Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's Hard To Be Vegan In Cabo

We're finally back from a blissful six days in Cabo San Lucas, and I had hoped to come back and regale you with plenty of posts about all the fabulous Mexican food we had there. Sadly I have to report that it was extremely difficult, darn near impossible, to be a happy vegan in Cabo.

Who would have thought it would be so difficult to find, say, a simple plate of rice and beans, in Mexico?! Surprisingly, it was incredibly difficult. Cabo, while it can boast some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, is not very veg-friendly. Maybe it's the bad influence of all the American tourists there, but what didn't include some kind of meat/seafood came laden with heaps of cheese. Countless times we specifically ordered things "sin queso" only to be served something with a small mound of cheese on top. Or hidden within. It was frustrating.

The only saving grace was that our hotel suite had a full kitchen, so we made a trip to Wal-Mart (I know, the horror!) to buy some supplies so we could cook. In addition to finding papayas the size of footballs, we bought plenty of mangos (they seemed to be smaller, but sweeter, there), avocados, tortillas, and even found, in their one and only nod to vegetarians, some soy chorizo.
 Fresh papaya and mango... if only every morning could be so sweet.

What to do with soy chorizo? Make breakfast tacos of course! I was actually introduced to the magical wonders of breakfast tacos while visiting my cousin T in Austin, Texas. Breakfast tacos are GENIUS. And simple. All you need to do is warm up some corn tortillas, then top with a spoonful of some warmed refried beans (having carefully read the ingredients to make sure they don't have any animal fat or lard), then a spoonful of the crumbled up soy chorizo that you've sauteed with a tiny bit of olive oil. Top with a few slices of ripe avocado, and some hot salsa... there you have it. The breakfast of champions.
 Breakfast tacos. Make these. You'll love them.
Our breakfast spot

One restaurant we found that was particularly charming was this Mi Casa, just a short walk from our hotel. Yet again, we ordered some tortillas and beans, with emphasis on NO CHEESE, but were served a large plate of black beans with heaps of cheese on top. We sighed, took a long drink from our bottles of Pacifico, and scraped it off the top. Thank god for chips and guacamole.

Anyway, what this restaurant lacked in vegan-friendliness it made up for in color and charm. If only we could get them to make something with soy chorizo.

Mi Casa
Avenida Cabo San Lucas, corner of Lazaro Cardenas
Cabo San Lucas


  1. Do you have a recipe for those delicious-looking breakfast wraps? I think i might make them if you have an idea what's in them!

  2. Hi Rebecca! I didn't have a recipe but the breakfast tacos were really easy to make. Just warm some corn tortillas, then top with refried pinto beans, a spoonful of crumbled veggie chorizo (Trader Joe's has a good one, if there's a store near you), a few avocado slices, and some of your favorite salsa. I'd eat these for breakfast every day if I could!

  3. Hi Leinana,
    I'm heading to Cabo in a week and am trying to figure out ahead of time what I might be able to eat there. I'm a vegetarian rather than vegan, but my main worry right now is that most tortillas are made with lard (along with most beans, as you mentioned checking for above) :( Did you have any experience finding out whether restaurants there make their tortillas (and/or chips) with lard?

  4. Hi Alani,
    As I noted, we actually had a lot of trouble simply finding decent Mexican food in restaurants in Cabo. They would bring us dishes with cheese, even if we asked them repeatedly to leave it out. If your Spanish is good enough to inquire about the lard/tortilla situation, go for it, but we didn't find many people to be receptive to our dietary concerns. Luckily, we had a kitchen where we were staying, so the best luck we had was buying groceries so we could see the ingredient lists, and cooking at our hotel. Good luck, I really hope you have better luck than we did! And also - just so NO to anyone who tries to lure you to a time share meeting. Don't go! :)

  5. I meant just *say* no to the timeshare people!