Friday, August 22, 2008

Eating Schedules and Gringo Bellies

When the wife and I moved to Guanajuato, Mexico, one of our hardest adjustments was trying to get our intestines in tune with Mexico's eating schedule. We were surprised at how eating at the most bizarre times could be as upsetting to our little girlie-man gringo bellies as the Mexican food itself. We had to battle both the food and the schedule until we adjusted. It would take about 18 months to adjust to the food, according to our doctor. Until then, "Please pass the Pepto."

Rule number one for the tourist: Eat only in restaurants frequented by a lot of Mexicans. Resist eating from street vendors. If you see a restaurant packed with Mexicans, it's a safe bet, but still a bet. Don't go where you see only fellow gringo tourists. This works. Trust me. Also, no matter how delicious the street vendors culinary items smell, resist for all you're worth. What sickens tourists is the improper handling of food and not the water. Surprised? Don't be.

Then there is the schedule. Restaurants serve breakfast up until about two in the afternoon. If you hit a traditional Mexican eatery at noon, you will not get to see a menu with lunch items, which are what your stomach is screaming in protest that you eat. You will be given the breakfast menu and, like it or not, you'll not get anything else. Lunch will begin about two or two-thirty and last until about seven or seven-thirty. Again, don't even ask, you won't get a dinner menu until after that. Dinner can go from seven-thirty until the wee-hours of the morning.

A unique alternative that might keep your belly from rebellion from the different eating schedule is a wonderfully charming restaurant called Casa Valadez. They have an American menu and seem a bit more flexible in accommodating the different tastes and schedules of the Americans. I would give it a try. It's conveniently located in the center right on El Jardin in downtown Guanajuato.

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