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real mexican food!

Todd definitely gets homesick for California sometimes. One of the things he misses the most is the availability of authentic Mexican food. I usually say something about Del Taco then, and he waves a dismissive hand at me and goes into one of his lengthy rants on how chain restaurants like Chili’s have no idea what Mexican food is supposed too look or taste like. Which then turns into a story or two about the Mexican dives he used to go to in Sacramento or the guy in Fresno who used to sell tamales out of a cart.

So I was on a mission to find a good Mexican place. There were a few around my neighborhood – well, they called themselves authentic – but they all turned out to be just glorified versions of Mexican fast food. I know there are quite a few places that are probably closer to authentic around where I work, but that town is not somewhere I want to go during non-office hours.

A few days ago a friend of ours started talking about tamales. Not only had I never had a tamale, I wasn’t even sure what one looked like. Of course, I got a full explanation about them, how they are made, how you eat them, the varieties you can get, etc.

hot tamaleI wanted a tamale.

After some Googling, we found a place about 30 minutes from here that seemed authentic enough. The reviews all but called it a dive, but said the food is so good that “foodies” have been invading this little Mexican community to dine at Fonda Coyoacan.

We took a ride out there yesterday afternoon. It was worth the trip. We finally found a place that Todd could compare favorably to his favorite places back in California. It’s a very small (about six tables) storefront restaurant that has little ambiance during the early afternoon, but you can tell it’s the kind of place that comes alive at night.

We had tamales; I had mine with chicken mole and Todd had his with chicken and green sauce. They were interesting; basically cornmeal and chicken stuffed inside a corn husk. Then I had papa con chorizo. Todd had incredibly messy, but tasty, huaraches.

The food was awesome. Rich, flavorful and nothing like the “Mexican” food I had become accustomed to on Long Island. I discovered through some more research that our very friendly server was actually the owner, Elvia Cardenas, who came here from Mexico in 2001.

I wanted to go back today, but I have a feeling it’s going to be packed with locals watching the Mexico/Costa Rica gold cup game (US plays Canada Thursday in the seminfinals, if you’re interested).

We’ll be back at Fonda Coyoacan next Saturday. There’s quite a few things on the menu I want to try.

So, Saturday’s lessons: Mexican food is not chimichangas and burritos, Todd doesn’t have to go back to California to get huaraches, and I’m pretty good at spackling.

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