Monday, August 10, 2009

Movie and a bean roll

So, last week when I talked about our quest for barbecue and pizza, I forgot another important food group that seems to be missing in the country western south, and that's Mexican food. Now, if you're not from the Midwest you might think I wouldn't know much about this anyway, but you'd be wrong because in Minnesota there's a little thing called "Migrant workers," and as a result every summer when I grew up the ethnic groups in my little town went from "Czech and German" to "White and Hispanic," and little by little many of these people stopped living in trailers near the Green Giant factory, and started getting apartments or houses in town and stayed into the winter working in the steel mill or even driving to jobs in the suburbs like the white folk and just like the white folk they liked to have churches, grocery stores and even restaurants. For tomorrow's Way Back Tuesday maybe I'll tell you all about how my family helped poach them away from the Catholic church too.

Anyway, this means that there was a really fantastic Mexican restaurant in the "big" town about 20 miles from where I grew up, where they made their own tortillas and brought them hot to your table and used different colored chilies to make salsas that we had never heard of and put them over dishes we couldn't pronounce, but I promise you they were good. And for a couple years there was even a little Mexican grocery store in our town that sold things like jalapeno suckers and spicy freeze-dried grasshoppers. Then I moved to Chicago, and being a Big City they also had all kinds of good places to eat, including various Hispanic restaurants, not even just Mexican, but right in Hyde Park there was a place called Maravillas that delivered giant burritos and huevos rancheros and sopes and flan and it all cost about $2, which was awesome.

So, you'd think if you can get a bunch of people who lived in sunny South America and Mexico to travel all the way up to Minnesota to pack corn into cans and to Chicago to pack pigs into cans, then somewhere along the way they might have come to Nashville to pack... something into something else. Peaches? Tobacco? What do they have here?

But no. It appears that no brownish people from the land of the habanero have ever so much as passed through and stopped to check out the cowboy boot stores, because if they had, they would never have allowed the abomination that is the "Bean Roll." This is what passes for Mexican food down here, as far as I can tell. It's a tortilla wrapped around pureed beans (they add chicken if you're into that) and slathered in nacho cheese. We've been to three or four different restaurants now that offer this dish, though it's only our awesome bar that has the self-respect to call it a Bean Roll rather than a burrito. It doesn't make it any more tasty, but it does at least lower my expectations.

Well, I was going to also tell you about how I went to see the Harry Potter movie at the matinee the other day, but I got so upset about the Bean Roll that I'll have to save that for another time.




  1. Oh dear. Yeah. Tennesseans don't really understand Hispanic people.

    My grandmother (when she first moved to Dallas a couple of years ago) was helping me fix up my apartment (mostly to keep her out of everyone else's hair). We were in the parking lot, carrying stuff up and she stopped and leaned over and whispered to me, "Do you think we ought to call the apartment security people about that Hispanic gentleman walking around below your apartment?"

    I said, " neighbor? Why?"

    She thought he must be stealing stuff or murdering someone, I guess. Surprisingly, this was not the first time I wanted to punch my Nana.

  2. Hey, at least she called him a gentleman. There's that southern charm.

  3. It's all in the tone, my dear. She said "gentleman" the way you or I would say "asshole."

  4. real cheese or no? i get annoyed at the canned cheez whiz everywhere too. melt some freaking cheddar at least.

  5. Shine: Now that's a talent I wish I had the balls for.

    Jeff: Sadly, no. I think it might be Velveeta, but that's a stretch even.