Wanderlust: a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world. When it comes to wanderlust, I’ve been afflicted for years and it doesn’t seem like I’ll be cured any time soon. It’s the one condition that I not only enjoy, but actively cultivate. I’ve traveled and lived in places from time to time, but California always ropes me back in, especially with one detail: Mexican food.
California is a powerful entity just as much as it is a physical location. Over time it has marketed itself in such a way that the rest of the world knows what it encompasses. Or at least, they think they do. In every place, there are subtle nuances ingrained into the local culture, and California is no exception. As a California native, I’ve taken many of these nuances for granted, not realizing just how much I would miss them if they were suddenly omitted from my life.
Of all the California-centric degrees of culture, Mexican food remains a ubiquitous staple; the further east I travel, the less likely it becomes that I’ll find a delicious al pastor taco. The Golden State has even adopted and modified certain dishes to create phenomenal food, among them mission burritos and carne asada fries, which are virtually unheard of when you leave California behind.
It’s very difficult to fathom living in a place where Mexican food isn’t pervasive. I’ve had stints in other countries that lack Mexican food and I was never really affected, either because my time away from California wasn’t long enough, or because I knew my separation would soon be over.
Growing up with Hispanic culture all around me might not have shaped me as a person, but it definitely embedded itself into my subconscious perspective. I don’t think twice about reading Spanish ads on the street or overhearing a conversation in Spanish. As an extension of my Hispanic culture, though I acknowledge Mexican food to be “ethnic,” it is hardly “exotic” as it’s just as common, if not more so, as “continental” food.
Local hole-in-the-wall shops are known and favored in their communities over popular chain restaurants, with good reason. Local restaurants can afford to dedicate the time to make quality food. Benny’s Tacos is one such local, quality producer of Mexican food. Benny’s Tacos is acknowledged as a valued eatery with roots in the city of Los Angeles, a city dedicated to the production of authentic Mexican food. They have used California’s love for Mexican food and created a foundation for success in the Mexican food community.