Yummylicious Harewood Tulum

Farm-to-table and powered by solar panels, Hartwood is one of those world renowned and hard to get into restaurants found even in a quaint low key town such as Tulum.

On the double nickel anniversary of my birth, I arrived at Hartwood at 5:30pm with eyes wide opened at the sight of an already growing line. I took my place in the queue, not aware of who had reservations (They start taking them a month in advance.) or who was also participating in the moment of silent prayer to the foodie Gods for one of the four coveted bar seats. Rolling solo, my only option was one of those first come first served stools. With each person/group seated, I was a ball of emotional confusion, exhaling and growing more anxious as I was one step closer to the entrance. The restaurant filled up just like that, I as the third bar guest. YAAAYYY MEEEE!!!

The music like basically all of the spots in Tulum was pumping the perfect playlist which relaxed me from my brief yet stressful line experience.

Instead of passing out menus or being directed to the QR code, the menu items were described from a blackboard. I requested repeats and clarifications to ensure I choose items for what would be the makings of a delightful birthday dinner.

I thankfully opted for the eye-rolling, fresh, and flavorful explosion in my mouth “Ceviche De Quelites.”WOAH! My palate was like GUUUURRRRLLLL!!! 😋😋😋 Next up were the mouthwatering and falling off the bone ribs. I wish I could have bottled up the BBQ Tamarind Sauce. I sipped on the tasty Espina Mezcal Cacahaute. How can I get a bottle mailed to the states? The “Honey Pie” arrived with a flickering candle and accompanied by a 🎶Happy Birthday…🎶 serenade, which were the perfect finale to my evening. I’m grateful to Hartwood and the other bar stool guests for being so kind to me on my special day.

My evening delights were:

~CEVICHE DE QUELITES – Snapper, Fermented Pineapple, Capache???, Herbs, Mango Chile Oil

~COSTILLAS AL AGAVE – Ribs, Grilled Pineapple, Pickled Cabbage, Pickled Chile, Tamarind BBQ Sauce.



I’m still dreaming about the ceviche. It was sooooo good. Mmmmm… Bon Appetit! Cheers! Enjoy! #BeDoLove #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #Wanderlust #ColorOutsideTheLines #SweetSpot #BeDoLoveSAVOR #IDineToWriteAboutIt #LiveAndBreatheYourSoulFULLPurpose #BonAppetit #Yummylicious #Yummyliciousness #Foodie #FoodieLife #FoodPorn #ExpandYourPalate #OffTheBeatenPath #Tulum #TulumDining #HartwoodTulum

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Yummylicious Bal Nak Tulum

My first Tulum dinner experience was at Bal Nak @balnaktulum, which is a modern Mexican restaurant that opened in 2018. Prior to visiting, they were very responsive on WhatsApp and extended to me a nice welcome to Tulum. Similar to many places in Tulum, entering their open space is an experience in itself with the magical jungle motif.

Video of entering Bal Nak.

Everything was delish. Especially the “Chocolate Clams.” My first thought was that the dish would have chocolate as an ingredient, since Mexico is known for that. However, that would be too easy. It’s actually because of the clams rich chocolate color and the silky texture of their shells. This delicacy is harvested in The Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coastal region of the Baja Peninsula. With the various flavors and textures, the “Chocolate Clams” dish was like a sensual party my palate was happy I was invited to.

With my intense sweet tooth, the “Coconut Ice Cream” was the perfect welcome to Tulum dessert. Honestly, I didn’t have another dessert in Tulum that came in even as a close second. It had me this close 🤌🏽 to asking for seconds or returning for more. The ice cream was so smooth with the Passionfruit jelly and butter cookie crunch as tasty enhancers.

The menu also consisted of an assortment of cocktails, which included the tasty “Mexican Elderberry.”

~MEXICAN ELDERBERRY – Tequila Reposado + passion fruit + lime.

~CHOCOLATE CLAMS – Cucumber + onion + pumpkin seeds + house sauce.

Yummylicious video of Chocolate Clams.

~PAAP POOP – Tequila Reposado + spic liquor Habanero + roasted pineapple + agave honey.

~SMOKED SHORT RIBS – Mushrooms + pickled onions + mashed avocado + hibiscus marinade. The short ribs are cooked for 18 hours and then grilled.

~Coconut Ice Cream – Butter cookie + Passion fruit jelly + almonds

Mmmmm… Bon Appetit! Cheers! Enjoy! #BeDoLove #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #Wanderlust #SweetSpot #ColorOutsideTheLines #BeDoLoveSAVOR #IDineToWriteAboutIt #BonAppetit #Yummylicious #Yummyliciousness #Foodie #FoodieLife #FoodPorn #ExpandYourPalate #OffTheBeatenPath #Tulum #TulumDining #BalNakTulum

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@Samjmx I know you sent me to @escama.tulum to purchase a good bottle of Tequila, but it was so much more.

Oh, the bonuses let me count the way.

~They were walking distance from the hotel. Taxi’s aren’t cheap here.

~Escama – Cantina de Mar just opened in October. The have a boutique selling tequila and wine and a restaurant specializing in seafood cuisine. The seafood soup was warm, delicious, and comforting. 🍲

~They have a nice selection of classic and craft cocktails, which included a pretty darn good Aviation and Mezcal Manhattan prepared by @gilbertmoct who was showing off with his cocktail making skills. Both cocktails are the type that the taste is enhanced with each new sip.

Gilberto the mixologist.
Gilberto the mixologist.

~The Mezcal Manhattan was prepared with women owned Xila Mezcal @drink_xila. 🍸

~I capped off the night with a tasty sip of Tierra Noble’s Tequila Blanco @tierranoblemx.

~Sidebar: I’d love to find both of those tequila brands.

~Oh, and the music they played and the live band Quintana @nehemiasmusic put me in a total zen and fun vibe. To include them coming over and serenading me. (Tee hee) ☺️🎤☺️🎤☺️

Quintana @nehemiasmusic
Quintana @nehemiasmusic
Quintana @nehemiasmusic

Thank YOU everyone for a wonderful experience as I continue to celebrate my Saggilicious birthday. The best to Escama and Chef @miguelrhidalgo as you continue to grow. Mmmmm… Bon Appetit! Cheers! Enjoy! #BeDoLove #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #Wanderlust#ColorOutsideTheLines #SweetSpot #BeDoLoveSAVOR #IDineToWriteAboutIt #LiveAndBreatheYourSoulFULLPurpose #BonAppetit #Yummylicious #Yummyliciousness #Foodie #FoodieLife #FoodPorn #ExpandYourPalate #OffTheBeatenPath #Tulum #TulumDining #EscamaTulum #SupportTheArts #NehemiasMusic #TierraNoble #Xila #Tequila

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Double Nickel Birthday Gratitude

Kathryn I love YOU! You’re my best friend. Through the heartbreak you continue to grow. You seek and push through the deeper levels of healing. You’ve been serendipitously and purposefully guided to people, places, and things that fill your tank as you seek peace, joy, and freedom. I love how you continue to strengthen your “yes muscle” to only what feels right and what you desire. I appreciate your perseverance and being an open vessel for “living out loud” despite the moments where it’s heavier than you care to bare. Kathryn you’re a chameleon of love, beauty, spirituality, strength, fear, fierceness, softness, feisty, lovable, city, urban, quaintness, spoiled, giver, introvert, home body, adventurer, sociable, quiet, high pitched passion, courage, fun, silly and cooky friend, sweet lover, sensual, smart, curiosity, creativity, over thinker, leader, student, impatient, overly patient, compassion, empathy, f*k you… I love every level of humanness that makes you YOU! I do hope I’m my parents and ancestors “wildest dreams.”

With that said, Today I’m in Tulum on my 55th birthday. Spirit said Kathryn for this birthday and for your healing, leave the states and go get kissed by the sun, bathe in the beach, and delight delicious vittles all in the backdrop of cool quaint vibes. For this I choose Tulum, Mexico. Or Tulum chose me as it’s been calling out to me ever since I’ve visited on day trips a couple of times. And, it’s been perfect thus far. This was me last night, taking myself out on a lovely birthday dinner date at Art Beach Tulum.

Honestly caregiving and then caregiving during a pandemic topped off with menopause emotional swings WORE.ME.OUT! Like deep depression OUT! Like developing anxiety attacks on the Beltway/495 in the Fall of 2020 and I’m still fighting my way through them. With the help of Naturopathic doctors, therapists, family, friends, coworkers, and most important with self-care I’m doing a lot better.

Day by day, I’m feeling more like myself. My free spirit and adventurous self needed the world to open up. Needing to balance the grieving of Pop transitioning and caregiving and pandemic PTSD with living, connecting, and luxuriating.

I’m so grateful and blessed for this day. My life. My family and friends. I love and appreciate IT ALL. I love and appreciate YOU ALL. Thank YOU! Thank YOU! Thank YOU Mother, Father, God!

Remember, our world and many are still not doing well. We need each other. And, that’s okay. Be mindful of the silent. Be mindful of the emotional stuffers. Someone you know needs to know they matter and are loved. Let them know. Show them by words and deeds. And, if that many is you, you don’t have to sit in it alone. There are safe spaces God and your angels have and will continue to guide for you to land on. Don’t run from them. Run to them. Peace. Live. Love. Namaste. #BeDoLove #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #LiveAndBreatheYourSoulFULLPurpose #SweetSpot #Wanderlust

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Yummylicious Mad Cow Grill Sunday Brunch

Last Sunday I delighted in a delicious Sunday brunch with my dear Bison friend Jon. I was a first time caller (Jon as usual has established VIP status. 😆) to Mad Cow Grill in Laurel, MD (They also have a location in Brandywine.) and it did not disappoint.

The restaurant specializes in American and international fare, including some of my favorite Caribbean dishes. I was expecting a small restaurant and instead was greeted by a very lively nice size restaurant that includes outside tented seating. The music was mostly a fun selection of ole school Caribbean, rap, R&B, and pop. And, you can’t beat $16 bottomless mimosas.

Jamaica born Chef Neville was on point with the:

~Callaloo, Salt Fish w/Fried Dumplings, Provision, Tomato, and Onions

~Rasta Pasta – Tricolor Rotini, Shrimp, Sautéed Vegetables, Herb Coconut Cream Sauce

~Unforgettable Braised Oxtails w/Plantains, and Rice and Beans

Mad Cow will definitely be included in my restaurant rotation. I hear they have a Fish Friday. Mmmmm… Bon Appetit! Cheers! Enjoy! #BeDoLove #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #ColorOutsideTheLines #BeDoLoveSAVOR #IDineToWriteAboutIt #BonAppetit #Yummylicious #Yummyliciousness #Foodie #FoodieLife #FoodPorn #ExpandYourPalate #OffTheBeatenPath #MadCowGrill #Brunch #SundayBrunch #LaurelDining

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🎶A Lovely Daaayyyy…🎶

🎶When I wake up in the morning, love…🎶 This morning I awoke full of gratitude to capture this beautiful sunrise, that I get to give all honor and glory to God for. I’m reminded and I hope you are too, that even in the midst of it all to pause and smell the roses. To chill with and appreciate Mother Nature if even for a brief moment. Like really pause, take notice of the beauties of this world, while taking deep healing and rejuvenating breaths that open up your heart to pumping freely with love, joy, and sweet Pop (RIP) like giggles. To allow your inner child the opportunity to feed your soul and spirit. To: Believe! Breathe! Inhale! Exhale! Love! See! Feel! Heal! Love! Cry! Laugh! Voice! Listen! Connect! Engage! Forgive! Shift! Empathize! Love! Ask! Manifest! Gift! Receive! Activate! Create! Dream! Explore! Rebirth! Strive! Glide! Wake! Sleep! Nap! Relax! Rest! Laugh! Love! Pray! Meditate! Gratitude! Purposeful! Luxuriate! Dance! Sing! Trust! Touch! Taste! Laugh! Love!… (Fill in the blanks.)

As Pop would say, “Have a good day. Be safe. Don’t work too hard. Love!” Be blessed. Be grateful. Be safe. Be well. Enjoy. Peace. Live. Love. Namaste. #BeDoLove #Sunrise #SunriseZen #SunriseSunsets #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #LiveAndBreatheYourSoulFULLPurpose

“A Lovely Day” by Bill Withers


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Yummylicious Almond Saturday Funday Brunch

Three Saturday’s (9/25) ago, the day after witnessing Dereine and Butch’s beautiful nuptials, the Howard University crew and extended family gathered for a celebratory Saturday Funday Tipsy Brunch. It was one of our long overdue brunch experiences filled with a familiar kind of love and laughs.

The spot was Almond Restaurant in Flatiron, Manhattan. This popular brunch spot is a lively bistro serving French comfort food in a rustic setting. The A L’Oignon was eye rolling orgasmic. And, my bubbles infused sip of choice was one of my favorites, the French 75.

~A L’Oignon (Croques Gratin) – Caramelized onion & bone marrow

~Almond Hash – Duck confit, roasted onions, potatoes, poached egg (This was Jon’s yummy dish of choice.)

~Smoked Pastrami

~French 75 – Gin, Lemon juice, Dashes Simple syrup, Sparkling Wine

It was a beautiful and awesome time had by all. Mmmmm… Bon Appetit! Cheers! Enjoy! #BeDoLove #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #BeDoLoveSAVOR #IDineToWriteAboutIt #BonAppetit #Yummylicious #Yummyliciousness #Foodie #FoodieLife #FoodPorn #ExpandYourPalate #OffTheBeatenPath #AlmondRestaurant #Brunch #SaturdayBrunch #FlatironDining

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Yummylicious Pie Night

It’s good to know people in high food places like the dynamic, sweet, talented, and award winning Irene Wong. Big thanks to Irene for extending an invitation to the 7th annual Pie Night (attended September 29, 2021) at THE James Beard Award- winning Pastry Chef/Owner Dominique Ansel Bakery (Creator of the Cronut®. See below.) at his Soho, NYC location. We enjoyed unlimited slices of pie – 10 kinds with a travel theme, including sweet and savory, Grand Marnier craft cocktails, and à la mode.

As we entered the bakeries backyard garden, our eyes beamed with excitement at the sight of the long table with the beautifully displayed pies. We started with two plates, one with savory treats and the other with sweet. All included the obligatory perfect crust. FYI: October 7 is the last day of Pie Night.

My top three pies were:

~Spanish Spicy Chorizo Pie with Squid Ink Black Rice: Spanish chorizo with a hint of smoked paprika, squid ink basmati rice with onions, tomatoes, and garlic

~Portuguese Bacalao Pie with Herbed Breadcrumbs: Portuguese bacalao (salted codfish), mashed potatoes, garlic, mozzarella, and crunchy herbed breadcrumbs

~Japanese Yuzu Curd and Salted Meringue Pie: Fragrant Japanese yuzu citrus curd, lime zest, and light-as-air meringue topped with a hint of Maldon sea salt

~Bonus Mention – All American Apple Pie with Salted Caramel (Because, there’s nothing like a perfect apple pie.): Pie Night classic, made with fresh honeycrisp apples, gooey salted caramel, and a golden lattice-topped crust

Dereine and I.

It was a beautiful and tasty night hanging with my longtime dear friend Dereine (HUUUUU…) and making new foodie ones all in the name of connecting over the love of a salivating meal. Mmmmm… Bon Appetit! Cheers! Enjoy! #BeDoLove #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #BeDoLoveSAVOR #IDineToWriteAboutIt #BonAppetit #Yummylicious #Yummyliciousness #Foodie #FoodieLife #FoodPorn #ExpandYourPalate #OffTheBeatenPath #DominiqueAnselBakery #DABPieNight #SohoEats #SohoDining #JamesBeardFoundation

About the Cronut®:

“Perhaps what has been most widely reported on is Chef Dominique’s creation of the Cronut®, his signature croissant-doughnut hybrid pastry that first launched at his eponymous Bakery in New York in May 2013, soon becoming the world’s first-ever viral pastry.” It was named one of TIME Magazine’s “25 Best inventions of 2013. — https://www.dominiqueansel.com/chef/

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Yummylicious BK Evelina

Dereine and I sipping on the Portia cocktail.

Because we haven’t had enough of each other and Dereine’s new whole husband Butch gave her a hall pass, last night we checked out Evelina in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn while wedding debriefing. Once again I’m winning with my restaurant pick.

Evelina is a cute and quaint Italian and Mediterranean restaurant. They also have a gelato cart outside of the restaurant. It was ALL absolutely deliciously fresh and flavorful. Our server Bonnie was great. My top three were the Portia cocktail (Mezcal and pineapple always do it for me), the octopus (meaty, tender, light sauce, savory sweet with the grapes), and the ravioli (light and balanced with the slightly salty king crab taste). PS: That Lemon Vanilla Gelato is the creamiest gelato I’ve had.

Dereine getting a night cap treat at Evelina’s gelato cart.

~Portia – jalapeño mezcal, pineapple, lime, falernum, orgeat

~Pinsa Bianca – rosemary oil, whipped ricotta, roasted red pepper & olive salsa

~Cacia e Pepe – baby gem salad, black pepper, pecorino di fossa

~Charred Spanish Octopus – almond ajo blanco, grapes, cherry tomato vinaigrette

~Risotto – foraged mushroom ragu, robiola, fresh oregano

~Burrata Ravioli w/Alaskan King Crab & Summer Squash

~Chocolate Bread Pudding w/Salted Caramel Gelato & Caramel

~Tiramisu Gelato and Lemon & Vanilla Gelato

Lemon Vanilla Gelato

Mmmm… A good walk afterwards to the train for Dereine and back to my hotel for me did us good. Bon Appetit! Cheers! Enjoy! #BeDoLove #FindYourZen #LivingOutLoud #BeDoLoveSAVOR #IDineToWriteAboutIt #BonAppetit #Yummylicious #Yummyliciousness #Foodie #FoodieLife #FoodPorn #ExpandYourPalate #OffTheBeatenPath #BrooklynDining #FtGreeneDining #EvelinaRestaurant

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Cure-All – My Brothers & Junior’s Cheesecake

My brother Greg and Me at Junior’s in Brooklyn.

My NYC/Brooklyn visit has been slightly bitter, with a heavy dose of sweet. This is the first time visiting since 2019 when Pop became ill and he came to Maryland to live with me. I spent the first few days in Manhattan for my bestie Dereine’s wedding festivities, which Pop was to attend. Sunday me and my emotional missing Pop tears moved my visit to my birthplace of Brooklyn. I can’t believe it’s been two years since my last visit and it’s two months shy of the one year anniversary of Pop’s passing. I have no doubt Pop has been here in spirit.

My brother Terence and his family at The Feast of Saint Gennaro.

I’m so grateful for my brothers for greeting me to my hometown with their love, hugs, and smiles. When I arrived to Manhattan last Wednesday, I met my oldest brother Terence and his family at The Feast of Saint Gennaro in Little Italy. Sunday, my brother Greg was bright eyed with smiles as I arrived at the Brooklyn hotel I’m staying at this week.

My brother Terence and his family at The Feast of Saint Gennaro.

It’s been healing to my spirit to take in the NY air while walking and taken in the sights, reminiscing, laughing, and dining. And, a slice of Junior’s Pineapple Cheesecake is the ultimate comfort treat. Mmmm… Bon Appetit! Cheers! Enjoy! #BeDoLove #SelfCareMatters #FindYourZen #BirthAndLiveYourSoulFullPurpose #LivingOutLoud #BeDoLoveSAVOR #IDineToWriteAboutIt #BonAppetit #Yummylicious #Yummyliciousness #Foodie #FoodieLife #FoodPorn #ExpandYourPalate #OffTheBeatenPath #LittleItaly #TheFeastofSaintGennaro #JuniorsCheesecake

My nephew TJ and me at The Feast of Saint Gennaro.

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