We have been in Mexico for over 24 hours and, amazingly, we not been caught in an intra-gang firefight, had our organs harvested while asleep or been forced to carry narcotics in any orifice. All in all, muy bueno.
Melissa and I wanted to get a real flavor for shopping in Mexico and by all accounts, there can be no more authentic shopping than at Walmart. We wanted to be able to say that we bought our produce at a small, open-air market, but after trying to order lunch at the local taco place we once again remembered we don’t speak Spanish. So armed only with the innocence of children and two small Spanish phrase books, we navigated the aisles with hundreds of shoppers looking for everyday low, low prices Baja Style; that is to say, pretty much like any town in the U.S. with the primary differences being a much better selection of Tequila and fresh corn tortillas. In addition to stocking the casita with food for the week, Melissa bought fixings to go with some fresh yellowfin tuna left in the fridge by the owner. Melissa will regale you with her recipe for fish tacos further down in the post.
After the hustle and bustle of the big city, we headed north to check out the beaches. The caretaker of the casita recommended a beach and provided some directions which bore little resemblance to the place we actually visited. With Melissa at the wheel, we were bombing down dirt paths rutted to the axles. At this point, I should mention that Melissa and I have divergent opinions about what is prudent when driving a rented Nissan in a foreign country down an anonymous gully. Melissa thinks this is quite the high adventure, and calls me a girl’s blouse for suggesting that maybe this isn’t such a great idea. I like to point out that if we get stuck, narco gangs will find us, harvest our organs and make us carry drugs in our orifices. I also point out that if we get stuck, I’ll be the one pushing. Still, she is in the driver’s seat which makes her impossible to reason with, so down the arroyo we go.
My temerity was for naught however as Melissa expertly slalomed through sand and dust. The beach was quite beautiful but the water was only just warm. Melissa gamely snorkeled in about 3 feet of water, looking for something interesting.
After our beach excursion, we drove further north just enjoying the beauty of the countryside. Melissa got a little taste of her own medicine with me behind the wheel. Let’s just say that Mexico has a different idea about how wide roads should be, how far from the edge of the cliff, and how many potholes should be in the middle of the highway.
On the highway there was plenty of traffic, mostly in the form of large pick up trucks packed with household goods and small cars with large loads tied to the roof. As this is a holiday week in Mexico, many families are heading for the beach to camp. Many, many families. Camping Mexican style involves large covered areas with plastic chairs, wall to wall tents on the beach, and entire bedroom sets carried in the back of pickup trucks. This makes us all the more grateful that our casita is very private and has a hot tub ready for relaxing with a cold cervesa.
And now for the dinner: fresh yellow fin fish tacos!
Melissa’s Fish Tacos, Baja Style, sort of:
1 package fresh yellow fin, caught by home owner
a few limes, a little canola oil, some garlic powder, salt and pepper, and a splash of tequila mix. Mix it all together, poke the fish with a fork, and marinate the fish in that mixture.
Slice up an onion and a yellow or orange bell pepper and stir them into the marinade.
While the grill heats up, slice an avocado and a tomato and set them aside.
Get out the salsa, preferably really hot salsa.
Get out the fresh corn tortillas. (Not just any corn tortillas. Preferably these will be completely fresh; the kind you buy warm and then start eating while you are still in the parking lot of the store.)
Grill the fish until it’s just firm. While fish is grilling, stir fry the onion/pepper mix in a skillet, using the marinade.
Make a pitcher of margaritas, using twice as much tequila as the recipe calls for. Sit at the table overlooking the water. Build your tacos and say ‘MMMMMM’.