Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Breakfast in the Yucatan

I just returned from an impromptu family reunion in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Normally when DH and I are in the Yucatan visiting family, we stay at his parents' home. So, we usually don't eat many meals in restaurants and our vegetarian diet is accommodated in the family kitchen. But this trip, since everyone met in the capitol city, Merida, every meal was eaten in restaurants.

The hotel we stayed in included a hot buffet breakfast. Most of the items contained meat, but at the end of the buffet there was a woman who made eggs to order. So we took advantage of that. A Yucatecan egg dish, Huevos Motulenos, is easily converted into vegetarian, pictured above. Just ask for them without ham. The dish contains a crispy corn tortilla topped with refried black beans, fried eggs, tomato sauce, cheese (in this case both Manchego and Queso Fresco) and peas. Also served with this dish were fried plantains.

Some of the days there were available handmade corn tortillas. The freshly handmade tortillas are kept warm and steamy in a hollowed out gourd; the gourd is pictured above, covered with a folded pink cloth. We didn't ask if they contained lard, because frankly, we preferred not to know and were determined to eat them anyway. The perfect thing to eat with the tortillas were refried black beans. In the Yucatan, black beans are amazingly delicious and are a regional specialty. They often contain lard, but not always. Just as with the tortillas, we didn't ask if the beans in the buffet contained lard. They probably did. But we decided that being together with DH's entire family for the first time ever was more important to us than following a strict vegetarian diet. We met two nieces and a nephew for the first time and were able to get the first complete family portrait ever taken!

Above is a stack of freshly made corn tortillas.

Another thing we took advantage of during breakfast is the wonderful fruit grown in the Yucatan. For instance, papaya is available there year round, and it is more sweet and juicy than any I've had in the States.

1 comment:

ColorJoy LynnH said...

Oh, you lucky people. I remember that the restaurants in Merida were really superb. We loved it there.

I remember when in the Yucatan, we ordered one orange juice and one grapefruit. I sipped my grapefruit and thought the glasses had been switched... it was so sweet, I could not believe it was grapefruit! In the end I was wrong, it was just the most luscious thing I had never imagined. The fruit is incredible there.

And I remember the corn tortillas. Now corn gives me an allergic reaction so they are a thing of the past, but there is nothing like a Yucatecan handmade corn tortilla!

Will have to get some black beans out tonight...