Like most people, I came down with a cold over the holidays.
But more than coffee or soup, the Mexican drink champurrado (a kind of thickened hot chocolate) makes me feel better. It’s warm, soothing my throat, and it’s thick, so it keeps me full when I don’t feel like eating. Plus, it’s delicious.
I first had it in high school, when helping my then-boyfriend’s mom sell her homemade Mexican food on the weekends. It was a good way to practice speaking Spanish, and earn a little cash. I was cold, and she offered me a cup of the stuff one weekend. It was an instant hit, and when I moved to Southern California, I knew I’d be able to find it again.
But it’s tougher to find than I thought.
Many restaurants and taco stands only serve it in the winter, when it’s cold outside. And then, some only serve it on the weekend, so it can be quite a quest to find it around town.
Last week, at the height of my cold, it was all I wanted. I knew of a few places I’d found it at before, and called both.
“Sorry, not today,” they both said.
But I just couldn’t live without it.
I thought about driving around town, asking at each restaurant I drove by.
Instead, I called Vallarta Supermarket.
“Do you have champurrado today?”
“Yes,” the woman on the other end said. “Every day.”
Every day! Every day! My dream come true.
So I drove out to the Vallarta on Sierra Highway on Monday, and ordered myself a large champurrado.
And then I went back on Tuesday morning, too.
The girl behind the counter was the same as the day before, and when she saw me, she knew.
“Yup!” I said, in my still-hoarse voice.
Though I wondered: how could I have become a regular in only two visits?
As long as they have champurrado every day of the year, I suppose it won’t be long until I actually am a regular.