This category seeks to waymark the all of the many varieties of restaurants outside of Mexico whose focus is serving food that can be categorized as Mexican or Southwestern in style.
Mexican cuisine is the result of a blend of influences. In the pre-Columbian era, Mexican diets featured locally-grown products, primarily corn and beans. These ingredients were complimented with tomatoes, chilies and herbs. The Spanish invasion in 1521 introduced new influences in terms of both ingredients and cooking methods. The Spanish imported rice, beef, pork, chicken, wine, garlic and onions, combining them with the native ingredients. The French occupation of Mexico introduced a French influence that can be seen today through Mexican baked goods, such as sweet breads, and in soups. Other influences, such as the Caribbean, South America and Africa also added ingredients and cooking styles.
Much of what is called “Mexican” food was developed and/or popularized in the United States. One of the best known varieties is “Tex-Mex”, the original focus of this category. Tex-Mex is a border cuisine, a fusion of American beef and flour with Mexican spices and cooking techniques.
Another variety is New Mexican cuisine, a fusion of Mexican, Spanish, Native American and cowboy chuck wagon influences. The focus of New Mexican cooking is the chile pepper, with beans and corn comprising the other basic ingredients. Blue corn, stacked enchiladas and sopapillas (a dessert pastry) are distinctive features of New Mexican cuisine.
Any “Mexican” restaurant can be listed in this category with the exception of national “fast food” chains (Taco Bell, etc.) and restaurants that operate from non-permanent locations, such as food trucks and temporary vendor stands. Taquerías, once found primarily in temporary stands occupied by street vendors, are now being found in permanent buildings and can be waymarked here.