A few people have asked what my next big trip is and I reply with a sigh and say, “nowhere at this point.” Something may come up, as it often seems to, but at this point, in the dead of a bleak January, I’m finding myself yearning for a beach that is nowhere on the horizon. It’s been a couple years since I’ve been anywhere warm in the dead of winter, but those years I seemed to have other trips planned which I could look forward to instead. This year, as of today, there isn’t much besides 36 hours in Baltimore (more on this later) and 24 in Chicago. Both cities also in the thick of winter.

While mini-escapes are also fun to look forward to, Lake Michigan and the harbor in Baltimore in January aren’t quite the same as their counterparts in Mexico, the Caribbean or Hawaii.

Photo by Rick Wood

So, since I’m not physically escaping,  I’ve been sending my tastebuds on a culinary vacation instead. Last night, inspired by last week’s trip to the restaurant itself, I made Tortilla Soup from the local joint, Riviera Maya. Super easy, very tasty and just spicy enough to make your nose run. I added shrimp and rice to make it a bit more filling. Delicious. Later this week maybe I’ll make fish tacos or perhaps a Mediterranean feast!

I’m not giving up on the beach completely, but in the meantime, making food that reminds me of warmer places will just have to suffice!

If you’re in need of a bit of spice to warm up these cold days, here’s the recipe.

- Colleen