A Touch of Mexican

Over twenty over guys sat decked out along two sides of a long cantina table.

It could be a night out at college, or it was a gathering of a sports team. Whatever it was, where ever they came from, there was a camaraderie buzzing with them, easy conversation from relaxed mates and the food served quickly eaten with gusto. I thought a chap looked like Beckham, another reminded me of the Miscel I know, two were obviously brothers and the joker in the crowd had a sense of showmanship and effective expression about him.

Ee-lane had organised this outing into the land of burritos, thick pizza crusts, nachos, lettuce, lamb and chicken fillings and attentive waiters. The master of the laid back restaurant was traditional and came out to ask about the food and service -is everything all right? The waiters kept their cheerfulness despite a busy night and even if no sangrias or Margarita's had been ordered. My group favoured the quasiladdas, so tasty with the soft and aromatic fillings providing a wonderful contrast to the crusty bite from outside. I always have a soft spot for nachos, but in this place - Had To Happen - they were melting into my heart. The food served had a touch of cooking from the heart and did not evoke of fast food like I had feared.

I pondered about how Spanish cuisine had been transformed once it crossed the Atlantic. The merging and fusion of European, Mediterranean and native American influences had mellowed in line with the change of climate and the availability of local produce. Picture this after the siesta under the hot sun: cooling shots of alcohol, cuts of fruit and ice. Complement this with the sustenance of beans and the easy supply of corn. Transfer all these to the Australian landscape and beside the Pacific Ocean. Mexican is macho food, yet a laid back reminder to lazy afternoons, Catholic missionaries and warm evenings watching the stars from a base camp. Gracias muchachos!

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