Living in rural North Carolina I have discovered the joy of Lexington-style Barbecue and authentic Mexican cuisine. That’s right; in places like Mount Airy, Dobson and Elkin, towns with less than 20,ooo people each, I have found some of the best Mexican food that I have ever tasted. When I was living in Southern California during college I got spoiled by the stuff, so imagine my surprise when I found it here in the deep South.
I haven’t found a decent Chinese or Japanese restaurant let alone Indian, but when it comes to Mexican the places here can’t be beat.
Update: The best Mexican restaurant that I have found in the USA is Las Cuatro Milpas Mexican Food, 157 N. Main St. Lake Elsinore CA.
I’m not sure how I found Las Cuatro Milpas. We were driving around the Southern California area two years ago when we stopped there on a lark. Roberto’s in San Diego was a bust. It had been the best when we lived there in the late 80’s/early 90’s but the restaurant had become a chain and lost its soul – and the food its flavor. It was late morning when we stopped in to Las Cuatro Milpas looking for something cold to drink. We ended up staying there two hours for lunch. The owner Louie Trujillo welcomed us and kept bringing food to the table, each course more delicious and flavorful than the last.
Now I am no means a foodie, but I have had a handful of transcendent experiences with food that become the standards by which all other meals are judged. Las Cuatro Milpas was one of those experiences and has stood the test of time representing the very best of Mexican food. Fresh ingredients; the perfect mix of spices; excellent prices and friendly service. Las Cuatro Milpas is the reason why I believe that Mexican cuisine is one of the top cuisines in the world.
Done badly, Mexican food is awful. Taco Bell and del Taco come quickly to mind. Done right and Mexican is a great meal. Done perfectly and you have one of those moments that Buddhists call satori - a glimpse of Nirvana – and Las Cuatro Milpas gave me one of those moments.
The tamales. My god the tamales were so good.
Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, Death to Taco Bell! The food is only good when you are college aged, drunk/stoned and don’t know any better.