Mexican? I doubt it.
While visiting wonderful friends in Texas this week, for the Ambleside Online conference, I was privileged to eat at a wonderful Mexican restaurant. They made table-side guacamole, and I had these delicious enchiladas. The food was almost as good as the fellowship, and that's saying a lot. It prompted me to share a story about eating at a "Mexican" restaurant in Krakow, which I was informed was a "blogworthy" event. So here it is.
A brand-new mall was being built within a ten-minute walk from my front door. The really neat thing about this new mall was that they were putting in a food court. To my knowledge, it's still the only food court in Krakow (it wasn't a wildly successful venture). In any case, one of the restaurants was TEX-MEX. I was really pleased, because I love that kind of food, and hadn't had any for a while. You can buy El Paso brand products, but they are imported from somewhere and are very expensive. I waited impatiently for the mall to be finished and the food court to open.
At the earliest opportunity, I walked over and perused the menu. I was eating alone, and I selected a sampler platter with half an enchilada and half a burrito. Mmmmmmmm...
I was a little taken aback by my first glimpse of the plate. Polish people like coleslaw--they like it a LOT--and it is sort of obligatory at all kinds of restaurants. But still--this plate had not only the usual white-cabbage slaw, but also a red-cabbage version side by side. I wasn't planning to eat cabbage with my Mexican food, so I just pushed it out of the way. The burrito was odd, but not too bad. The enchilada, however, destroyed forever my hopes of enjoying Mexican food in Poland. I cut it open, and found it full of vegetables. Prominent among them were small, whole...brussel sprouts.
I am reasonably certain that brussel sprouts do not grow in Mexico. Mexicans probably don't even know what they are. And if they DID know, I bet they still wouldn't put them in enchiladas.
So, I choked down a few bites, but left most of the Polish-Mexican food untouched. It was a lesson I had already encountered, and my expectations were probably not realistic. In America, the Chinese food, and the Mexican food, and other ethnic cuisines, are tailored to suit the American palate. The same is true in Poland. Chinese food tastes Polish. Mexican food tastes Polish. Polish food tastes Polish. Even McDonald's caters to the regional preferences. (Did YOUR McDonald's ever offer deep-fried cauliflower?)
The only consolation in all of this is that I actually like Polish food. And I do most of my cooking at home, where the Italian food, and the Chinese food, and the Mexican food all taste American!