PDA

View Full Version : Mexican food or Italian food


JohnT
01-21-2014, 02:37 PM
My 12yo asked me "Daddy, which do you prefer: Mexican food or Italian food"

I thought it would be an easy question... but it took so long to decide!

I post this challenge of the ages to you. You must choose one.

Poll following... (if I don't f-up the polling option...)

Johnny Bravo
01-21-2014, 02:55 PM
I think there's two different ways to parse this.

1) Generic "americanized" Mexican and Italian food - the kind you get at chain sit-down restaurants. Your Olive Gardens and so on.

2) Authentic. The kind from a hole-in-the-wall run by an immigrant family where the kids are doing homework in the back or, generally in the case of Italian food, an upscale place serving really high-end stuff.

For #1, I pick Mexican.

For #2, I pick Italian.

On the whole, I think there's a much larger gap between "okay" and "amazing" Italian food than there is between okay and amazing Mexican food, but mediocre Mexican food is much less offensive (enough Tapatio and I'll eat just about anything). Now if we're talking about Latin cuisine in general, things get trickier.

JohnT
01-21-2014, 02:58 PM
That's a good way of thinking about it.

To me, Italian has a lot more dishes I like, but there's nothing in the Italian* I've eaten that comes close to the awesomeness and flexibility of the simple nacho.

*Admittedly, "American Italian" (though I spent a delicious week in Italy!)

Frylock
01-21-2014, 03:03 PM
If I had to choose to go without one or the other, under threat of death?

I'd kill myself.

Procrustus
01-21-2014, 03:06 PM
I tend to "crave" Mexican food more, but enjoy both equally.

terentii
01-21-2014, 03:09 PM
How about "Neither: I like them equally"? :dubious:

JohnT
01-21-2014, 03:10 PM
Don't wimp out - DECIDE! ;)

Roundabout
01-21-2014, 03:11 PM
Damn. That's a tough question.

LibrarySpy
01-21-2014, 03:30 PM
I put they both suck, because I have been dragged to the little "Italian" eatery for lunch far too often lately. But in retrospect, what Johnny Bravo said.

High end Northern Italian food, with its heavy French influence, is one of my favorite things to eat.

Meh.

silenus
01-21-2014, 03:38 PM
Does Mexican include Tex-Mex as a sub-set?

GovernmentMan
01-21-2014, 03:40 PM
I don't like Mexican food much. Never crave it. Crazy because I'm from (and still live in) Los Angeles

August West
01-21-2014, 03:46 PM
I voted Italian, but only because of the wider variety offered in the category

Chefguy
01-21-2014, 03:48 PM
Completely different flavors and heat levels, so it really depends on what flavors I'm in the mood for. But I chose Italian just because of variety of tastes and textures, from seafood to pasta.

Zeldar
01-21-2014, 04:05 PM
I tried to be fair with the idea of "prefer" so I chose Italian. I've had as close to authentic in either category as has made it to Nashville. In that sense Italian is ahead something like 60-40.

One of our favorite delivery places is Roma Pizza and Pasta and I get the pasta about half the time we order from them.

Sadly the only "Mexican" nearby is Taco Bell and it's pitiful -- and unreliable. But a little further to drive is an "authentic" sit-down place with good food at okay prices.

SpoilerVirgin
01-21-2014, 04:08 PM
I love them both and eat both regularly, but If I had to eat only one for the rest of my life, (or alternatively, was forbidden to eat one for the rest of my life) I'd be eating Italian.

blondebear
01-21-2014, 04:13 PM
Although I like both, I eat Mexican food much more often than Italian.

Frank
01-21-2014, 04:17 PM
Why can't I prefer both, like the late Earl Warren?

If I had to choose one, it would depend where I was living. In Boston, I'd pick Italian; in Denver, Mexican.

garygnu
01-21-2014, 04:59 PM
Don't wimp out - DECIDE! ;)

Why'd you put an option to wimp out in one direction, and not the other?

Anyway... my parents love to tell the story about their time living in Ohio in the early 1970s. The one place they could find that was advertized as a "Mexican" restaurant actually only served Italian food. They had to get salsa and hot sauce shipped from my grandparents back in California.

silenus
01-21-2014, 05:02 PM
If I had to be exclusive, I'd side with Italian, but it would hurt something fierce.

TBG
01-21-2014, 05:19 PM
Not even close, mexican.

About the only "italian" I eat is pizza. I'm no fan of pasta and everything else seems to be pasta or a small amount of something with a huge side of pasta. You can take these noodles and shove 'em, mister.

scabpicker
01-21-2014, 05:48 PM
I voted Mexican. If I went a week without a taco, I'd be grinding corn by hand to make tortillas.

Does Mexican include Tex-Mex as a sub-set?

I hope so, because it's really just the Mexican food from this region of (formerly) Mexico.


Anyway... my parents love to tell the story about their time living in Ohio in the early 1970s. The one place they could find that was advertized as a "Mexican" restaurant actually only served Italian food. They had to get salsa and hot sauce shipped from my grandparents back in California.

My mother loved to tell the story of living in Ohio in the 1960's, and trying to explain to a grocer what a tortilla even was. "Unleavened corn bread" did not get a look of recognition from them.

silenus
01-21-2014, 07:00 PM
I hope so, because it's really just the Mexican food from this region of (formerly) Mexico.

Not entirely, and I'm hoping it doesn't count so I can still have chili (which is totally American.)

pulykamell
01-21-2014, 07:21 PM
Without a second thought, Mexican. Any region, I don't care. I like Italian, but it's not in my top five favorite cuisines of the world. Mexican is. Probably top three. I find it more varied than Italian (although both are VERY varied cuisines, unlike the popular ideas of what both constitute), but also because I like what I perceive to be the wider range of flavors and influences in Mexican cuisine. Then again, I'd miss the Italian cured meats and cheeses, which are among the best in the world. It's tough, but I'll stick with Mexican.

pulykamell
01-21-2014, 07:27 PM
I also thought about when the last time I was that I went to an Italian restaurant. I can't remember. Probably two years ago. Mexican? Last week. How often do I cook Italian vs Mexican at home? It's probably fairly even, with an edge to Mexican.

wonky
01-21-2014, 07:28 PM
Mexican. So much easier to eat given my inability to handle gluten, and I just prefer the cuisine.

the_diego
01-21-2014, 07:29 PM
Italian for me, although I wish they'd added Spanish.

Cyros
01-21-2014, 07:33 PM
Mexican, no question. I'm just not that into Italian.

There was a wonderful little Mexican place about an hour and a half away run by a Mexican using his grandmother's recipes. The building was run down, the plates and cutlery were mismatched but it was the best Mexican food I've ever had. The owner had to go back to Mexico and the place became a Mexicali Rose's.

Damn I miss that place.

SCAdian
01-21-2014, 07:39 PM
Why'd you put an option to wimp out in one direction, and not the other?

Yeah, why?

Both. I've eaten at real Mexican restaurants, owned and operated by real Mexicans (we went to one for our anniversary a few weeks ago), and I've been to Italy several times. I'm much more likely to fix Italian at home, though (unless you count the frozen chimichangas I nuke for breakfast :)).

LavenderBlue
01-21-2014, 07:49 PM
Italian all the way. Risotto, pizza, fresh pasta, pesto, chicken marsala, gnocchi, prosciutto, ricotta, hazelnuts, a light tomato sauce, good bread, earthy mushrooms -- my mouth waters just thinking about half that stuff. We were in Italy for two weeks. We ate like kings.

Chronos
01-21-2014, 07:51 PM
I could probably eat Italian food every day of the week, while Mexican, I'd top out at three or four days before I got tired of it. I'm rather fond of both, though, and there are some nice fusion options between them as well (try putting some salsa in your spaghetti sauce, for instance).

I don't like either as much as I do Indian, though.

GovernmentMan
01-21-2014, 07:55 PM
also Italian desserts, pastries, bread, etc vs Mexican? No contest

Labrador Deceiver
01-21-2014, 08:16 PM
Mexican, without even thinking about it. Not even close.

Rather than typing out why, I'll agree with every word of puly's post.

LawMonkey
01-21-2014, 08:23 PM
Why decide, when you can have INCHEZONYA (http://www.charlesphoenix.com/category/inchezonya/)?

blondebear
01-21-2014, 08:24 PM
I want to see a cage match: Pizza vs. Burrito.

Darth Panda
01-21-2014, 08:30 PM
I love Mexican, but have to go with Italian. I'm not happy that I was forced to choose.

I recently had a shrimp and tomato-shallot confit risotto at Las Pizarras in Buenos Aires that blew my damned mind - it's tough to beat a good risotto.

the_diego
01-21-2014, 08:32 PM
OT: Joseph Wambaugh seemed to side with Montezuma Montez in his feud with Bullets Bambarella.

Larry Borgia
01-21-2014, 08:40 PM
I put down Mexican food, but in DC I would have to put down Italian. The Mexican food in DC is mediocre at best. But the food in Tucson: Goddamn.

Octarine
01-21-2014, 08:45 PM
Italian, and it wasn't too tough a choice. Done right, Mexican is incredibly good; but done right, Italian is life-changing.

Plus, once you factor in desserts, Mexican doesn't stand a chance.

the_diego
01-21-2014, 08:49 PM
You guys are forgetting the wines. Mexicali begs for beer and ginebra. If I'm a millionaire, I can see myself perfectly satisfied with nibbling salad, sparse servings of pasta, and sipping dry red.

zamboniracer
01-21-2014, 08:50 PM
Singing, "I like Chinese...":)

April R
01-21-2014, 08:55 PM
where is the "BOTH please" option?

dogbutler
01-21-2014, 08:58 PM
I love both, but if I could have only one, I'd go Mexican. Because, fish tacos and Habenero salsa.

Grrr!
01-21-2014, 09:26 PM
If you looked in my fridge with out knowing who lives there, you would no doubt come to the conclusion that a Mexican lived there. So....

But damn! What a dismal life with out Italian food.

pulykamell
01-21-2014, 09:32 PM
I want to see a cage match: Pizza vs. Burrito.

See, if you put it that way, I'd go pizza without a second thought. I don't much like burritos. But overall, Mexican food over Italian. This is not to say that Italian doesn't have some of my favorite dishes. I love a great bucatini all'amatriciana and osso buco with a well-prepared risotto alla milanese is just sublime. And don't get me started on a real Neapolitan pizza marghareta, one of life's greatest pleasure. But I just enjoy the variety and the influences of North American, African, American, Spanish, and indigenous cuisines of Mexico even more. And, well, I love chile peppers and the wide varieties and flavors of chiles that Mexican food employs is awesome. I don't think there's a single cuisine that combines the different flavors of various chile peppers together better.

ISiddiqui
01-21-2014, 10:16 PM
Italian includes Pizza. I'm originally from New Jersey, so no contest, it's Italian in a landslide (I'll take NJ Pizza over just about any other food out there).

pulykamell
01-21-2014, 10:32 PM
I'm actually a bit surprised by how dead split this poll is. I would have guessed Italian would be winning by a 2:1 margin or so, but each time I check this thread, it seems one or the other is up just by one or two votes.

Suburban Plankton
01-22-2014, 12:46 AM
If you'd asked me 20 years ago, maybe even 10, my answer would have been "Italian! No question about it!". But as I've gotten older my tastes have broadened. My answer is still "Italian", but it's a much, much closer contest now.

the_diego
01-22-2014, 12:52 AM
The Mississippi river will bring about the demise of the Union.

Tim R. Mortiss
01-22-2014, 01:11 AM
I don't even have to wake up my second brain to answer this one. Italian by a thousand kilometers. For one thing, it's the cuisine of my ancestors. For another, it's like a billion times better.

The worst thing about Italian food? Five or six days later, you're hungry again!

WhyNot
01-22-2014, 03:28 AM
I was on the fence through most of this thread, and jumped the border back and forth a couple of times...but desserts clinches it. Gotta go Italian. Mexican desserts are just not my thing at all, and a life without tiramisu is a life not worth living.

panache45
01-22-2014, 06:46 AM
I thought Italian would be the overwhelming favorite in this poll. Go figure.

Equipoise
01-22-2014, 06:48 AM
Mexican. We have 2 authentic Mexican restaurants within a block and it's hard to stay away. I do love Italian too, but it would rank 4th after Indian (and Pakistan cuisine), Mexican and Chinese. They're all diverse countries and I like everything from every area. Except Mole. Ugh, I hate Mole.

Part of that is, I love rice in all its forms.

Hypno-Toad
01-22-2014, 06:50 AM
I voted Italian, but only because of the wider variety offered in the category

My answer as well.

Leaper
01-22-2014, 06:50 AM
I thought Italian would be the overwhelming favorite in this poll. Go figure.

I know, especially considering I find one is a lot easier to cook at home than the other. Just the endless variety of pastas and sauces alone, never mind pizza and gelato... (Alluded to in the above post quote.)

Left Hand of Dorkness
01-22-2014, 07:00 AM
I second the pizza-vs-burrito cage-match. Yeah, both cuisines have lots of other delicious treats, but these are the things I crave.

And it comes down to burritos for me. We eat them about once a week, generally black beans (from dried, not canned, makes a giant difference), cheese, avocado, salsa, and whatever other stuff we have around to throw in, and it's one of my favorite meals. I love me some pizza, but that's a rarer treat.

Loach
01-22-2014, 07:05 AM
I prefer Taco Bell over Domino's.

JohnT
01-22-2014, 08:04 AM
where is the "BOTH please" option?

What's the point in finding out that a lot of people like both? I know that already. Putting in a "Both" option would have rendered the voting to 90 Both, 10 Italian, 10 Mexican, and 5 neither... which tells us nothing.

However, by leaving that option out, we're finding that the preferences are surprisingly (to me and others) even - I would have thought Italian would have been up 70/30, and not the 50/50 race it's been.

There is one for "neither" because some people might not like either of them. But if you like one, or both, you're asked to decide.

JohnT
01-22-2014, 08:06 AM
I was on the fence through most of this thread, and jumped the border back and forth a couple of times...but desserts clinches it. Gotta go Italian. Mexican desserts are just not my thing at all, and a life without tiramisu is a life not worth living.

Did you just use the phrase "jumped the border" in a discussion about Mexican food? ;)

You're punny!

ktribe808
01-22-2014, 08:11 AM
I love both but I would have to pick Mexican!

SanVito
01-22-2014, 08:14 AM
Having just got back from two weeks in Mexico, I'll be happy not to eat Mexican for about 6 months. Having been to Italy every year for the last twenty, I never say the same about Italian food. So, Italian. For the quality of the ingredients alone.

I'm not comparing American Mexican with American Italian as I'm not familiar with either. So not sure my opinion would be different in that case.

WhyNot
01-22-2014, 08:20 AM
Did you just use the phrase "jumped the border" in a discussion about Mexican food? ;)

You're punny!

;)

even sven
01-22-2014, 09:31 AM
Mexican. By far. I am Californian, and Mexican food is pure comfort for me. My life in exile in DC has been pretty miserable, food wise. I miss the taste of home.

I think a lot of people here don't appreciate the variety and complexity of Mexican food. It's just as nuanced and complex as any other cuisine, with wide regional variations and it's own haute cuisine.

Really good Italian food is good, but most of it is kind of meh to me.

pulykamell
01-22-2014, 09:32 AM
Mexican. We have 2 authentic Mexican restaurants within a block and it's hard to stay away. I do love Italian too, but it would rank 4th after Indian (and Pakistan cuisine), Mexican and Chinese. They're all diverse countries and I like everything from every area. Except Mole. Ugh, I hate Mole.


I would probably have a similar list, although Thai would also be up there, and probably French, so Italian would fall to at at least sixth (though I probably would put Turkish ahead of it or tied with it.)

As for mole, there's like a gazillion kinds of mole, some relatively straight forward, others very complex. I'm guessing you probably don't like the chocolatey moles like poblano, negro, and rojo. However, check out some of the others (http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/08/15/7-moles-oaxaca). Mole amarillo (my favorite to make at home, fairly simple. Here's a good Rick Bayless recipe (http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/view?recipeID=431). I do a version with chicken and chayote that comes from his Mexican Everyday cookbook. I suspect you'd like it, since you like Indian food.) Mole verde (http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/mole-verde) is also quite nice and light, with focus on fresh herbs and clean flavors and often (but not always) pumpkin seeds. And that article is just the seven moles of Oaxaca (a place culinarily famous for its moles). There's even more moles beyond (for example, the famous mole poblano, which is the default mole in the US, is not one of those seven.)

aruvqan
01-22-2014, 09:46 AM
where is the "BOTH please" option?
This.

Chronos
01-22-2014, 09:50 AM
I just thought of something that reinforces my decision: Calamari. I don't think Mexico has any tradition of squid dishes, and properly-made calamari is the most amazing food on the planet.

JohnT
01-22-2014, 10:05 AM
This.

This. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=17036863&postcount=57)

pulykamell
01-22-2014, 10:11 AM
I don't think Mexico has any tradition of squid dishes

Sure they do. In ceviche, in stews (sometimes cooked in its own ink), fried (chicharron de calamar), etc. And besides the usual shrimp and fish dishes, you'll also find octopus and conch represented in Mexican cuisine. Conch ceviche is my favorite.

Zeldar
01-22-2014, 10:25 AM
It surely would be neat if there were a way to construct a poll with multiple choices and a way to rank those choices from #1 to #whatever so the binary choice between just two of them could be a bit more in keeping with the way things like ethnic cuisines work.

I mean, if you could have the tally power of a poll and the variety of more than two, that could make for some real breakdown of people's tastes and preferences.

For instance, if you could rank your preferences for these things, and the OP not have to collect and sort the data, it would be much more educational, I think:

-- Italian
-- Mexican
-- Greek (Mediterranean not mentioned)
-- Indian
-- Chinese
-- Japanese
-- Polynesian
-- French
-- English
-- Irish
-- Papua New Guinese
-- some cannibal culture

JohnT
01-22-2014, 10:27 AM
Noticed you left off "American", but it begs the question of what is "American cuisine" in the first place.

I love Mexican and Italian, but if you told me that I could have no more T-bone steaks, peanut butter, or fried chicken, my life would be a vast wasteland. ;)

... And I would lose about 20 pounds.

pulykamell
01-22-2014, 10:33 AM
Noticed you left off "American", but it begs the question of what is "American cuisine" in the first place.

True, but if we're being so broad as to lop all regional cuisines under categories like "Chinese," "Indian," "Mexican," "Italian," and the such, might as well include all of America's indigenous cuisines: Southern food, Cajun/Creole food, New England, Tex-Mex, Midwestern (which apparently is supposed to be the new food trend for this year), etc.

Zeldar
01-22-2014, 10:34 AM
Noticed you left off "American", but it begs the question of what is "American cuisine" in the first place.

I love Mexican and Italian, but if you told me that I could have no more T-bone steaks, peanut butter, or fried chicken, my life would be a vast wasteland. ;)

... And I would lose about 20 pounds.

The only "American" I can think of would be Native American and I know little about it except for pemmican and frybread. For that matter, can anybody identify a Native American restaurant or even a chain of fast foods with that distinction?

I could expand the list to include Soul Food, Creole, Cajun and other regional styles, but I am at a loss for what "American" even means.

JohnT
01-22-2014, 10:44 AM
Well, exactly. We Americans eat a lot, but nobody bothers to call what we eat "American." Then again, they don't have "Italian restaurants" in Italy, do they? ;)

catnoe
01-22-2014, 10:44 AM
Italian, no contest. We were stationed in Naples, Italy for three years. There was a place down the street we went to frequently. My favorite was Buccatini ala chef. Fresh tomato sauce with eggplant and cubed, REAL mozzerella over buccatini. They also made an awesome margherita pizza.

The pizza in Rome was different, square and tended to have meat on it, Naples pizza not as much meat.
A place I wish I could remember the name of off Campo de Fiori. We broke our rule of only eating at a place once there. The saltimbocca was so tasty (and other dishes) that we took several friends and family members there for dinner over the short time in Italy.

In Florence the food was more meat oriented, less pasta. Still tasty.

Southern Italy was my favorite though.

Mexican I can take or leave. If you broaden the category and add Central and South American, I may have to think a little more on the choice.

pulykamell
01-22-2014, 11:12 AM
Well, exactly. We Americans eat a lot, but nobody bothers to call what we eat "American." Then again, they don't have "Italian restaurants" in Italy, do they? ;)

Well, one of the basic categories for restaurant searches I see (like, check Yelp! for instance, or the Chicago Reader's own restaurant search), is "American," so I'd say that, yes, it's a classification used here.

LavenderBlue
01-22-2014, 12:14 PM
Here's a game (http://www.sporcle.com/games/Booger/ZagatNYC) challenging people to name the Zagat classifications of NYC restaurants. It has over a hundred answers.

silenus
01-22-2014, 12:22 PM
I just thought of something that reinforces my decision: Calamari. I don't think Mexico has any tradition of squid dishes, and properly-made calamari is the most amazing food on the planet.

That alone would guarantee Mexico supremacy on my list. Squid isn't food; it's bait. :p

But I can forgive Italy for calamari because they make up for it in so many other culinary ways.

Purd Werfect
01-22-2014, 01:55 PM
If pizza counts as Italian, I'd have to go with that. I've lived for years in an area with a huge Latino population, and taquerias are plentiful and great, but there's a certain sameness to the food after awhile.

Actually, when it comes to both Mexican and Italian, the food is so regionally varied, that my idea of either is actually pretty narrow. So while I'll still choose, my choice is nowhere near as informed as it could be.

Nava
01-22-2014, 03:21 PM
My Italian ancestors would raise from the dead and cuss me in three languages if I didn't pick Italian, plus its influence in Spanish cuisine is enormous.

My contact with Mexican has been a lot lower and most of it was either too hot (despite being from chains) or Americanized (which simply doesn't count; I'm not talking about Tex-Mex but about bland); worse, some of it was Europeized (bland squared). And it's not as if it's the only country where you can get huevos rancheros :D


(try putting some salsa in your spaghetti sauce, for instance)

In Spanish that would be redundant, and in Italian it would be a version of arrabiata.

Left Hand of Dorkness
01-22-2014, 09:38 PM
My Italian ancestors would raise from the dead and cuss me in three languages if I didn't pick Italian, plus its influence in Spanish cuisine is enormous.Well, fair enough, but
My contact with Mexican has been a lot lower and most of it was either too hot (despite being from chains) or Americanized (which simply doesn't count; I'm not talking about Tex-Mex but about bland); worse, some of it was Europeized (bland squared). And it's not as if it's the only country where you can get huevos rancheros :DIf the only Italian food I'd ever had were Papa John's Pizza, I'd think Italian food was pretty nasty. Good Mexican food--say, some huevos rancheros made with Mexican chorizo with its chiliful, cinnamony awesomeness--is quite a bit removed from Taco Bell.

BigT
01-23-2014, 10:37 AM
Mexican has more stuff I can eat now, but, even before I think I would have chosen that one. Most of what I know of as Italian is pasta, and I've never been the biggest pasta fan. I do love pizza, but it's the convenience food version, which I think of as more American than anything else.

silenus
01-23-2014, 10:46 AM
If Mexican = tacos and Italian = pizza to you, then I pity your taste buds and digestive system.

Both countries have vibrant cuisines that vary greatly by region and usually have nothing to do with the lowest common denominators mentioned above.

Zeldar
01-23-2014, 10:46 AM
Mexican has more stuff I can eat now, but, even before I think I would have chosen that one. Most of what I know of as Italian is pasta, and I've never been the biggest pasta fan. I do love pizza, but it's the convenience food version, which I think of as more American than anything else.

It's been a long time -- long enough that I have already forgotten where I put them -- but I used to collect ethnic cookbooks back when I fancied myself an aspiring cook. Mostly Asian and Mediterranean, but I was amazed at how few Italian recipes were NOT pasta and did NOT have tomatoes in them. The closest to an authentic Italian eatery (not necessarily restaurant) I've found in this area had an abundance of non-pasta dishes. Some that I tried were spectacular. Of course, nowadays Italian is pizza and pasta -- and cannoli! :)

pulykamell
01-23-2014, 10:56 AM
Well, fair enough, but
If the only Italian food I'd ever had were Papa John's Pizza, I'd think Italian food was pretty nasty. Good Mexican food--say, some huevos rancheros made with Mexican chorizo with its chiliful, cinnamony awesomeness--is quite a bit removed from Taco Bell.

It does help if you like chile peppers, though. I don't find any kind of Mexican particularly spicy (it's kind of medium spicy on the cuisines of the world spicy scale. A fiesty arrabiata can get spicier than many Mexican dishes), but chile peppers do play a pretty prominent role, so if a little heat ain't your thing, it can be a bit difficult to get into. Sure, plenty of stuff can be made without any kind of chile peppers at all (and plenty of dishes have nothing to do with chile peppers), but you'd be missing out on good bit. Like I said, I doubt there is a cuisine in the world that makes use of the various flavors and heat levels of different chiles better than Mexican cuisine. From the mild, deeply flavored, raisiny-pruney ancho, to the hauntingly smoky, spicy chipotle, to the sharp, earthy arbol, there's just so many flavors and heat levels to choose from.

Chronos
01-23-2014, 10:56 AM
Quoth pulykamell:

Sure they do [eat squid]. In ceviche, in stews (sometimes cooked in its own ink), fried (chicharron de calamar), etc. And besides the usual shrimp and fish dishes, you'll also find octopus and conch represented in Mexican cuisine. Conch ceviche is my favorite.
Hm, in that case, I look forward to someday trying those dishes.

And American food is characterized mostly by the use of exotic vegetables, such as maize and squash. No, of course they don't seem exotic to you: That's kind of the point.

pulykamell
01-23-2014, 11:01 AM
Hm, in that case, I look forward to someday trying those dishes.

It helps if you can find a place that specializes in Mexican seafood (which is going to be difficult for most people, I think). In my neighborhood, they are a dime a dozen, quite often across the street from each other. I have absolutely no idea how they survive with (what appears to me at least) the over-saturation of all these mariscos places.

Loach
01-23-2014, 11:23 AM
I've never been to Mexico or Italy so I can't comment on authentic cuisine from either location. I've stayed for extensive periods of time in texas and New Mexico and some time in Southern California. I also grew up in what I consider the best area for Italian American food (the NYC/NJ area, I know others will disagree) with an Italian mother. So I think I have had a decent variety of both. I like Mexican food. Maybe even love it. But I wouldn't have it more than once a week. Once every other week would be fine. I have Italian food of one type or another at least several times a week. Italian is ahead by a wide margin. What I have had of Spanish food I have liked quite a bit. But it is pretty close to Italian.

jrsone
01-23-2014, 12:58 PM
If we are talking authentic, I would have to say Mexican. I like Italian food, wouldn't pass it up if offered, but I'm never really craving it, except for maybe pizza or pepperoni rolls.

Oddly enough, being a small town in West Virginia we have some very good authentic Mexican and Italian eateries to choose from.

AHunter3
01-23-2014, 01:53 PM
Mexican by a hair, I think, but that's a really rough call to make.

Here in the penumbra of New York City, I can get spectacularly nice Italian cheaply in lots of nearby places; Mexican is thinner on the ground and fantastic Mexican kind of rare. More than there used to be, though.

Left Hand of Dorkness
01-23-2014, 03:58 PM
If Mexican = tacos and Italian = pizza to you, then I pity your taste buds and digestive system.

Both countries have vibrant cuisines that vary greatly by region and usually have nothing to do with the lowest common denominators mentioned above.Say, aren't you the dude that just called people pretentious in another thread?

Anyway, who said anything about Mexican=tacos and Italian=pizza?

silenus
01-23-2014, 04:52 PM
The guy who posted just below you and an hour later pretty strongly insinuated it, actually. But it was a general statement, not a specific condemnation of anyone's post. Terribly sorry if I trod on your sensitive little toesies.

As for "pretentious".....it takes one to know one. That's how I spotted the OP! :p

Moonchild
01-23-2014, 05:30 PM
Without considering desserts, I would take Mexican over Italian by a wide margin. In fact, two years ago the family spent 10 days in Italy (Rome/Tuscany/Cinque Terra) and the only Italian that really got me was made by a Chinese family. (Again, not considering desserts here.) I will say that Italian seafood is on the whole way better than Mexican seafood.

I wonder if quality Italian is more obtainable overall in the U.S. than is Mexican. A few years back I tried to find Mexican food in Seattle and the only Mexican food we could find put ham in its tostada.

Full disclosure: I've lived in L.A. all my life, so have been exposed to great Mexican food as the norm.

Left Hand of Dorkness
01-23-2014, 06:13 PM
Terribly sorry if I trod on your sensitive little toesies.
Apology accepted in the spirit it was made.
As for "pretentious".....it takes one to know one. No doubt.

Chronos
01-23-2014, 08:58 PM
Actually, BigT said that he thought of Italian as mostly pasta, and that pizza he considered American.

Left Hand of Dorkness
01-23-2014, 09:40 PM
Also:The guy who posted just below you and an hour later pretty strongly insinuated it, actually.
What, this guy?
I prefer Taco Bell over Domino's.
That was a joke, son.

Cite:
I've never been to Mexico or Italy so I can't comment on authentic cuisine from either location. I've stayed for extensive periods of time in texas and New Mexico and some time in Southern California. I also grew up in what I consider the best area for Italian American food (the NYC/NJ area, I know others will disagree) with an Italian mother. So I think I have had a decent variety of both.

JohnT
01-24-2014, 07:56 AM
The guy who posted just below you and an hour later pretty strongly insinuated it, actually. But it was a general statement, not a specific condemnation of anyone's post. Terribly sorry if I trod on your sensitive little toesies.

As for "pretentious".....it takes one to know one. That's how I spotted the OP! :p

:confused:

longhair75
01-24-2014, 08:02 AM
I got my first job in a family owned Italian restaurant. The matriarch of the family was still an active part in running the kitchen. When I was fourteen, I thought she was over a hundred years old, but she was probably in her seventies. She only spoke about a dozen words of English, but she made sure that every dish that left the kitchen was up to her standard. I learned a lot of what I know about cooking from this grand old lady. By age fifteen, I started out at the salad station and later moved to the pizza oven and then the cooking line.

I love Mexican food, but my kitchen palate is still mostly Italian.

Scubaqueen
01-24-2014, 10:14 AM
Indianapolis and the surrounding metro area seems to be a magnet for hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants. Purportedly, they're all money-laundering ops, but the food is always exceptional, so whatev. :D

Nevertheless, I grew up next to a southern Italian family, so I know from Italian food. Mom and dad came over on the boat and mom was the best cook I've ever known.

To this day, I can still taste her homemade pasta dough. She would have to make extra for us kids, otherwise we'd steal her blind before the cooking could actually commence.

The problem is finding good Italian restaurants here. They are few and far between, unfortunately.

Apocalypso
01-24-2014, 12:22 PM
That is a very cruel decision to force someone to make. I loves me some Mexican food and could eat it 5 or 6 days a week, but Italian has more of a variety and you have great wines to go with it. On the other hand, a freshly made chimichanga with skirt steak and cheese was among the best things I've ever eaten.
<glares at JohnT> I will take Italian, sir, but I am not happy at all. :mad:

salinqmind
01-24-2014, 05:43 PM
Italian, by miles. I live in a red sauce town and we have bakeries cranking out fantastic Italian bread. My own Italian cooking is about as good as it gets. The only Mexican food I've had is Taco Bell, and maybe a step up like Salsarita's or Moe's. I'm just not that fond of the same old chili, beans, cheese, tortillas, tacos. I find it boring. And I just KNOW there's really good Mexican food out there, somewhere, but not where I live! Would love to give it a try.

Typo Negative
01-24-2014, 06:41 PM
Unless it's a place I know that makes great chorizo and uses lots of cilantro, I go Italian.

Slithy Tove
01-24-2014, 07:01 PM
I'd rather eat Mexican than Italian during the daytime, and that starts at first light: I can't even think of a non-pastry Italian item I'd want for breakfast. Mexican for breakfast? Yes!

But after dark I'd prefer Italian. Overall it's my favorite, but it's better if I can sleep afterward instead of go back to work.

Plus, if all I was offered was either's pre-entre nibbler, I'd rather have a basket of fresh bread drenched in butter and garlic than chips and salsa.

Lamar Mundane
01-24-2014, 07:53 PM
Say, aren't you the dude that just called people pretentious in another thread?

Anyway, who said anything about Mexican=tacos and Italian=pizza?

The guy who posted just below you and an hour later pretty strongly insinuated it, actually. But it was a general statement, not a specific condemnation of anyone's post. Terribly sorry if I trod on your sensitive little toesies.

As for "pretentious".....it takes one to know one. That's how I spotted the OP! :p

Food Fight!

MoodIndigo1
01-24-2014, 08:18 PM
One word : cilantro (coriander). I don't eat Mexican food.

Dublin11
01-25-2014, 12:19 PM
I've been to Italy and I've been to Mexico and in my opinion Italian food is streets ahead. Not to say that I think there is anything particularly objectionable about Mexican food, everything I had there was alright and some of it was very nice. But if I could never eat Mexican food again in my life it wouldn't bother me one tiny bit. But if I could never eat Italian food again I'd be desolate.

No umlaut for U
01-25-2014, 03:22 PM
Mexican.
Some northern Italian food is OK, and Italian seafood dishes rock, but nothing on Earth compares to good refried beans, or to guacamole.
I can't tell the difference between Italian food I whip up, and that I have had in a restaurant. I just can't seem to replicate Mexican food (except for some of the Tex-Mex dishes).

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.