Tulum, located in the Yucatan Peninsula as part of the Quintana Roo district of Mexico. A Mayan jungle retreat, put on the map by adventurous Cancuners wanting a bit of culture so they traveled south to the Tulum Ruins in quest of the magnificent structures and pyramids erected circa AD 564. These structures are indeed a site to be seen, but it wasnt till recent that travelers, wanderlusters and yogis alike took their journey a bit further into the beach side village of Tulum. Carved out of the jungle, literally carved, it sits on a huge ecological biosphere and has one 3 mile stretched road to pass through with only two lanes. Electricity does not exist on this part of the preserve so most of the restaurants and properties use generators to provide light…. often times using kerosene lamps, tiki torches and candle lit lanterns. Needless to say the VIBE is killer. Tropical plants, jungle air, the mystique of the Ancient Mayans and light by fire adorning the mango grooves. Feels like a fairytale of gypsies in a time before now.
One of my favorite things to do is to take my dinner guests on a journey. Transport them to a different time and place through the senses: Sounds, Look, Touch, Feel and Scent. Styling out this Tulum dinner was on my mind all summer long, as I longed to go back since the minute I left the last time. Everything from the Dream Catchers I floated across the table, to the Ancient Mayan ceremonial incense known as Copal, that was burned over coals in galvanized buckets… My goal was to make everyone attending feel like they experienced one of my favorite places in the world.
To create the look + feel of a Jungle Dinner, I added a bunch of textures and layers to my table top. Starting with varied greenery in the form of fresh herbs in small vases, bowls of tropical fruits, cracked coconuts and an amazing table runner that I found at Cost Plus World Market made of Coocnut Twigs! Surrounding the table, I brought in large tropical variety 5-6 foot plants in white washed clay pots. I wanted to create a sense of being surrounded by nature.
For the feast I wanted to remain as authentic as possible so I used a little inspiration from a lovely dinner I had while visiting Tulum at a hot spot called Hartwood. I re-created their Yucatan Pickle plate with fresh tropical fruits and local ingredients. The chilled soup appetizer was made with Sandia (watermelon) lime and star fruit. And the Ceviche was made from line caught snapper soaking in Leche de Tigre, a mix of fresh coconut cream with lime and Serrano peppers. It came together like magic.
To further get into the Tulum mood I wore one of my favorite off the shoulder tops by Tularosa called the Aiken. The Gypset and feminine vibes that shine in their summer collection always makes me feel like im on vacation. I paired the blouse with linen pants and fringe sandals. To drink we had ice cold Cervezas and Rose Sangria Cocktails. Just writing this post make me want to go back. But I am certain everyone that attended felt like they were transported, and for me that is just as good as the journey itself, if not better…because it is shared with the people I love.