Moving from the Southwest to New England was sort of interesting for my husband and me. The climate wasn’t too terribly different, though we both found the humidity to be a little intense after living most of our lives in arid places The winters weren’t really that much colder, the summers not much hotter.
There was one thing we simply couldn’t adjust to, however. The complete and utter lack of proper Mexican food. This would simply not do. After all, my dear hubby had grown up literally five minutes away from the border of Mexico and had always had as much cayenne and cumin-laced food as he could handle.
Once we got settled, we decided to explore the area. So we hopped in the car and drove.
The place was packed with small towns, no more than five or ten miles from one another. White houses and cute little churches and antique shops nestled comfortably between the unending forests. How picturesque, we thought. That was when we saw it hidden in what looked to be an ancient strip mall dating back to the Paleolithic era. A Mexican restaurant! Tires squealed as we pulled into the parking lot. Our stomachs growled in eager anticipation. Our salivary glands began working overtime.
We’d finally found a Mexican restaurant! Elation!
So we went in and were seated in a massive booth. Despite the brightly colored paint on the walls and in the carvings of our seats, the booths made me think of church – unpadded and uncomfortable; as though they were trying to keep us awake during our meal.
After looking over the menu twice and ordering a beer I decided on chicken tacos. We drooled in anticipation while our rears went numb from the uncomfortable seating. The waiter, an annoyed looking teenager dropped out plates down on the table and wandered off to talk to more annoyed looking teenagers in the booth nearby.
Oh boy! Chicken tacos, am so excited and so hungry! I thought to myself as I grabbed up my fork to take my first bite of refried beans. I blinked as I swallowed the sticky brown goop down. I couldn’t place it… it was a strange flavor, like someone had tried to turn my refrieds into oatmeal. Was that a hint of cinnamon in my beans? My hubby took a bite and confirmed it .
“Yeah.. cinnamon… what the?!”
Shrugging, I scooped up one of the two tiny, flat tacos on my plate and took a bite. Refried beans were hardly my favorite side dish anyhow.
Ugh! Plopping the mess down on the plate I used my fork to peel the tortilla open and peered inside. That did not taste like chicken. That didn’t even look like chicken.
Well, alright, it looked like chicken…. if it had come out of a can labeled Fancy Feast.
I turned green. I dropped my fork to my plate and quickly swallowed down the last of my beer to get the awful taste out of my mouth.
“I can’t eat this,” I told my hubby. He looked surprised. I have a stomach of steel and have been known to eat almost anything without (too much) complaint. It was the most awful taco I had ever had in my life. This is including such gems as Taco Bell.
We booked it to the closest Thai restaurant and had a much better lunch, which helped to get the foul taste of Fancy Feast soaked in chili powder out of my mouth. Nothing, of course, would scrub that horrible food from my memory.
So now when hubby and I are craving Mexican, we stay home and cook it.