Monday, October 27

Windy Roads and Ceviche

My alarm-rooster crowed at 6:00 on Saturday morning. This time, however, I didn't want to cut of its non-existent head and stew it. I was happy to get up and be on my way. A weekend on the beach was only a few hours away!

Miahuatlán is only about a 3.5-4 hour bus ride away from Pochutla which is the launch pad of sorts to get to a number of Oaxaca's insanely beautiful beaches. This past weekend, with the majority of Miahuatlán's güeros (also known as my coworkers: Matthew, Erica, and Allison), I hopped on the 7:00 a.m. bus and set of for San Agustinillo.

As the bus curved, ascended, descended, curved, curved, ascended, braked for some goats, and curved through the mountains my excitement mounted, but so did something else.

As we wound our way toward the sea, my stomach and a sweaty fear wound about inside of me. I was going to be sick. As much as I had been denying it to myself during the ride (I don't get car sick. I just haven't eaten enough yet. I've done this trip several times before. . .), it eventually made an inarguable case. The curved roads, mango nectar, and stars all aligned against me and I vommed in a bag (wheeeeeee. . .teh, teh).

Getting sick is gross. Getting sick while using public transportation in the mountains where you can't really stop and so you hold a bag of partially processed mango nectar and stomach acid in your hands while you are afraid you might spill it on yourself or someone sitting next to you and realizing you still have an hour more to go before you will stop is Really, REALLY gross. Believe me. Even with all this, the most devastating thought running through my head was that I wouldn't be able to eat ceviche.

Ceviche is a dish where some type of fish (around here usually tuna or some other white fish) is cured in lime juice, mixed with tomatoes, onions, peppers, topped with avocados and served cold.

It's almost like a fish salsa, you even eat it with crisp tostadas. You can also find ceviche with shrimp or octopus, but Ceviche de pescado (with fish) has won my heart and stomach.

Every time Matthew and I have gone to the beach, we have eaten ceviche. It's kind of become a mission to eat it at as many different places as possible and then compare them--the one in Puerto Angel is sweeter than the one in Mazunte. Don't get it at Tanya's, it isn't very good...etc. It's perfect to have such a filling and refreshingly cool dish after being in the sun all day. All these things rushed through my mind just after getting sick and made me feel worse, much worse.

Well, I made it to Pochutla without further incident. Shortly after getting of the bus I drank a 7up (nectar of the wretched), ate a nice, safe chicken breast, and I was healed. We found a fantastic hotel in San Agustinillo, swam and swam and swam, I tried some of Erica's ceviche there, and had my own on the beach in Zipolite for dinner. It was my favorite so far.

Just because you might not live close to the beach--don't despair! I found a ceviche recipe on Epicurious that sounds fantastic. They add corn, sweet potatoes, and yuca, which sounds really good, but isn't necessary. I would probably leave these three out and add some diced tomatoes. Actually, for those of you who have access to my mom's salsa, I would cure the fish like they recommend (and make sure it's a very high quality fresh fish at that) and mix it with my mom's salsa(or some other high quality salsa). Then enjoy with some corn chips or tostadas! I found a recipe on Food and Wine that more closely resembles the ceviche I've enjoyed here on the lovely Oaxacan coast.
To health! To Ceviche!
To segueing a puke-story into a ceviche recipe!
Enjoy :)


  1. This post is so wonderful, I was laughing out loud (in our eerily quite Centro de Idiomas since you two are whoopin' it up in Oaxaca while we slave away and work off hangovers here in Miah...) The fact that I was present for these events doesn't take away any of the drama...

  2. I lived in San Jose de Pacifico and Puerto Angel for a total of six months in 1974. I was 22 at the time, and thoroughly enjoyed the people, food, place. (Does Pepe Cruz still own a restaurant and hotel on the south end of the main beach?) I am writing because there was a family in Puerto Angel that used to make the best ceviche I have ever had anywhere. They lived along the riverbed on the north end of Puerto Angel, and I've kicked myself many times for not getting their recipe. They ground up some kind of red chilies and mixed it in with the snapper. There was also olive oil in it and green olives. If you find this family, and can get their recipe, please, please put it on your blog, though I would imagine they will be hesitant to give the ingredients to anyone. You are especially blessed to be living in such a wonderful place. I would imagine, however, that it is much bigger, and much more developed and expensive than it was in 1974. We camped on the beach in Huatulco back then there was nothing there but a small indian village, and a cute little house on the south end of the beach owned by a gringo. We dove for clams in between swigs of mezcal. I hope the people there are still as friendly and fun-loving as they were in 1974. Enjoy the place as much as you can. You'll remember it for the rest of your life. Thanks also for the great blog, and for titillating my memory. --Chris

  3. Thank you, Chris! The ceviche sounds wonderful and I am going to try and find it and get the recipe if I can! Everything is definitely bigger (there is a university and an airport in Huatulco now) and is growing (They are currently completing a highway from Oaxaca to the beach that is only going to take 1.5 hours.), but it is still very beautiful and the people are fantastic. And I am very blessed to be here!