How to kill a hangover in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (Smokin’ Joes)

Saturday night was large. My beloved playoff chokers the Vancouver Canucks squandered a 3-nil lead and called it a season sending the Calgary Flames into the second round. It hadn’t fully squashed the evening however; so I doused my broken heart with copious glasses of Cuba Libres chased with the odd tequila or seven for good measure.


So I’ve set the all too familiar scene for Sunday morning. Woke up. Smashed a couple ibuprofens and swigged the last warm remnants from a can of Mountain Dew that was on my bedside table. The chalky taste of cheap pills and the sugary, indescribable zest of Mountain Dew combined into something I could only relate to regret and sadness. Alas, I wouldn’t let this day have the better of me; so I devised a plan of attack.

Food would provide the brawn of my plan. I’d heard murmurs around town about a famous BBQ that took place on Sundays. A quick scan of Google however proved fruitless, the establishment had been closed for years. Fuck.

Brunch was the next logical choice as All you can eat is the way forward when you’re hung to shit. There was a joint across from our hotel called Il Barrio, it sounded promising so we headed over for a look and witnessed heaping plates of waffles, pancakes and fruit. A bearded hippie was serenading diners with his raspy, fuddled tones and an acoustic guitar. This shit was not going to fly. I needed meat and a Coke; not fruit salad and fucking chrysanthemum tea.

I think it’s a sign…

When I turned to Rox with a face full of disappointment and disdain something caught my eye. A poster. A poster for BBQ. Lo! The day was saved. I marched with purpose and vigour without hesitation and we soon found ourselves on the glorious step of meat-wonderland.

The sign said noon until 4pm. It was 12:04. Keen.

All the hangover dranks...
All the hangover dranks…

We walked across the slightly inclined lawn and noticed a pool. Bonus. Plastic tablecloths adorned equally plastic tables and chairs perched underneath shaded tents scattered haphazardly around the property. We sat near the bar and were greeted by a friendly waitress with menus. Beirut’s “Santa Fe” was playing in the background. Nice. I scanned the menu and was instantly drawn to the word “Clamato”. Fuck, yes. Two absolutely banging Caesars were plopped on our table. Matt 1, Hangover 0.

$10 says he owns a pickup truck...
$10 says he owns a pickup truck…
The dude can handle a grill... And a mighty fine mullet!
The dude can handle a grill… And a mighty fine mullet!

Time to peruse the BBQ offerings. A couple of South Carolina & Floridian origins had been running the show here for years. They’ve kept it fully American too with an amazement of choices from baby-back ribs to filet mignon. I went with the combo, which provided a 1/4 chicken, beef tenderloin, a slab of pork-ribs and a plate the size of a cereal box to fill with items from the buffet. You’d expect some potato salad and maybe some coleslaw, right? Well, prepare to take your BBQ relationship to the next level. Add green beans, baked beans, rice, greek salad, buttered corn-cobs, garlic bread and macaroni and fucking cheese. After we’d packed our plates with enough food to fit between Kim Kardashian’s ass-cheeks we headed to the sauce station. Yeah, a fucking station. Five types of home-made BBQ sauces plus all the regular accompaniments like ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc. I nearly had a sauce-based sexual experience right there and then.

All of the meats...
All of the meats…
Mac and cheese and mac and cheese and mac and cheese...
Mac and cheese and mac and cheese and mac and cheese…

I ordered a second Coke with ice and dug into the pile of smoked carnivorous goodies in front of me. Matt 2, Hangover 0. The redneck done good. He done real good. The Mac & Cheese was the star of the salad bar and it was hard to decide between the chicken and ribs on the meat front. I also made sure to try all of the sauces, ranging from spicy to tangy. Then I started to fade. The hangover still had some fight. Time to deploy the calvary. Pool-time!

Ah, the serenity... Except for that one asshole toddler
Ah, the serenity… Except for that one asshole toddler

After a quick dip and moment to shut out the world in the shallow end I was ready to tackle my plate for round two. I solemnly sat and stared at the saucy delectable mix of food for a good five minutes before the waitress saved my soul by asking if I was finished. Yes! Please, take it from me! I was slightly embarrassed by the amount of food leftover untouched.

I’d done my best. The hangover had retreated. I won the battle, but the war will never be over. I lived to fight another day and succeeded in my quest for excellent hangover fodder in San Pedro de Laguna, Guatemala. MKT

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