… in 2005, a young Midwesterner named Joseph Opperman made a visit to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, while on Spring Break from college. In many respects it was a typical spring break trip: dinner at La Cueva del Chango, drinks at Media Luna, days spent around the pool working on a sunburn, recovering from the revelry.
After one particularly decadent night spent at CoCo Bongo and Blue Parrot, Joe woke up at around 11 a.m., a scuba diving pamphlet stuck to his face, cotton in his mouth. Gatorade and pretzels would not cut it on this particular morning -- he needed something more substantial. Joe pulled on a Billabong tank top and ambled next door to Las Mananitas, which his friends had told him had quesadillas to die for. Where were they now? Probably playing cards over at Los Carboncitos. Probably losing money -- morons, he thought to himself.
Alone, Joe asked the waitress for a coffee, a menu, and an aspirin if she had one. (She did! When you work Spring Break for tips, you tend to pick up some tricks.) What looked good? Tacos? Not substantial enough. Chimichangas? That might push his stomach over th edge. Burritos? Refried beans were definitely NOT what the doctor ordered.
WAIT -- What's this? Joe said to himself. "Breakfast Beeritos, Carmelita?" he asked the waitress when she returned with the aspirin.
"Buena elección - se trata de la major comida!" Carmelita replied. Joe searched the six pockets in his shorts and realized he had left his Spanish-English dictionary back in his hotel room.
"Eso suena delicious - que es lo que va a teenier," Joe told the waitress, or "Sounds delicious, that's what I will have." (Who needs a dictionary -- I'm fluent baby! he thought to himself.)
Five minutes later the Beeritos arrived at his table, and not a minute too soon -- aspirin on an empty stomach can mess you up. He took his first bite … culinary ecstasy! This was like nothing else Joe had ever eaten. Hearty, spicy, a little bit naughty ("Was it the beer?" he thought. "Also, don't they call beer cerveza in Mexico? Why aren't these called Desayuno Cervezitos? Shut up and eat, idiot …")
"Esta comida es maravillosa. ¿Me puede dar la receta?" Joe asked Carmelita when she stopped back, sweetly asking for the recipe. The beautiful young lady thought for a few seconds, furrowing her brow and playing with her oversized hoop earrings. It wasn't the first time she had heard this question, and she usually dismissed such requests out of hand. But Joe was clearly a different customer. She liked him. She knew that if she told him the ingredients and cooking process, he would treat it with respect.
So she leaned in and whispered. "En primer lugar, se toma doce huevos …"