Tulum – 4/23/17 – Taqueria Honorio, Kitchen Table and Hartwood

I feel that I am ruined for tacos forever.  These were fantastic and I still can’t get over how inexpensive they were.  I can only dream of someday finding tacos as good north of the border.  It was so sad that the next two mornings in Tulum I biked here first thing in the morning hoping it would be open, but it sadly was not.

Kitchen Table

I was insistent that we go to Hartwood while some others in the group wanted to try Kitchen Table so double dinner it was.  If only we had stayed here!

deviled avocado

crispy shrimp

costilla de cerdo

pulpo a la parrilla

It has been over 3 months and I am still pissed off about this dinner.  Before Noma temporarily set up shop in Tulum, Hartwood was THE place to go so of course I had to get in (challenging when they aren’t especially responsive to reservation requests).  When one of my friends had a terrible experience with the front of house staff the night before my visit it should have been a sign, but I was willing to disregard one bad experience despite completely trusting the source.  Many restaurants in Tulum are cash-only, such as Kitchen Table which we visited earlier in the evening.  It is absolutely no problem when you know that ahead of time and we showed up prepared at Kitchen Table.  But it turns out that Hartwood is cash-only which they don’t tell you on their website, in their confirmation emails or on social media.  As we were waiting for our table at the front of the restaurant we became aware of the policy via the menu board and confirmed with one of the staff who was almost too ready to point us to the nearest ATM, or 3 because we were told they would likely all be out of pesos.  Two of us set off down the road where indeed it took us 3 ATMs to find one with any money at all, although it was out of pesos yet oddly dispensed USD with a hefty service charge (about $30 which makes those $3 fees look like pennies).  At this point I was furious and felt completely ripped off.  Why are the only ATMs on the tourist strip of Tulum dispensing only USD other than to take advantage of the tourists?  And if I would have known about the policy I would have withdrawn more cash from the ATM at a legitimate bank in town earlier in the day.

By the time we hiked back to Hartwood I was a bit over the whole thing.  When the check came it was conveniently (for the restaurant) in both pesos and USD and the USD amount was at a truly atrocious exchange rate.  So between the ATM fee and the exchange rate I estimate we paid about double what we should have for this dinner.  No matter how much I may spend on food I despise being taken advantage of.  I was so pissed off by the end that I honestly have no idea what we ate and how good it was.  It didn’t matter.  Sometimes great food offsets poor hospitality (i.e. Major Food Group) but there is a point of no return.  To quote a friend who visited a few weeks after me and had an abysmal service experience, “Fu*k Hartwood.”  While Noma was in Tulum the Hartwood staff should have taken the opportunity to walk down the street and learn what great hospitality is.

NYC – 2/15/16 – Luskus (w/ Kitchen Table)

A terrible snowy night to trek to Brooklyn and on the walk from the subway I was wondering what the heck I was thinking.  But I absolutely loved my visit to the Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs last year and was quite excited for this collaboration dinner.  Plus it has been far too long since I have been to Luskus.  I could have eaten a complete meal of the chicken skin and was thrilled to have it again.  It was an utter surprise that my favorite dish of the night was the one I thought I would hate – balsamic, truffle, artichoke.  All individual components that I love, but cold the thought was immediately terrible.  It somehow took me back many many years to when I first had the olive oil gelato at Otto.  I would love to do this entire dinner over again.
 beetroot, salsify, dulse
 razor clam, blood orange, fennel

beef tartare, purple daikon, laver
 chicken skin, rosemary mascarpone, bacon

sea scallop, ginger

Ryan and the Gosling – Evid Twin/Crooked Stave

shrimp, walnut, tarragon
 Sasuga – Oxbow

roasted sunchoke, rye, dulse
 sea bass, onion, nettle
 squab, damson, hay, rye
 lamb breast, salted plum, rutabaga
 balsamic, truffle, artichoke

 carrot, bay leaf, licorice