Last week, I did a two-fer for KCRW-FM 89.9's Good Food with Evan Kleiman: I visited Mitla Cafe, the oldest Mexican restaurant in the Inland Empire (since 1937!). What was funniest about visiting with Good Food producer Harriet Ells is our reaction to Mitla's food: while I treated it as a discovery akin to finally finding a Nicaraguan restaurant in OC, Harriet was nonplussed. “This is the Mexican food I grew up with back East,” she said.
“And this food is completely foreign to this Mexican!” I snapped back.
The food, of course is Cal-Mex, our region's own distinct tradition in the realm of Mexican cuisine, and one that's disappearing in this age of regional Mexican offerings. I talked a bit more about it with Evan in the broadcast, which you'll find after the jump!