David Hammond wrote:
The - imho - pretentious attitude that decries immensely popular drinks because they are not "authentic" is also the reason so many people complain about their favorite restaurants closing. Good food and authenticity alone are not enough to survive. Marketing savvy is important too. I hate restaurants that are all glitz and no substance, but the best restaurants find a way to have both.
With due respect, I believe you misunderstand me...or perhaps I didn't completely explain myself. In my experience, the Mexican food I've enjoyed most has not been at restaurants that serve frozen tequila drinks; the Mexican food I've enjoyed least has been at restaurants that serve frozen tequila drinks. The logical conclusion is not that all restaurants that serve frozen tequila drinks are bad; I do believe, however, that if they don't serve these drinks, the likelihood is higher that the food will be good.
Authenticity is a different, though related, issue.
If I may butt in... I don't want to disagree with Kennyz' point but just add a comment along the lines of DH's statement regarding the implications of the presence of frozen tequila drinks on menus or even just alcohol.
I would say that the best Mexican food I've had in Chicago is typically from small, family-run eateries with limited menus that are in Mexican neighbourhoods and cater to an overwhelmingly Mexican clientele. They need to do the food well (i.e., 'authentically' in the sense of 'as typically done in the old country'), because their customers know what it's supposed to be like. Such places just about never have liquor licences, so no tequila frosties or mescaltinis and, for that matter, no margueritas nor even cerveza.
A further observation I'd like to make here is that the most interesting
(not necessarily the best, though indeed often of excellent quality) Mexican food I've had in Chicago is typically in places of the sort mentioned above but where the owners (who are typically also the staff) speak very little or no English.
What's going on here is, I believe, that they are often more recent immigrants who a) haven't yet had a chance to learn much English and b) also haven't started adapting their cooking to Mexican-American, much less Gringo-American, tastes; and consequently they offer up dishes rarely if ever seen in the more established restaurants and especially not in those with strongly non-Mexican audiences.