“ Tom Tancredo may not like Mexicans, but he sure loves his Mexican food”
I work in the city and I recently went to Tacombi, a popular Mexican restaurant in Soho. The food was delicious and the manager came out and spoke to me in Spanish recommended his favorite tacos, which were tacos de carnitas and they were delicious. While the restaurant is catered to the crowd of Tribeca New York it still had an authentic feel to it in the way that it was decorated and the people that worked there sounded like they knew and cared about the food. I had a strikingly different experience my first time going to Tacombi, which was a couple years ago in Montauk.
The Tacombi in Montauk looks like the inside of an American dinner. All the waiters and manges are white with only the people in the kitchen being Mexican. And the menu is completely different.The carnitas taco in the city had lettuce, radishes, lime, pico de gallo, avocado, lime, cilantro, and the option for different spices and pepper which I unfortunately do not add. The carnitas taco in Montauk consists of cheese, steak, lettuce and sour cream on the side. It was Mexican food that had no semblance of Mexican food.
That made me think about the polarizing way that food is different based on its environment. Montauk is a town on the easternmost point of Long Island consisting of an 86.4% white population. They have altered Mexican food, twisted it , eliminated the Mexican culture from it, put it on a tortilla and now sell it at an overpriced fee, between two Make America Great Again signs. Drawing in a connection between this and Taco USA, I was reminded of Tom Tancredo the Colorado Republican congressman that author Gustavo Arellano spoke about. A couple lines really stuck out to me, one was “ Tom Tancerdo may not like Mexicans, but he sure loves his Mexican food” (Arellano 7). Reminding me of the way that this restaurant is white washed erasing the Mexican history and hiding the Mexican people behind the kitchen doors and capitalizing on being a Mexican restaurant in a beach town.
The second line that I had to reread due to the punch that it held was “ he polished off the plate, laughing and talking between each bite, getting fueled for a night to decry the very culture that had just fed him” (Arellano 7). The same can be said about an area- Montauk being a very white town with a lot of wealthy people flocking to its shores in the summer holds the same people that vote for a President that aims at dehumanizing Mexican people. While at the same time trying to achieve an ‘authentic’ Mexican experience by selling Tacos that hold no story of Mexican cuisine