One of the highlights of any cruise is visiting the various ports of call on the itinerary. The sea days are fun and relaxing, but I really love going ashore and soaking up some local color. As many of you know, one of the stops on my most recent cruise was Cozumel, Mexico. Cozumel is a beautiful place, but I’d already been there twice before. I’ve partied at Carlos’ n Charlie’s, guzzled margaritas at Senor Frog’s and shopped ‘til I dropped at the dockside “strip mall” set up for the tourists right off the pier. I didn’t want to sit on the ship all day either, so I decided to try to find something else to do. The day before we docked, I was looking through the shore excursion booklet to see what my options were. Snorkeling? Nope. Hiking to the Mayan ruins? Um…NO! Hanging out at the beach? Well…I can do that at home for free. Then, I saw it: an authentic Mexican cooking class led by a professional chef at the four star (and air conditioned) Playa Mia Resort. Ding Ding Ding! I think we have a winner!
Apparently, the Playa Mia also hosts a few other excursions for the cruise crowd as well. The next morning as I waited for the tour bus, I was joined by a rather eclectic collection of my fellow passengers toting beach towels, suntan lotion and scuba gear. I couldn’t be sure, but it didn’t look like most of them were interested in cooking. I was right. When we arrived at the resort, everyone except me ran off to the beach, while I wandered around with my tenth grade Spanish skills trying to find the cooking class. Finally, a nice cabana boy took pity on me, handed me a pina colada and led me to the kitchen.
The kitchen itself was pretty bare bones; just a big, white, tiled room with several portable work stations and a big sink. Each station had two propane gas burners and a griddle. I looked around, but I didn’t see an oven anywhere. There were six other “students” in the class, most from another cruise ship. And, there was our instructor, Chef Luis. read more >>