Is there a difference between "authentic mexican cuisine" and authentic mexican street food"?
Here is the thing - I saw an online menu for
"Los Portales" in Glen Burnie and it reads like a Chi Chi's menu from the 80's - from the ground beef (standard if not otherwise specified) and shredded beef (optional) to the fried ice cream. It turned me off a little and since I thoroughly enjoy the BLT's and fries from the Aviation Deli next door, I am still hesitant to enter a place that just seems....well...kinda "touristy" or maybe "cheesy" (no pun intended). Even though it is insanely crowded. I realize it is next to BWI airport - but, c'mon - authentic? I am remembering my horrible experience with the bland, watery gummy-cheese crap served to me and my friends in El Salto's - a place that is apparently all the rage and the "best" and most authentic...yada yada yada. I live minutes from this place and would never consider going there again.
In the meanwhile, I wander into the Mexican joint in the Shell station where I have been getting my car repaired for years (Russell and Mike - all-American and 25 million years experience - people are towed from miles away to have their work done - excellent!) BTW - the station is owned by Indian people (very nice) but their mechanics are apple-pie American and they rent space to a Mexican family that barely speaks English...lol... I love the whole melting-pottiness of it all - BUT especially the part about my mechanic speaking "perfect-honest-I-will-never-rip-you-off" English!
Anyhoo - I see authentic Mexican - something clicks and I can't resist exploring. So while Mike is busy coaxing my car to stop behaving badly I tried to peruse the menu - and wow! Totally different from the extravagent menu at Los Portales and it's sister Plaza Garabaldi. Tongue? yikes! Tripe soup? double yikes!! But - I did recognize a few things that reminded me of Fiesta Mexicana in Rosedale.
A limited menu with a variety of protein offerings, mexican cheese, fresh and handmade - in other words "authentic".
So - I am confused. To make matters worse, I was exploring Highlandtown today looking for a small house my aunt lived in centuries ago and I have fond memories as a child visiting and I cruised past a rather cool little place on a neat little corner called "Los Catroches"....or close to that...lol....and just when I thought I could not be more baffled - it said "a Spanish restaurant"....lol!
So - what exactly is "authentic" Mexican cuisine?