Traveling in Mexico: What we ate (Recipe: Guacamole Deviled Eggs)

Guacamole deviled eggs

I feel like I got the more technical information off my chest in my last post on traveling with kids in Mexico; so now we can get down to the really good stuff: food! I’m dying to talk taco and tequila, as we ate and drank our fair share during our two week stay. It’s kind of what our family does when we get together.

As I explained to Tsh in a recent Homefries podcast, my siblings and I bond best in the kitchen. We’re a family who cooks together, then sits down around a table to continue the conversation.

Here’s a look at how we ate, and a few recommendations for our favorite places in and around Lo de Marcos and Sayulita.

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Tips for how to travel to Mexico with kids

Traveling with kids in Mexico

Nearly 15 years ago, my older brother Josh and I embarked on a 3-month backpacking trip through South East Asia and Mediterranean Europe; we had plenty of adventures over those weeks. This month, traveling together for the first time since those Birkenstock-wearing, hitch-hiking days, we reunited in a developing country – but on this trip, we had our spouses and children along for the experience.

I have plenty of travel experience under my belt, which is why I noticed early on that this trip felt different. For the first time, I was seeing a foreign country through the eyes of my children, and in a sense, anew.

Our little ones are at a perfect age for traveling. Noah is our avid reader, happy to spend an entire flight with his nose in a chapter book. Mateo is our happy-go-lucky free-spirit, happy to skip along holding my hand. And little Clara is still content in a Snugli and completely portable, as she sleeps anywhere cradled in-arms.

Traveling in Mexico with Kids

Although we’re not quite ready to embark on a round-the-world adventure like our friends Ryan & Stephanie with their four kids, we do hope to keep traveling with our three because we feel it is an important investment into their future. For one thing, it opens their young minds to sights, sounds, smells and experiences that can never be learned through schooling or a slew of Planet Earth DVD’s.

We Wimbushes aren’t really the type to book an all-inclusive vacation at a resort (although I understand the appeal) as we like to closely experience the culture of a foreign country and introduce it to our children. During this trip we bartered for handmade wares at the bustling city market, selected our daily avocados and bananas alongside the locals at the produce stand, and stood in line for goat tacos and cinnamon-sugar coated churros from the street carts.

Traveling with kids in Mexico

Our reunion in Mexico, together also with my two sisters and their families, was so utterly fantastic, that I couldn’t not share a mere snapshot of our time with you. I kept my big camera handy and jotted a few notes down here and there from my favorite experiences, like yesterday’s story of finding magic in a small tortilla factory.

Although I was on a nearly-full digital vacation, I found I missed writing, and every so often, a nugget of useful information would nestle itself in a mental file folder labeled “Mexico”.

Hopefully, there’s enough of those nuggets assembled here and in the posts to come to give you some takeaway and encourage you to travel with your kids.

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Traveling with kids in Mexico: an introduction and a favorite memory

mini super store Mexico
We were only stepping out for cereal milk and fresh papaya for breakfast that early morning when Noah and I stumbled upon the source of the soft corn tortillas we had been enjoying since we arrived in Sayulita.

If there was any signage on the street that pointed out the small factory, we had missed it entirely, and it was only as I went deeper down the narrow aisles of the Mini Super convenience store that we discovered a completely magical production room hidden away in the back.

The scent of toasted corn drew me in, and I inhaled that pungent smell of maize tortillas that was now so familiar to me. Morning light from an open doorway illuminated a long piece of machinery, lightly dusted with white corn flour. A petite Mexican lady was lifting an armload of masa the size of a beach ball into the funnel-shaped top of the machine. Below was a conveyer belt, and the perfectly-formed tortillas formed a procession downward to the tune of the clickety-clack of the moving parts.

I motioned to Noah to come have a closer look and he stood small next to sacks of whole white maize kernels heaped six-high onto wooden pallets. The lady handed him a piping hot tortilla, which he tore in half and shared with me. It was supple and meltingly tender.

No one spoke above the hum of the machine. A few workers glided about the room, performing their actions so smoothly, it was apparent that they had been doing them each morning for years. A delivery boy stood waiting for his cooler to be filled, while another small Mexican lady stood behind a table with a large scale and weighed out the hot tortillas, pound by pound. I bought a stack of my own, handing over the required diez pesos (about 80 cents). A bargain breakfast if there ever was one.

I took a step back to survey the scene, completely captivated by this quiet hub producing the mainstay of the Mexican diet: the humble tortilla. My camera was at home; I didn’t even have my iPhone in pocket to record the moment, yet in some ways, I didn’t regret my oversight. Making a photo that captured the soul of the room and the moment would have been a challenge.

Noah crouched down to get a better look at the mechanics of the tortilla maker – he’s such an engineer’s son – and a ray of sunshine illuminated the million miniscule maize dust particles that slowly whirled around him. I caught my breath with the magic of it all.

Minutes later we were hand in hand, walking back to our bungalow, and nibbling warm tortillas. I felt deeply grateful for the opportunity that our early morning walk delivered.

It had captured the very essence of why I travel with children: a chance to look through a window into the culture of another country and glean a greater appreciation for its simplicity, its perfection. [Read more…]

Goodbye July

It’s August, which means were eating corn for dinner 5 nights a week, I’m making birthday plans, and Christmas merchandise has showed up at Costco.

July sped by in a blur of pool parties, potlucks, weddings, and long afternoons spent keeping cool. I dedicated a series to frozen treats over on Simple Bites and, for the most part we survived the heat wave.We started the month with a perfect three-day camping trip, followed by a most memorable U2 concert under warm Montreal skies. Best. Show. Ever.The month was punctuated by our baby news! It was a thrilling discovery, but one that plunged me into exhaustion so deep I felt –and still do– that every day was Moving Day. ‘Moving day fatigue’ is the best way I can describe to Danny how my body feels in the morning as I lie pinned to the mattress. Fortunately, he’s been off work for the last 2 weeks and has gallantly risen every morning to prepare breakfast and coffee for us, and keep the kids quiet until I can rouse myself. I think my strength is slowly returning; hopefully my appetite is not far behind. So yes we are expecting again, anticipating the new arrival in early March. Danny is hoping for a leap year baby again, which could easily happen. I for one, won’t truly relax until the first ultrasound and they tell me there’s just one baby. As twins run in my family, the chances of doubling the number of our children with this pregnancy is definitely a possibility. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that kind of an adventure! Central ParkAt the end of July, I hopped on a plane to Jersey for Big Summer Potluck. I cemented some online friendships, made new ones, laughed myself silly, and spent a day eating New York City. It was the best of times. In an update on our urban homestead, our backyard project of the month was finally completed and I now have 4 raised garden beds. They terrace down the hill toward the forest, framed by a massive weeping willow. I love them.I planted a little fall garden — lettuce, spinach, watercress and arugula– and little sprouts are already peeking up from the earth. My herb garden is thriving, thanks to bedding plants I was able to find at a local nursery.Next year I will plant a complete garden; it’s reassuring to know that as soon as the snow melts the spring I’ll have a garden space ready to plant. August holds some canning projects, a visit from long-time friends, my birthday, back to school for Noah, and at the end of the month, a trip out to Vancouver to film a little project for TV…But that story is for a another post.Goodbye July.

Wordless Wednesday: Hola! A Mexico Recap