Today I found the best tortillas I have had in Gringolandia. This may seem like no big deal, but tortillas are part of who I am. I am not sure what it is, but as you cross over the imaginary line between Mexico and the US, the ability to make good tortillas disappears. Maybe it is a need to comply with health regulations or a certain gabacho jinx - I don't know. I have had some adequate ones in areas where there are muchos Mexicanos, but I have never had any that were comparable to the best in Mexico. Until today...
I was out and about collecting some data for a research project I am working on. I went to visit a small Mexican store I had heard about that is located on a rural crossroads right on the Washington-Oregon border. Cross the street and you are in a different state.
The store is a gem. Called Carniceria Jalisco because they sell Mexican cuts of meat (cachete, tripa, lengua, etc.), they also have a vast array of fresh and dried chiles, spices, and herbs. They have some pan dulce and a collection of abarrotes. And there they were, in the corner, the tortillas I have been searching for. They are actually made locally at a tortilleria called "La Candelaria" that I have driven past in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. It never seemed to be open, though, so I have never stopped.
So I bought a big stack of these tortillas, along with some dried Eucalyptus leaves (to make tea to relieve the lingering cough I have), pan dulce, and some dried chiles.
After my purchases, I stopped by the Taqueria Jalisco located next door. I had a three tacos: asada, carnitas, and birria. All delicious. I was amused by the listing of their taco loco, which I had to inquire about. A taco with the odd mix of bacon, hot dogs, and god-knows what else. After the first two ingredients I stopped listening.
I also had to laugh at one of the beverage choices: Choco Mil (a Spanish appropriation of Chocolate Milk). How things have changes as the terms moved back and forth across the border: from Xocolatl to chocolate to chocolate to chocolate milk to choco mil. Beautiful.
The people who worked there were also extremely nice. They are a family from a small village in, you guessed it, Jalisco. It is somewhere in between Guadalajara and Ciudada Guzman. The husband has been here for about ten years and his wife came up six years ago. Their children are now going to school and hope to make the most of the opportunities they have here which they would never have in Mexico.
Damn immigrants! Always trying to better themselves.
In any case, back to the tortillas. I put them to the test this evening. Perfect. Moist, flavorful, and soft.
I would tell you where Carniceria Jalisco is, but my guess is that you will never be around here and even if you were, you would never find it - it is out of the way, almost in the middle of a field.
Now I need to find the perfect bolillo in Gringolandia.