I wanna go to Mexico now

My wife and I have been watching this show, The Final Plate, on NetFlix. It features these talented chefs competing against each other for something or other — they basically ripped off Iron Chef. It started off interestingly, but is turning into a bit of a slog, and jeez, I’m really disliking the emcee and those obnoxious, pointless pauses (“and now … … … … … begin!”). I’ve developed a few other gripes, as well. But this isn’t about the show!

Fortunately, before I began to sour on it, one of the early episodes featured the cuisine of Mexico, and oh man, I started pining to visit Mexico again. If nothing else, just for the food. I still dream about real Mexican food.

Then I saw this video.

It is silly — I don’t know how you would test for Mexican ancestry, since the people there are such a melange of different origins. Spanish? Native American? Black? All those other Europeans who have migrated there? I don’t think any test is going to find that I have much in the way of Mexican ancestry — I’m a blinding white mixture of Scandinavian and English (although 23andMe does say I’m 0.6% Spanish), so I’m not going to get any discount from AeroMexico. Unless loving the place would give me some honorary, spiritual association. Or the test is only a random number generator, which wouldn’t surprise me.

The video ends with some guy saying, I’d go to Mexico, if they had Taco Bells on the street corners down there. He would be disappointed. Taco Bell is terrible greasy cheesy glop — real Mexican food is diverse and complex and wonderful and the kind of thing I would dream about. Maybe more Americans should visit the country and learn more about it.


  1. killyosaur says

    Nice thing about living in Detroit, Mexicantown has a bunch of good authentic Mexican food locations :)

  2. says

    Salt Lake City also had quite a few.

    Morris, Minnesota does not. We have one Mexican restaurant in town. And a Taco Johns, but it’s kind of like Taco Bell — not the real thing.

  3. says

    The first good Mexican restaurant I ate at was Old Mexico in Detroit. We were lucky enough when we lived in Virginia to have Plaza Azteca five minutes from home. I used to have tacos de chorizo just about every week.

  4. kevskos says

    Down on the Southern border we get a lot of good Mexican food and unique takes on American food, google Sonoran hot dog. It is also handy because I don’t have a dental plan and their are plenty of good cheap dentists in Mexico.

  5. chrislawson says

    Living where I do (Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia), it’s difficult to get really good non-European cuisine. I really want to try some traditional Mexican, but nothing on the coast seems to be anything other than quasi-Mexican pap injected into a Western palate mould.

  6. unclefrogy says

    one of the many good things about L.A. is there are no shortage of good restaurants serving food from all over the world, including a great variety from Mexico there was a small “taco” shop near by that served some outstanding Taco’s de Lengua
    uncle frogy

  7. jrkrideau says

    We had a Mexican restaurant but it closed. Mexican food does not seem to be all that big a thing in my part of Canada. A quick google suggest there are actually 3 in town but I am bit worried as it lists one of my favourite takeouts as Mexican. It actually is run by someone from El Salvador and features fusion Indian/Mexican /??? food. José trained in a local Indian restaurant.

    It is often even difficult to find a hot pepper other than a jalapeño in the local grocery stores. This can be very frustrating, not that I cook much Mexican food but my Indian and Chinese recipes often call for a pepper I have never even seen.

    We tend a lot more towards Chinese, Greek, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese with at least one very good Iraqi Arab one run by a family from Basra thrown in for good dining. And, of course, we have your standard French, German, and Italian plus the “Irish” or “English” pubs.

    I remember reading this mammoth Mexican cookbook a few years ago and salivating at just about every page. The sheer variety of region cuisines was mindbogglingly.

  8. chigau (違う) says

    We’re getting a Mexican restaurant in the space that was a cupcake cafe.
    It could work.
    The Japanese restaurant two doors down has been there for about six years.
    in southern Alberta

  9. DanDare says

    I have a great Mexican cookbook with all the provinces major dishes. Good stuff. Plus some really rich hot choc recipes.

  10. madtom1999 says

    I travelled the Caribbean extensively and over time it has been developed and destroyed and converted into little Floridas (sans rockets and amusement parks). Islands that were sweet and friendly and poor are now supporting luxury holiday complexes and their customers are terrified of leaving them in case they meet a local and the locals are all miserable and still poor. The American tourist diaspora is an absolute cancer and more Americans visiting Mexico would result in Taco Bells on every corner and the complete destruction of local culture and the rainforests required to poison the produce with palm oil.

  11. ajbjasus says

    I’d go to Mexico, if they had Taco Bells on the street corners down there

    Reminds me of two things – firstly sitting in a restaurant in Venice listening to a bunch of American tourists complaining to the waiter because their pasta (or paaaaaasta as they said) “wasn’t the same as back home”, so they didn’t like it. Secondly when working in Phoenix I was taken to a raved about “Mexican” restaurant, and I have never had such a disgusting plate of bland, greasy slop in my entire life – it was a million miles from real Mexican food, or any type of grown up food, for that matter !

  12. ajbjasus says

    @ #8 jrkrideau I sympathise, but if you have a greenhouse, or sunny windowcill chillis are easy and fun to grow, and a plant or two of apaches will give you more that enough heat for a whole year. They keep really well dried in a low oven, or you can freeze them and use like fresh ! Home made hot-sauce, too, if you can be bothered. Th

  13. madtom1999 says

    #15 – was it really a Mexican or, as everything in Phoenix was when I was there, TexMex?
    In my earlier post about cultural Americanisation of everything I tried to point out that the US doesnt embrace cultures it does its best to exterminate them or at least reduce them to as near as USAian as is possible.
    I dont know if you’ve heard of “Goodness Gracious Me” which was a BBC radio and then TV show where UK Asians took the piss out of themselves and UK racism and cooking,

    The US cooking seems to be aiming for the completely bland,

  14. Saad says

    Maybe more Americans should visit the country and learn more about it.

    That’ll get Mexico to pay for the wall.

  15. ajbjasus says

    #17 I suspect you are right it probably was essentially tex-mex – but it was billed as Mexican. We had someting called baha sauce, which was essentially garlic flavoured custard, it seemd as though everything had been liquidised are was a soggy mush. I noticed that because there was no texture, it was very easy to eat way more than you wanted or needed (we were being entertained, so I didn’t feel I could leave much as I didn’t want to offend.

    I am very familiar with the brilliant goodness gracious me – great parady of the British institution of drinking industrial quantities of beer, and then going for a spicy meal when the pub shuts, and being obnoxious!. Interestingly a lot of Indian (well, they are mainly Bangladeshi or Pakistani to be fair) restaurants are very different now – much more mainstream – you’ll see all sorts of people, young and old there thoughout the whole evening, and much less the post-pub crowd, and of course the best ones are also used by the Bangladeshi\Pakistani community themselves.

  16. says

    If you’re ever in Plano, TX go to Tino’s Too (there used to be a Tino’s, but it was in a dying mall and closed).
    You can always¹ tell a great Mexican restaurant when there are more customers speaking Spanish than English²

    ¹ Maybe not always, but it’s a good guide.
    ² In Spain all bets are off.

  17. lumipuna says

    If you want to go to Mexico, head to the south until you see a wall, then turn right.

    Remember to turn left in Albuquerque.

  18. says

    Saskatoon has a couple of non chain Mexican restaurants, one of which, La Bamba, is only a few blocks away from me. Mexican food isn’t for me, but my parents have been there a couple of times and liked it. Chain wise Taco Time has had a presence in Saskatoon for probably 25 years or more, while Taco Bell has only had restaurants here for a couple of years, although there was one in the Place Riel food court on the University of Saskatchewan for a bit years ago.

  19. anbheal says

    Ah Chihuahua, worst thread ever. There is no such thing as Mexican food. There is Oaxacanse, there is Poblana (Pueblo), there is Veracruzana, there is Sinaloense, there is Mexicana (CDMX), there is Queretana, oh gracious, the sopa tarasca in Michoacan, Tabasco, Chiapas, Yucatan, Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Guanajuato, Quintana Roo, Jalisco, Guerrero, Durango, Sonora, and on either the Atlantic or Pacific side, the world’s best ceviche, for lunch, every damn day.

    The whole concept of “Mexican food” is like saying that clam chowder and baked beans in Boston are the same as pulled pork in North Carolina or 4-alarm chili in Texas or short ribs in Memphis or lobster in Maine or bull’s testicles in Denver or jambalaya in New Orleans.

  20. jrkrideau says

    @ 16 ajbjasu
    I do have a handy window. Of course I would have to find the seeds but I probably can do that on the net. The real problem is that I have the orginal black thumb. Plants, upon seeing me, have been known to pull their roots out of the soil and flee.
    Still worth a try.

  21. jrkrideau says

    @ 15 ajbjasu
    I was taken to a raved about “Mexican” restaurant, and I have never had such a disgusting plate of bland, greasy slop in my entire life
    I was in a “Chinese” restaurant in Bath, UK and ordered the beef in black bean sauce. Something turned up with some kind of shiny brown gravy on it.

    I was assured it was the beef in black bean sauce. I still am not sure what it was.

  22. magistramarla says

    Living in San Antonio, we have many choices – from bland Tex-Mex to some very authentic Mexican restaurants.
    We both grew up in Northern states, so it was eye-opening to us when we moved here.
    I also learned a bit more about the cuisines of different parts of Mexico when we made a temporary move to California.
    I found that the Mexican restaurants there were much more influenced by the coastal regions of Mexico. It was different, but it was all good!
    We had another interesting experience when a grandson was born in Arkansas because his father was stationed there. We were told to try the “best” Mexican restaurant in town. My husband ordered his usual favorite – chicken mole. The sauce was so awful that he gave up even trying to eat his meal after a few bites. My daughter requested that we bring some bean tacos to the hospital. The Mexican restaurants there did not appear to know that such a thing existed! After I gave the waiter careful instructions, we were over-charged for them, but managed to take our daughter some semblance of her favorite tacos.

  23. btreusdell says

    You aren’t terribly far from Chicago, where some of the best authentic Mexican food from authentic Mexican people is widely available. I live in West Logan Square where you can’t throw a rock without hitting an amazing Mexican restaurant.