Falling in Love at Ixi'im
Updated: Jan 9, 2022
On a recent trip to Mérida I had the opportunity to sample Jorge Vallejo’s Ixi’im. The restaurant is located around 45 minutes outside of Mérida on the grounds of the Chablé Resort & Spa. It is a stunningly beautiful setting. I booked a table outside and I took in what is without a doubt the most romantic ambiance I have ever experienced. I was surrounded by lush gardens, a concert of nocturnal insects, and the calm and stillness that allowed me to appreciate every one of these sounds. More than once, a deer crossed the green space further adding to the near magical setting. So exquisite is the space that I am certain that at one point I fell in love with the empty chair next to me. If you are looking for a place to relax and have the means, this hotel would be a fine choice.
I started with the Xilotes salad with black recado vinaigrette, pea puree and confit tomatoes (Ensalada de xilotes con vinagreta de recado negro, puré de chícharo y tomates confitado). Much like the evening sounds, this salad was a concert of
flavors, each in tune with each other, each in harmony with the whole. I remember with nostalgia the first taste. It was a subtle mix of flavors that recalled the essence of various street foods. All brought together with a refreshing vinaigrette that both harmonized the salad and cleansed the palate with each bite. Rarely does a salad have this type of impact on me. As I write this, I feel the pain of knowing that never again will I taste this salad again for the first time.
The main course was a short rib with mole negro. The presentation was lovely, a work of art on the plate. The short rib
was tender and flavorful. I was surprised by how well it went with the mole. The mole itself was complex and delicious. It was, however, not what I had expected and hoped for a mole negro. While certainly flavorful, it lacked the darkness one expects from this particular mole. There was a bit more chocolate than it should have, making too sweet. Without question, the dish was excellent. Still, as I sit for a meal, I expect that the appetizer will prepare me for a journey that will peak with the main course. In this case, the highlight of the meal was the salad.
I was intoxicated by the experience. I am very much looking forward to another meal at Ixi’im and I hope to try a main dish that is more closely tied to the region. In the meantime, the memory of the experience will have to suffice.