A note to aspiring restauranteurs: Mexican food doesn’t mean putting a dollop of sour cream, cheddar cheese and pico de gallo on an entree. Try to push the envelop and really elevate the dishes millions of people love. Change up the ingredients or change the flavor palate to truly make your take on the dish unique and exciting. Also, don’t claim the food is authentic this or that. Be honest and just say it is inspired by something. That will go over so much better. Here are some foods that missed the mark.
1. Chipotle’s queso dip
Chipotle arguably does a lot of stuff right. Their burrito, fajita and carnitas bowls are delicious, especially when drizzled with guacamole. Even their burritos are something everyone should enjoy at least once. However, when the casual chain decided to release a queso dip, the restaurant got into a sticky situation with dissatisfied customers. The soup-y like consistency of the dip did not get rave reviews and even affected stock prices.
2. Pea guacamole
We are still shuddering at the fact that peas and guacamole can be put in the same context, but that’s the food travesty that New York Times columnist and cookbook author Melissa Clark introduced to the internet to back in 2015. Twitter erupted with foodie backlash about the recipe saying they would not be using peas in his guac recipe.
Even President Barack Obama took a stand on the issue.
respect the nyt, but not buying peas in guac. onions, garlic, hot peppers. classic. https://t.co/MEEI8QHH1V
— President Obama (@POTUS44) July 1, 2015
Imagine your recipe being so ridiculous that even the president of the United States takes time to tweet about it.
3. Hard shell tacos
The crunch sound you hear while eating at a Mexican restaurant should either come from chips or some bomb flautas and taquitos. Sure. You might find some hard shell tacos in Mexico but they are usually in super tourist neighborhood and restaurants. Instead, just use two soft corn tortillas, which make for a great time.
4. Canned red sauce for enchiladas
We aren’t above using canned food shortcuts to re-create some of our favorite Mexican dishes, but when it comes to enchilada sauce, homemade is best. You can taste the difference when you are digging your fork into some bright red sauce sprinkled with cheddar cheese versus a homemade sauce topped with some queso fresco.
5. Esquites with crushed red pepper
The former La Mexicana Cantina & Grill in Miami served up our beloved esquites with crushed red pepper flakes. Yes, *those* red chili flakes from your fave pizza joint. There is nothing wrong with using those flakes for food and flavor, but try sticking to the powder pepper we are all used too. This just strays to far into Italian territory.
6. Taco salad bowls
Another food item on your run-of-the-mill, non-authentic Mexican food restaurant is a salad slapped with a helping of lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, black beans and corn housed in a taco shell bowl. According to research done by writer Gustavo Arellano, taco bowls were not invented by a Mexican chef, but by none other than the founder of Fritos chips, Elmer Doolin. A Mexican family may have run Doolin’s Southern California restaurant, but to us, it’s not technically a true Mexican entree.
This deep-fried burrito dish was first served up in Arizona in the 1920s according to urban legend, when the owner of a Mexican restaurant dropped a burrito in the deep fryer by accident. We get that burritos are Mexican and they are delicious, but these need to be marketed as Tex-Mex and never as Mexican cuisine.