Whats the difference between a burrito, a soft taco, a chimmi-changa, etc.

Well, there were people cooking food in the Mexican style in California and Texas for longer than California and Texas have been part of the United States.

I’ve never seen fish tacos on flour tortillas before this place. But I’ve seen cheese on them in SoCal (granted, not in a Mexican restaurant – which the pub isn’t, BTW). Taco del Mar (a chain) puts cheese on unless you tell them not to. (They make the tacos in front of you, like Subway makes sandwiches.) But I agree with you: Soft corn tortillas, fish, cabbage, white sauce, and lime squeezin’s.

Speaking of white sauce, how do you make it? I mix taco seasoning into some sour cream. It’s lazy, but it tastes good – and I don’t have a real recipe.

Fish: Battered and fried? Or spatula’d on a grill? I prefer fried, myself. The pub uses Cajun-style blackened filets.

Johnny, have you tried Chevy’s?

No, the closest one is like 270 miles away.

I generally do a 50/50 mix of sour cream and mayo, then hit it with some lime juice, diced cilantro and a dollop of adobo sauce. The fish is usually battered and fried. Hell, I’ve used Gorton’s Fish Sticks in tacos before. It’s all good.

I’ll give that a try.

(And yes, I used breaded fish filets once. It works in a pinch.)

Largely because of one of the most popular traditional ingredients in a lot of Tex-Mex, lard. Mexican food cookbook author Jim Peyton wrote this FAQ, and specifically addresses this in the next to last question. Lard was used to make tortillas, refried beans, tamales, etc. and there’s just no way to have low-fat lard. A health-conscious cook can find good substitutes, but the most commonly used recipes were loaded with saturated fat from lard.


I really like a bit of queso fresco on a fish taco (made with soft corn tortilla of course) and no white sauce, but instead a zip of a good spicy salsa, either red or green is good to me.

As far as the fish, I like both grilled or deep fried (battered) but I suppose that grilled is more healthy and possibly more “authentic” whatever the fock that means when it comes to food.

Dos Equis, Pacifico or if I want to drink what all the Mexicans (and I mean people actually born and raised in Mexico, living in Salt Lake) around here drink, a bottle of Budwieser…

Do I know you?

You werent the guy who brought the sushi rolls with generic spam in them to the company cook out were you? :slight_smile:

I was going to come in and say most of this. All “enchilada” means is “en-chilied.” There are even enchiladas in which the chiles are in the dough used to make the tortilla. See" enchiladas potosinas. These are from San Luis Potosi and resemble empanadas or tacos dorados (fried tacos) more than the typical enchilada, but are known as enchiladas because they are made with en-chilied dough.

I’ve seen no consistency for the terms. Zarela Martinez, restaurateur and cookbook author, writes in Food From My Heart, writes:

She continues with her recipe, which calls for corn tortillas.

According to what I can find on Google, some places in the US make the corn vs. flour distinction in taquitos. Some places in Mexico make a length distinction (long = flauta, short = taquito.) I use the terms interchangeably.

Only flour tortillas use any type of fat, whether the traditional lard or vegetable shortening. Corn tortillas do not use anything but water and nixtamal.

When I was little my sister would take me to Pacific Beach, where there was a taco stand. She used to buy me two taquitos with guacamole. Loved them! I didn’t have a flauta (in a flour tortilla) until the late-'80s. So in my mind a taquito is made with a corn tortilla, and a flauta is made with a flour tortilla. A flauta made with a corn tortilla would, to me, be a ‘big taquito’.

Robb Walsh writes about food for the Houston Press. Here’s part of his series on Tex-Mex (later published as a book), dealing with “The Myth of Authenticity.”

Here in Houston, soft tacos are made with flour* or* corn tortillas. Corn tastes better but flour makes a sturdier wrapper. Enchiladas are nearly always made with corn tortillas here. I’ve tasted seafood or spinach enchiladas made with flour tortillas–perhaps the cook thinks they work like crepes. Nope.

We’ve got a wide variety of Tex-Mex down here. Plus a few restaurants offering “interior Mexican” cuisine. And quite a few places run by recent immigrants, serving more recent immigrants–& brave gringos!

If you like to confide in celebrity chefs such as Martinez that is fine and for many they are the only resource available. But to really get to know and understand Mexican food the very best places to learn (understandably difficult or impossible for many readers here) are México’s mercados and cenadurías. As Pablo Neruda said “México está en sus mercados

For those who can read Spanish there are also a large number of books published here by CONACULTA or the “Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes” aimed at preserving traditional cooking.

Another impeccable source for information on authentic Mexican cuisine are books La cocina de México I and La cocina de México II by José N. Iturriaga. He also has books titled “* La cultura del antojito**” and “De tacos, tamales y tortas”.

*most of the discussion on the SD concerning Mexican food centers on antojitos

I’ve only had the pleasure so far of experiencing Merida’s (and Progreso’s) mercados during a recent exploration of the Yucatán, and my next stop, hopefully, will be Oaxaca. No matter where I travel, the first place you will find me is at the street vendor and markets/butchers/delis/etc. This is how I like to learn a culture. :slight_smile: I cited Martinez because, well, that’s the best citation I had on hand. I could have reached for Bayless, but at least Martinez is actually from Mexico. For all I know, she may be wrong, but I’m curious as to whether in your experience there is a difference between flautas and taquitos. I would like to learn more.

I believe in a previous post I explained that the size of the tortilla is what makes the difference. The taquito (the suffix alone explains it) is the smaller and the flauta is made using a larger tortilla. But they are both versions of the modest taco.

I know little about Bayless except that my sister visited people in Chicago several years ago and they insisted on taking her to dine there. She wasn’t much impressed. Kind of a style over substance atmosphere according to her.

Sorry, I missed your post, but I did mention the size difference in my post, too. I’m just wondering whether this is a consistent distinction throughout the diverse states in Mexico, or whether this is a distinction that is made mostly in your area. Lord knows there can be a lot of variety on what a particular foodstuff is depending on where in Mexico you are/come from.

Bayless’s restaurants, from what I understand, are definitely upscale and catered towards more of a fine-dining American crowd, but try to stay true to their roots. I really can’t afford dining at places like that, so I end up at smaller, family-run places. However, through people like him, Diane Kennedy, and, to a lesser extent since it seems nobody I talk to seems to know who she is, Zarela Martinez, the knowledge of Mexican food in the US has gone beyond tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. There’s still a long way to go. Chicago, in my opinion, is especially great to get acquainted with regional Mexican cuisine. My two favorite places are a Yucatecan joint and a Jaliscan birrieria, but you can find restaurants specializing in Oaxacan, Norteno, Veracruzan, etc. cuisines.

I am Zarela Martinez and for those who don’t know who I am, I invite you to visit my website www.zarela.com where you will find information regarding many of the subjects above, including lard. Besides Food from my Heart, I’ve written the Food and Life of Oaxaca and Zarela’s Veracruz (companion to my PBS series.) These two regions have some of the distinctive and exciting food in Mexico and I situate the cuisines in a cultural context. Both states have fascinating markets and while it is true that you can find good regional dishes at the food stands, most locals go to the markets to buy ingredients to cook at home. I had to hire local cooks and botanists to identify products that are only found in a specific area and that sometimes have different names from one town to another. Most tourists don’t have the opportunity to work with them there or bring them home to experiment but they are increasingly available in this country so you can make at home what you taste on your travels. To get the full experience of a place I suggest a cooking class. I have a list on my website.
It’s thrilling for me to know that there is so much interest in the food of my country. My mission is to make my culture in all its manifestations known and understood so write if you have any question.

So Zarela, with your amplio conocimiento would you like to offer your insight on the question in the OP? Because I get the impression this is just plug for your website.