Bloody Mary Morning (a lil’ Tex Mex porn)

tex mex

Last weekend’s 3-day bachelor party… well, let’s just say it left me and brothers Tad and Micah a little hazy. By the time it was over, it was most definitely time for a “Blood Mary morning” and so, to make their culinary Trifecta complete (they’d already had some great Texas steak some great Texas bbq), it was time for Tex Mex at one of Austin’s classics, Chuys. My morning started with a Michelada — essentially a bloody Mary made with beer. Chuy’s features $3 margaritas and bloody Marys on Sunday, btw, I wonder why?)

tex mex

The Wild Burrito, above, is a “wet” burrito made with slowly braised tender stringy beef and Hatch chiles. Some might argue that the inclusion of Hatch chiles and the Sonora-style “wet” presentation would betray New Mexico and Arizona roots of this dish. But who needs dogmatism on a bloody Mary morning? Needless to say, I did my best “James Brown” imitation, as Tracie B likes to tease me, consuming this dish.

tex mex

Deluxe chicken enchiladas, above, are essentially, enchiladas verdes, with sour cream added to the salsa verde. An Austin original, Chuys has become a Texas franchise chain restaurant. But it’s everything Tex Mex should be: cheap, colorful, delicious, fun, and a perfect cure for a hangover!

tex mex

Fajitas are an undisputed signature of Tex Mex cuisine. Some will argue that they originated in Austin while others will claim Houston. No one will deny that they have become a calling card of Tex Mex cuisine from sea to shining sea.

Thanks, again, to brothers Micah and Tad (below), for coming out and giving me a great “lost bachelor weekend” here in Austin. I can’t think of better way to end it than with a blood Mary morning!

tex mex

Check out this amazing video of Willie doing “Blood Mary Morning” way back when before he was even playing his signature guitar. If that ain’t Texan, I don’t know what is!

The final word on Tex-Mex? An interview with Guillermo Bubba Rodriguez

Above: Pozoles at Rosario’s in San Antonio.

From the Oxford English Dictionary, online edition:

    Tex-Mex adj. Designating the Texan variety of something Mexican; also occas., of or pertaining to both Texas and Mexico.

    1949 Time 14 Feb. 38/1 Fluent in Texmex Spanish, he had been one of the most promising rodeo riders around Tucson, Ariz… The half English, half Spanish patois of the U.S.-Mexican border region. 1973 News (Mexico City) (Vistas Suppl.) 22 July 7 It is a mistake to come to Mexico and not try the local cuisine. It is not the Tex-Mex cooking that one is used to getting in the United States. 1976 M. MACHLIN Pipeline xx. 246 The voice of Miss Martinez, one of Wilbur’s gestures toward Tex-Mex integration, came softly over the intercom. 1977 Time Out 28 Jan.-3 Feb. 8/2 Cooder’s current concern is the music of Southern Texas, the ‘Tex-Mex’ style.

Above: Griselda’s Tacos Callejeros (stuffed with chicken) at Rosario’s.

Ask anyone who follows the food and wine blogosphere: there’s just no avoiding the habanero-fired debate over the definition of “Tex-Mex” cuisine. Being a Southern Californian myself and with only a year in Texas under my belt, I felt obliged to consult with one of the field’s greatest experts and authorities, Guillermo “Bubba” Rodriquez. Here’s what he wrote me.

    If you don’t have fajitas, YOU’RE OUT.

    If you don’t have queso, YOU’RE OUT.

    If you have to ask what queso is, YOU’RE OUT.

Above: A “wet” carne asada burrito at Chuys in Austin.

    If you don’t white AND yellow cheese grated on the enchiladas, YOU’RE OUT.

    If you don’t have charro beans option, YOU’RE OUT.

    If your top-shelf Margarita is not served with Cuervo Gold, YOU’RE OUT.

    If the beef in your chili con carne is not ground, YOU’RE OUT.

Above: Huevos motuleños at Curra’s Grill in Austin.

    If your picante sauce was made in New York City, YOU’RE OUT.

    If you have ceviche on your menu, YOU’RE OUT.

    Actually, if you have any fish on your menu, YOU’RE OUT.

    If you don’t know how to make a Mexican Martini, YOU’RE OUT.

In other news…

Hook ’em Horns! Texas squares off with Oklahoma today. As our good friend Melvin Croaker likes to say, what do Oklahoma and marijuana have in common? They both get smoked in a bowl.

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend ya’ll!

The best nachos ever (and in the French press)

Above: Do Bianchi’s pick for “best nachos ever” at Polvo’s in Austin.

Do Bianchi got some props today in the French press. In a Valentine’s Day post, Le Monde’s blog Le Post called my “gastronomic blog” a sign of the recent “radical change” in Americans’ tastes (presumably after the presidential election). Gee… if that’s a compliment, I think I prefer a French insult.

So I thought I’d post on this Valentine’s Day on a good ol’ Tex-Mex classic, nachos.

I’ve eaten nachos all across these fine United States of America, and as partial as I am to the nachos served at the sometimes crusty but always classic El Cholo in Los Angeles, Polvo’s in Austin now holds the title of “best nachos ever” in the Do Bianchi Pantheon of ars culinaria mexicana.

While the decor at Polvo’s ain’t the Ritz, the waitstaff is friendly (although the hosts are sullen). Everything I’ve eaten there has been great (and well-priced), including the mole (we went there last night for dinner before an excellent Guy Forsyth show). My only true lament: what do you have to do in this town to get a beer without a lime in it?

My valentine, Tracie B, makes some pretty mean nachos herself, with spicy ground and sautéed turkey, melted cheese, and her own homemade tomatillo sauce (above). Sooooo good…

In other news…

NN+’s video was a Valentine’s Day feature on YouTube today! Pretty nifty…

Happy Valentine’s, y’all!