It’s a few past one, Saturday afternoon, and I’m two drinks in on slow start to the weekend. I think I originally vowed, at least to myself, not to move down here and start becoming a promotion whore for places, but Y Tu Piña, Tambein’s recent renovation and menu reboot has left me feeling charged for the second weekend in a row. I’m writing this not as a service to them but more as a service to the world: We need more breakfast joints/cafes geared specifically towards thwarting (or starting) the hangover, coffee shops with more cocktails on the drink chart than different ways of saying coffee with milk. Y Tu Pina and Illegal Mescal have won my heart all over again. Here's how in two steps:
Step One: Finding My Weakness
A friend of mine once said, “If you can’t drink a beer for breakfast, you’re not on vacation.” Antigua’s indie-vibe coffee shop, Y Tu Piña has picked up on this need and run with it. My drink of choice: the Illegal Maria, a combination of Illegal Mescal and amped-up Bloody Mary mix with chunks of garlic and coarsely cracked peppercorns. It comes in a beer tankard. There are other worthy choices, twists on morning drinking classics like the tequila sunrise (also done tankard-style with mescal), Bloody Marys, and screwdrivers. Coffee, con or sin leche, is available, but the hair of the dog is the feature, i.e. your choice of cocktail with your brunch.
I’m not vacation, but by god, after a morning at Y Tu Piña, I feel I should be. I even had to talk myself down this week: I went Thursday morning to do a little writing—a coffee and loiter type affair—when my mouth started watering for one of those Illegal Marias. A slight perspiration on my brow, a little shake in my typing hands, I kept my head down, kept working, and prayed it would pass. I had teaching to do that afternoon, and it’s probably a good thing I did, else my wife would have come home from work to find a slightly slurring spouse. I’m just saying they are good.
Step Two: Funking Up Breakfast
I love going for breakfast. I love it so much that, when a college student, I’d come home from bars at three and eagerly wake up at six when my father would call me to meet him. While I neither go to bed that late or get up that early anymore, my affinity for hash browns, grits, and biscuits—all that Southern heart attack medicine I grew up with—has not diminished. Not to say, Y Tu Piña offers any of it. However, they are offering something a little different than the same old, same old running around town.
So far, my favorite has been the "desayuno erecto", or shall we say erect breakfast, which more bluntly put inspires a bit of a breakfast erection, aka morning wood all over again. Two fried chicken drumsticks, four donut holes, and a handful of sweet potato fries are skewered and hovering above a spiked breakfast beverage. It’s artful, it’s magical, and it’s picturesque enough to make me question eight years of vegetarianism. Other options include the Cheesus is the Way fancy cheese grilled cheese sandwiches with a likeness Christ branded into your bread or the "egg mcfuckin' muffin".
So, if you happen to be in Antigua, I’d definitely say it’s worth a shot, and that that morning shot at Y Tu Piña, Tambien is more than worth it. If you are not here, then do what you can and ride that vacation vibe. It’ summer people! Get some alcohol in your system before the day turns into grocery shopping and laundry baskets. Eat something fried and fattening. There is always tomorrow to get back to the straight and narrow.
In 2013, I took a year to work part-time and pursue a travel writing career on the side. Part of my mission was to explore the depths of one Central America's great tourist attractions and take from it what I could. These are thoughts on Antigua Guatemala.