What is the appropriate amount of time to continue dreaming about your vacation after you return? And is it so wrong to eat pico de gallo with every meal? If making these taco bowls because I'm still hooked on Mexican food is wrong, I don't want to be right.
When being wrong involves crispy, chipotle-dusted tofu, creamy refried beans, mashed avocado, and crunchy cabbage slaw, I am perfectly fine with that.
Mexican food was not quite what I expected. I knew there would be tacos and tortillas and guacamole, but I didn't realize that the flavors would be so entirely different from what I'd had in little ol' America.
At each restaurant/joint/hole-in-the-wall, we were greeted with an array of small bowls filled with colorful salsas and dips. Some were smoothly blended, some were chunky and crunchy, and some were creamy and cooling – a welcome relief when your tongue starts throbbing.
No matter the place, everything tastes like it's laced with lime and a healthy dose of garlic and onion. They're not afraid to add heat to average dishes with jalapeño, serrano, and habanero. And no matter how spicy the pico or salsa verde, you can't resist piling more onto your chip or your taco or just spooning it into your mouth.
To deal with the wonderful heat, I developed a loose strategy that consisted of going back and forth from taco to beans to chips to salsa to beer in no logical order. After a few meals, I got to be pretty good at it.
I thought about packing a little abuelita in my suitcase and bringing her home with me to further fatten me up. I also considered asking if we could move in with one (– visas aren't too hard to get, right?). Since neither of those options seemed likely, I decided I'd just smoosh all of my favorite Mexican foods into one bowl and pretend I'm there again. It'll have to do for now...
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