Wednesday, November 30, 2011 5:26 AM
Kaxapa Factory Brings Venezuelan Food to Playa del Carmen
A few days ago, Rob and Kate and I were invited to a new place owned by
the family of our newest team member, Moises. His family is from
Venezuela and they have brought all their favorite family recipes here
with them to Playa del Carmen. Kaxapa Factory, is a charming little bistro serving typical dishes of Venezuela and vegetarian versions of this cuisine! They are able to use ingredients from Mexico to recreate the flavor profiles of Venezuela in a unique way creating dishes with a flavor profile unlike any other we have come across in this region of Mexico. The dishes lean toward the sweet side due to the use of corn and ripe platanos. Missing are the ubiquitous wedges of lime and pico de gallo that we see so often accompanying our regional cuisine.
The name Kaxapa is a Mayan interpretation of the word "cachapa". A
cachapa is a soft pancake of sweet tender ground corn served folded over
a filling. Much like in an omelet, the fillings can vary according to your
taste and there is certainly something for everyone. The dish can even
be made vegan, stuffed with sauteed vegetables and tofu, wok fried or
grilled. Rob had his with shredded beef, chicken and cheese and loved it!
This tiny restaurant is owned and operated by one family. Proud patriarch Ramon Perez single-handedly attends to the front of house while Vilma, Moises and Naicel are hard at work in the small open air kitchen. All dishes are cooked to order, with fresh ingredients and can be adjusted to many dietary preferences and restrictions. Ramon is such a gratious host and excitied to be able to explain all of the dishes to his guests.
The menu is small and features dishes that are typical in Venezuelan homes and family eateries. One such dish is the "arepa". This is like a little cornmeal muffin which can be filled with shredded beef, chicken, vegetables, tofu, beans and/or cheese. In Venezuela the most popular interpretation of this dish is the "reina pepiada" which is filled with cream cheese, chicken and a touch of mayonnaise and avocado.
One of the most popular menu items at Kaxapa Factory is the
"patacón", an unusual
"sandwich" made with green plantains, mashed and fried and used in place of the bread, then filled with chicken, beef or vegetables, on a bed of organic lettuce
topped with a special house-made dressing. We ordered one of these to split between the three of us and it was delicious and filling! Kate does not eat cheese and I was surprised how well the substitution of warm melty tofu worked in its place.
The restaurant does not have a liquor license but the special drinks are delicious. The house drinks, made with natural fruit juices such as passion fruit and lime, are like those typically served in Venezuelan homes and eateries. The flavors are bright and refreshing and perfect for the climate of Playa del Carmen. If you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, every day they have home made corn or banana muffins that can be served warm with ice cream! 70% of the produce and ingredients used in the restaurant are from
organic sources so even when you feel like you are indulging, you are still eating good honest food.
Every day there is a special meal which includes the soup of the day, a main dish and a beverage all for just $75 pesos. I tried the vegetarian lentil soup and it was just delicious. The restaurant strives to be as environmentally
responsible as possible. Every effort is made to reduce waste,
recyclable materials are separated and only biodegradable disposable
items are used for take-out containers, drinking straws, napkins etc. They
have found that their environmentally friendly practices are appreciated by their
guests. Inside, they also offer some interesting organic and naturally made products and handcrafts.
We really enjoyed our meal, the family that runs the restaurant could not be more inviting and are looking forward to going back to try more of their traditional dishes. If you're tired of eating the same thing, try something different made with good fresh ingredients and a lot of love. Kaxapizate!
Kaxapa Factory Deli and ECO Store can be found on Contituyentes between 10th and 15th. For more information and menu updates visit the Kaxapa Factory Facebook Page.