I can't believe I haven't written about this before.
Here it goes: There is nothing Mexican about Taco Bell.
Mexican food you eat in California is not Mexican food. Burritos are not Mexican food. Nachos are not Mexican food. The yellow cheese you see on Nachos is not cheese. (But, I digress.)
Mexican food has soul. It’s restoring. (Chicken soup? Add dry chile ancho to the broth. Now you’re talking.) It will breathe life into you. It cures hangovers, but is also known to aid in the mending of a broken heart. Mexican food is not to be confused with Tex-Mex. This is not judgment on Tex Mex - I'm not saying it's bad (or good.) It's just not Mexican.
Mexican food is vital and the triumphant result of an assimilation of very different cultures. It’s old world (corn, zucchini, beans, avocado, cacao, potatoes) and new. We do not glob sour cream on everything. We do not use shiny liquid processed yellow gook. We do not encase whole meals in a fluorescent green flour wrap.
Mexican food is 2,500 different types of chile (you've heard about jalapeno, habanero and chipotle, but there is also poblano, guajillo, chile de arbol, and another 1,494). It’s cilantro, corn, tamarindo, epazote, frijoles, huachinango, papaya and corn tortillas instead of bread. Huevos rancheros, sopes with potato, chalupas with beans, chicken tamales, tacos al pastor; but also carnitas, nogada, tinga, chicharron and even chapulines. Pipian, adobo, sopa de tortilla, caldo de pollo, quesadillas, carne asada, barbacoa, pozole. Bud negro, albondigas, guacamole, nopales. Jicama, tuna, ensalada de naranja, mango with chile piquin, lemon on everything. Arroz a la mexicana, pescado a la Veracruzana, mole poblano, cochinita Yucateca, camarones al ajillo. For dessert not just flan, but platanos al horno, cocada, rompope, pina dorada, nieve de sandia, and capirotada. And there is so much more. To really know Mexican food, do yourself a favor and travel across Mexico.
Will I think less of you if you eat at Taco Bell? No. Just don't judge Mexican food by tasting something that isn't.