I hope the food police don't arrest me…
Who says I can’t have chicken for breakfast? Have you ever noticed that somewhere along the way, someone in the world decided that appropriate breakfast foods were eggs, bacon, bread, jam, pastries, pancakes, waffles, cereal, etc. It was probably the same person who said eggs or pancakes are unacceptable for dinner. The humor is that we all bought it, and we live by these “rules!” If it’s the most important meal of the day, why are we starting our day with a bang by eating donuts? Wait, don’t answer that. Wouldn’t a meal with vegetables and some healthy protein be a better option? Of course it would. I had to shift my paradigm when I decided the only thing I could eat from the list above was bacon. I know, bacon is delicious, but too much of that is just wrong. And, who wants to sit down to a plate of bacon for breakfast? Wait, don’t answer that either.
How about this instead?
Okay, so I know there aren’t really many vegetables there, but our trips to Mexico generally tend to be light on the veggies. I’ll show you later how we get some green in our diet while down there.
Mexico provided the answer to all of my breakfast woes, and I am thankful for something we have always called “Tulum Chicken.” A few years ago we had heard that we must hunt down this “delicious chicken in Tulum,” and that’s how it got the name. They call it Pollo Asado al Carbon. If you go there and ask for “Tulum Chicken,” you might confuse someone and end up at some random place with a dry chicken breast on your plate. It’s basically the local version of a rotisserie chicken, but they flatten the chicken and then cook it on a grill. Pretty simple, right? After several unsuccessful attempts of finding Tulum Chicken in random restaurants in town, we wondered if it really existed. It wasn’t until we met some other travelers at a cenote, and in describing Tulum Chicken, they seemed to know it and pointed us to the right spot. It was like looking for the beach in The Beach– that secret nirvana that only a select few knew.
These chicken “restaurants” seem to always be in what looks like, well, a garage. So maybe it’s not the best ambiance, but certainly some fine chicken. As we’ve returned over the years, we’ve realized that these places are everywhere, and though they usually close before we can make it for dinner, they are always open for breakfast. How convenient! This is a steal– for about $5, two of us can get a half chicken, rice, soupy refried black beans, and a stack of corn tortillas.
Our usual spot for several years has been Pollo Bronco. This chicken is delicious! It comes out piping hot, moist, and full of flavor. The salsa is lacking a bit (okay, it sucks,) so it can make for a pretty dry (but still yummy) chicken taco. I must have blocked this detail out of my memory from years past. So far, we have always been the only ones eating there for breakfast. Everyone else must have been off having bacon and donuts. It’s nice to be the only people there because we can always find a table outside. These places can get HOT during most of the year, and sitting outside helps you forget that you are in a garage.
This year we branched out and found Mr Chicken. Mr Chicken has a slightly better presentation, but who really cares about presentation when you’re eating in a garage? The big plus here is that they serve black beans, and the salsa is better too. It’s not such a dry taco with these additions. It also does come with spaghetti in tomato sauce, but we asked them to leave it off the plate. Not surprising, it still came buried under our food! I may have accidentally slipped a noodle into my mouth– oops.
The problem with Mr Chicken is that it was harder for me to enjoy the beautifully grilled and well-seasoned chicken because it was cold. Pollo Bronco has a very high tech method to keep things warm– a cooler. Most importantly though, the chicken always comes hot off the grill. It was clear that at Mr Chicken, although it was fresh, it was given enough time off the grill to cool down. I think in the future I’ll just bring a bottle of Tapatio to Pollo Bronco because when that chicken comes out hot, there is nothing like it. If only they would add some black beans…
Here’s to another seemingly successful attempt to eat great food without dairy, soy, gluten, or egg. Well, it was mostly gluten free except for the noodle that fell into my mouth. I should add that I don’t really know if the food was truly gluten and soy free since those foods are so often hidden, but it was a risk I was willing to take. Now I just hope for a future in which I can go to any restaurant in the world and get dinner for breakfast. Try it sometime, chicken for breakfast is quite a treat!