This means that I'm surrounded by Mexican food and culture on a daily basis - the guy 2 doors down plays in a mariachi band, and all summer long they practice in his garage. It's a good thing I like mariachi music!
Anyhow, there is wonderful Mexican food galore in this part of town, and it's all the really authentic variety, which is totally delicious...
But sometimes I get a hankering for the cheesy Americanized kind, so I thought I'd share one of my favorite Americanized Mexican food recipes.
Cheesy Americanized Soft Tacos
This is really a simple recipe. You just brown up some ground beef (I used the reduced guilt variety - organic and grass fed - you could also use ground turkey, or meat substitute crumbles, or skip it altogether and just go with beans.) Add an onion, some garlic & green pepper, a teaspoon or two of chili powder & a bit of oregano. Toss in a few dashes of liquid smoke & maybe a can of pinto beans if you feel so inspired.
Spread this mixture on a tortilla, cover with shredded cheese, lettuce, chopped tomato and maybe some easy-pants guacamole (which is just an avocado mushed up with some picante sauce.)
Of course, no cheesy Americanized Mexican dinner would be complete without a cheesy Americanized margarita - so I whipped up one of those too.
Basically it's one part tequila, one part curacao (the bright blue coloring is totally authentic, dontcha think?) one part triple-sec, and three parts lime juice. You can vary your proportions and the size of your "parts" depending on taste and how snockered you want to get!
And speaking of cheesy American take-offs on Mexican food, I recently read that the city of Lakewood (the suburb in which I grew up) just granted historical landmark status to the restaurant, Casa Bonita.
I'm sure this won't mean anything to most of you, but Casa Bonita is the kitschiest of kitsch. It's like a caricature of a Mexican village built right into a strip mall - complete with cliff divers, arcade, gift shop, haunted cave, the WORST excuse for Mexican food on the planet, and some guy in a gorilla suit (because all Mexican villages have a rogue gorilla running around, don't they?)
|Wait... don't gorillas come from Africa, not Mexico? |
Oh who cares, we have tourists to entertain!
I was never actually employed there, but I did my fair share of hanging out at Casa Bonita, and I do remember hitching a ride home on the back of a motorcycle with one of the cliff divers - less exciting than it sounds... we had some sort of project due for English class.
|Cliff Divers at Casa Bonita|