Monday, February 27, 2006
Morning Temperature: 9 F
High Temp: 16 F
Precipitation: likely snow fall again tonight
Binghamton Daily Epiphany: Beware of any food that the locals refer to as "authentic."
A few days ago, I went to the local college "authentic" Mexican joint in Downtown Binghamton. I try to frequent the businesses there because it's really a great- if down on its luck- area and it has that sort of artsy spark (and beautfiul architecture) that makes people want to live in urban lofts. Anyway, I tried my luck at the suspiciously named "Buffy's Burritos," located in the basement of "Coffee Talk" which I cannot seem to say without lapsing into Mike Myers doing his Linda Richman SNL character and her "Kuawfee Tawk" chat show.
Anyway, I ordered a grilled flank steak and portobello mushroom burrito from the server, who appeared to be Latino. I took a chance and asked, "Can I get it 'wet'?" I think he thought I was talking dirty to him or something, and another patron cast his glance in our direction, so I just said "nevermind." Next, I tried for salsa- not crazy, right? No luck. They only had little packets of "taco sauce" a la' Taco Bell. (To be fair, the burrito was very tasty, even "dry"!)
Last night, I had the pleasure of dining at the local restaurant which people told me was the best "authentic Mexican" food in town, Los Tapatios. I ordered the "beef nachos" ($3.55) for a starter, and it was hysterical: store-bought tortilla chips with some mysterious white cheese-like liquid ladelled over it (similar to that which results from a cheap box of mac & cheese) then sprinkled with a hefty portion of (unflavored) ground beef. The "cheese" did not hold the chips together, but instead left them wet and soggy. Interesting.
Still craving "authentic" Mexican food, I went to "Moe's Southwestern Grill" for a quick lunch. Moe's, which is more like a La Salsa or Baja Fresh, will apparently have to keep me going until I can learn how to cook Mexican food.