O Mexico; Travels South of the Border and a Recipe for Carnitas Enchiladas

                When I was a teenager I was not a rebel. I was in Choir and drama. I loved horse racing and since we lived two hours from the closest race track and my parents worked full time I was stuck watching it on T.V. Between these things and school, I had no time to revolt.  Until Jenn said

              “Let’s steal the keys to my Grandpa’s beach house and go down to Rosarito for the weekend!” We were eighteen.

                Of course Mexico in 1999 was way safer then Mexico today.
                This wasn’t my first teenage trip across the border. I had traveled to Tijuana earlier that year with my good friend Jess and our coworker Augustine. We drank margaritas and rode horses; at least I was told they were horses, on the beach. This is not a good idea. Going to Tijuana was not a good idea number one. Number two drinking alcohol then riding bouncy Mexican flea ridden nags on the beach, very bad idea. My stomach still hurts thinking about it! Still Tijuana ’99 left me with a pleasant experience so I said

               “Sure Jenn lets steal some keys grab some sun screen and hit the road!”   
                I think it took us four hours to get to Mexico. I’m not sure, Jenn drives like a bat out of hell and I had my eyes squeezed shut most of the time. Especially when we crossed the border and the speed limit was fifty five and Jenn was driving eighty.

                And telling us horror stories of Federal’s and U.S. citizens ending up in foreign jails did not put my mind at ease at all.
  Jenn’s Grandpa has a string of beach houses in between Rosarito Beach and Ensenada. It’s about ninety miles from the U.S. border.  The drive is really beautiful; we always take the toll road along the coast. The drive is desolate, and you feel as soon as you get out of the slums of Tijuana that you really are in a different world.
So there we were pulling into the dirt gate of Los Olas, the beach house in Mexico in the middle of the night, four good friends, high school students. Of course the guy with the cattle prod who is the grounds keeper had no idea we were coming and we didn’t have the correct code for the gate. Jenn speaks a bit of Spanish and what she doesn’t know, well she just giggles. I took French in high school, so the best I can do is order a café crème.   I’m no help. We finally managed to get the gate open and tried to convince Mr Cattle Prod NOT to call Jenn’s Grandpa or worst, her mom.
It was 1999 and we were in Mexico! We were eighteen, had no parental guidance and we could drink legally! Well actually we were not big drinkers.  We were there for the beach, the fireworks and the fish tacos mainly. After everyone took a midnight swim, a Los Olas tradition we passed out for the night. We woke up the next morning refreshed and spent the day enjoying the ocean and going into Ensenada for supplies and lunch, meaning margaritas and street tacos.  The street food in Mexico was so amazing. We didn’t drink the water but man did we eat a lot of fish tacos! Then we spent the afternoon stocking up on fireworks, heading back to the beach house sun burnt, happy and bearing explosives! We spent the evening drinking Boone’s Fuzzy Navels by the fire pit and lighting off fireworks on the private beach; Awesome
                I can’t believe twelve years later how reckless we were then. Mexico seems a lot more dangerous now what with the gangs, the drugs and tourists getting killed. A few years ago Jenn’s Grandpa was actually beat up outside one of the guest houses. I’m so blessed that we were able to make it down south so many times over the years and have so many great adventures.  I can remember sleeping on the porch of the beach house at night listening to the waves and having creepy dreams that sumo wrestlers had jumped in the ocean and started a tsunami.  Even the day Jenn got stung by a jelly fish wasn’t so bad because we were in Mexico, together!
           This is my version of the best Mexican style enchiladas.
Carnitas Enchiladas

1 package pre cooked Carnitas, shredded
2 cups shredded white cheddar sharp cheese or Monterrey Jack
2 cups green salsa Verde
1 cup sour cream
1 bag frozen corn
24 corn tortillas
coconut oil
1 package corn and wheat tortillas

Fry the tortillas in a little coconut oil and slice into bite size pieces. Layer all ingredients in a pan, cheese layer on top. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. Serve with homemade salsa.

Homemade salsa

1 can anahiem chilis
1 each jalepeno, serrano chili, poblano chili
1/2 cup heirloom tomatoes
3 green onions
juice of 1-2 limes
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove
a big handful of cilantro

Roast the peppers in the oven. If you don’t like spicy, deseed the peppers. Put all ingredients in the blender. Start with 1/3 the peppers and add more to your degree of spicyness. If to spicy, add more tomatoes.

 

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