Mad Mex -sanity saver

My not-so-secret obsession with Baja- Mexican food nearly drove me to add a three day detour south of the border to our US West-Coast itinerary (honeymoon number three for the year for those who are counting). Such was the lure of lobster stuffed soft tacos that Rosarito; even with its rumours of car-jackings a-plenty seemed wan distractions in comparison to the gleaming pull of zesty flavours in squishy casing washed down with bracingly boozy margaritas.

But like an acquired weakness for eyebrow scars and vintage Porsche’s, Dylan has showed the way to so much that is good. I don’t know if my Mexican lusting can be traced to Brenda and Dylan’s secret tryst over the border to Cabos (back in the day when lasses from 90210 actually ate), but it might have something to do with it. They just seemed to have such a lovely time.

These days home- made Mexican makes a fortnightly appearance at least- more for special occasions.

It’s most likely to find it’s way in ten minute nachos. It’s the perfect thing to make while wishing Australian Idol would hurry up and end.

Take some of your bean/ mince mixture out of the freezer from when you made too much last time when you were making quesadillas. Nuke it or defrost it in a saucepan (two minutes).

When it’s warm, put four big tablespoons of it in the middle of a cereal bowl. Get someone to cue something really bad on t.v. Take some organic corn chips and lay them around the side of the warmed bean/ mince (I have a shuddering fear of CC’s. Weren’t they always soggy and smushed into the carpet the morning after a bad under age house party?)(One minute).

You can put some halved cherry tomatoes on top if they’re lurking around the fridge and need to be used. Add some shredded low-fat mozzarella all over the top (this probably lives in the freezer too…)(Thirty seconds).

Put it all in the oven, under a fan grill at 180 (six and a half minutes).

In that time take an avocado, halve it, rake it with a fork, add two teaspoons of greek yogurt, some salt, pepper, lemon juice and smush it around. If you’ve got any fresh coriander add some leaves. Then take a beer. Or a glass of cleanskins rose with some ice ( don’t know why, sometimes it just feels a little less like we drink too much when we do that). Pull out the nachos, top with a handful of rocket, as much guacamole as you dare and a squeeze of lemon. Yeah. It’s ready just in time for the 90210 theme music and your hands are free for the over the shoulder double punch. You know you can’t help do it either.

Fancy variations for company also include gussying up salsa, but small dicing a red onion and steeping it in two tablespoons of red wine vinegar for twenty minutes (it takes some of the ‘gee you just had a lot of onion’ out of the taste. Add a pinch of salt. Snip some coriander roots thinly, quarter some cherry tomatoes, add a big handful of coriander leaves and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Then take that jar of supermarket medium salsa that’s been in the pantry for three months. Mix it in with your tomato, onion, coriander pile of chaos and you’ll have a salsa that doesn’t quite remind you so much of being seventeen and quickly cleaning up the house before the red car comes up the driveway.

Whichever way you have it Baja Mexican/ Tex-mexican remains a Peter Pan happy-place for my tastebuds.

We’ve now found a place so good and so close that I’m content to keep our travel plans north of the border. It’s so good I’m cooking less again.

It’s a buzzy little nook a block back from Oxford street on Crown in Surry Hills.

It’s fast food, but stocked full of sensible ingredients and a little splash of soul. You line up and grapvine along sideways, picking out out what you want from an array of freshly diced and spiced choices at each stage (from casings to proteins, to salsas, to salad, to cheese, to sour cream to guac…).

You can have nachos or soft tacos, or burritos or even naked burritos with everything jumbled together in a bowl for those terrified of carbs.

On my burrito of choice there’s real black beans, chunks of chipotle spiced chicken, slow cooked onion and capsicum, lettuce, a mild fine diced tomato salsa, cheese and of course, a fair whack of guac. For the Hungry One it’ soft tacos with pulled pork, extra guac and extra spicy salsa. Then for main it’s a burrito with beef and the lot. And a couple of beers to wash it down.

Once you choose your choice at the end of the row perky staff with sexy accents squeeze everything into your griddle warmed wrap and bind it up. Like someone who’s had their finger in the sour cream too often and struggling to squeeze into Lindsay Lohan leggings, you might think it’ll never fit, but somehow it does. It might not be pretty, but it gets there in the end.

Whether shimmied into a foil bag to take home scoffed there on little stools it’s all good. Eating burritos however takes careful strategy –it’s all about tearing the wrapping down in concentric circles, slowly revealing more and more…

It usually works out to around $10 each (more if you’re hungry and thirsty for booze). If you needed any extra incentive to return there’s a loyalty card. Mine’s nearly got ten clips taken out already.

They might be calling this groovy little place Mad Mex but it’s just become my Monday or mid-week, sanity-restoring salvation.

Washing it all down with a salted margarita or two doesn’t hurt either.

{ 1 Comment }
  1. I’m really, really, REALLY craving nachos now! Thank you! Hunger must mean I’m on the mend. Looking forward to our much belated catch up. In the mean time, I’ve sent a bit of blog love your way xx

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