There are certain things that every wise Tex-Mex lover knows about how to eat Tex-Mex. It is a wisdom that comes from long experience, from cooking many Tex-Mex meals and visiting many Tex-Mex restaurants. Here is a little bit of that wisdom to help you along in the New Year.
- Always serve tortilla chips and salsa before a Tex-Mex meal.
Every Tex-Mex lover knows that the meal should always begin with chips and salsa. It is the wisdom of the Tex-Mex way. And the chips should be hot.
Another piece of Tex-Mex wisdom about nachos with a topping is that each ingredient in the topping should be on each nacho chip. Some places will give you a plate of nachos with a mound of toppings on top, so the chips at the bottom have nothing on them. This is not the Tex-Mex way.
- Every dish should have beans and rice.
You simply cannot have Tex-Mex without beans. They are required. They come on the plate with an entrée, but also find their way more subtly into many other Tex-Mex foods, such as nachos, tostadas, quesadillas, enchiladas, and burritos.
There are many different versions of the beans, such as ranchero or charro beans with bacon, chilies and tomatoes, even beans with beer. But the most common way of serving beans in Tex-Mex is the refried version, where they are mashed with lard and heated on a skillet. (A healthier option is a side dish of black beans.)
A real Tex-Mex dish comes with generous portions of rice and refried beans, so much in fact that they are almost overflowing the plate. The beans and rice should be on the same plate as the entrée so that you can mix it all together. And every wise Tex-Mex eater knows that is how you really should eat a Tex-Mex meal, by mixing everything together.
- Chili gravy is the essential ingredient of Tex-Mex.
Some call it the mother sauce of Tex-Mex, and savvy Tex-Mex eaters say it is the key to a good Tex-Mex meal. Chili gravy is a sauce generally made with chili powder. It began as a sauce made with ancho chilis in San Antonio.
You normally find the gravy covering a plate of enchiladas, but it is also commonly seen among tamales. The gravy had its origin in chili con carne, which was first sold at the San Antonio Chili Stand in 1893.
So, if your enchiladas aren’t covered in the stuff from end to end, you are not eating Tex-Mex correctly.
If you are looking for a great place to get the best in Tex-Mex food, try Mattito’s, where the tortilla chips are hot and the margaritas are cold.