I love my friends. Without them, I never would have gone to LA, Las Vegas (several times!), plays, beer festivals, polar bear swims, fashion events, Latin festivals, charity stair climbs, Turkish Festivals, Social justice movements, and whatever the heck else they’ll have me do/attend/participate in next week (can’t wait!).
If it wasn’t for their sane (and sometimes insane) ideas, I don’t know how I would ever get off the soft, comfy, invitingly squishy pillows of my couch. On a recent Saturday afternoon, while the couch called softly to me, a girl friend called out to me in a much louder voice:
We’re going to a Mexico thingy downtown. Come with us!
My friends know me too well. Not questioning what the Mexico thingy was (Salsa dancing? Spanish language lessons? Illegal border crossing?) I dutifully got dressed and headed downtown prepared to dance, learn a new language and/or scale an electric fence (in any order).
Located just outside the Vancouver Convention Centre at the site of the 2010 Olympic torch, the festival was scheduled to kick off at 12 noon. Arriving promptly @ 3:35pm, the festival was well under way despite the undesirable weather.
Cool winds, grey skies, and a most probable chance of rain are not ideal conditions for any festival – let alone a Spanish themed one which brings to mind visions of hot summer sun, long sandy beaches and chilled tequila shots (betcha can’t drink just one…). Alas, when the Mexicans have a party, everyone shows up…albeit a little bit late.
Having just gone to the Latin festival a few weeks back, I was confused as to why a Mexican festival was in order now. However, as a fellow lover of Mexican and quasi-Mexican cuisine (me quiero Taco Bell!) I was not one to question an excuse to dance outside on a Saturday afternoon (with music and not by myself for once).
First things first, to the food we go. Long lines greeted us at all 4 of the food pavilions serving the traditional Mexican fare of Tacos, churros, arroz con leches and of course the traditional Mexican fare of Romano’s Pizza (traditionally served in Mexico’s unknown pizza region).
I had no plans to eat anything, but by the time we waited in the long lines to get my friends fed (50 people deep @ each station) I had built up a healthy appetite (standing around chatting and dancing can burn so many calories you know). As everything was in Spanish, I had my Spanish speaking tour guides translate for me. Tacos were served in platters of 4 for $10 and you could pick from chicken, pork, lamb, prime rib and there was also something listed called lengua. Thinking this was the Spanish word for language, meaning you could order in Spanish or English, I tried to show off my skills to my friends. To my horror, lengua correctly translates to tongue.
As in cow tongue.
As in a cow tongue taco.
As in they cut up and cook the tongue of a cow and for some reason put this concoction into the innocent and open lapels of a lightly heated corn tortilla.
Horribly disgusted by this decidedly revolting culinary concoction, I of course order 4 of them.
Or at least I planned too. If I ended up being hungry after my safe selections of 1-chicken, 1- pork, 1-lamb, and 1- prime rib tacos I was going to have first then I would totally, totally order the…er tongue.
Luckily, I wasn’t.
Rock Mexican music to the stage!
Non Mexican, Canadian celebrity spotted – Kristine Kreuk!
During my time at the fest, I learn the reason we’re all here is not just for the food and drink (sure, sure) but to celebrate the bicentennial of the Mexican Independence movement from Spain. Its also the celebration of the centennial of the revolution brought about by Mexico’s desire to have a local government and to separate from its colonial Spanish controllers. The fest’s aim is for us to learn more about Mexican culture; to view the marvels of Mexico; to discover lesser-known tourist destinations in Mexico (like Copper Canyon); to view thought provoking art and most importantly to reflect and to think about Mexico’s great traditions and colourful history.
However, all I can think about is that dang tongue.
Romano’s pizza image