Five Mexican Dishes With a Crazy-Ass Use of Cheese that Aren't Nachos
|Got them for free, as does anyone who sits at this particular table...|
But please don't paint me as an elitist. Some dishes of the Mexican-American cookery make masterful use of rivers of cheese--and by "masterful," I mean creations that would make snobs scream. The sound you just heard is Rick Bayless crying.
|Flickr user chunkysalsa|
Not queso, as in the Spanish word for cheese, but queso (pronounced "kay-so"), the legendary Tex-Mex condiment (most common to the Dallas area) that sees queso of some sort melted to a Velveeta-like texture, spiked with some chiles, and usually placed in a bowl, but sometimes even in the type of jar used for pancake syrup. Oh, is the dish strange: don't eat it immediately out of the microwave, but eat it fast before it coagulates and creates a skim on top. I don't think there's any instance recorded in the annals of the human experience that has seen a bowl of queso last more than five minutes.
2. Soft Cheese Taco
|Flickr user flavorrelish|
|I could not find a soft cheese taco picture on the Web that I could use for the life of me, so behold El Fenix: the oldest Tex-Mex chain around...they sell such tacos|
Another North Texas favorite: a steamed corn tortilla filled with queso, folded over, then usually topped with more queso. The results seep immediately down your gullet and look like a tortilla soaked in water. Best to eat with a spoon.
3. Cheese Crisp
|Flickr user Charles Haynes|
4. The Eggroll-Style Chile Relleno of Colorado.
|From our sister paper in Denver, Westword|
I'll be visiting Denver next week and can't wait to try this only-to-Colorado take on the chile relleno: a chile stuffed with queso, then wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried. Yes: a wonton wrapper. It's the signature dish of La Fiesta, which is where I had it, and it comes smothered in red or green chile. Gooey, crunchy, spicy, but really gooey: who needs actual queso with a cheese dish like this?
5. The Nighthawk
This is a dish only found at El Rancho Grande, a Tulsa restaurant that claims to be the oldest existing Mexican eatery on Route 66. Two cheese enchiladas, a cheese taco, and chili con carne topped with queso con chile--the greatest cheese dish in the Americas. I scarfed this dish in five minutes, if that, and nary a chili belly.