Is it noshworthy?

Mexican Food – From Space!!!!

February 12th, 2010

During my recent trip to Florida, my old pal Eric took me to a place called “Tijuana Flats‎“. Being a connoisseur of good Mexican food, Eric warned me, “It’s not Mexican food, but it’s still really good.”

Since this is the description of every good Mexican restaurant in the Bay Area, I was happy to give it a try.

When my burrito arrived, it looked authentic. The refried beans looked like refried beans. The burrito looked like a burrito. Then I tasted it. It may look like Mexican food, but it wasn’t.

Now those who know me, know that I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to Mexican food. I swear, this isn’t another tirade about how you can’t find good Mexican food North of Los Angeles. It’s about a different phenomenon that I keep encountering, and I’m really curious if I’m the only one whose noticed it.

You see, the burrito at Tijuana Flats looked really good. The chicken looked like chicken that had marinated for hours in a delicious sauce. Upon tasting it, I discovered that the chicken had indeed been marinated. In hot wing sauce.

The entire burrito looked like the real thing, but practically every ingredient wasn’t what I expected.

It’s as if space aliens looked at the earth with a telescope, saw a burrito, and made something that looked just like it. But since they had never tasted one, had no idea what the ingredients were, they could only make something that looked like a burrito, but didn’t taste like one.

A few years back, I had a similar experience when I went to New Zealand.

My friend Tim LOVES nachos. And it’s rare for him to go more than a week without having them somewhere. But when we decided to go to New Zealand, he knew that it was unlikely he’d have his favorite treat on the other side of the world.

As luck would have it, Nachos had recently arrived in New Zealand, and they were sweeping the nation as a popular type of pub food.

Tim resisted for two weeks, but soon he succumbed to the siren call of nachos.

When it arrived at our table, it looked like nachos. Corn chips, salsa, sour cream, cheese. But upon tasting it, we discovered that we had purchased an evil doppelganger!

New Zealand, like its cousins in the UK and Commonwealth, loves experimental flavors of chips. It’s not uncommon to find potato and corn chips flavored like pickles, hamburger, and thai curry. The ones in this salsa were apparently, “Chili powder flavor“.

These were covered in creme fraiche, plain tomato sauce, and something they referred to as cheese. (Not that Nacho cheese has any resemblance to cheese, either…)

It was almost, but not quite, totally unlike nachos. (With apologies to Douglas Adams).

I’ve had this experience many times, with Mexican food, key lime pie, pizza, corn dogs, even hamburgers! Hasn’t everyone on earth had a hamburger at this point? The imposter BBQ I had in Canada and the pizza I had in Edinburgh, were particularly egregious.

So what I’d like to know is: has anyone else experienced this? I’m not saying that imposter food isn’t tasty on occasion. Just that, it can look like the real thing, and not remotely taste like it.

It does give me hope. Perhaps the owners of Tijuana Flats are space aliens? Maybe the purveyors of nachos in New Zealand are from a small planet just to the right of Betelgeuse. Is imposter food proof that aliens live among us?

Write me and let me know what you think!

One Response to “Mexican Food – From Space!!!!”

  1. chammer1248 Says:

    Well of COURSE the owners of Tijuana Flats are space aliens. You were in Florida for God’s sake….

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