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Taco USA (An Amusing History of Mexican Food in the United States)
Reason ^ | June 2012 | Gustavo "Ask a Mexican" Arellano

Posted on 05/16/2012 2:34:51 PM PDT by mojito

....There is nothing remotely Mexican about Potato Olés—not even the quasi-Spanish name, which has a distinctly Castilian accent. The burrito was more insulting to me and my heritage than casting Charlton Heston as the swarthy Mexican hero in Touch of Evil. But it was intriguing enough to take back to my hotel room for a taste. There, as I experienced all of the concoction’s gooey, filling glory while chilly rain fell outside, it struck me: Mexican food has become a better culinary metaphor for America than the melting pot.

Back home, my friends did not believe that a tater tot burrito could exist. When I showed them proof online, out came jeremiads about inauthenticity, about how I was a traitor for patronizing a Mexican chain that got its start in Wyoming, about how the avaricious gabachos had once again usurped our holy cuisine and corrupted it to fit their crude palates.

In defending that tortilla-swaddled abomination, I unknowingly joined a long, proud lineage of food heretics and lawbreakers who have been developing, adapting, and popularizing Mexican food in El Norte since before the Civil War. Tortillas and tamales have long left behind the moorings of immigrant culture and fully infiltrated every level of the American food pyramid, from state dinners at the White House to your local 7-Eleven. Decades’ worth of attempted restrictions by governments, academics, and other self-appointed custodians of purity have only made the strain stronger and more resilient. The result is a market-driven mongrel cuisine every bit as delicious and all-American as the German classics we appropriated from Frankfurt and Hamburg.

(Excerpt) Read more at reason.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Food; History; Society
KEYWORDS: cookery; mexicanfood; mexico; tacos; texmex
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Long, but funny and informative article.

And I make my chile con queso proudly with American cheese.

1 posted on 05/16/2012 2:34:54 PM PDT by mojito
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To: mojito

Bad timing dude. Just my opinion.


2 posted on 05/16/2012 2:38:10 PM PDT by allmost
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To: mojito
We use extra sharp aged cheddar ~ less milk sugar ~ everybody here has a lactose intolerance problem.

Still, a "tater tot burrito?"

Say it isn't so ~ please!

3 posted on 05/16/2012 2:40:03 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: mojito

“Mexican” and “Chinese” food in the USA is completely Americanized.

Sort of like Cinqo de Mayo is really an American (advertising) holiday that isn’t really celebrated in Mexico.


4 posted on 05/16/2012 2:40:55 PM PDT by Fledermaus (Democrats are dangerous and evil. Republicans are just useless and useful idiots.)
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To: mojito
I do love me some authentic northern New Mexican cuisine.

Talking about Mexican food is like talking about French or Italian or Spanish food. Which part? Brittany isn't the French Med food, Northern Italian is very different than southern, it's all regional.

Vive la difference!

/johnny

5 posted on 05/16/2012 2:43:51 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: mojito

I have nothing against Mexican food. I have enjoyed it on occasion. No more. I don’t like what’s happening to our country, and the militant invasion of our Southern border, so I will not patronize anything Mexican. Sorry, but that’s just me. When the illegals return to their country, and Mexico becomes a good neighbor, then I’ll reconsider. Not before.


6 posted on 05/16/2012 2:44:05 PM PDT by bcsco
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To: Fledermaus
Sort of like Cinqo de Mayo is really an American (advertising) holiday that isn’t really celebrated in Mexico.

...just as St. Patrick's Day was never celebrated in Ireland until American tourists started coming expecting to see the celebrations.

7 posted on 05/16/2012 2:44:51 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: muawiyah
Sonics got em.

If ya can stomach Moe's skunk flavored cooking oil.

8 posted on 05/16/2012 2:46:20 PM PDT by rawcatslyentist ("Behold, I am against you, O arrogant one," Jeremiah 50:31)
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To: Fledermaus
Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexico kicking France's arse.

I'll drink a beer to that. And I did.

/johnny

9 posted on 05/16/2012 2:46:52 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Fledermaus
We just watched a "tater tot breakfast burrito' advertisement on TV ~ on COX Cable ~ in Fairfax County, VA.

We are all doomed!

10 posted on 05/16/2012 2:49:00 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Fledermaus

There is a big difference between “Mexican” food in San Diego and Mexican food in Tijuana. Burritos and tacos on the U.S. side are much bigger than they are south of the border. My favorite Mexican food are tamales. Good tamales are very hard to find here. They have to be made fresh every day. The best tamales are the Oaxacan style wrapped in banana leaves (hojas de plantana). I think they taste so good because they are made with real lard.


11 posted on 05/16/2012 2:51:09 PM PDT by forgotten man (forgotten man)
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To: bcsco
What grows where I live lends itself to Mexican style food. And I grow a lot of what I eat, so I'll eat what I grow, using traditional recipes from this area.

Don't confuse illegals with legals, and the addition to our culture that they bring. Including cooking styles.

/johnny

12 posted on 05/16/2012 2:51:46 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: rawcatslyentist

I like the homewrecker at moes. I was surprised when I went to Mexico and the taco meat wasn’t ground beef. It was chunks of steak.


13 posted on 05/16/2012 2:53:18 PM PDT by goseminoles
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To: mojito

Two nightmares I have experienced:
1. A pizza in Paris (” Did they just plop an egg on that?”)
2. A lasagna in Landstuhl (Germany)


14 posted on 05/16/2012 2:54:18 PM PDT by clbiel (Islamophobia: The irrational fear of being decapitated)
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To: mojito

I will boldly state from experience that the average Mexican food in America is better here than there. Ditto for Chinese food. Better ingredients and bigger portions. I don’t care about “authentic”, I care about what tastes good.


15 posted on 05/16/2012 2:54:28 PM PDT by Hugin (tHE)
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To: forgotten man
Mmmmm. I make my tamales with real manteca. Nothing better.

/johnny

16 posted on 05/16/2012 2:55:14 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper

What grows where I live lends itself to American cooking. Mexican restaurants here are an outgrowth of the illegal farm workers the migrated to the area. Sorry, but I’ll stay with my American cuisine.


17 posted on 05/16/2012 2:56:59 PM PDT by bcsco
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To: Fledermaus

>>“Mexican” and “Chinese” food in the USA is completely Americanized<<

When I want Mexican food, I go to Mexico. It is amazing just how much Americans destroyed it. For example, Gringos seem to think that you slather salsa of some kind or another on EVERYTHING. That is wrong — you marinate the meat and add salsa sparingly (or, better still, eat small chiles between bites).

And how we changed things I don’t know. What we call a “burrito” (generally) they call a “taco.” What we call a “taco” they call a “taquito.” What we call a “taquito” they call a “flauta.”

And they still cook on open mesquite ovens and use the BLESSED ingredient LARD (heaven!).

American Mexican food is just American Food — a few steps from a hamburger.


18 posted on 05/16/2012 2:57:07 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: forgotten man

Heck, there is a big difference between Calif and what I get in Tenn when it comes to tacos and burritos.

We buy tamales from a Mexican woman that makes them in her home. But they are the bready kind with lots of masa. Filling though.


19 posted on 05/16/2012 2:58:14 PM PDT by Fledermaus (Democrats are dangerous and evil. Republicans are just useless and useful idiots.)
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To: JRandomFreeper

I like dishes from New Mexico such as green chile stew and stuffed sopaipillas. I also like cuisine from central and southern Mexico, such as pollo en pipián or mole poblano. Incidentally, I first tasted pollo en pipián in a restaurant in Australia whose waitress was from northern England.


20 posted on 05/16/2012 2:59:58 PM PDT by Fiji Hill (Deo Vindice!)
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To: bcsco

Mexican food in this country has nothing to do with anybody coming across the border. The vast majority of the food you’ll see on a Mexican restaurant menu was invented in America. It’s American food using a handful of base ingredients and spices that are popular in Mexico in a way not used at all in Mexico.

And as for illegals in a the kitchen that’s ALL restaurants. The best French chefs in this country have been Mexican for almost 20 years.


21 posted on 05/16/2012 3:00:27 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
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To: goseminoles
I like the homewrecker at moes. I was surprised when I went to Mexico and the taco meat wasn’t ground beef. It was chunks of steak.

You need to ask for picadillo if you want ground beef. I really prefer barbacoa.

22 posted on 05/16/2012 3:02:37 PM PDT by 03A3
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To: freedumb2003
What we call a “burrito” (generally) they call a “taco.”

It used to be that what in California are called burritos were called burros in Arizona. However, burros seem to have been disappearing from Arizona menus.

23 posted on 05/16/2012 3:03:47 PM PDT by Fiji Hill (Deo Vindice!)
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To: allmost
Bad timing dude. Just my opinion.

Why?

24 posted on 05/16/2012 3:05:05 PM PDT by GreenLanternCorps ("Barack Obama" is Swahili for "Jimmy Carter".)
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To: mojito

From the right has come the canard that the cuisine is unhealthy and alien, a stereotype dating to the days of the Mexican-American War, when urban legend had it that animals wouldn’t eat the corpses of fallen Mexican soldiers due to the high chile content in the decaying flesh. Noah Smithwick, an observer of the aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, claimed “the cattle got to chewing the bones [of Mexican soldiers], which so affected the milk that residents in the vicinity had to dig trenches and bury them.”

Uhm, Bull Shiite. Mexican Food is actually delicious and nutritious so I don’t know what you are talking about here. In regards to keeping the chile they make for themselves so as not to torch a gringo’s toungue, I actually ask for their stuff. You can’t make it hot enough for me. Hell, I eat Habaneros raw. Think I’ll do that now.

Similar knocks against Mexican food can be heard to this day in the lurid tourist tales of “Montezuma’s Revenge” and in the many food-based ethnic slurs still in circulation: beaner, greaser, pepper belly, taco bender, roach coach, and so many more. “Aside from diet,” the acclaimed borderlands scholar Américo Paredes wrote in 1978, “no other aspect of Mexican culture seems to have caught the fancy of the Anglo coiner of derogatory terms for Mexicans.”

Well, the terms are of endearment, then again, I am in California.

On Friday I am going to have usual bowl of Menudo from my favorite “Mexican Restaurant”.

I may even stop on the way home here in a bit and pick up some Sangre’.

And I had Tamales I bought from the gal(a loncheras) who shows up in our local Safeway the other night. They are so good!

As for Quesadillas, when I was growing up we made them all the time. I never knew they had a name until I went to a restaurant in my 20’s and friends ordered them.

“But when culinary anthropologists like Bayless and Diana Kennedy make a big show out of protecting “authentic’ Mexican food from the onslaught of commercialized glop, they are being both paternalistic and ahistorical. “

Baloney, Bayless explains ingredients and where they came from. Like Pineapple. It’s not a Hawaiian fruit but a Mexican fruit. Same with Tomatoes and several other foods that a friend who teaches Mexican and Mayan history at the University of Washington informed me of.

And Del Taco....BLOWS!

The other night I went and saw Millionaire Quartet, a story a famed evening when Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins sang together for the one and only time. Terrific show.

Afterwards we went to Mexcal, a restaurant known for its Oaxcan cuisine. I had some chipoline(grasshoppers). They are sauteed in lemon and garlic. So Good!

For dinner I had the Grilled Sea Bass over a Spinach, grilled corn, bits of bacon and cherry tomatoes. You would find something like this in a few restaurants in Puerto Aventura or even a Lobster burrito with whatever type of mole’ they made. Yummm!

But the best places for Mexican food are holes in the wall and the place where I will eat the menudo must have a name I just don’t know it and I have been going there for about 10 years.


25 posted on 05/16/2012 3:05:07 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: clbiel
Two nightmares I have experienced:

1. A pizza in Paris (” Did they just plop an egg on that?”)

2. A lasagna in Landstuhl (Germany)

The egg thing really surprised me also. Have to learn to order one without the egg.

26 posted on 05/16/2012 3:06:20 PM PDT by Irish Eyes
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To: Vendome
Yeah, I was surprised at the negative comments about Rick Bayless. As best I can tell, he's a big enthusiast of “real” Mexican, and Tex-mex styles, being a boy from Oklahoma.
27 posted on 05/16/2012 3:11:25 PM PDT by mojito
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To: Irish Eyes
A pizza in Paris (” Did they just plop an egg on that?”)

Any Southern Italian food in Japan was completely tasteless. I guess once any new country puts their twist on others food, it's bound to suck.

28 posted on 05/16/2012 3:12:43 PM PDT by 03A3
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To: bcsco
There is no 'American cuisine'. We've imported all of our foods from other places.

Everything. Hamburgers, hot-dogs, mac and cheese, everything.

/johnny

29 posted on 05/16/2012 3:13:37 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: bcsco
I have nothing against Mexican food. I have enjoyed it on occasion. No more. I don’t like what’s happening to our country, and the militant invasion of our Southern border, so I will not patronize anything Mexican.

That's got to be the silliest thing I have ever seen you type bcsco.

Tex-Mex food is about as Mexican as french fries are French.

30 posted on 05/16/2012 3:14:15 PM PDT by houeto (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: muawiyah

“tater tot burrito”

Sounds like hash browns-in-a-blanket. Just saying. I’d try it.


31 posted on 05/16/2012 3:15:26 PM PDT by carriage_hill (All liberals & most demoncraps think that life is just a sponge bath, with a happy ending.)
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To: forgotten man
We have begun making our own tamales. They are better than the frozen ones shipped in from El Salvador, and those are better than the Mexican kind, or the canned ones.

The secrets are: (1) LARD, and (2) Freshness.

32 posted on 05/16/2012 3:17:48 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: mojito

bookmarkito


33 posted on 05/16/2012 3:19:16 PM PDT by ▀udda▀udd
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To: JRandomFreeper

Yahoo concurs:
http://news.yahoo.com/who-knew/american-food-the-foreign-origins-of-many-u-s-favorites-29306821.html

A funny coincidence of an article to come across 5 minutes after this thread.


34 posted on 05/16/2012 3:22:21 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
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To: freedumb2003
Tamales are American as Louisiana and the Mississippi River ~ there is a low level debate about them ~ one side thinks the idea drifted up from Meso America about the time Cahokia was the biggest city in the Midwest (1500s). Others think the idea came in from France ~ and was modified by adding Louisiana Hot Sauce ~ which owes its origin to NO ONE but the locals.

It's probably an obvious application given cornmeal ground to a specific grain size. I've imagined Columbus and his crew making a batch on the way back home.

35 posted on 05/16/2012 3:22:27 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: clbiel

“A pizza in Paris (” Did they just plop an egg on that?”)”

We experienced that in Belgium - we had to slide it off, scrape, dap with a napkin, and then procede. We learned to read the menu more carefully after that; pizza + œuf is bad.


36 posted on 05/16/2012 3:34:31 PM PDT by Gil4 (Sometimes it's not low self-esteem - it's just accurate self-assessment.)
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To: clbiel
You can add:
(3) A taco in Eldorado (pronounced Eldoraaado) Arkansas. Even the tortillas were canned.

On a different note, we used to get pretty decent hard tacos just outside Futenma MCAS on Okinawa.

37 posted on 05/16/2012 3:36:49 PM PDT by norton
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To: Vendome
Anyone with gluten intolerance has to learn to use something besides rice and tapioca ~ so corn is the best thing on the market in the US.

You cannot duplicate wheat bread with any kind of corn flour, but you can make things that are just as delicious, and hot every single time.

MY recipe for a few corn fritters is 1/4 cup of masa, 1/8 cup of gluten free Bisquick (to which I add another teaspoon of baking powder), and 1/8 cup of any kind of gluten free pancake mix ~ sometimes I double the recipe and add a can of corn.

You can add peppers if you want.

The way you cook these is get a skillet. Put in the oil. Pour in enough batter to cover the bottom. Cook it about 3 minutes on a side ~ or the same way you would any pancake.

Set it aside to solidify.

Takes about 10 minutes!

I've been cutting these cakes into quadrants. The other day I took a corn pancake, put some cream cheese on a quadrant, then put on some more cream cheese and another quadrant. And so on until I had a stack. Then poured on some sugar free gluten free maple flavored syrup, and some fresh mixed chopped fruit.

That was a diabetics night cap ~ half hour later it put me to sleep. Must remember to use more insulin next time!

I've done pretty much the same thing with a thinner batter that gives me wraps. Cook up some shrimp. Spice them with some scotch bonnets ~ be careful as you chop 'em up. These puppies can numb your hand, and your eyeballs! Put the spiced shrimp on half the pancake. Flop the other side over it ~ should look like a cheaply made omlette. Now, take it out of the skillet and put it on a paper plate (so it doesn't cool down so fast). Pour on some fresh homemade salsa.

Eat!

38 posted on 05/16/2012 3:37:14 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: JRandomFreeper

Corn on the cob?


39 posted on 05/16/2012 3:37:23 PM PDT by clbiel (Islamophobia: The irrational fear of being decapitated)
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To: mojito

Arellano is a Lefty whose column runs in the local free weekly. Having said that, I’ve had “real” Mexican food and I prefer our Tex-Mex or what I cook myself.


40 posted on 05/16/2012 3:37:44 PM PDT by manic4organic (We won. Get over it.)
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To: Lurking Libertarian

I’ve been told is it celebrated in Ireland by dressing up in your best clothes and going to church.


41 posted on 05/16/2012 3:39:12 PM PDT by gilor (Pull the wool over your own eyes!)
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To: 03A3
Any Southern Italian food in Japan was completely tasteless. I guess once any new country puts their twist on others food, it's bound to suck.

LOL.....I think that is one thing you can always count on in any country.

42 posted on 05/16/2012 3:41:40 PM PDT by Irish Eyes
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To: Fledermaus

We buy tamales from a Mexican woman that makes them in her home. But they are the bready kind with lots of masa. Filling though.
_________________________________________________________
Oh does that bring back memories of TAMALEMAN! growing up in Los Angeles. Guy used to come around the neighborhood in his little Chevy Luv pickup selling tamales his wife made. My dad swore this guy had the best tamales he’d ever eaten; all I know I was hooked on tamales by the time I was eight!

Oh yeah, and huevos rancheros covered in enough tabasco sauce to make an Occupy protester scream in terror. :)


43 posted on 05/16/2012 3:43:05 PM PDT by AnAmericanAbroad (It's all bread and circuses for the future prey of the Morlocks.)
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To: clbiel
Maize did come from the Americas, but it was traditionally ground to use as a grain to make breads and gruels.

I don't know who first tried boiled sweet corn.

Lots of what we call 'Mexican' food was a fusion of indian and Spanish foods. All foods come from somewhere else, until it's lost in the mists of time.

We humans have been adapting and swiping recipes since before recorded history began. I continue that proud tradition. ;)

/johnny

44 posted on 05/16/2012 3:44:58 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: norton

Yuck. Did they use yellow cheese too?

I’m surprised Eldorado hasn’t been overtaken by Mexicans but I guess it’s too humid since it’s practically Lousiana.

Go into West Arkansas on Hwy 10 and little towns like Danville and Dardanelle have been overrun, mostly from workers doing the chicken plucking us white trash folks used to do! lol


45 posted on 05/16/2012 3:47:32 PM PDT by Fledermaus (Democrats are dangerous and evil. Republicans are just useless and useful idiots.)
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To: Gil4

“A pizza in Paris (” Did they just plop an egg on that?”)”

We experienced that in Belgium - we had to slide it off, scrape, dap with a napkin, and then procede. We learned to read the menu more carefully after that; pizza + œuf is bad.
______________________________________________

Same here in the Czech Republic. Not just eggs. Corn.

Best pizza I’ve found here is in a town called Slany at a restaurant called “Pizza” run by a couple of Pakistani brothers. Best pizza outside Italy (or possibly Little Italy). Those two guys know what they’re doing.


46 posted on 05/16/2012 3:47:37 PM PDT by AnAmericanAbroad (It's all bread and circuses for the future prey of the Morlocks.)
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To: mojito

The writer pens for the OC Metro, in Orange County CA, where Santa Ana is one of the most “hispanic” American towns. Another is San Antonio, TX.

I call a lot of the food “American Southwest” because it originates in both Mexico, as well as the old West whereby cattle drives brought along a cook, his supplies, and the cook was often Mexican.

He brought bags of dried beans, to soak and cook.

And they took beef from the cattle they drove.

Finally came the flavorings, etc.

Today the Chipotle chain reflects this American Southwest style, for me. Started in Denver.

A smaller chain called Freebirds is like Chipotle. Started in Santa Barbara CA, and Austin TX.

El Pollo Loco started in Mexico, then to the US. This Mexican style fast food restaurant is notable, because the Mexicans go there. For good reason, excellent eats.

Finally as a lifelong SoCal person, I remember working near East LA and going for some “authentic” mexican lunches.

Still do that, with a lawyer friend, and we go to downtown Tustin, near Santa Ana....talk about a busy little place, full of Anglos gobbling up “authentic” style.

And I have seen authentic potato burritos, in “authentic” places.


47 posted on 05/16/2012 3:47:57 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: GreenLanternCorps

Because I said so.


48 posted on 05/16/2012 3:53:15 PM PDT by allmost
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To: JRandomFreeper

Pit cooked barbecue in every variety and in all its glory is utterly American, with the earliest renditions from the Virginia and Carolina colonies being introduced to the English by natives. The early sauce, which has morphed considerably region by region due to availability of ingredients and the suitability of differing lovestock, began as the Elizabethan “catsup,” which was herbs and spices occasionally with mushrooms in vinegar. Only eastern NC style remains anywhere near this early origin, with pork because pigs were well suited to forage in a forest seemingly without end. Other foods with a similar provenance would be cornbread and grits.

I’ve said before that Thanksgiving Dinner should authentically be barbecue, it’s as American as you get, with just stray touches of Europe here and there, that have been so thoroughly fused and modified that they’ve become unique to place as well.


49 posted on 05/16/2012 3:53:59 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: AnAmericanAbroad

I noticed that the tamales those guys sell are always warm. The tamale man carrys the tamales in an ice chest. I asked how they do it. I was told that they fill the ice chest with hot water before they put the tamales in. They pour out the hot water, put the tamales in, then they put cloth soaked in hot water around the tamales. I guess that I am lucky I have never gotten sick from eating that stuff.


50 posted on 05/16/2012 3:54:13 PM PDT by forgotten man (forgotten man)
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