Make your own damn chips

Here’s an amazing thing: if you drink Manhattans when you’re in Mexico, as I do, you won’t be able to find bourbon—any bourbon—let alone maraschino cherries. Instead, you have to bring your own from the States.

However, the trade-off is that you can buy freshly-made, still-warm tortillas just about anywhere. And no matter where you get them, they will be better than anything you can buy in the States.

photos by David Lansing

photos by David Lansing

When I’m in Sayulita, I get my tortillas, after a morning at the beach, at this little market called Alas Blancas (White Wings). It’s easy to find because it’s got a giant tequila bottle and a huge beer can on the roof.

It’s like a little 7-11 except where a 7-11 stocks 20 facings of 50 products, a Mexican market carries 10 facings of 300 products. They do it by not devoting a huge amount of space to the big-margin items like Coke and potato chips. Yes, you can buy Coke and chips at a Mexican market, but you won’t find a whole aisle devoted to that crap.

Instead, you get an end-aisle with 15 different types of hot sauce! Even though it’s hard to make much money selling hot sauce. And then there will be two or three plastic coolers, usually close to the cash register, filled with still-steaming corn tortillas. Three dozen will cost you less than a buck. So obviously they’re not making much money here either. But, hey, in Mexico, this is what the people want—hot sauce and tortillas. Not 20 different types of tortilla chips (in fact, in Mexico, people think you’re stupid to buy tortilla chips. They say, “My friend, why don’t you just make your own?” Because obviously if you buy three dozen fresh corn tortillas every day, which almost everyone does, you’re going to have some left over. So why not fry them in a little oil yourself? Not only do you save yourself $3.99 by not buying Doritos but they taste better.)

Do you know about Mexican dichos? They are like our proverbs. One of my favorite dichos goes like this: Sin dinero no baila el perro. Which means, Without money the dog doesn’t dance.

So if you want the dog to dance, make your own damn tortilla chips. That’s a Lansing dicho

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  1. wee1’s avatar

    My two favorite dichos are:

    Tu eres como un pulpo en el garaje.
    You’re like an octopus in the garage. (You don’t fit in.)

    Tu eres mas blanca que la teta de una monja.
    You’re whiter than a nun’s tit. (Um, go get a spray tan or something.)

    Loving your Sayulita entries. Thinking Mexico next Christmas because of all your fun posts. Que gozes la belleza de la playa, la tequila, y todo!

  2. Allan’s avatar

    Given all the items you’re buying off street and beach vendors, how are you protecting yourself from parasites? I mean the internal kind, not ones after cash.

  3. Angeline’s avatar

    My grandmother’s favorite dicho was: cada chango a su mecate

    And I guess that’s what makes Mexico great.

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