Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Hangover Cure

Every culture seems to have their own traditional remedy for indulging too much from the night before. Although, come to think of it, I can't exactly say what ours in the United States is. I guess just sitting on the couch and watching TV. Last night I drank a good amount. The thing is, today is my birthday, and I've now turned 23. Only problem is everyone who doesn't already know always guesses that I'm at the youngest 26. But now I'm moving closer towards the projected age.

So I went out with some friends of mine to La Mesa, the hole in the wall salsa club that people go to on Wednesday nights. My friend Katherine came in for the night with a friend who is visiting, and together with Lauren, we met up with other friends at the salsateca. At midnight the girls surprised me with a double shot of tequila, which I definitely didn't need, but accepted graciously. I left at closing time, then went to a friends house where I crashed until 7 am when I went home. So long story short, I have a hangover.

The cure for the common hangover in Ecuador is a dish called Encebollado. This is a warm soup, similar to Ceviche, but with a few differences. Instead of shrimp you find tuna, and where you find tomatoes in Ceviche, you find loads and loads of onions and cilantro. You can also add lime to taste. On top of the dish you add some banana chips which soon get soggy. I'd had this dish twice before when I was on the coast, as it's their specialty, but much less common in the sierra. However, I'd never taken it to cure a hangover, and this morning I was eager to test it out and see if it actually worked.

I headed over to the 9 de Octubre market with Katherine and her friend, and we all moseyed up to the lunch counter and ordered Encebollado. It's not the best tasting thing, and I think I prefer Ceviche, but it can hit the spot when needed. I couldn't finish the whole bowl because I was full pretty quickly, but I ate enough of it to look like I'd made a dent in the bowl. I wasn't sure at first--I knew I was no longer really hungover, but I wasn't exactly feeling great. But maybe that was never the point. It wasn't, after all, a magical elixir to make you feel like Superman. But I felt like a normal person, or normaler anyway.

I still could go for a nap or a coffee, but the worst of the hangover is over. I was really hoping it would work, and I'm not disappointed with the effects. It has my approval. Also, it only cost $1.50 and came with a juice, which is always nice. On the downside, today is still my birthday, and Friday is my friends birthday, and Saturday is my going away party. So long story short, the potential for hangover lingers in the air, and I most likely won't be able to run out for Encebollado every day. But at least it's a possibility now, and I know that if I truly need it, it can help out a bit. Take that, Advil!

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