I don’t mean that Carlos and I are interested in bringing “New Mexican” food to Tasmania. I mean, a new portrayal of Mexican food. We’ve been talking about this for a while– long before we even got here. Knowing that there was all but one pathetic Mexican restaurant in Tasmania and that most locals perceive Mexican food to be crispy taco shells with ground beef and nacho cheese, we have some work to do as ambassadors of a national cuisine.
Carlos has been testing out his carnitas recipe and salsas for our own consumption but with a new year approaching we decided it was time to get some public feedback on this whole Mexican food obsession. So on New Years day we invited a bunch of friends over– all of whom either work in the food industry of a passion for making food– to feast.
Unfortunately we didn’t photograph the scene: eleven people crammed into our kitchen as we devoured plate after plate of fresh tortillas hugging Carlos’ epic carnitas and enchiladas. You’ll just have to take my word that the colors of the meal represented the full range of flavors that are essential to Mexican food. As I tinkered away at a mezcal cocktail with a jalapeño simple syrup, Matt and Luke set up an assembly line for the enchiladas. Carlos flipped both flour and corn tortillas, Matt dipped them in the homemade quallijo-tomato enchilada sauce and Luke rolled them up with the shredded chicken, onions and cheese. Perfect. While our friends Caroline and Kris chopped avocados for the guacamole, we started to serve up the first plates of Mexican rice and pinto beans with pico de gallo. Mary brought a lovely berry and frangipane pastry and a phenomenal chocolate ganache tart infused with thyme and leatherwood honey that accompanied prosecco for dessert.
We never made it to the dining table which is just as well because the view from our apartment is best enjoyed in the kitchen anyway. And as I know from my years spent dining with the Valles, the best Mexican meals are enjoyed straight off the comal and into your mouth– no plate necessary. It was a successful trial run to show our Aussie friends (and a couple of American expats) what true Mexican food is as everyone went home stuffed and with a hint of chile lingering on their tongue. Not sure what’s next as we tinker with the idea of taking our tacos to the streets but I do know a new sort of Mexican is taking shape in Tasmania for 2013.