Wednesday, July 19, 2006

SCOT-MEX July 20

What’s wrong with me? I can’t sit still, so I pace back and forth in my apartment. My head pounds like a broken drum. The apartment walls creep closer as if they want to shut me in. Sure, I miss Amber who is down in Scone taking care of my mother. Things are quiet here, but why does my hand itch for a cigarette though I haven't smoked for years? The light bulb comes on. Of course, I haven’t had Mexican food since leaving Texas a month ago. Surely I knew that in coming to Aberdeen I’d be without my weekly fix. That was part of the deal. Deal be damned! I’m going out for enchiladas, margaritas and salsa.

I found Pancho Villas, a small Mexican restaurant across the street from a beautiful church, now a modern restaurant. Scanning the menu I find enchiladas, fajitas and so on. I gasp. Potatoes in the enchiladas? Have Mexicans have ever encountered neeps and tatties or know what they look like? But hell, this place isn't Mama Ninfas; I'll set my expectations appropriately.

I order a margarita on the rocks and spinach enchiladas. For a while I stare at the empty table before realizing that chips and salsa haven’t appeared. Usually you munch on those before you even see the menu. The margarita arrives; it has a strong acerbic taste. But where’s the good stuff? I’m a cheap date and usually one margarita sends me off singing. After finishing this one, I’m so sober I could drive on the left, down a narrow winding road with my eyes closed.

The enchiladas arrive, topped with a fragrant cheese sauce, Spanish rice and beans on the side and two lonesome tortilla chips stuck in the beans. Realising that the food might need extra zip, I ask for a side of salsa. I finish one enchilada; it’s mild, savory, but seasoned by someone who didn’t care for spicy food. Though tasty, the enchilada doesn’t sooth my craving or put to rest my addiction. The salsa arrives, so I spread it on the remaining enchilada. No! They couldn’t have done this. The salsa tastes like Italian pasta sauce. Did someone buy pasta sauce thinking that because Italy and Mexico are both hot countries, their sauces have to be similar?

The young waiter arrives and in broad Scots asks if everything is all right.

“Yes, but I was expecting the food to be more spicy.”

She returns a very penetrating look, as if to say, “Another bloody American.”

I ask if they adapt Mexican food to suit the local palate. Unless it’s Indian curry, the hot and spicy doesn’t go well with local tastes. She agrees that this is the Scottish version of Mexican food. Scot-Mex.

As Monty Python would say, “There isn’t much Mexican spam in it.”

As I go to the cashier to pay my bill, I find a sweet twenty something kid there who asks in broekn English how she can help. She’s too fair skinned to be Mexican, so I try Polish. She smiles and replies in Polish that she loves to hear the language up here.

Ha, I haven't found any mexican food in Graz, either... I think there might have been spanish at the place where we went Salsa dancing... but I'd be a bit afraid to try mexican. Enchiladas con Bratwurst or something. :-)
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