Hands up who doesn’t love guacamole? The creamy avocado, the crunch of red onion, the sweetness of chopped tomatoes, a squeeze of tart lime, and the fragrant balancing act of the coriander? Exactly. To not like guacamole would probably be travesty.
This is my fourth time in Mexico, and for the first time ever, im struggling as a vegan. Normally, it’s all about corn tamales filled with veggies and smothered in a habanero sauce (the hotter the better). That, or tacos piled high with frijoles, strips of avocado, and doused in jalapeños. Yeh yeh, it’s ALL about spicy food 🙂
This trip a few people have tried to sneak cheese into my food despite a “sin queso” plea accompanied by a winning smile. This winning smile has got me approximately nowhere. Also managed to buy a bottle of soya milk in the supermarket that was apparently only masquerading as soya milk. “Contains 2 percent cows milk” the ingredients said in tiny tiny lettering below the rest of the ingredients. Why? What anti-vegan jokester is enjoying their elaborate practical joke from their millionaires milk mansion?
Fast forward to El Tabano, an open-kitchen food joint on the beach road in Tulum. Tulum’s a strange place. With the central town, (home to more backpackers types), to the low-slung beachfront all-inclusives (for the most part sympathetic with their surroundings), it’s divided into local v tourist. The food by te beach tends to be super over priced and a bit same-y, but this Guacamole Salad meant that El Tabano deserved a mention.
It’s not really that much different from guac, but the avocado is beaten so that its creamier, there are olives, which give it that umami, cheesy taste, and there are young sprouting leaves and big chunks of tomato in it.
When the sun’s beating down and you’ve got a chilled margarita in hand, this is the sort of light, filling salad that vegan avocado lovers crave. And El Tabano have nailed it.
Central America is full of ice cream. In every town there is a Sarita, an ice-cream parlous that stocks piles of creamy, margerine-ey ice cream that Nigella Lawson would throw her hands up in despair at. But when there’s no air-conditioning, and, frequently, no fan either, a lump of cold margarine is just what you need to get through the day.
The first thing that struck me when I walked into one of the parlours was the variety of ice cream in the buckets under the glass counter. Central America isn’t famed for variety: the chance of ordering rice and beans for every meal is high here.
So you can see why I was surprised when I entered Sarita in Guatemala. I could have a sundae, a cookie dough sundae, a banana split (and a million and one more categories of this variety), the choice of tones of ice creams and blitzed icy cold drinks and fruit juices. I could have lazed around the place all day revelling in its variety, if it wasn’t for the fact that the Sarita ice cream parlours are the hottest places I have ever been in.
The ice cream itself is nothing special. It’s definitely of the margarine variety. You can tell this because when it starts to melt it not only retains the shape of ice cream, but actually becomes warm.
Sam ordered a ‘mini banana’ today and ended up with two enormous scoops of fresa and chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, banana, sprinkles, jelly babies (?) and a glacé cherry. All very exciting and all for about a dollar. My cannonball size scoop of bubblegum ice cream came to about 40p.
So I just thought I’d throw a rainbow coloured curve ball of variety into the otherwise monotonous choices offered by Nicaragua. Not volcanoes though. They have a lot of those.