One of the most misunderstood areas of culinary interest is, I think, that of Mexican food.
I freely admit that the first time I was in the Southwest, back in the 1960's, the only Mexican food I had tasted was that from some cheap t.v. dinner. It bore no resemblance to the tacos I tried at a drive-in restaurant somewhere around St. George, Utah. But neither, I learned many years later, was truly Mexican food. Take, for example, what is generally thought of as such in the United States today. Tacos, enchiladas, flavored rice and refried beans, begun initially with chips-and-salsa and accompanied by a Margarita.
That is what is more well-known in the Southwest as Tex-Mex or border food. It's good but it's only faintly Mexican food. I know because back in the middle 1980's I moved to Mexico, anticipating the joys of an early retirement. We lived, variously, in villages along the north shore of Lake Chapala and in the big city of Guadalajara for nearly five years.
You might be surprised to learn that perhaps my favorite restaurant in the city was Chez Pierre, a French restaurant, where I dined many times on steak poivre (pepper steak).
But that begs the question. What I learned from my Mexican sojourn was that any cuisine has a wide, very wide, variety in tastes and sensations. For example, seafood is very popular in Mexico . . from one of SWMBO's favorites, Red Snapper Veracruzana,
to the grilled fish (complete with heads and tails) we used to enjoy at a small place in Guadalajara. Octopus is popular in Mexico, though I never tried it. Shrimp, of course, in many preparations.
A favorite country restaurant we used to go to had a huge fire pit with various types of meat on re-bar roasting vertically. My favorite was roast suckling pig and, darn it, I can't remember the Mexican term for it. Incidentally goat is very popular in Mexico and this restaurant had a large goat pen adjacent to it!
Another favorite was Queso Fundido con Chorizo - basically a small pot of melted white Mexican cheese with chunks of chorizo sausage, to be spooned out into a quarter of a tortilla and eaten.
Incidentally, flour tortillas are more common along the U.S. border and corn tortillas more common in the bulk of Mexico. Or so I found.
Another favorite we discovered was dark mole from Oaxaca.
This was doled over chicken and it was delicious. The one we had at a Oaxacan restaurant was actually jet black. I remember one of our friends who refused to touch it. Her comment? "I don't eat black food!"
Quite obviously, as I sit here drooling over my keyboard, I could go on and on. But I'll stop. Just remember: Mexican food is a lot more than tacos, enchiladas and chimichangas. (I've heard that last one was invented in Los Angeles!)