by Rich Peterson
“I don’t know, it’s looking rather sparse out here,” Abigail proclaimed from the driver’s seat. “I think we might be out of luck, guys.” Though the four of us in the Dodge van traveling north toward Nogales had already eaten at a taqueria just a few hours earlier, our impending return to the United States had us already missing Mexico; especially the food. We all agreed we wanted tacos one more time before we crossed the border.
Churpa, being fond of listing and categorizing things with people, asked from the passenger side, “What was your favorite meal on this trip?”
“Tacos de cabeza!” Abigail proclaimed immediately. Everybody else groaned, having not ventured that far. “They were great. I loved them. You guys missed out.” She replied, punctuating each word of the last sentence.
“That’s a hard question,” I said trying to remember everything I’d eaten on the trip. “Cuca’s chile rellenos were more than worthy of the praise,” I added, and was was met with agreement from my fellow travelers. “And I still think about the birria on Gringo Day in Rebalcito.”
“I loved the spring rolls and the sushi at Chile and Maryanne’s on our last night at the beach,” Churpa paused in thought, trying to place herself back in that moment.
“And the stumblers.” I added, referring to Chile’s extra strong and super tasty margaritas. Churpa groaned, Abigail cooed.
“Oooh, the stumblers!”
“They’re evil,” Churpa replied.
“Evil and delicious,” laughed Abigail.
“The huachinango al ajillo at Mosca’s” Kamari piped in, prompting a cascade of favorites from Mosca’s, mine being the camarones al ajillo.
As I racked my brain for anything that could top Cuca’s rellenos or the Gringo Day birria, I realized that it was quite a task. The albondigas at the restaurant in Agua Prieta just blocks from the border still stood out in my mind, as did the carnitas at the tianguis in San Miguel. Several meals in our camp on the beach also stood out, including mahi mahi hash I made for breakfast with the last of the fish our neighbor, Bob, had given to us.
“Taco Carretas in Mazatlán.” Churpa said slowly, poking the air with her index finger for emphasis. The rest of us agreed. We had asked our cab driver to take us to a good taqueria, and he took us far from the hotels on the beach to a relatively large and busy taqueria deeper in the city. It was worth the cab fare and the curious looks.
“What’s that?” Churpa pointed to a white blob on the left up ahead. Kamari and I leaned forward and peered ahead.
“It’s a building!” Abigail exclaimed.
It was a lone buiding built at the base of a low ridge. As we pulled closer we could make out the ubiquitous plastic tables used by restaurants, comedors, taquerias, and just about everywhere food is served in Mexico. Even closer and we could make out smoke rising.
“It’s a taqueria! Pull over!”
“I am,” Abigail shot back, turning the wheel. The four of us were out of the van as soon as Abigail brought it to a stop. We ordered our tacos and beer, then took a seat. Part weary and homesick from a long trip through Mexico, but also sad to be waiting for our last tacos before crossing the border, the four of us watched the bubbles in our beers.
“So,” Churpa broke the reverie, trying to cheer us up, “What’s the first thing you want to eat when you get back the U.S.?
2 Comments so far
- Tina V. Rosa on January 23, 2012 9:00 AM
Great blog, Rich! You guys are like Steve–you never forget a great meal–or where you had it!
- Lorena on January 23, 2012 10:55 AM
Now I’m getting hungry for some Camarones al mojo de ajo. And Cuca’s chile rellenos, and remembering all the great companionship involved in those meals