Mexican restaurants are good for the soul. No matter what walk of life you’re in, and what challenges you’re facing, filling your belly with fare from good Mexican restaurants will leave you in a better state than you came.
In fact, as we approach the most aggressive and conflict-driven election the United States has ever been a part of, our country is so divided right now. Members of the same family are cutting ties over political differences. What we need is for everyone to come together one of the many amazing Mexican restaurants, and take it back to what unites all humankind: good Mexican food.
But when we talk about Mexican restaurants, we’re not talking about that one restaurant that has a bell on the sign that hands you your order through a window. While authentic Mexican food has healing and magical powers, there are enough knock-offs out there to dilute the reputation of authentic Mexican food. If you think we’re exaggerating about the greatness of Mexican cuisine, there’s a good chance that you’ve never experienced real Mexican food. If the following list describes you, it’s time you get yourself some exposure to real enchiladas, pronto.
Three Signs You Have Never Had Real Mexican Food
- You think tacos come with the option of crunchy or soft.
When you order a taco at that one place with the bell on the sign, you are asked if you want it in a crunchy shell or a flour tortilla. When you get it, there’s a small amount of ground beef seasoned with questionable ingredients, some listless and colorless lettuce, a handful of shredded cheddar cheese, and a dollop of Daisy.
There is a time and a place where the aforementioned “taco” can be considered edible; however, that time and place is not when we’re talking about authentic Mexican food. Real Mexican tacos have meat of the carne asada, or fish, or chorizo persuasion (hint: ground beef isn’t on the menu). It will be topped with shredded cabbage, crumbles of traditional Mexican cheese (hint: cheddar cheese does not hail for Mexico). You’ll probably be given a few wedges of lime to squeeze onto it right before you eat it, for a contrasting citrus flavor. These are real tacos. And real tacos never come in a hard shell.
- When you hear the word “burrito,” you envision a product from Chipotle.
We know you love Chipotle. We love Chipotle too. Like, we really love Chipotle. But let’s call a spade a spade: Chipotle is American food. No need to parade around like it’s meant to be a product of Mexico.
A real Mexican burrito has ingredients that you’ll never see on the Chipotle menu: a generous helping of meat, cabbage, Mexican cheese, and potatoes. Potatoes are a staple in authentic Mexican burritos. If the restaurant you’re at does not include potatoes in their burritos, they’re probably not from Mexico.
- You aren’t familiar with Mexican menu items that are not found at the fake Mex restaurants.
If you are a patron of a wannabe Mexican restaurant, you can probably throw around terms like “quesadilla” or “pico de gallo.” However, not surprisingly, authentic Mexican restaurants offer dishes that are a staple in Mexico, not just a few Americanized dishes with Spanglish names. If the menu you’re looking has any of the following dishes, you are probably in good hands:
- Mole. Mole is a delightful mixture of chocolate and chili that is used in savory dishes with chicken, pork, or carne. If this sounds odd to you, it’s because you’ve never had authentic Mexican food.
- Pozole. The Mexican culture takes pride in not wasting any part of an animal that gives its life for our food. Pozole is a heart warming soup made our of garbonzo beans and parts of the cow that would not be served at fake Mexican restaurants.
- Chile verde. You’re probably familiar with chilies being used in Mexican cuisine, but we aren’t talking about Tabasco sauce (a product of America).
We aren’t saying that no legitimate Mexican restaurants exist without carrying these menu items. But the best Mexican food restaurants have them.
Mexican food is a special gift from above that heals and strengthens and spreads joy. Many people don’t know that because the Mexican food they eat can’t be found in Mexico.