Beach food

One time in California I was sitting on the beach with friends watching the sun set and sipping a really nice New Zealand sauvignon blanc when a beach cop rode up on his 4-wheeler and told us to dump the wine on the sand or he’d give us all citations. Because, you know, we were obviously going to go crazy and start singing out loud or something.

In Mexico, not only is it okay to drink a cerveza or a margarita on the beach, hell, someone will go and get one for you. You don’t even need to bring your own.

photos by David Lansing

photos by David Lansing

In Sayulita, you can rent a chair and an umbrella for less than $5 and then just sit there all day waiting for the food and drinks to come around. My favorite is the tamale lady. She walks the beach with a little styrofoam chest and sells chicken or pork tamales for about a buck each. Man, those tamales are killer. Then you ask a kid to run up to Don Pedro’s and get you a Negro Modelo, and you are set for lunch.

But you can get all kinds of other things to eat and drink on the beach as well. Usually there’s someone slicing up fruit—watermellon, papaya, cantaloupe—that they stuff into big plastic cups. And there are guys walking around selling camerones on a stick or fat tortas stuffed with chicken.

Maybe the most interesting food vendors are the guys selling candy. There’s one guy who walks up and down the beach carrying a white pole studded with red candied apples. They cost 10 pesos or about $.75. Just think how many candied apples he has to sell to make a living. That’s a tough job but even worse, in my opinion, is the guy who pushes a wheelbarrow through the soft sand selling gummy worms and pastel mints, pepitas and chili peanuts. You pick out what you want and he fills a paper cone with the candy or nuts and the whole thing might cost a buck at most. Then you go back to your chair in front of Don Pedro’s and the kid comes over and nods toward your beer bottle and says, “Uno más?” and you say, Sure. Uno más. Knowing no Mexican beach cop is going to come over and tell you to spill your cerveza in the sand.

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  1. Barbara Stoner’s avatar

    More than 40 years ago, my then-husband and I took our 2-year-old son camping at Indiana Dunes State Park on the shore of Lake Michigan. We had just arrived and set up camp, when the kid wanted to go into the water. I took off his clothes and he ran joyfully in and out of the surf until a park ranger appeared and told us we had to put her clothes back on or he would have to arrest us. I asked him why, if he was so offended, that he hadn’t even noticed that the kid was a boy. “I didn’t look,” he told me.

    Ain’t that America.

  2. David’s avatar

    Now if you had showed up at the beach with a couple of guns strapped to your hips, they would have been fine with it. But not with a naked 2-year-old.That little pistol was just obscene!

  3. Angeline’s avatar

    Mexican life is so civilized.

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