it has always been my contention that san marvellous lies within one of the invisible cultural/culinary zones that stretch throughout the state, generally changing appreciably as one moves north or south. the stretch where i currently reside is central texas, and in my mind, the purest form of unlettered, everyday, non reconstructed or interior mexified folk tex-mex is to be found here. what you find in austin is either too influenced by the senora kennedy, hipsters, or people freshly immigrated, and san antonio is the beginning of norteno texmex, which is a style all its own.
what constitutes real tex mex is this: a pale brown puree of lard and pinto beans, a yellowish to orangish short grain rice that has been fried in lard, then simmered in chicken stock, enchiladas in any type of sauce, so long as it has been sourced from a can (or a jar, if what you ordered was mole), and the whole covered in an extruded sort of bright yellow cheese that is midway between velveeta and that gooey pseudo dairy substance adorning gas station nachos. all this on a burning hot plate that the waitress (sometimes with a sweaty lady stache) warns you not to touch.
which brings us to today’s fabulous decor. somebody please enlighten me, but what exactly is it called when the thing on the wall is a painted metal sheet? of a stereotypical “mexican” street, hanging in the sterile confines of a strip mall restaurant?
i was kind of horrified because people were courteously getting out of the way so i could take a picture and smiling, brimming with good old fashioned down home small town friendliness. note the gentleman below, who surely wanted to know why i was taking his picture. sadly, this was really the only good item in the place—it has very little in the way of wall space because the other two sides are all glass windows.
however, despite this distinct disadvantage, they did make an attempt at the obligatory marian nicho found in all taquerias, (and sometimes a saint martin too for good measure) though this was stuck on a kind of credenza in the anteroom of the restaurant.
it is so lovely to see her tenderly blessing the coffee news!, which must be some sort of community newspaper.