By Joyce Holdread
We had just left the flower market in Guadalajara — intense colors, verdant greenery and delicious fragrances wafting round our heads. Breakfast was six hours ago and we were ravenous.
“Let’s look for a quaint little restaurante with truly regional dishes,” David proposed, searching up and down both sides of the street. Finding one with an outdoor terrace, we settled in for a truly ethnic specialty with a lovely view of the main quarter of El Centro.
“Buenas tardes,” said the mustached Mexican waiter with a broad smile as he handed us the menus. “How can I serve you? May I bring you something to drink?”
“Just give us a moment to look at the menu,” I said, squinting against the bright rays.
I was more hungry than adventurous at this point, so decided quickly on my usual preference: enchiladas suizas. David scanned the menu front to back.
“What is tostada con pata?” he asked quizzically, looking at the blurred photo on the menu.
“Pato is duck,” I answered, “so pata must be the meat of a female duck. Maybe that’s one of the specialties in Guadalajara.”
“I think I’ll try the tostada con pata,” David said when the waiter returned, “with a chilled Coke, no ice.”
“I’ll have the enchiladas suizas, and a seven (7-Up), also chilled with no ice.” We had been warned not to drink iced beverages. Ice often corralled those amoebic beasts that stampeded the digestive tracks of uninitiated gringos.
The warm fingers of the sun extended down my back massaging out weariness and tension. This was great — a beautiful day; unique sights, sounds, smells; picturesque view; tasty food on the way. The waiter returned and with a quizzical smirk placed our food on the table.
“Señora, your enchiladas suizas and seven; Señor, tostada con pata.” Perched on top of a large, crispy tostada, nestled on a bed of shredded lettuce, onion and tomato was an enormous pig’s foot — only recently severed from its porcine appendage. David and I stared at each other wide-eyed, then burst out laughing. I hadn’t even thought about pata being foot/leg of an animal. He sawed off a succulent hunk and chowed down; it was all part of the adventure.