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DOS HERMANOS: GO EVERYWHERE, EAT EVERYTHING

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

HERMANO SEGUNDO BACK IN LA: DOWN MEXICO WAY



















One of the favourite stops on my round the world trip was Mexico. The sheer variety of Mexican food caught by surprise a person who had previously considered it a way to use up left over bits of cheese and meat at the back of the fridge. The quality of the food and the generosity of spirit with which it was served stays with me as a very happy memory over a year later.

I have been craving those spicy, savoury and fresh tastes ever since, but London’s offerings never seem to come close no matter how many bloody burrito shops people decide to open.

I hoped that L.A would offer up more opportunity to come closer to the real thing, but Sybil, whose opinion is not to be taken lightly, dismissed the city’s Mexican food as “crap” and would not be budged no matter how many times I whined “por favor”

Fortunately, she is stubborn but not cruel, so on New Year’s Day she organised a trip down South to Chula Vista, past San Diego and a handful of miles from the Mexican border to a place that she and a couple of friends thought might fit the bill.

Mariscos Godoy is the real deal, with branches across in Tijuana and Mexacali, it was filled with Mexican ex-pat families and tinny mariachi music was blaring from the old music system. The menu too looked the part with a slightly confusing array of dishes announced on the day-glo menu.

With the help of the waitress, we navigated our way through the bewildering variety of options and while we waited, Sybil sipped on Mexican Horcharta, spiced rice milk, and fought with me for the best bits of a free plate of ceviche, which we spooned into our mouths with warm chips.

The portions were vast and starters of a powerfully spicy shrimp ceviche and crunchy bites of battered pogy (Shad) would have been plenty, particularly when wrapped in an almost endless supply of warm tortilla. But, we staggered on to two more huge servings of tacos stuffed with fiery chilli marlin and simple grilled shrimp, before finally pushing ourselves away from the table in defeat.

As I recall from my short time in Mexico, the food is rarely very pretty, but taste, as it should takes precedence over appearance and every bite we had here was a fresh, zingy reminder of why the cuisine of this currently troubled country remains so happily implanted in my memory. Add to that a price tag of $25 a head including tip and our four hour round trip seemed even more worthwhile

Next stop, Thai Town

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