2

Full on Tulum

3/14/17

Neon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurantsOnia swim top, GRLFRND denim skirt (similar), Nike slippers (similar here and here)

Faced a bit of radio silence here, but I promise not much has happened from the last post and this update; since coming back from Tulum, I'd been in and out of limbo with sickness hitting me left and right. While trying to pull myself together, I managed to comb through hundreds of photos I'd taken (most of them being food) during the trip that I wanted to share with y'all. Although hard to pinpoint what makes Tulum so special, because every corner of it and every second there feels like it, the most memorable thing from this trip was probably the food. There's something to be said about the unique blend of decadence and simplicity, of robust flavors from an ingredient list so seemingly bare. Of course, the now-famed hole-in-the-wall Antojitos La Chiapaneca and mezcal bar Gitano are still favorites of mine, but the restaurants listed below are worth mentioning not only because of their stand-out flavors and dishes but because of the charming and thoughtful experiences that came with it. If you're headed to Tulum in the next few months, be sure to bookmark these spots and flag them as high-priority.

Neon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurantsNeon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurantsNeon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurantsNeon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurantsNeon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurantsNeon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurantsNeon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurantsNeon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurantsNeon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurantsNeon Blush, Cetli Tulum, Hartwood Tulum, Yucatan, Quintana Roo eats, dining in Tulum, Tulum restaurants
Cetli - as a long time resident of Tulum, our host has been to just about every restaurant in Tulum... and the first place he recommended to go to during our short four-day trip was Cetli. The restaurant is homey and (wonderfully) slow-paced, adorned with framed pictures and colorfully woven fabrics, surrounded by a ton of foliage. It feels like your grandparent's place, or maybe just somewhere hugely familiar-- and the same applies to the food. The food! Before your main entree, you're presented with an array of complimentary house-made breads, pupusas, salsas, butter, and cheese. Every piece was phenomenal! This gastronomical adventure continued with the entrees we'd ordered; with every bite we really tasted the depth, the labor of love, and the tedious preparation that had to have gone into the moles. My personal favorite was the Istak (fish and white almond mole sauce)-- I've been craving that every day upon my return home. It's a must order!

Hartwood - I probably can't offer anything new that hasn't already been acclaimed about this well-known establishment whose reservations are highly sought after... except that the hype exists for good reason. The food is carefully crafted and insanely flavorful. My two friends and I, we're pretty small girls, but we polished all of it pretty quickly-- it was comical how silent it'd gotten as soon as the food arrived. We'd ordered a round of cocktails and six dishes in total. The beautifully tossed cotija tomato salad, refreshing fish ceviche, outrageously good grilled beets, a serrated whole fish, charcoal-grilled octopus, and the well-balanced pork belly-- all inhaled. We loved our waiter and bartender and shared many moments of roaring laughter, and even met with our waiter later at the full moon party. Hartwood not only delivers decadently layered dishes but also seems to employ some of the most genuine individuals who add an even greater depth to the atmosphere.

Chamico's - simplicity never tasted so good. Known for their authentic approach to the whole fried fish, Chamico's is an easy choice when deciding where to eat in Tulum. It's a slightly different ambience than the restaurants in downtown and on the strip, but Chamico's holds it down with its own unique appeal. Their plastic tables, flappy blue tarps and rickety chairs are a sign of its no-frills approach. And I kind of loved it. You sit there, in and out of the shade under wind-blown palms, watching people happily sipping their BYOBs, and enjoy a surprisingly robust meal: a heap of fresh lime-laden ceviche and the most perfectly grilled fish I'd ever had.

0

Low tow

2/28/17

Neon Blush, Tulum packing, pack beauty products, Glossier rich moisturizer, Glossier Haloscope highlighter Moonstone, Kate Somerville Goats Milk de-puffing balm, Diptyque February special candleDr. Jart+ bb cream, MAC lipstick, Glossier priming moisturizer and 'Haloscope' highlighter, Kate Somerville de-puffing eye balm, J. Hannah Jewelry nail polish

I made a brief escape to Tulum a few weeks ago to recalibrate myself. Travel photos to come, but I wanted to share the small arsenal of beauty products and clothing I'd packed (got through a four day trip with just a carry-on, with room to spare!) that made my travel process and experience even simpler.

- Barely-there makeup is all you need: being surrounded in humid air and forgiving sunlight, I find that skin is simply better off bare. A thin layer of priming moisturizer, a swipe of the most subtle Haloscope, a dab of rust-colored lipstick on your cheeks and your pout, and you're good to go. I know there's been a lot of hype and coverage on this rich priming moisturizer from Glossier, but believe the hype! It makes my face feel plump, fresh and just dewy enough to walk out in. As for the color rust, I think I subconsciously go for colors that match my polish and right now the rich but fresh color seems appropriate for spring.

- One-pieces, denim shorts and sandals: it might not be for everyone, but I think having a one-piece suit helps ease the difficulty of matching (or even mis-matching) your tops and bottoms. I've been a long time fan of the styles from Her the Label and Onia, but there are plenty to be found because they're so simple. A one-piece can even double as a fitted tank under your favorite pair of denim cut-offs. Finish the ensemble with a chic low-heeled sandal and you're pretty set for any occasion during the entire trip.

2

Of angels

2/7/17

Neon Blush, Los AngelesRachel Comey denim jacket (similar), Dimepiece hoodie

Having been born in Los Angeles, I was fortunately introduced to a number of flavors from varying cuisines at an early age. I'd like to think that this variety of food cultivated an acknowledgment and gratitude for cultures outside of my family bounds. In this beautiful urban sprawl, you can have just about any thing you could think of: piping hot pupusas and pozole, a hearty bowl of bamboo-soaked chicken noodle soup, mac & cheese sprinkled with hot-cheeto crumble, beautifully tender slices of marbled wagyu, Himalayan curry, the most sightly bone marrow with fluffy/crispy spinach gnochetti, unleavened Ethiopian sourdough topped with an aromatic blend of stewed lamb and veggies, Thai tea-flavored panna cotta, fire roasted Brazilian steak, a beautiful marriage of grilled onions, french fries and beef tri tip... the list goes on.

Unfortunately, part of the plight of running a restaurant rests on heavy LA traffic - a lot of people feel unmotivated to go across town (or sometimes even just three to five miles out) for their friends, much less for food. To add, some districts--sometimes blocks, and even corners--of LA are avoided altogether because they're either undergoing renovation or having difficulty with an uncontrollable transition. One of my favorite restaurants, Simbal in Little Tokyo, fell under those pressures and dimmed its lights for good last weekend. Although tricky to find because of its inconvenient locale, Simbal was truly a gem in the neighborhood. With its unique Southeast Asian flair, attention to detail with every single dish and cocktail, each bite, each sip was like peeking into the journey of a brilliant mind. I was a semi-frequent patron; whenever I was back in town and could afford myself a thoughtful and nuanced meal, I would head to Simbal. I'm so disheartened by its closing, to have to bid farewell to a spot that was as familiar as it was fresh and new with every visit.

I could digress and lament over this for some time. I'm hoping to share my favorite restaurants more frequently here on Neon Blush, but for now, I wanted to take this time to urge people to shop small and visit local restaurants whenever possible. It matters. Don't hesitate to go across town to try new food or diversify your palate-- it could mean that you'll be supporting the growth of new, talented chefs and sustaining their ability to tell stories, to share their histories... or maybe even chancing upon a new favorite spot. I've always found that it's worth the trek.