Decoding 'Authentic' Mexican Restaurant Menus
When visiting a new city, the first thing I do is compile a list of where to eat. I typically ask around social media, or people I know who've been there (foodie friends have more pull) and do too much research online. When I visited Charleston, South Carolina, my list included Sean Brock's newest brick and mortar, Minero. I brought my friends who had never been to an authentic Mexican restaurant but when we sat down, it seemed as if tacos were the only recognizable menu item. Everybody can speak "margarita" but our party had to Google a few of the ingredients and ask the waitress for a run down to put in our order.
Thinking about that experience, I compiled a list of terms that you might find at a Mexican restaurant, inspired by Minero's menu. If your options for authentic Mexican are limited, try a Cooking Light recipe suggestion at home! Find ingredients at your local Mexican grocer, or opt for dried or packaged versions in case you have trouble finding anything. Don't be afraid to try something new! Anything wrapped in a tortilla and topped with fresh salsa is typically a pretty safe bet. Here are words to know so you navigate a Mexican menu like a pro, along with a recipe suggestion to master at home:
al Pastor: Meat roasted on a spit and thinly sliced, served in a tortilla. Recipe: Tacos Al Pastor with Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Enmolada: Filled, rolled tortillas in a mole sauce, similar to Enchiladas. Similar Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas