Notes of a Cold Mexican amidst the Croatian Winter

It is freaking cold, and I have something to say about this!

Notes of a Cold Mexican amidst the Croatian Winter

If you had asked me before what I missed about Mexico, I would have undoubtedly answered the food. But lately, I have missed something else more: the sunlight. I spent most of this winter in Mexico City, with its gentle winter. Then, I returned to Zagreb, where even in February, the winter was not as mild or forgiving as the Mexican one. On days like these, cloudy and cold, I tend to feel homesick. I miss waking up and looking through the window to find the sun over the rooftops, the birds singing, and nature’s invitation to get outside.

Nevertheless, I still miss Mexican food. I have found out that Croatian cuisine is delicious, and I cannot get enough pašticada and peka. Still, I want the familiar taste of spicy food. In my opinion, there’s no Mexican restaurant in Zagreb. Although, I must admit that I enjoy the food in a Latin fusion restaurant called Fuego. It is not Mexican, and it does not pretend to be. This restaurant is an interpretation of the Latin flavors from the perspective of a well-traveled man, its chef, and owner: Richard Gruica. The Bananas Latinas are my favorites; please go there and give them a chance. The flavors remind me of home.

But I do not go to Fuego every day. I sometimes cook at home, and for this, I have a couple of groceries stores to recommend:

  • Spicy Days is a small store with various spices and even fresh chiles! This store has been the only place where I have found Salsa Valentina, a spicy sauce that all kids in Mexico eat with their veggies or, most of the time, chips.
  • Harissa is a store with a plethora of spices, where you can get dry chiles, such as “de árbol,” “chipotle,” “habanero,” and “ancho,” among others. With these chiles, you can make loads of Mexican recipes. For example, I like to make “tinga de pollo,” a dish with shredded chicken, lots of onion, and chile chipotle, easy to make and delicious. According to Healthline spicy food consumption is also related to several health benefits, such as speeding the metabolism, combating inflammation, and helping to kill bacteria.

Returning to my first argument: Croatian winter is freaking cold, and I need sunlight. As it is impossible to control the weather, I can only try to impact my overall health with food and supplements. Lately, I have been eating spicy food to help my mood. I do not love cloudy days. Ok, I can manage, but not so many in a row. I also plan to take Vitamin D supplements. I have just bought a spray that I will do daily. How do you deal with the winter weather here? Is it just something I find hard to do as a Mexican? Or is there a secret I am missing?

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