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Outdoor Eating

With the sunny days of February, we’re in prime outdoor eating season. And what better way to enjoy the sun in the city you love than by stopping at one of the city’s local food vendors. With Xela exiting its holiday lull (see Talking Points, right) the streets have more dining options than ever. Among the best, and most elaborate, are the mobile ceviche vendors. While some might be skittish about eating seafood off the street, XelaWho’s unscientific survey reveals excellent hygienic practices and a high tastiness quotient. But if eating in the sunshine is a must and you’re looking for something more substantial than ceviche, Panorama Restaurant is now open for lunch 6 days a week.

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Torta Vendors

While outdoor eating options are plentiful, one thing we still don’t love are the near ubiquitous torta vendors. While their set-ups can be ingenious (a grill mounted on a bike=cool), the culinary offerings remain decidedly disappointing. For those in the know, tortas are a delicious Mexican sandwich containing a meat (often chicken or beef), beans, avocado, tomato and other toppings in a perfect bun. But if you have partaken of the “tortas mexicanas” offered by local vendors you know that they are a decidedly unauthentic mix of chopped hot dogs, synthetic cheese, and 4 shovel-fulls of mayonnaise. Even if you’re into trying street food, do yourself a favor and stay away (and if you’re dying for a torta then hit the authentic Tortas Mexicanas at 23 Av 5-66 in Zone 3).

TALKING POINTS: BE NICE

With the Christmas holidays well behind us and the weather in other parts of the northern hemisphere taking a nasty turn this time of year, we’re experiencing the annual uptick of tourists in Xela. This is good news for local business as it means more foreigners eating out and more students at Spanish schools- though it also means more lost people wandering the streets trying to decipher the 5-87 portion of the street address and learning why zones are relevant. The municipal tourism office has a new director who promises to work on creating more infrastructure to orient visitors, but given that she doesn’t seem to have a particularly clear strategy (she doesn’t even know how many tourists visit annually), she might need some help. So if you’re from around here, show off your love for Xela and give the lost tourists a point in the right direction (and be nice, do it in English or another language they’ll understand).

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