Adventures with Mexican cuisine: Vampiros & Patitas

“What exactly are vampiros?”

I was glad that my fellow volunteer had asked. I had been wondering the same thing while perusing the menu. Given the name, I was picturing some kind of bloody meat on a tortilla.

“Well, it is an open-faced tortilla, covered in cheese and whichever type of meat you would like,” replied the waitress. Of course it is. Everything here seems to be some iteration of meat-on-tortilla. It is a sign of incredible ingenuity that this same combination can be called by so many different names.

Later that same night, I found myself at a popular restaurant with another fellow volunteer. After almost two months in Mexico, both of us are starting to feel more comfortable with all of the food names, however this menu was giving us a run for our money. John and I laughed across the table while theorizing what many of the different ingredients could be. I decided to ask the waiter about my potential dish. John, however, had a different plan. He was just going to order something blindly and hope for the best. He is clearly braver than I.

According to the waiter, mine were enchiladas filled with a certain type of cheese. Perfectly reasonable. Because he didn’t ask, John’s plate remained a mystery.

Ten minutes, and many bites of tortilla chips and salsa later, our dinners arrived. I craned my neck up to see John’s plate first. And it was…well, “what is that? Could it be? Oh no! I think it’s pig’s feet!”

John reluctantly took a bite. Nope, even better; they were pickled pigs feet.

” height=”445″ width=”590″ /> John’s dinner looked something like this. I didn’t have my camera at the time, so I found a photo online. Lucky you, it is linked to a recipe; just click on the image. I dare you to make it at home!

This experience just reinforced to me the importance of the phrase, qué significa…or what does this mean? I never want to be caught with a plate of pickled pigs feet. Would you have eaten them? John did. With the help of a shared enchilada from my plate.

PS. Not even a week later, I took a bite of cow spinal cord. Willingly. Tasted a little like scallops, actually. Because what Peace Corps experience is complete without tasting the local delicacies?

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Currently making me smile:

  • Included in my Beginner’s Spanish text book: pick-up lines. Favorites include, “hey there babydoll, what toy store did you escape from?,” and “look at you with all of those curves, and me with no brakes.”
  • There is a man who regularly walks up to strangers in my city and yells out, “¡Animo!” to encourage smiles and positivity
  • Dancing at a reggae concert from a popular local band on a warm autum night
  • The talents, skills, and enthusiasm from my fellow volunteers – thanks to them, I am inspired every day

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A question for you: do you have requests for blog topics? What are you wondering about?

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