They are big, fatty, and one dimensionally flavored. These are the ingredients to pretty much every Mexican dish: Meat, cheese, beans, rice, salsa, sauce, and tortilla & tortilla chips. Sure each item has them in different combinations, but still not much variety. I wasn’t a huge fan of the cuisine until about 6 months ago. What changed? Probably a combination of mother-in-law’s fabulous salsa, Dora’s enchiladas and compromises.
Let’s talk about compromises. Upon getting married, my worldy palate (read: variety) became limited to the “humorously picky” description my husband gives to his food preferences. Born and raised in Los Angeles, it is almost impossible to find that one Mexican dish or corner place that isn’t amazing (for him). Being easy, cheap and quick (the food, not my husband) it has become kind of fun trying to try them all. My latest obsession, finding the best tamale in town. While the search continues, here is a great find.
Hugo’s Tacos has healthier versions of Mexican foods and a cool half price burrito night on Wednesdays (after 7PM–Its added entertainment to watch patrons whisper the secret word to the cashier as if they’re James Bond, trying to save the world, instead of some hipster just saving a couple of bucks on a burrito from a word they read on their Twitter feed). There are many choices, from salsas, to proteins (Including tofu–it’s L.A.) to style: tacos, burrito, bowl, etc. So I risk the curious looks by choosing NOT to add sour cream, cheese, and beans to my dish and avoiding a huge tortilla. It may not be healthy, but it’s the illusion of being healthy!
Since both Japanese and Mexican diets depend on rice and beans, I’ve always wondered why Mexican food is not popular in Japan. There are many, many KFCs, but no Taco Bells in Japan. I don’t think my parents (both in mid 60s) in Tokyo have ever eaten Mexican food.