A restlessness stirs within me. For far too long we have drifted around La Paz like sad little sailors with nowhere to go. Under such conditions, I have become stir crazy. I roam about the marina and the Malecon, with no ambitions and thoughts plaguing my brain. I am at ease. I guess that is what months of being on vacation will do you someone in their twenties. Slowly after day in and day out of beautiful sunsets and margarita happy hours, after perfect days at the beach and seemingly endless time, we begin to drift. We drift into an empty reality of nothingness. At least, I have. Quite honestly, I am way too young for this shit and I haven’t earned it yet.
The thing about old people is that they seem to have very strong opinions about EVERYTHING. Our mechanic in La Paz was quite the character. He had lived a fascinating life, and with all of his years of experience believed himself to be the end all know all King Poobah of information.
“Stay away from the Chinese food. It will give you shits for days.”
“There is not a single good bakery in La Paz. They all just sell cardboard.” I found three epic bakeries: a traditional Mexican Panderia, a pie shop and a european style bakery.
“Girlie,” serious dude? “The reason you keep bruising is you don’t eaten enough green vegetables.”
“If you keep eating that bacon you’re going to get fat and both you and your man will not be happy about it. You won’t be happy because you’re fat, and your man won’t be happy because you won’t shut up about it.”
Honestly, I kind of discounted a lot of what he said after one day he said, “Damn! Another parade? These Mexicans have more holidays than the orientals!”
However, the one time I decided to act on his words was when he told me, “The beef here ain’t worth a damn. It’s so tough. You can only eat the stuff when you pressure cook it.” So I decided to put his bullshit to the test. I took some beef out of the freezer I bought at Costco, just some little thin cut steaks. Then, I soaked the meat in a tequila lime garlic mixture and grilled it. An acidic marinade does tenderize meat when left in for 2 hours or less. If left in the marinade longer than that, acids will toughen the meat rather than tenderize it.
Marinades are made from a variety of ingredients, some of which can help break down the connective tissues in the meat — this means the finished steak will be easier to cut and chew. One of the main ways marinades can tenderize meat is to take advantage of enzymatic reactions. Basically, enzymes help break down the collagen in a steak without compromising the structure of the meat’s fibers. Many warm-climate fruits contain enzymes that can help tenderize cheaper cuts of meat. Kiwifruit, figs, and papaya are all great sources of proteolytic enzymes (enzymes that break down proteins); they add flavor to your steak’s marinade while encouraging a more tender grilled steak.
So after I grilled up the meat, did up my little experiment. I served it to some neighbors of our on the dock. With every bite, the meat melted into our mouths. Succulent and delicious. After a while, I explained my process at the table. My dad looked up, “You used the meat you bought from Costco.”
“Yes,” I replied hesitantly. I know that tone of voice. My father is about to tell me I did something wrong.
“Megan, that was USDA prime ribeye.” Oops, I guess I tenderized the ribeye! No wonder it was so good.
Tequila Garlic Ribeye Asada
2 lbs USDA Prime Ribeye, thinly cut
6 cloves of garlic
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
Juice from 3 limes
½ c shitty tequila
Place all ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 1.5 hours. Turn the grill on high. Bring to temperature. Grill steak on either side for 1 minute. Serve with grilled veggies or potatoes or whatever. Bon appétit!