The Mexican Food Thread

hey zenster, ever eaten the tacos from the el toyanense taco trucks on harrison st in SF? man, o manischevitz! one dollar buys: two beautiful lil corn tortillas, a big hotel spoon of carne asada, or al pastor, or cabeza, a spoon of nice spicy red sauce (not salsa) and some chopped onions and cilantro. heaven! no beans, rice, lettuce, cheese, any of that. i always order one more than i should really eat. my guatemalan pal taught me to bite the tip offa the pickled jalapeno and pour the juice all over em. ai dolor! theyre good.

chiles en nogada get me really really hot. ive never seen em on a menu, i make em myself.

i love enchiladas in a most unreasonable fashion, as well.

As you can see, I love my Mexican food. Java is correct when she says that true Mexican food does not use scads of cheese. If you pause to consider it, cheese is a very expensive and difficult food stuff to make. It requires large amounts of pasture and specialized equipment. This is definitely not the norm for most of Mexico. More frequently it is Tex-Mex dishes that are slathered in melted cheese.

This is why I strongly recommend trying a well made Chile Relleno. It is one of the truly sublime Mexican dishes as beckwall noted. When you see Cheddar cheese on your food, you can be assured that it is not authentic. I will disagree about tacos however. One of the quickest ways to tell if you are getting the real thing is to order a beef taco. It it arrives filled with ground beef, you can immediately assume that the rest of the menu will be suspect as well. That said, some of my very favorite Mexican restaurants serve ground beef in their tacos, I just do not order them when I go there.

As strange as it sounds, even here amidst the rich Hispanic heritage of Silicon Valley it can be difficult to find good Mexican food. I am continually astounded by this. Good Mexican food is fairly easy to make and pretty difficult to ruin. Yet all too often, the slop that I run into in these restaurants is many grades below what I can make myself. I would like to think that this is due to them adjusting the flavors for us gringos, but that is both egocentric and incorrect. Lots of these restaurants have an almost exclusively Hispanic clientele, so that cannot be the answer. It’s not just you samclem, lots of places really muck up what should be fine and tasty eats.

I cannot believe that I left out one of my favorite combinations in the OP.

[li]Refried beans and Spanish rice with yellow corn tortilla chips.[/li]
This combo is fabulous in its depth of flavor. The complete nutrition formed by the corn and beans is overshadowed by the almost cashew-like flavor. Scoop up some of the rice, beans and melted cheese on a chip and get ready to forget your name (it’s that good).

The compendium below reprises all of my Mexican food submissions to the recipe thread. The link will take you to the Active Index for easy navigating. There are many other excellent recipes there that are not included in my personal compendium. Be sure to peruse them as many are quite authentic.
[li]** Sopa De Arroz Con Pollo**[/li]Chicken and Rice Soup
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Guacamole[/li]Mexican Avocado Dip
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]**Pico de Gallo **[/li]Hot Mexican Relish
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Carnitas[/li]Crispy Mexican Style Pork
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Chili de Guaillo[/li]Authentic Old Style Mexican Chili
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]**Ensalada de la Bandera **[/li]*Mexican Flag Salad *
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Spanish Rice[/li]Seasoned Rice
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Carne de Res[/li]Shredded Mexican Beef
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Mexican Style Beans[/li]Chili Beans
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Salsa Casera[/li]Seranno Chilie Salsa
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Agent Orange[/li]Habanero Salsa
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Chicken Enchiladas[/li]Mexican Main Course
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Salsa 101[/li]Salsa Making Techniques
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

[li]Jalapeño Salsa[/li]Mexican Hot Sauce
[sup]Submitted by Zenster[/sup]

i have rick bayless’ authentic mexican cooking and it is very very good.

You suck!!! :wink:

Though I did find Rubio’s website and happily found that they have a restaurant a mere 90 miles away.

Time for a roadtrip.

In Northern Mexico there are Mennonites who make incredible cheese, usually just called “queso menonita”. It is soft and white and its sold everywhere in Chihuahua. A brick of it can be bought for a dollar or so.
Away from the northern states such as Chihuahua and Sonora, where there are Germans, and American influences from Mormon colonies, most Mexican food has almost no cheese or dairy (aside from a little crema), and beef is a rare treat. Pork, turkey, or chicken are almost always use in dishes that American “Mexican” restaurants use beef.
In many ways “Mexican food” is an American invention, people in Mexico have different cuisines ranging from “Tex-Mex” along the border, seafood along the west coast, Afro-Carribean influenced in Veracruz to essentially pre-Columbian Indian in the far south, and American or European in the bigger cities.

We have multiple mexican food restaurants, one or two are good, the rest are an insult to hispanics. We also have dozens of taco wagons, most of these have excellent food.

My favorite food from our local taco wagon, Marthas’ Tacos, is a carne asada torta. This is a sandwich made from a mexican bakery roll, chopped marinated beef steak, lettuce, onions, salsa, and guacamole. The sandwich is garnished with sliced radishes and a whole jalapeno and includes a lime wedge.

My favorite food at our favorite mexican restaurant is carne asada. But, absolutely annthing they serve is delicious.

Taco Bell, Taco Time and the other joints that serve up swile should be banned.

The locker here in town has started making chorizo. I don’t know how authentic it is – the ingredients are “pork and spices.”

Our food choices are pretty limited here, and I always buy anything exotic, to encourage the grocer and the meat processor to keep experimenting. But I don’t know what to do with it. (I have a freezer full of fresh ginger for the same reason.)

Seems like it’d be good in tacos, for sure, but what else?

The best Mexican food I’ve found so far was in a little place near Pioneer Square in Seattle – I think it was on 1st Avenue at about Yesler or Cherry. Can’t recall the name, darn it. Excellent chicken mole. Heck, El Tapatio’s in Greenwood ain’t bad either.

Anyone close to northern New Mexico (say, for example, within a continent or two) owes it to themselves to find a little village called Chimayo and go eat at a place called the Rancho de Chimayo.

Actually, the official ingredients for chorizo are “lips and assholes.”

Barbacoa…Meat from a cows head cooked in a pit. Great stuff, a smile in every bite.

That air-dried beef, marinated in lime and garlic, that they make in Tucson, Arizona. Carne seca. The Sonoran restaurant El Charro is famous for it.

this is the only restaurant i’ve ever been a “regular” at–the waitstaff know me!

i guess eating there at least twice monthly for the past 8 years eventually has some effect. i’m vegetarian now, but i often have fantasies about their carne asada super burritos drenched in tomatillo salsa…

Rubio’s fish tacos are also amazing.

I don’t consider Tex-mex to be the real thing. Real good mexican is NEW MEXICAN; the NM green chile peppers are the best in the world! I love green chile and pork stew, as made by MICHAEL’s Kitchen (taos, NM). And…the best thing-New Mexican Sopapillas (with honey butter) are divine!

I really love tortilla soup…chicken broth, grilled chicken, cheese, avocado, and crispy torillas… mmmm…

And guacamole is really easy to make. One avocado. Juice of one lemon or lime. One spoonful salsa. The secret is LOTS of lemon/lime…

"Actually, the official ingredients for chorizo are “lips and assholes.”

WOWZER! The SDMB is made up of the same ingredients as chorizo. :smiley:

bravo, samclem!

Ha! So what do I do with lips and assholes?

While reading this thread I was envisioning my favorite Mexican food. I have only found it in El Centro, CA area. It is called a Special Quesadilla. It is made with cheese and butter deep fried in a pastry shell. It just melts in the mouth.

I love good carne asada. It is hard to find a place that actually serves carne asada, what you usually get is just steak–where is the carne? I found a good place in Long Beach called Casa Sanchez.

I grew up in a predominately Mexican area and have fond memories of homemade tortillas with butter. Oh, and a Mexican BBQ where the meat is cooked underground for a day. I need to go get something to eat, I am starving now.

Your Mexican barbeque is called a pibil. This really deserves a recipe from Zenster, but what the hey.

I’ve been fortunate enough to eat at Mr. Bayless’ restaurant here in Chicago, The Frontera Grill. I also have three of his cookbooks (Mexican Kitchen, Salsas That Cook, and Mexico: One Plate at a Time). He also has a PBS cooking show that is INCREDIBLE.

Look for his line of salsas and other products at Frontera Kitchen’s website. There are also a load of recipes you can try. From his tutoring, I’ve made a great picadillo-stuffed chili rellenos, braised beef short ribs, tomatillo braised pork-loin, and oh so many more. I buy more poblano peppers than anyone I know. :slight_smile:

Anyway, I can’t recommend his stuff or his show enough.