I got pretty sick once while I was in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. An “ill”-advised bit of teeth cleaning at the border with some tap water was most likely the culprit. I took one bite of my chicken and rice dish at a local food joint and I had to throw in the towel, as my stomach was the first organ to checkout on whatever schedule I had planned for my weakening body that day. I noticed this little boy who was standing there looking at me with a curious and innocent grin, so I invited him to join me and help me finish my plate (when I say “help me finish”, I really meant “please get this greasy pile of Caribbean grindage away from my face before the waitress is gonna have to call for a mop and some sanitizer at table #12”). Bad shape. This kid eagerly accepted my invitation and kept me great company while I battled fatigue, nausea and frustration with the fact that the only “tropical paradise” I would see for the next 24 hours was a fading logo on his soiled t-shirt. Nonetheless, I made a local friend that day and he got treated to a great meal. That’s all you need sometimes to make your day.
Posts Tagged With: travel food
Happy first “Foto Friday” of Lent folks! I’m not Catholic, so therefore I normally don’t feel a need to sacrifice anything over these 40 days, but in many countries that the Gringo has traveled to, it is a common practice. I tried giving up beer once, but baseball season always spoils that effort. (Who do you know on this Earth that can sit through a week of Brewers baseball without downing a few Miller Lites?) Instead of sacrificing something for 40 days, this year I’m going to just step up my exercise routine (bought a bike today) and get a bit more strict with my diet (now that Girl Scout Cookie season is winding down). That means eating a lot more fish, which most Lent observers will be doing on this day. This reminded me of one of the best meals I’ve ever had…anywhere, any place, anytime. I was in Isla Mujeres, Mexico a few years back and I stumbled upon this beach restaurant called La Casa Del TikinXic. (I literally did stumble upon it, after a few late a.m. tequilas and an exhausting bike ride across the island.) The specialty here: Tikin-Xic (pronounced “teekeen sheek”). This is a type of fish dish specific to the Yucatec Maya region of Mexico. Prepared whole using a seasonal white fish (typically Grouper or Drum), the fish is marinated in the traditional Yucatán mixture of achiote paste, sour orange and a toss of regional chiles, then wrapped in a banana leaf and baked in an earth oven beneath a wood fire. The result: the most satisfyingly delicious fish plate I have ever had the pleasure to sink my saliva-coated chompers into! I had a little bone stuck in my tooth, but I just left it there so I could savor the flavor a bit longer. Throw in a cold cerveza, some steaming corn tortillas and a tasty medley of Mexican rice and fresh salsa and you’re getting treated to the perfect meal in a perfect location! Oh yeah, for some reason things always seem to taste even better with your feet in the sand. 😉