I have always loved Mexican food. It is cheesy, spicey, and is always filling. The local Mexican restaurant in my town is the go-to place for Taco Tuesdays, movie night nachos, and birthday party dinners. Naturally, I was hyped to hear that I was meeting up with the rest of the family in Mexico for a Christmas reunion. The small town we visited, Sayulita, was amazing, filled with surfers and hippies. We saw fireworks every night, and witnessed someone light a firework in the town center only to have it miss a building by inches. The whole town felt alive and truly made me feel that I was in Mexico but the food I encountered was another story.
We tried to cook at our rented apartments and eat out as little as possible. The couple of times we did go out, surprisingly, the food we found was not Mexican. The town’s restaurants that seemed to be up to most North American standards were Italian. (I know that North American standards, basically by definition, can’t be found everywhere. But that’s all I know so that’s my measuring stick.)
Although I do love Italian food, we were in Mexico, and I was interested to find somewhere that I could order something other than pizza. I am sad to say I just about failed that mission (besides eating a couple shrimp tacos, found at an Italian bar). I mean, I passed several people cooking chicken and other meat on grills, but that was on the street, and the street was filled with open garbage that stray dogs were digging through. I have never seen that before, and the combination of stray dogs and garbage and mystery meat just did not seem right to me.
Some of my family members were worried about “Montezuma’s Revenge”, so they followed travel advice like “don’t drink the water” and “don’t eat ice cubes” and “don’t accept food someone has coughed on.” But even with our best efforts, some of us still were sick for two weeks after coming back from vacation. Somehow it is related to food but we’ll never be able to trace how exactly.
One of the Italian restaurants I visited was named Lada, which is Italian for “she gives it”. There was a live guitarist by our table playing a bit of everything including Despacito by Justin Beiber, Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd, classical music from before I was born, and Spanish songs I didn’t understand. The food was tasteful and provided seafood-themed Italian dishes with the catch of the day and shrimp the size of bananas.
I had the shrimp on pasta and found the pasta itself to be worthy of its Italian name, but the shrimp to be dry and tasteless. The tiramisu was fantastic. It was soft and fluffy, and tasted sweet as it melted on my tongue.
My brother’s meal looked quite good, but I didn’t get to try it due to the fact that it was so small and he wanted it all to himself. The fact that it was so small not only frustrated him, but offended him. This was because before he ordered it, when he asked the waiter how big it was, the waiter replied, “Just your size!”
Besides my brother’s insulting encounter with the waiter, that waiter was very nice and friendly, offering me a tour of the restaurant. He showed me the coal-powered pizza oven and introduced me to his uncle, the manager of the place.
In all, I found this restaurant to be the nicest one in town, although I am sure had I been a little more daring, I could have found some real, and better, Mexican food.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and are looking forward to more posts in the future. Until next time, Murphy