Monday, February 09, 2009

I miss Mexican fooooood!

I just caught on You Tube the excellent Anthony Bourdain No Reservations episode about Mexico City, in which the estimable Mr. Ex-Enchilada worked as a consultant, which, to judge from the footage, meant he got to call the taco and tlacoyo shots. My envy is profound and all-encompassing.
When David told me he was doing this for Bourdain, I of course sent a list of places to take him to. It had the urgent desperation of a ransom note. YOU HAVE TO TAKE HIM TO, it read:
• The tacos de carnitas of the Mercado de Medellin on Saturdays.
• Or Carnitas Contreras in Polanco.
• The pozole of the Mercado de Coyoacán.
But David did excellent well, steering Bourdain to blue corn tlacoyos and some tacos al pastor I definitely need to try next time I'm there.
As I was telling him in an email, I think that one can only live without real Mexican food if you excise it from your mind on a daily basis; not an easy feat, and one which I had more or less began to accomplish after 16 years... until I saw this show.
Now I feel bereft, unmoored and slightly unhinged, for as much as Mexican food has improved in New York, we will never ever get the kind of miraculous stuff that Bourdain sampled on his show. This makes me immensely sad. For the genius of Mexican food is that the best is found on the street.
Carlos, the Mexican head chef at Les Halles, was saying on the show that he misses his family and the food. No offense, Enchilada family, but you are a very close second. A tie, almost. Give me the choice right now between communing with a plate of chicharrón en salsa verde or with you, and I'd go for the chicharrón in a heartbeat. I know you understand.
Only a Mexican could complain about food in New York, and that is because, as magnificent as this place is for food in general, it does not have the Mexican food we love and miss and crave and could possibly kill for. Things have definitely gotten better, now that hipsters are eating corn with chili and lime, now that we have La Superior (which I haven't tried), Hecho en Dumbo (fabulous) and La Esquina (does the trick in a pinch). Now that at least in the greatest city on Earth it has begun to dawn on people that Mexican food is one of the most amazingly magnificent and sophisticated cuisines on Earth, deserving of total respect. But still.
Do you know what I would give to be able to leave a movie or a bar late at night and have some decent tacos al pastor in Manhattan?
Do you know what it would mean for New York if we finally had that and real carnitas? Quite possibly, world domination.
I have news for you: pork belly, that precious new foodie fad, is nothing but glorified carnitas. And carnitas are cheaper and better.
If every vigilante minuteman in Arizona, every white person hollering against Mexican immigrants would have one bite of a real good Mexican dish, I can assure you nobody would have any qualms about any of my compatriots coming here. They'd be clamoring for more.
I have to go to Mexico and eat.


  1. Ay, Ms. Enchilada, do you follow Mexico Cooks!? You'd like it, I know you would. The ex-Mr. Enchilada is a fan, as well as a friend.

    Add it to your blog roll and have a taste of home.

    Mexico Cooks!

  2. It seems that this post is a magnet for us who love love love Mexican food. I for one am not just in love with Mexican--it is a downright obsession. So much, in fact, I started a Mexican food blog who Mexican-American girls who can't cook like their abuelitas but wish they did.

  3. Gasparitos, chili seco,empanadas stuffed with queso and jalepenos, blue corn tortillas filled with flor de calabaza. I could go on - but I have to go eat...

  4. You could also order from - Mexican Food if you get really hard up for some Mole. I bought the ready to eat kind. So putting some of that over my in-laws cooking (just about everything is boiled) was enough to save me the embarrasment of declining to eat what was served. I passed it off as something a friend sent me to try on my food, and that he would like for me to write a review of., etc,etc,etc.. They took that story hook line and sinker, and even took some of my mole and poured it over their own food.