Dear Mexican: Searching for Mexican Restaurants on Yelp Is Loco!
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Dear Mexican: Isn’t the acceptance of illegal immigration by Latino politicians insulting to generations of Mexican-Americans who paid taxes, built communities and worked hard for their families and their country?
Dear Gabacho: Nope, mainly because people sin papeles also pay taxes, build communities and serve. But nice attempt to pull a Donald Trump and divide and conquer between undocumented Mexicans and “legal” Mexican-Americans. But the stats don’t back up your premise. A 2014 Pew Research Center survey showed that while the immigration views of native-born, English-dominant Latinos aren’t as Aztlanista as, say, those of a Mechista, they’re pretty close. On the question of whether they prefer a pathway to citizenship, better border security and enforcement or a combination of both, 48 percent of U.S.-born Latinos favored the former, while 34 percent liked the latter. That’s probably because 23 percent of them knew someone who had been deported in the past year. Unlike gabachos, whose ancestors got onto Ellis Island and then promptly pulled the plank so that the Greeks couldn’t come over, Mexicans don’t forget our roots.
Dear Mexican: Wanting to review a hole-in-the-wall spot that apparently makes the best tacos. Yelp reviewers keep commenting on how run-down the space is, but somehow equate “doesn’t look like much” with the authentic Mexican food experience. Is this all just pendejadas, or is there something to it?
Dear Pocha: Why are you bothering with Yelp when it comes to Mexican food? This is the site where a gabacha once left a one-star review for a spot that offered amazing huchepos (sweet corn tamales), aporreado (awesome Michoacán breakfast dish) and spectacular posole verde. The restaurant’s sin, according to the pendeja? No burritos — never mind that they’re as much a part of michoacana cuisine as a Rick Bayless airport torta. It’s the same prejudice that you describe, though yours is of a different sentido — that “true” Mexican food can’t possibly be high-class, and can only be properly prepared by women named María who slave over a comal grinding out the nixtamal themselves. It’s an extension of the classic American expectation that Mexicans are perpetually in poverty, and it’s bullshit. The true test of a great Mexican restaurant? Great food — and a calendar from the local tortillería or market with an illustration of an Aztec maiden, claro.