Re: [CH] Boston

The Old Bear (
Thu, 14 May 1998 11:51:11 -0400

In Chile-Heads' Digest, v.4 #415, David Cook wrote:
| Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 20:19:20 -0700
| From: David Cook <>
| Subject: Re: [CH] Boston
| Melinda Merkel wrote:
| >
| >Some of you may be inspired toward calling me a food elitist 
| >here, but it's hard for me to imagine getting real Mexican food 
| >in a place that's so far away from Mexico.  I live in the 
| >Phoenix area, and when I'm travelling I don't even try for 
| >Mexican unless I'm in Mexico or the Southwest.
| >
| >Will, have you (or anyone else in this discussion) ever had 
| >Mexican-style food closer to the border?  How does it compare? 
| >I have no benchmark to compare this against and I'm curious.
| Actually, having lived from Wisconson to Southern California (half 
| a day from the border) and regularly visiting my folks in Tucson, 
| I can say it's not impossible to get good Mexican food away from 
| the region.  Harder, but not impossible. You shouldn't discount the 
| fact that there's a been a healthy immigration throughout large 
| parts of the US. Actually, one of the better places I know is in a 
| small town (Delevan) in Wisconson -- a combo grocery and restaurant 
| called Hernandez. It's a very rural area, but nonetheless there were 
| two Hispanic groceries and semi-regular dances in the area.  The best 
| places are usually small and family run, which is pretty much true 
| anywhere.
| David Cook

Well, I'd be a fool not to admit that the Southwest is the place to 
be for Mexican and Tex-Mex foods.  But I also note that one can find 
Mexican-style food just about everywhere in the western US, and the 
quality ranges from excellent to ho-hum.

Twenty years ago, in the northeast, every neighborhood bar that 
served food seemed to have the same Italian-style specialties: 
pasta, chicken or eggplant parm, etc.  Similarly, when I travelled 
to California, I noticed this same role being played by burritos, 
enchiladas and nachos.

Now, most major American cities have both "family dining" Americanized 
Mexican restaurants and, in many places, a truly surperior Mexican 
restaurant which serves a creative, authentic, and well-executed menu.
In fact, it is encouraging to see "ethnic" cuisine being presented 
in many parts of the U.S. by one or more resturants with the cachet 
usually reserved for French cooking. 

Sure, you'd be hard pressed to find a place in Boston like the 
Oaxaca Grill in Phoenix (the one at 1112 S 16th St, not the fancy 
one that was/is at Pinnacle Peak).  But you'd not be disappointed 
in Cambridge's funky "Mexican Cuisine" at the Forest Cafe, which 
is certainly not as elegant, but presents food every bit as 
interesting and creative as that of, say, La Tertulia in Santa Fe
but served in an environment closer to that of Las Mananitas in 

ChileHeads who attended the dinner held at the Green Street 
Grille in Cambridge last year can attest to the fact that you 
don't have to be in New Orleans to find well prepared Cajun food 
< >.

If I were visiting Boston, I'd first grab a lobster dinner at 
one of the fine seafood restaurants, then check out the 
historic and unusual Durgin-Park dining hall at Faneuil Hall 
Marketplace -- and then settle into my normal diet of hot and 
spicy at the any of a number of places such as those on my 
previous list.

The Old Bear