Review: The World's Best Restaurant Opens A Pop-Up In Mexico

The best thing I tasted last month may have been a lobe of fresh cacao fruit straight from its pod, a pale, glistening thing whose sweet essence whispered of litchi, vanilla and perhaps guanabana, with a crunchy seed whose rich bittersweetness barely hinted at the flavor of what most of its kind is destined to become. The second best may have been a young coconut at whose bottom rested a bit of caviar and a spoonful of coconut cream — I was directed to gently glide my spoon across the translucent flesh, scooping up perhaps a gram or two of the delicate jelly that coated its surface. The third may have been a sliced tiny banana, slicked with seaweed oil and dotted with a paste made with its own burnt peel.

Chocolate, coconut and bananas — flavors as familiar as childhood and as old as time, transformed or detransformed, presented in ways that in retrospect make them seem almost mystically of a time and of a place. And if somebody had read me the last sentence without pointing out that he had experienced these things at Noma Mexico in Tulum, I might have snorted hot coffee out of my nose. René Redzepi's cooking is transformative, but it always sounds kind of weird.

Read the rest of Jonathan Gold's trip to Tulum on the LA Times.