit tones.

Assorted Cheeses

4. Pairing wine and food is all based on chemistry. Certain foods pair better because their chemistry matches up in a different way to certain wines. Don’t let this scare you though. If you’re daring, let it free you rather than defeat you. This is especially true with cheese pairing. While I wouldn’t suggest trying any super deep reds, you could certainly pair light reds, roses, whites, sweet and dry wines with cheese. This is a perfect food to experiment with and find what YOU like.

5. There are no mistakes. Most of the “rules” you may have heard of, like the ones mentioned above, are challenged and played with constantly in todays modern food world so you really can’t go wrong. Hey, you might even discover a radical pairing that works better than the suggested pairing!

Do you have any hard and fast rules you follow when pairing wine and food? In my opinion, Rose is one of the most difficult wines to match with food. What are your suggestions?

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

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