It might have started with this but when I say I miss Mexicans, I mean being in such close proximity to Mexico (iving in Cali) that we are flushed with traditional or variations of great Mexican food. Besides Boston and the rest of New England, New York is about as far away (in the US) you can get from Mexico. Cross culture tends to affect those neighborhoods and environments that are closer to the epicenter of it’s origin and NY gets a slow trickle of Mexican culture when compared to “Old Mexico” that was California.
Sure you have Rosa Mexicano or Hell’s Kitchen, serving the latest in haute Mexican food born out of the future of cuisine from Mexico City. Rosa and Hells’ are serving Mexican food much the same that you could call Peep serving Thai food, Tao serving Asian food, or Sushi Samba serving Brazilian cuisine. Manhattan doesn’t have a very good offering of traditional Mexican and I’m not talking Tex-Mex (ala Chevey’s) or Chipotle either. You really have to get to the outer boughs of Queens, Brooklyn etc. to get something more “home-made”, fresh and delish.
This all came up because this morning I made Chilaquiles . A dish taught to me in the restaurant kitchens I worked at earlier on. The Mexican line, grill our sous chefs used to make this for breakfast or lunch while we were working. When we didn’t have as much time, they’d put together Migas as well and very it up with the green salsa, chorizo or different types of peppers. Both start with fried tortillas and very from there.
While we were touring Napa this last weekend I passed a Mexican market on the out skirts of Sonoma. After a quick illegal u-turn, and freaking out E, I pulled up to front because I was eager to replace my stock of carne asada spice mix I had brought over from CA. Of course the brand El Mexicano is huge in CA, so I had no trouble getting two different variants (hot an regular) as well as stocking up on flan (a rich caramel custard), horchata (an aguas frescas made of rice, barley, vanilla and sugar) and some tamarindo candies.
NY certainly is diverse and if I wanted to, I’m sure I could find all the above in some hood of the city. For now, I’ll settle for my local favorites, Florencia 13 and my taco stand, Calexico. Until a restaurant can satisfy my cravings, I’ll make good Mexican food at home…