I’m slowly learning that my new office is situated among one of the few, if not only areas in DC Metro where a guy can get Chicago-quality Mexican food.
I haven’t posted for a while because that’s about all I can say for the job so far. And, the rest of it is occupying the rest of my energy.
Good f**ing honest Mexican food though.
And I can’t tell you how much finding a solid taqueria just made my whole week. It really did.
So, I’ve learned that, unlike Chicago, the Hispanic community in Prince George’s County, MD lives, by and large, segregated from the rest of the population. It’s a diverse place, the wealthiest majority black county in the U.S., and not a place where people generally exclude or look down on one another. But, none of my co-workers ever go to the Spanish-speaking businesses. Heck, most of them don’t know what a real taco looks like — just figure what they get at Chipotle must be it. Can’t say I’ve ever been inside a Chipotle restaurant to know whether or not they’re right.
I went to a Mexican place down the street where lunch cost $10. First sign the place isn’t authentic, right there.
I went to the taqueria by where all the day laboreres hang out. Plastic table cloths and gnarly aloe pants in the window made it seem promising. But, the meat in my torta was “aged”, at best.
For me, Mexican food is fresh, straightforward, and served with humanity.
I’m not really much of a Tex-Mex guy. I know that’s what most non-Hispanics outside of Chicago think of when I say “Mexican food” though. So, I’ve learned to not talk about it too much and to not take related restaurant advice from people without substantive inquiry.
So, yeah. Around a corner, on a side street, Edmonston Rd., 3 tacos al pastor and a soda for $5.99. Lunch special.
And I don’t know why white people are afraid to go in those places. I go, I’m white. I suppose eating there seems natural to me because I lived in Chicago, where all kinds of people eat in Mexican restaurants, run by Mexican people, with Mexican food and Mexican music and sometimes crazy Mexican TV and if there were language snafus we just worked them out. No big deal. The waitresses here look at me funny though, as if I might be lost. Just at first. Truth is that they’re always nice to me, like I’m a customer. I eat, like a customer. And everything works exactly like it does everywhere else.
Except, the food is better and cheaper.
With heart. Like a thick torsoed old lady who could beat me in arm wrestling if she ever thought about such things (‘cuz she doesn’t) just finished mashing up my salsa in the old molcajete just a minute ago. The tortilla chips are properly deep fried and why do so many American people not know that you have to cook tortillas even when they’re just wrapped around tacos. Properly, a taco should have two tortillas, warm. White people places always serve doughy tortillas — I can’t even guess why. What I wanted, what I found, was direct, honest about the flavors of its ingredients, and embracing, just like you’d want a person to be.
Squeeze your lime on top. Eat your radish garnish if you want. Tip. Then leave back to the world where you make your paycheck, where nothing has anything to do with humans, despite the best efforts by the staff.