Monday, March 29, 2010

Mexico; Food, Happiness, & Sunshine

Ahhhhhh, the taste of fresh, beautiful, raw coconut on the beach. My venture to Mexico began in San Diego, where we (my mom, her fiance (Jack), and my bro (Adam)) boarded Holland America's Oosterdam, the 2200+ passenger cruise ship. Three days at sea, one day in Mazatlan, one day in Puerto Vallarta, one day in Cabo San Lucas, and one more day at sea for a total of 7 days. I never wanted to come home! Sunshine, beaches, the ocean, incredible food & drinks, and many new friends. Kinda sad it's all over. I love travelling.
I would love to tell about ALL the amazing food I enjoyed, but this would be a very loooooong post that no one would end up reading. I eat a lot :P
This post will just be about Mexico; there was enough experienced in San Diego that it deserves a later post.
First, I'll tell you about Mazatlan. When we got into port, we caught a taxi shuttle to a resort where my mom and Jack had to listen to a sales pitch. But hey, we got a free ride to a great beach & free drinks, so whatevs :)
While they chatted, I bought the dress I'm wearing in the photo, from a lady on the beach. Then, I bought some fresh mango & coconut and sat on the beach to enjoy it. Listening to the waves and eating fresh, raw food while feeling the warmth of the sun...I was totally in my element. I love the sun, the ocean, and food. I'm so tempted to move somewhere warmer.
After they all finished their little "meeting," it was time for some drinks. Pina Coladas, and my Tequila Sunrise!! I'm definitely hooked on both drinks now. I was never a big fan of Pina Coladas, but in Mexico, they add Kahlua!! Freakin' genuises! (yes, Kahlua is vegan.) So, um, I pretty much enjoyed both of these drinks everyday (and let's not forget the rum, gin, vodka...). Though we all drank often, none of us were stupid drunk, and we remember everything. My brother loves Mexico; the drinking age there is "if your parents say it's okay, you can drink." We got him pretty wasted. He's 14. But hey, at least he's doing it with us, where he's safe.
I also discovered tequila chocolates in Mazatlan. And bonus! No milk products! I was stoked to find vegan tequila chocolates. Sweeeeeeeeeet!!
Fun Fact: you know how my recipes are always calling for agave nectar? Well, it comes from the blue agave plant (native to Mexico), where we also get tequila from. Yep, it's made from agave. I've got a lot of love for that plant <3

Here is the beautiful agave. They grow in abundance down in Mexico. Almost wanted to just...take one...
In Puerto Vallarta, we all learned something new; I was aware that almonds were a tree nut, but I never really stopped to think about how the tree produced them. Walking along the grass near the road, I found these:

This, my friends, is an almond. The outside of it is an edible fruit; the inside pits are dried to make the almonds we buy in a store. The fruit, unfortunately, was not ripe. I tried to eat it, but it had that pasty texture that a green banana will leave on your lips. It tasted like it would be good, but not yet...
A local told me all of this about the almonds, and showed me the tree where it fell from. The leaves are green, but when the almonds are ripening, the leaves turn bright red, and apparently makes the tree look as if it's on fire! So cool! I spotted one red leaf on the tree, and decided to snap a photo. It would be cool to see one that was all red.

The picture of the wet coconut is one my brother found in the ocean and brought to me. Unfortunately, I couldn't very well just eat it, but it was still cool to see. They fall like leaves in Mexico! I tried peeling off some of the skin, because it was pretty wet, but it just wasn't having it.

Remember my post about coconut oil being a great eye make up remover and moisturizer? WELL, I did something completely experimental that worked out great! All of us got severely burnt from the sun, because we weren't prepared enough. While the 3 of them rushed to their trusty Vitamin E lotion, I slabbed on some coconut oil. Um, yeah, guess who's burn went away overnight? That's right. (Of course, I was stupid and got burnt again, but we'll forget that part.) So after that, my mom was all over my stash of coconut oil. I'm glad I brought so much with me. She was rubbing it on her, Jack, and Adam. I love how amazing food is.

Sitting down in Cabo San Lucas at Taco Cantina, Mom, Adam & I had had it with walking. It was day 3 in Mexico, & we were exhausted from walking, little sleep, and a lot of sun. Jack meandered on his own for a few hours. We, um, drank pina coladas & ate nachos. Trust me, it was all the Mexican experience we wanted that day. Not only were we serenaded by Mariachis, but we had an amazing platter of food!! The green dips were spicy and made with seranno chilis. I'm the only one who likes spicy food, so those were miiiine!! :D There was also a "spicy" chunky salsa (mom thinks it was spicy, I didn't notice any spice), as well as a sweeter salsa, shredded cabbage, sliced limes and cucumbers. On the side, mom & Adam had nachos covered in meat & cheese. I got a plate of plain nacho chips, refried beans, and rice. I looooooove refried beans mixed with rice! And holy wow!! Best refried beans, nachos & rice EVER!! Mom & Adam hate refried beans in Canada...they love 'em in Mexico!
The nachos are so flavourful! I'm not a chip person at all, but WOW!! They tasted like tortillas that had been cut and dehydrated. Perfect. The rice was seasoned with juice from an orange, as citrus is a natural preservative. Loved it! So so so so happy :)

Anyone know what the herb to the right is? It def wasn't parsley, 'cuz it didn't taste like it. It was mild, but yummy. (I always eat the herbs off of mine & other people's plates. Always.)

Soooooooooo, while the food in Mexico was amazing, so was what I got spoiled with on the cruise ship! They cater very well to vegans (though it would be cool to see more for dessert options than fruit).
Ummmmmmmm, holy crap. This incredible masterpiece, my friends, is tofu stroganoff!! I lovelovelove stroganoff!! I haven't eaten it since I was probably 16, though, because it's full of meat & dairy. The culinary genuises on the Oosterdam made my dreams come true. (I may or may not have ordered this 3 nights on the ship...). The menu description reads: Strips of tofu with onion, pepper, mushroom, and garlic in paprika sauce, served with whole wheat spaetzle and broccoli. Hell yeah. I'm going to try re-creating this.
This was a decadent mousse-like creation that was soooooo yummy!! The menu read Broccoli, carrot and turnip, layered in a terrine and served with a tangy tomato sauce. Ummm, yeah. How the hell did they do that?? Delicious :)
MMMMMM, this was yummay!!!
The menu reads: Sliced eggplant dipped in a batter made of chickpeas sauteed & served with peapods. Guess what this tasted like? Battered fish. I was never a seafood fan, but I used to looooove fish 'n chips. This, too, is another recipe I will be re-creating :) I ordered this one twice! :)
Portabello mushroom tacos with refried beans, guacamole, rice, & salsa?? It's okay, be jealous. Sooooo amazingly yummy, I've never ever EVER had a taco that could compete! I wish I knew how they prepared the mushrooms in the sauce, because they were incredible!! lovelovelove this <3

That's all I got for now, peeps. New info on San Diego comin' up tomorrow or the next day, promise ;)
Peace, love, food <3


westcoastsoul said...

Mmm I love refried beans :D Those portobello mushroom bean tacos look amaaazing :D

Char said...

they truly, truly were! inhaled 'em, loved 'em :)

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