So we planned our Yeshiva week trip to Cancun thinking that we would have to compromise on our kosher food options and quality vs. Miami in order to get the more exotic (and cheaper) vacation. Boy were we wrong!
Instead of waiting for a table in any half-decent kosher place, we had inventive, plentiful and delicious meals delivered to our hotel (the Westin Lagunamar) at 5pm on the button every day, and even our picky kids loved it!! they have a general menu that at first glance may appear pricy (30 for a main meal with side) but you have to consider their shipping costs etc. in Cancun. we particularly enjoyed the Caesar Salads with grilled chicken (a bargain at $15), and for shabbos, the chocolate cake and home-made challah were heavenly and reasonable. We also got burgers (about $12 i think) which were pretty basic but the came with a side of cole slaw that was very good. their pasta salad was also good, but not a classic mayonaisy macaroni u might be used to.
But during Yeshiva week they had a special menu with pirx fixe options each night for just $25 per adult and $14 a kid. the adult portions were huge approx 11 inch pans with the childrens at like classic lunch special sized 8 inch pans. we had leftovers almost every night for midnight snacks.
one prixe fixe night was chinese (really perfectly done), one night was israeli night with great falafel and shawarma with a decent chumus plus great fresh pitas, and one night was taco night. We were scared tacos would be too spicy for our kids so we ordered burgers instead, but the Chabad team (dealing with lots of orders) understandably mixed it up and assumed we wanted our regular Yeshiva Week Prixe Fixe order and sent us 5 tacos, and we actually loved them (even our kids) and i have never enjoyed a kosher classic taco (black bean sauce was great with mushy rice and seasoned ground beef). Even though we were happy with the mistaken order, they immediately sent us the burgers, and didnt charge us for the great tacos! the chips and salsa they included were also great, but chips and salsa are usually great.
Strangely enough, the meal we enjoyed the least (though it was still good and fully edible) was shnitzel night, perhaps because you cant really get it wrong and it wasnt better than most other shnitzel we have had (it came with rice and brocolli, both a lil bland). luckily, it came with a nice fresh salad with crisp romaine and tomatoes that was very good.
For shabbos meals at the Chabad house, things went up to another level. Friday night meal was truly unexpected, with some delicious savory ribs on top of perfect lo mein noodles, along with lots of chicken (so soft it fell off the bone when you tried to pick it up), rice and green beans, along with all different types of dips and plentiful fresh home-made challah, topped off with the great chocolate cake with cream on top. we sponsored some beers for the crowd (didnt realize there would be like 70 people!) which was good because the only drink (other than some wine/grape juice at start) was seltzer or filtered water. My very picky 6 year old son who hardly eats anything probably ate more friday night than any other meal we can remember, he chugged down like 4 pieces of chicken plus lots of noodles too! In sum, the food friday night was probably better and more filling than any food i have gotten at a hotel for shabbos, and it was free (with just a request for a donation for whatever you can).
Shabbos day there was another beautiful minyan at 930 followed by a plentiful kiddush with thick pastrami (that was honestly a little too wet for my liking, though i ate a lot of it), braised meat in a bbq like sauce that was pretty good, plus a bunch of salads, chips, salsa and deviled eggs and dips. All in all, the food was truly gourmet, and (even after an extra donation for the great job they did) i didnt pay much more than what i would pay in Miami for mediocre food and long lines.
I know where i will be ordering/eating next time i am in Cancun (hopefully soon) and where to pray on shabbos. they arent perfect, but considering all the circumstances, they do an amazing job!
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