For those of you who didn’t read my “Mexican Mediocrity” rant a few weeks ago, today on Nevada Public Radio, I humbug my way through a commentary on how awful our Mexican restaurants are in this neck of the woods, and on how little my listeners seem to know (or care to know) about what constitutes decent, somewhat authentic, Mexican grub.
“The trouble with touring in America is constantly having to eat what everybody thinks is Mexican food.” – Lyle Lovett
Like Lyle, I love it – “it” being real Mexican food. And I love all of you. You know I do. Some of ELV’s loyal readers are good friends. Some of you are restaurant professionals. Others are chefs or winos (in the best sense of the word). All of you are serious foodies and/or lovers of good grub and where to find it. But with all due respect for your impeccable taste in all things culinary, and your prescient recognition of excellence in Las Vegas restaurant blogs/websites, I have a modest, respectful request:
QUIT SENDING ME TO MEXICAN RESTAURANTS BECAUSE NONE OF YOU HAVE A CLUE WHAT MAKES A GOOD ONE!
(Pause here for parenthetical explanation before continuing rant)
At the beginning of the year, Nevada Public Radio asked listeners to e-mail in suggestions for where I should dine and review for the coming twelve months. By a margin of 3 to 1, Mexican restaurants took the cake for places I just had to try “…because it’s new and fresh and the owners are real Mexicans (as opposed to fake Mexicans) and we love it and they make great margaritas and we love everything on the menu and you really need to try it!”
(Return to Rant)
The beer true suds lovers love to hate isn’t really going anywhere, but Anheuser-Busch has just been bought by Belgium’s brewing giant InBev, basically because it’s been hemorrhaging profits like a busted keg for ten years. And it couldn’t have happened to a lamer, more insipid product.
In case you don’t get the point, we’ve always hated Budweiser (although we must confess in the past to having a certain fondness for Michelob). Here’s why we’ve disdained it so for years, concisely summarized in a Salon.com piece that traces the rise and fall of our least favorite beer.
Although it did inspire the only two beer jokes we know:
Joke #1: Drunk to drunk: “Does beer make you smart?” Drunk back to drunk: “Well it made Bud-wiser.”
Joke #2: How is drinking Budweiser like making love in a canoe? Answer: Because it’s f*cking close to water.
Writer Edward McClelland gets around to that last joke, at the very end of the article, and he bids a not-so-fond farewell to what’s been a blight on the American beer landscape for over a hundred years.
Fun Food Fact #1: early taste tests among St. Louis drinkers found them spitting Budweiser back at the bartender.
Fun Food Fact #2: founder Aldolphus Busch called his infamous brew “dot schlop” and drank wine instead.
Twenty years ago, Budweiser sold more beer in a day than all the craft beers in America did in a year! McClelland also quotes another of our favorite beer statistics: in 1980 (the year yours truly discovered those fabulous elixirs known as Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale) there were but eight craft brewers in America. Today there are more than 1,300.
So raise a glass (of Rogue Porter, Fat Tire Amber, Abita lager, Stone IPA, Hennepin Farmhouse Saison et al ) to the McDonald’s of breweries, and let’s hope those fer-in-ners (who know a thing or two about the art and craft of beers), will improve things….or permanently relegate “Bud” to the back shelves of 7-11’s everywhere, where it belongs.