Mexican food in Frisco

Richard Brooks Alba
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2003/07/11 16:33:37 (permalink)

Mexican food in Frisco

Here in Fresno, CA, we have a plethora of authentic mom & pop Mexican food places.. there are actually 4 of them within a half mile of my house! Not all the new places that pop up, survive, because even though one is "authentic", one has to be top notch because you are competing with others just as "authentic". Some of the best include:
Mario's on Divisidero. Home of the kitchen sink nacho plates. House made chips smothered in Chili Verde, housemade salsa, guacamole, mexican sour cream, Jack cheese, and some sort of secret "chili sauce".
Robertito's, a Fresno legend. A popular local chain with homemade tortillas and awesome burritos of every stripe. Watch out for their 5 alarm chile verde! Open 24/7.
Alberto's, another local chain with the most succulent carne asada around.
Don Pepe's. A little hole in the wall joint with ice cold cerveza and great tortas (Mexican sandwiches). This place is full to the gills every lunchtime. Favored by the local Fire Dept. Don't forget to visit their condiment bar!
All the places I've mentioned have drive thrus except Don Pepe's. Don's is indoor eating and takeout, Robertito's and Mario's have limited outdoor and indoor seating. The Alberto's on Willow not only has ample indoor seating but a large children's play area!
And this is just the beginning.. there are dozens more, where you'd swear you'd crossed the border!

A sad fact in S.F.: we have lots of places, a great majority of them in our Mission District, that serve food that is supposed to be Mexican. In truth, most of it is merely 'Mexican-styled' food. The most famous example of this is the "Mission-style" burrito (in the deluxe version, a flour tortilla filled with w/ everything but the kitchen sink: beans, rice, meat [or vegi equivalent], cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa cruda, sour cream, guacamole, & "hot sauce") that is growing more and more popular across the country. Like pretty much any other popular Mexican food here, this is a concoction that was developed to accommodate the tastebuds of non-Latinos. We have "taquerias" in name only - to a one, they sell many more burritos, or nacho platters, than tacos. This has come about because many Mexican families have moved from San Francisco [to buy homes elsewhere], replaced with Central American families who can sustain their own cuisines for themselves, and broader-minded others, in their restaurants - but also have a ready market of folks who still want to buy their "Mexican" comfort food. This is the epitome of absurdist humor to my relatives when they come to visit here: to see "Mission-style" burritos being marketed outside of California as the 'logical' extension of a quasi-Mexican foodstuff made by non-Mexicans for other non-Mexicans in our ostensible 'taquerias' of San Francisco. (For me, it goes one additional step: actual Mexicans trying out the offerings at Taco Bell, with or without its "Run For The Border" campaign... [but only because there's ANY connection at all between 'Mexican' and 'Taco Bell'])

There is still a way to navigate our taquerias to see if they're worth trying: count the number of possible fillings available for your burrito/taco/torta - if they only have like "beef," "chicken," "pork," and "cheese," move on to the next place. The more possibilities, the better the chances that they actually pay attention to the distinctive features of each filling. Even if the possibilities are fillings you wouldn't eat yourself (tongue, brains, cactus paddles, etc.), they mean that you're just that teensiest bit closer to authenticity.

If I had my way [and decent backing], I would open a real Mexican restaurant - and not serve a single burrito....
Buen provecho,
San Francisco/SF, CA

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