Finally, there’s an attempt at yucatecan food not too far from my house, in a fairly upscale town where the 1 percent live. I’m not sure what to make of the fact that they misspelled “pibil” on the menu, but there it is: Cochinita “piibil” — slow-cooked port, refried beans, pickled red onion, cilantro, in a soft corn taco for $4. The atmosphere is trendy and loud, filled with well-dressed patrons. We couldn’t even get in last Friday night.
We don’t need them, anyway. We have the authentic thing closer to home. Home of the 99 percent.
Just a few blocks from our house is evidence of Connecticut’s surging Mexican population. Twenty years ago, when we moved here, there was one Mexican restaurant — a cute little hole in the wall run by a woman who happened to have not a discernable trace of Latin blood in her.
Now, the entire avenue is covered with well-run businesses embraced by a rapidly growing demographic — new arrivals from south of the border. Driving by yesterday, I stopped in the deli to snoop around. The hot-food counter was hopping, but the deli was pretty spartan. There was some sausage, peppers, tortillas, some cactus (something I’m not quite ready to face down in my kitchen).
And no one in the crowd knew my story, or felt the irony, that I was moving to their country, leaving a place they worked so hard to live in. What would they say?
Up the road is a market, where they sell the “Mexican Coca-Cola” — sold here at a premium because it’s made with real sugar. Like many mercados in Mexico, their goods aren’t market. Prices seem to be made up on the fly, and I’m certain I paid gringo prices there — right in my own neighborhood. Three Cokes cost $4 exactly. But on an earlier trip, I went in because at the last minute I needed garlic. Their bulbs had green sprouts and were close to rotting, in terrible shape, but I took it anyway because I was in a hurry and was sure I could dig out one or two good cloves, all I really needed. They wouldn’t take money for it!
I wish I knew more about the Mexican community here. Taking pictures of the signs, I think I made some people nervous. Anglos aren’t usually paying these storefronts too much attention — they’re heading over the border into the next town for “piibil.”