I know I probably bored you guys to death with my last post about my spring vacation, with pictures of turtles and zip lines, for goodness’ sake. I know I almost fell asleep just compiling it. The most important part of a vacation is OBVIOUSLY la comida, verdad?
Eating in Mexico was something I anxiously anticipated—in both good and bad ways. I was excited to sample a new cuisine, one that wasn’t too “exotic” but certainly made staples of some new-to-me foods; on the other hand I had also heard that Mexican food is notorious for being prepared in not-so-sanitary conditions… Sure enough, I’m still experiencing some, erm, gastrointestinal difficulties now, three days back in the states. It could be residual motion sickness, but I have my doubts…
The resort we stayed at, for all I badmouthed it in my previous vacation post, had a quite abundant buffet selection at all restaurants—something GREATLY APPRECIATED. I made a point of sampling all fare before concocting a relatively standard breakfast plate that looked something like this:
That would be fried plantains, sauteed/smoked veggies, some papaya and pineapple slices. This particular plate was compiled on our first day in the resort, when I really had no idea what options they had and just tried to sample all the vegetable matters (typical TGITO)—most days after that I also ate a bit of cottage cheese or yogurt, for protein, plus a bread roll with butter on the side for the lovely carbohydrate fullness factor. There were also scrambled eggs and refried beans available daily for protein—but I wasn’t sure whether said refried beans were cooked with lard or bacon or whatnot (I think they often are), and I stayed away from the eggs completely except for two days, even though I consumed dairy, because—I know vegans will hate me for this (as it is, one of my vegetarian friends calls it bovine discrimination)— it vexes me more to think of a bird like a chicken being maltreated in a factory farm than a cow. *winces* I’M SORRY DON’T JUDGE!! I’m still eating low on the food chain and doing my best to reduce my intake of animal products.
Over the vacation I discovered a DEEP affinity for fried plantains—I’m already trying to figure out how I can bring the tasty exoticness to me own kitchen!
There were plenty of non-fried fruit options, too—I made a point to eat my fill of the more exotic fruits that aren’t exactly abundant in the Pacific NW: papaya, pineapple, mango, guava…
And hey, I found some green at the juice bar! ;P I think this was billed as cactus-pineapple..? Bottoms up!
THIS soupy atrocity was billed as oatmeal.
THIS soupy ABOMINATION tasted like oversugared milk with some ground flaxseeds thrown in and flavored with a healthy gust of cigarette smoke.
Never trust foreign oatmeal. Bah.
It has finally dawned on me why some vegetarians are just about medically sick of salad bars.
MAN were those things abundant.
And that’s just the 2/7 of it.
Yes folks, I’m talking SALAD BAR FOR LUNCH SALAD BAR FOR DINNER EVERY SINGLE STINKING DAY OF VACATION.
The “authentic Mexican ensalada” (the largest picture) was better in terms of nonmonotony, because there were actually cucumbers and rice and tortillas and guacamole and pico de gallo and “blended beans” and things. (Though by the end of the trip I even got sick of tortillas, pico de gallo, and guacamole.)
I put up with it for the majority of the trip, grateful there was food that I could eat and that I knew I could eat. The salad bars weren’t short on variety, either—there were beats, roasted potatoes, cheeses, peppers, olives, spanikopita cubes one night (at a restaurant whose menu proudly dubbed it a “Mediterran Restaurant”…cringe city! They had pasta. And sauce. And salad and bread. I ask you, where’s the hummus?? The baba ghannouj? The flatbread??), and, as mentioned, LOTS of pico de gallo and guacamole. So I tolerated this until Thursday, two days before we flew back, and decided I COULD NOT. EAT. ANY. MORE. SALAD. Unfortunately this proclamation also coincided with the night the family dragged me to a steakhouse for dinner…in the hopes of non-leafy food, I informed the waiter I was veggie…his response?
I ate two bowls of cream of tomato soup and lots of cake that night.
Proper (Non-leafy) Dinners
There were a grand total of three of these, one including the aforementioned soup and cake that did not manage to be photographed—the first was when we visited a Mexican restaurant (fancy that). I’m just glad they were actually able to whip up something edible THERE…I would have had a bone to pick with them otherwise. (You know, like, a Tofurky bone.)
I enjoyed a plate of appetizer enchiladas filled with cheese, sauce, and creamed spinach for my main meal. I visited the salad bar too—this was pre-Salad Independence Declaration. Mi abuelo ordered a plate of these as well, only filled with bell peppers instead of creamed spinach, which for some infathomable reason she could not finish—I was able to polish off half that in addition to my meal! PROPER FOOD FOUND!
On Friday night, our resort hosted an “authentic Mexican feast”, in which I finally managed to find some things NOT leafy and some yummy desserts. (A little disconcerting was the row of whole fish that were propped upright on the buffet table, empty eye sockets staring ahead while people picked at their flesh…*shudders*)
Sliced melon, rice and beans, and a little fried corncake curiosity that seemed to be filled with cheese and shredded lettuce, but I couldn’t be certain. It was dry but somewhat tasty…
Dessert was flan (which was not as sweet as I expected—just tasted like non-savory eggs baked on top of a graham crust??), a buñuelo, and some rice pudding. Honestly…I liked the rice pudding the best. How exotic of me.
which were snacks, desserts, late-night munchies, etc.
On the plane ride back, our airline actually had little squeeze-packs of hummus , accompanied by pita chips and packages of olives. I decimated two of these as a kind of makeshift dinner, along with some Trader Joe’s PB Granola bars.
But BEFORE vacation was over, as I mentioned in my last post, lots of glorious chocolate happened! This stuff is special Mexican chocolate, with the cacao beans grown right there to minimize bean-to-bar time…it wasn’t as good as I would have liked it to be.
The omnipresent banana—HAH. I ended up stealing a lot of bananas from the resort buffet in order to take back to the room for later snackage…I had a jar of PB2 and a container+spoon to mix it up back there.
Speaking of exotic fruits…
Our fruit tray in our room contained more than the usual banana, peach and apple….I’m not sure what these things were, in fact, and there was nobody to ask! The upper, yellow one was soft and creamy, and smelled a little bit like a boozy pineapple—I wasn’t sure whether you could eat the seeds, though, and boy were there a lot of those, so it ended up being scrapped.
The orange one looked like this inside
which was kind of disconcerting. Mother Dearest said it was moldy—I didn’t think it was, but I couldn’t figure out how to eat it either! Also trashed. Food waste is bad times.
(Anyone?? Has anyone ever encountered these mystery fruits? Anyone know the names?)
So, yes, there was the healthy dose of exotic; new-to-me foods sampled included fried plantains, jicama, papaya, mango, “corncake curiosity”, flan, buñuelos, and mole sauce. Alongside all this, though, there was
Some things never change.