Getting Lost


One of the best part of traveling? Losing yourself in a strange city or culture and discovering something magical.

It can be so difficult to let go of the familiar. The guidebooks.Your GPS and iPhone. The same old restaurant. But cut loose and you never know where the waves might wash you up.

I love how author Chris Stewart penned it: ” If we don’t maintain some spontaneity, a bit of risk and sense of adventure, we risk losing the traveler’s soul.”

The Bedouin have a saying that the soul can travel no faster than the speed of a camel.Travel faster than that and you just might spend the night waiting for your soul to catch up.

What a lovely approach not just to traveling but to life in general. Stop always wanting something better. Stop looking for the next best thing… Enjoy where you are right now. Over the Christmas holiday we took a familiar trip to the sun and tried just that. We discovered the most amazing fish tacos that we ate roadside in our salt covered swimsuits. We found a dingy coffee shop that roasted their own beans and made the richest iced latte I’ve ever had. We went to a little roof top bar and learned about the finest tequilas. We became friends with a local and spent a day sailing the Bay of Banderas following a mother humpback whale and her baby. I think we also discovered a little about ourselves, about each other, and about our relationship simply by opening ourselves up to the beauty of the unfamiliar. By allowing ourselves to wander slowly and get lost.

Try it… You never know, you might find what it is that you’re looking for.

*Although my tan has long since faded, I’m not quite ready to give up that vacation feeling so here’s a recipe from our recent jaunt to Puerto Vallarta. If you’re heading that way in the near future give Takos Panchos in the Zona Romantica a try.

Tacos El Pastor

  • 1 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin cut into 2″ chuncks
  • 2 C pineapple juice
  • 1 C large chunks of fresh pineapple
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into rings
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 C stock
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Combine everything but the stock and salt and marinate at least an hour up to four hours. If you’re using fresh pineapple you don’t have to marinate your meat as long. Something to do with the enzymes breaking down the meat faster. If you’re using canned pineapple, marinate your meat overnight.
  • Remove the pork, keeping the marinade. Add the pork to a large skillet and brown all sides. Remove the pork and set aside.
  • Remove the onions from the marinade and place them in the skillet. Cook them until they are translucent. Add back the pork, a good half of the marinade, the stock and the salt.
  • Turn up the heat to get the liquids boiling then turn the heat as low as you can. Cover the skillet and cook for as long as you have time. I cook mine at least two hours. Stir it once in a while. If your pot is getting dry, add in more marinade or stock.
  • About half way through taste the sauce and adjust the seasons as required.
  • This should not be super saucy, but don’t let the skillet get so dry that your meat burns on.

Salsa:

  • 1 1/2 C fresh pineapple, diced
  • 1/2 a red onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 C cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 clove garlice, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Combine everything and mix well. Give it a half hour or so for the flavors to really mix together.

To Serve:

  • Corn tortillas (try making home made ones if you have the time. Definitely worth the effort!)
  • Pork mixture
  • Pineapple salsa
  • Crunchy Slaw (mix together  some finely diced cabbage, radish, carrot and toss with lime juice)
  • Sliced avacado
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • And don’t forget the margaritas!

Notes:

  • Adjust the heat level of this meal according to your sensitivity. I leave all the seeds in the jalapenos but for less heat remove them and the white pith. Use more or less chili powder, etc.
  • This recipe requires a bit of time & chopping but upon first bite I was transported back to swaying palms, margaritas & micheladas, and the smell of coconut sunscreen (I might or might not have turned up the heat in my house and donned my bikini.).

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