Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hyperbole And Colonialism At Chowhound

So a couple of days ago my co-conspirator and I were looking for grub in the Tacoma area. I found a thread on Chowhound singing the praises of (among other things) a Mexican restaurant called El Compadrè:

Finally, if you're a true Chowhound, El Compadrè (40th & McKinley) for authentic (non-Azteca) Mexican that would thrill Anthony Bourdain. (Be careful in this neighborhood, lunch is a safer time.)
Let me just say that I now have significantly less faith in Chowhound as a source of good restaurant info.

Let's deal with the "be careful" admonition first. Sweet jebus, people in Tacoma are so white; whoever posted the initial comment probably puts on eir pith helmet before venturing South of I-5. The neighborhood around El Compadrè isn't dangerous, unless by "dangerous" you mean "Spanish speaking". God damn... shit like this makes me think that Chowhound is full of culinary colonialists.

Now on to the "thrill Anthony Bourdain" comment: no, it wouldn't. The food isn't bad, I'll grant you that. The salsa was a little watery but had a nice, smoky flavor to it. I had a good molè; my co-conspirator had some decent tamales. The rice and beans were uninspired; my (Scots-Irish) mother cooked similar when I was a teenager. As a whole everything could have used a bit more flavor.

El Compadrè may even been some of the best Mexican in Tacoma; I don't know, I haven't eaten at enough Mexican restaurants around here yet. If it is that's more an indictment of Tacoma than anything else. But I've had much better Mexican both in California and Texas. Off the top of my head the honey-basted quail at Pappasito's is far more interesting, as are a number of the dishes available at any El Torito.

So let that be a lesson to all y'all. Chowhound is full of people who think that they're all that just because they ate someplace where the primary language isn't English.

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