|Yesterday a friend in our office asked me to go with him today for lunch. As we were trying to decide where to go, he suggested a place for burritos. And then he caught himself saying “You’re probably sick of Mexican food.” I told him actually no because I have not been able to have a lot of Mexican food lately. |
Most of what you see on the menu of our Mexican food restaurants up here might have started with an idea in Mexico, but it is not Mexican. Well actually the Caesar Salad is but that’s another story.
When you sit down at El Torito, Acapulco, or any of the other fine Mexican places and get your plate of fajitas, cheese covered enchiladas, chimichangas, or Spanish rice, it is not Mexican food. It is good. It can be delicious. And to tell you the truth, I like a lot of it. But it is not Mexican food.
Mexican food is carne asada. About a pound of it. On your plate with a stack of warm corn tortillas, guacamole, grilled onions, and salsa. Maybe some beans for variety. Beans that have been cooking on the stove all day.
Mexican food is pozolé. A rich stew or soup made with hominy and either pork or chicken. I like the red, but the white is also good. Served with flat tostada shells, not chips. Add cabbage, oregano, radishes, and salsa and you’re good to go.
Mexican food is chiles en nogada [pictured on the left]. A poblano chile stuffed with spicy shredded pork, maybe some apple, covered in a walnut sauce and topped off with pomegranate seeds. All the colors of the Mexican flag, the national dish, and an unbelievable taste.
Mexican food is a taco stand at the end of street. A place where you order your tacos one at a time, stand at a bar with ten of your newest friends and eat until your full, and then you pay. And the tacos are not loaded down with lettuce and tomatoes. The flavor of the meat is what sells them.
Mexican food is molé. All seven of them! My new favorite is verde, or green for the Spanish challenged reader. It is a sauce made from chiles, spices, and chocolate. Serve it over chicken with white rice. It is fantastic.
And so Kevin, yeah, I’d love to have a burrito today. Just understand, it’s not Mexican food.