Over the last few decades, the United States has seen a massive influx of immigrants from neighboring Mexico. This wave of immigration has brought with it complicated social and political questions, which are associated with very strong feelings on all sides of the issues. But Mexican immigrants also brought something far less controversial and far more universally appreciated: Mexican food. While everyone loves the classic, hearty, portable burrito (clearly for good reason) there are times when you might want to branch out to some other sections of the menu. Here is a list of five things to try the next time you visit one of your favorite Eugene Mexican restaurants:
- Chiles Rellenos: The literal translation of this dish is “stuffed chile,” and, indeed, the dish consists of a mild green chile stuffed with meat and/or cheese. The chile is then lightly breaded in a cornmeal batter and fried.
- Horchata: This is a sweet, milky beverage that is perfect for taming the sting of a spicy dish. This drink is made with different ingredients across Latin American countries (as well as Spain). In Mexico it is made from rice and flavored with vanilla and cinnamon.
- Mole: This refers to several different sauces that originated in the cuisines of the Mexican states of Puebla and Oaxaca. All moles have ground chili peppers as a central ingredient but take on different flavors and colors depending on the other ingredients included (e.g. dried fruit, nuts, seeds, garlic, etc.). Some moles even include chocolate—don’t knock it until you try it!
- Tres Leches Cake: The translation for this fabulous concoction is “three milks” cake. It is typically prepared by soaking a prepared sponge or butter cake in evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk until the cake is soft—but not too soggy.
- Pozole: This dish is a very traditional soup that is referred to in colonial records dating back to at least 1500, and it was originally eaten only during special ritual ceremonies. There are countless different recipes for this dish, but the common link is that all pozole is made with ground corn (maize) and some type of meat.
This is only the beginning of a hugely varied cuisine. Take a tour of a few quality Eugene Mexican restaurants and discover foods beyond the burrito and taco.