February’s Restaurant of the Month ‘Farm to Table’ a sustainable restaurant that refuses to side with any dietary camp.
Diane DiMeo | February 2020
Trying to find delicious food that meets everyone’s dietary preferences at the same restaurant is like trying to find that proverbial needle in the haystack
‘Farm to Table’, a restaurant situated in the heart of Tulum’s pueblo, with Chef Maurico Jevis at its helm shamelessly offering a menu without division
Photos by Bernardo Flores
This delicate soft VEGAN tamale colado stuffed with Sikil Pak (a typical Yucatan flavor bomb mixture of pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, cilantro and other ingredients), nestled in a pool of a mole made from Papayas
Photos by Bernardo Flores
In the day and age of the distinctly separated dietary camps (or eating gangs), which seem to be a part of how we define & introduce ourselves these days (Gluten free, vegan, carnivore, keto and the rest of the less dominating bullies of our eating gangs), it is difficult to find a restaurant that not only can seamlessly merge some of those dietary camps onto one menu, but make them all taste phenomenal without losing its identity or flavor profile. I for one, am a true carnivore and a gluten freak. I am a pretentious fuck and a bully when it comes to the camps and gangs I belong to. I am the epitome of a food snob. You’d have to threaten me and give me a swift punch to the throat to get me to think otherwise. Or so I thought.
In walks ‘Farm to Table’, a restaurant situated in the heart of Tulum’s pueblo, with Chef Maurico Jevis at its helm shamelessly offering a menu without division, effortlessly sharing the spotlight with Vegan, Gluten Free and Meat camps, standing neutral, claiming no sides in the food gangs.
The entire front of Farm to Table is open, reminiscent of an old school NY style restaurant, set in a warehouse, where there is a solid metal slide up gate, that once up, affords you to see the entire restaurant at a glance. As we entered Farm to Table, I was struck with a sense of comfort, and it immediately felt like home. The space is small but very welcoming, intimate, functional and for lack of a better word: rustic. A beautiful bar is one of the first things you happen across visually and upon entering. It is set up much like a libations laboratory, with shakers, potions, fruits, bitters, and other concoctions that await to be fondled by the tatted bearded donning mixologist who is looming and waiting in his ‘lab’. Ready for a cocktail and curious about the skills of the mixologist, we ordered the signature cocktail. The mixologist went into action, furiously regaling us with his mixing and shaking moves, reminiscent of ‘Tom Cruise’ in ‘Cocktail’, only a hip modern version. I, for one, have no idea how any mixologist has the strength to move the shaker up & down quickly for longer than 10 seconds, let alone 2 at a time for a minute. My arms would either A) become a side show as the large flap like skin/fat under my arms (aka wings) would be flapping back and forth so much from shaking the drinks, that I would more than likely take flight about an inch off of the ground, or B) my arms would pop off at the shoulders from strain of the foreign movements which could be mistaken for exercising. But I digress. Farm to Table’s signature cocktail: The Root is not a cocktail to be scoffed at. A perfectly shaken libation infused with mezcal, pineapple juice, cilantro and simple syrup. Smooth, strong, tasty, and good enough to catch a buzz.
Albeit the cocktails were stunningly good, it was time to move on to the food. Chef Mauricio explained to us that the goal of Farm to Table’s menu is to serve delicious food that is environmentally conscious and nutritious, literally incorporating ingredients and flavors directly from their working farm, and from local supplier partners. It is a creative menu that draws on local historic culinary traditions from the Yucutan, and influenced by his international culinary experience and training. A mouthful I know. We did what any decent person would do, we told him to ‘surprise us’. And surprise us he did.
Out comes the vegan/gluten free gordita. Now as part of the Carnivore & Gluten camps, I am already biased. I am expecting a chalky bland something or other, completely off balanced and reminiscent of eating an eraser with sauce (not that I’ve ever eaten an eraser, but If were to, I would imagine it would taste like some of the vegan/gluten free foods I have painfully been subjected to). All of which will not only piss me off, but will send me on a tyrannical potty mouth spewing volcanic fit. I braced myself but alas, I was not only proved wrong, but I found myself jumping up and down with glee, in the vegan/gluten-free camp, pretending to be part of the gang. This amazing gordita has a "dough" made with Maza de maíz, Chaia, and Mayan spinach, then shaped into a perfect sphere only AFTER stuffing it with Ibes, a type of Mayan beans that are similar to Lima beans. It then gets cooked off in a rustic wood-fire oven, served with a delicate yet bold Veracruz Salsa and drizzled with a 7 chile oil. The flavor profile is absolutely profound. Not one flavor overpowers the next, yet each flavor stands up to each other balancing one another. My carnivore & gluten gang side of me was left stunned.
The next dish was the vegan tamale. A vegan colados tamale, which for those of you who don’t know what a tamale colados is, it's a pudding like tamale that gets its soft, delicate texture from using gobs and gobs of delicious Manteca (aka rendered pork fat). Although I had stepped over into the vegan/gluten free camp momentarily with the Gordita, there was no way in HELL I was going to step back over that line again, for a tamale that called itself ‘a colados tamale’ just based on the principle ALONE that it did not contain Manteca. Well color me surprised and let me just take my foot right outta my mouth. This delicate soft VEGAN tamale colado stuffed with Sikil Pak (a typical Yucatan flavor bomb mixture of pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, cilantro and other ingredients), nestled in a pool of a mole made from Papayas, left my mouth wide open (and obviously closed when I needed to chew as i stuffed my maw with this delicious thing they called a vegan/gluten free tamale). I even questioned the filling, swearing it was meat. Perhaps my subconscious did not want to admit how delicious it was.
A conversation with Chef Maurico didn’t lend much of a hand in understanding how the amazing, well thought out produced dishes, packed with flavor, seem so simple: He is by far one of the most modest chefs we have come across. Whether it is his vegan Gordita that you would SWEAR had meat in it or the Vegan Tamale that you find yourself saying: are you SURE this isn’t pork?? His answer is always the same “it really wasn’t anything...it was just combining x, y & z to make this". LIES I tell you. ALL. LIES. It takes a discerning palate, an imagination and skill beyond belief to create vegan dishes that doesn’t seem vegan or Gluten free dishes that seem filled with delicious gluten. And this doesn’t even touch his mastery in the dishes that contain meat AND gluten
Farm to Table chooses to focus on taste, rather than a particular dietary camp. They just don’t throw a bone to the other gangs, by adding a thoughtless dish or two on its menu to placate the wayward vegan or gluten-free eaters that will wander in, by themselves or as the oddballs in a group of a carnivore and gluten consuming gang. This seamless and delicious menu composition allows all dietary camps/gangs to mingle at the same table, without shame or being the red headed stepchild, eating and consuming deliciousness. Farm to Table deserves the Restaurant of the Month for Tulum eats Mag.
Open from 9 AM to Midnight! Located on the main Av. Tulum, across the street from ADO bus station in the heart of Tulum’s pueblo.
Tulum Eats Magazine is published 12 times a year, unless we decide to go on prolonged vacations. You can find the print magazine at select locations throughout the Riviera Maya, and in some East Coast establishments, where we will randomly place, during selective times. The website will be updated monthly, with selected materials that may or may not be the same as the print version. Look for us soon, in other states of Mexico.