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Monday, March 2, 2009

Deep in the Heart of Texas

One of the most annoying things about having parents who fell in love in Texas, and always longed to return there after they transplanted to Virginia, was the inevitable end to every conversation about how good something was. Example:

Me: "I love the Virginia State Fair!"
Mama: "This is good--but not as good as the State Fair of Texas."


Me: "I love Mexican food!"
Daddy: (contemptuous) "This is okay, I guess. But not as good as the Mexican food in Texas."

And so on like that. In my father's defense, he was absolutely right. The Mexican food I grew up on in Lynchburg, VA, bears very little relation to the complex, varied cuisine to be found in real Tex-Mex places in Austin. From dark, cacao-infused mole poblano to salsa cruda bursting with ripe tomatoes, plenty of cilantro, and crunchy raw onions, Austin is a latinophile's paradise. I usually insist on a liberal dose of tacos al pastor and chiles rellenos made with real poblano peppers, but we just didn't have time on this trip. I managed to sneak in a couple of fabulous breakfast tacos, though. Chorizo and egg, chorizo and potato, and the unexpected dark horse favorite, chorizo and beans. The richness of the refried beans was a perfect foil for the bright, fiery bite of the sausage.Clearly, we are fans of chorizo in my family. How highly we rate it is in direct relation to the proportion of spices. My favorite chorizo spice is cinnamon--I love the hint of sweetness in the smoky spice. I believe the base flavoring of chorizo is chile peppers and garlic, but it's the spices that make each chorizo unique. I've toyed with making my own, since there's not an abundance of wonderful carnicerias in northern Ohio, but I'm a little leery of trying it without an actual meat grinder. Maybe I'll ask for that attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer this Christmas...


These posts are killing me. I want tamales IMMEDIATELY.

*runs screeching*

Evil to temp me like that. Like I can find great Mexican in NJ. Well, maybe, but I haven't found it yet.

Sorry, KP! No tamale for you. Eva, there's got to be good Mexican in NJ somewhere. We even have a decent place in Ohio! Not as good as Texas, but as we all know, that would be impossible.

oh this is making me so hungry.

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