Saturday, April 24, 2010

Authentic Guilt

So yeah, I blogged about Tacos before...mmm, heavenly pulled pork tacos. However, I have a guilty cash only hole in the wall pleasure by the name of "Taqueria Juquilita". It's nestled between the yuppie dog wash/coffee bar called "Bark and Bean" and the local laundromat. Let's just say it's an interesting observation of affluent and poor. On one hand, people are paying groomers to wash their muddy hounds while sipping on their latte. Two doors down, you have folks who have no washer/dryer at their residence, doing the week's wash. If this were Manhattan, I'd buy's Annapolis, it may be the state capitol, but it's no thriving metropolis. Thusly said, an interesting observation of different people commercing withing the same string of building.

Having watched many episodes of Anthony Bourdain finding a "hole in the wall" joint with amazing authentic food, I decided to give this place a shot. The name...sounds authentic to only?...galvanizing my theory...Telemundo blaring some cheesy game show or campy soap opera in Spanish...getting warmer...posters of the cartoon "Bambi", a map of Puebla, Mexico, and various herbs growing in a sundry of pots in the window? I went to the counter and ordered...

Tacos galore, soups, burritos, heuvos rancheros, chicken mole...there is nothing on the menu that sucks. The food? could bring in Rick Bayless (the gringo expert on Mexican cuisine) and he'd agree. No dishes smothered with cheese, cream, and "flare"...just straight up simple food man. The chef...she's maybe 50ish, short, stocky, a bit wrinkled. Her hands are weathered yet glance into her eyes and I swear you can see into her soul. I've never interviewed her, but that one glance tells me everything I need to know about a chef...she lives and breathes what she makes. Her passion is her food, one bite and that's clear.

My guilty pleasure are the tacos. There are at least 10 different types to order...and if you like offal, you're in the right place. You can choose from tongue, tripe, head, cheek, barbeque pork, pulled pork, diced ground pork, even chicken...the options are endless...the tacos, a fresh house made double corn tortilla, meat, onions, cilantro, radishes, and salsa. Done..that's it, no 79 cent cheesy Americanized Taco Schmell.

As I munched on my "Huevos Mexicanos"(scrambled eggs with peppers, re-fried beans, rice, avocado, and queso fresco all piled into a yummy corn tortilla) for breakfast this morning I realized that America is finally trending back to these mom and pop places. More and more people are longing for homemade, simple, and fresh. And more and more, middle America is at least progressing past the T.G.I-McFunsters, and stepping out to an uncomfortable place...foreign people speaking a foreign language, with a hole in the wall establishment serving good food.

Authentic cuisine of the foreign country du jour is no longer limited to the big American cities. Our immigrants are finding life and work in our rural towns, and the shops are opening in your back yard. And as scary as it may seem to wander into a shop that doesn't speak a lot of English, these proprietors are as hungry to share their wares as you will be to enjoy them.

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