persimmons: fall fruit


An appropriately colored fruit for the season. It’s that time of year again, when the persimmon harvest results in grocery bags full of these gorgeous fruits passed from my great aunt’s tree to my grandma’s home, then to my own kitchen.

I thought there were just two types of persimmons, the type my great aunt grows (shown in the photo above, and also known as ‘Fuyu’) and the kind that looks a like an overly large and edgy Roma tomato (also known as ‘Hachiya’). A quick google search proved me wrong! Turns out with all the cultivation there are thousands of varieties. Impressive, but less surprising seeing as they’ve been growing them for thousands of years in China, then Japan, and elsewhere in the world.

Growing up I knew how much my grandmother loved these fruits, so I pretended I never wanted to eat one so she could enjoy them all to herself. My curiosity only grew of course, with the high praise of my grandmother, and her frequent comparison that ripe persimmons are like honey/sugar. It’s true though, it really is like eating sugar!

Persimmons have always held such a sophistication in my mind. The colors ranging from a strange yellow-orange to a deep, almost red, color. Their texture ranges too, from firm and sliceable, to jelly-like, only scoopable with a spoon or slurped lips. They’re also not really anything I’d seen outside my grandmother’s home for quite a while.

The Hachiya variety is best eaten when it’s so absurdly ripe it’s almost like juice inside the protective fruit peel. Messy? Why yes. But every sticky drop is a treat. Even so, I think I prefer the flatter Fuyu, if only for the more varied possibilities it presents with the range in textures and levels of sweetness observed by waiting (or not waiting!) to eat them.

Once I tried to make a persimmon pie for my grandma. She was not impressed. Neither was I, to be quite honest. Since then I haven’t really tried to cook with persimmons. Not because I was afraid of it tasting bad (what can taste bad with a persimmon in it???), more so because it seems like a shame to waste the delicious and delicate flavor of the fresh fruit.

It’s not just a beautiful looking and tasting fruit. It’s got loads of health benefits too! My grandmother is nearing 90 years old and I can’t remember a single season she hasn’t gotten at least one batch from the harvests of her sister, cousin, and/or neighbor. Here are just a few reasons why you should try a persimmon now:

  • High Vitamin A and C content, as indicated by the beautiful orange coloring
    • Now you don’t have to stick to carrots to keep that vision 20/20
    • Antioxidants can help you fight free-radicals. Younger-looking skin and cancer-free cells, one persimmon at a time.
    • Vitamin C is a cold-buster. Fight the flu with fruit this season!
  • It’s a fiber-rich food
    • Fiber is good for digestion. Regulate and keep that colon clean. Know what I’m saying?
    • Keep hunger at bay
  • Copper – metal in fruit?
    • Yes. Apparently, copper is essential in forming red blood cells.
  • It’s delicious, duh.

eating at sun palace, cancun

anniversaryWe spent a week at Sun Palace, Cancun: a couples-only all-inclusive resort right on the beach. All the food and drinks you can imagine, with impeccable Service. That’s right – Service with a capital S. They surprised us with a bottle of wine upon arriving and one night we came back to our room to find champagne and chocolate cake waiting for us for our special occasion (see pic above!). Room Service never disappointed – they even made a small pot of thyme tea at our request (we got sick while there and found online that thyme tea is a popular German remedy for cold/sore throats). Knowing it was a healing/herbal remedy tea, they brought it up on a tray with a lime, cut in wedges, and honey too!

They have several restaurants, and over the course of our stay we tried most of them. I’ll say that the most impressive part of each was the presentation of the food. It was lavish and clear that each plate had individual attention (even when it’s in the buffet!). When going to an a la carte restaurant for dinner, each spot has a house appetizer they serve to all guests. It was a neat surprise for each meal.

El Alamo:
This was the main eatery, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It had a buffet that served international foods for breakfast and lunch along with 2 made-to-order areas. Can’t ever go wrong eating here.
Breakfast: Daily, the buffet had cold cuts, a selection of cheese and cream, scrambled eggs, bacon and more. They changed up the preparation for beans (sometimes black beans, sometimes pinto, whole or fried). They also served a variety of other foods which were different depending on the day including Mayan style tamales, platanos with honey (or without honey some days, which I preferred), grilled pineapple, breakfast potatoes/hash browns, and bacon (which was definitely there daily). An omelette station on one side and a waffles, pancakes, french toast, eggs station on the other. They also had hot oatmeal and hot chocolate, an assortment of fruits, yogurt, cereals and sweet breads.
Lunch: The cold cuts are here again, as well as assorted fruit. There is also a selection of salads that changes daily. The made-to-order area on one side had burgers, flank steaks, chicken, a roast or some sort of carved meat, and on the other, seafood (salmon, really fresh/thickly-sliced calamari, white fish (not sure what kind), shrimp, scallops, one day they had a whole grouper available for pieces too!), sopes, huaraches, tacos, tostadas, cochinita pibil, and more. The seafood was cooked in white wine and seasoned really really well. The cochinita pibil was succulent and flavorful too!
Dinner: This place turns into an a la carte restaurant serving Mexican regional cuisine. I ordered the duck, served with squash and a pipian sauce (small green pumpkin seeds). Pretty good – I liked that the dishes weren’t the expected tacos, burritos, and tamales. We ordered a yummy fondue-like dish as an appetizer (queso fundido con chorizo). But I am a cheese fiend, so I may be biased.

La Tratto:
A restaurant with a dress code. Guys have to wear a button up shirt and nice shoes. I wonder if this is to make sure the woman gets her opportunity at a nice dinner where her man must dress up (most women like to dress up right?). Italian food is usually a pretty safe bet and it’s a safe bet here too. I ordered capellini (one of my favorite types of pasta) with the restaurant’s recommended sauce (a garlicky oil sauce) and shrimp/lobster. It was pretty good, but nothing out of this world. My mom makes a mean garlic shrimp scampi, so I’m a bit spoiled when it comes to quality.  Jon got a steak stuffed with I forget what. It had an amazing presentation on the plate but if you’re looking for a meat dish go to The Steak instead.

Oriental Lounge:
If you’ve ever had any Asian food in your life, I’d skip eating a full meal here and choose to try a new dish at any of the other restaurants (or your favorite dish you already had again!). This restaurant is on a 2nd-level rooftop, giving the location a pretty cute feel and view of the ocean below, but it’s not worth going to outside of that. They started us with edamame and a chef’s soup (which were both pretty good actually). But for claims of sushi, pad thai, and thai curry, the food did not live up to our expectations. The salmon sashimi I ordered was razor thin and doused in soy sauce before it got to the table (making it much too salty). It was a fairly large plate of 16 pieces that looked more like smoked salmon than the one or two thick pieces of fish I am used to getting when I order sashimi. Jon’s pad thai used thick chow-fun style rice noodles instead of the thinner ones I’m used to seeing in pad thai. The Thai curry I ordered wasn’t bad, but just came with the smallest serving of rice I’ve ever seen given at an Asian eatery.
Best items on the menu here were the edamame and chef’s soup (the house app).

The Steak:
A must-eat-at spot. The view alone is reason enough, overlooking the pool and beach in the nighttime. There’s a salad bar and dessert bar and an open grill where you can see your meal being cooked for you. We both wanted a New York steak when we ate here, though they had plenty of other options (rib eye, t-bone, lobster, salmon, and more). The steaks was tender and though I thought they were a little salty, they were still VERY GOOD. The mashed potatoes were mouth-watering delicious, and the bread was super fresh. The house appetizer here were chicken fingers (which were really chicken tenders) and a house dipping sauce which turned out to be one of Jon’s favorites. Would’ve eaten here again to try a seafood dish if we had another chance.