Felony Culinary Assault

My wife and I watch the Food Network a lot, mostly the cooking competitions like Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay. We get ideas for cooking dinner that we try out based on something we’ve seen.

One of the other shows we watch is on Bravo, Top Chef, where pro chefs compete over a season to be – wait for it – Top Chef. One season began with Wolfgang Puck as a judge and he was presented with a risotto that apparently did not measure up. SO much so, that he got up, led the chef back to the kitchen and began to show the chef how to cook it right.

The chef, the other chefs and the other judges were mortified. And I think that chef was not cut that week simply out of sympathy for being shown up like that.

Today, at lunch, I almost went full Wolfgang Puck.

We’ve been trying out area diners, drive-ins and dives (sorry, Guy Fierri) in and around Omaha since moving here back in May. Today we stopped in at a restaurant in Fremont that allegedly serves Mexican food.

I say allegedly, because I’ve had Mexican food. I’ve made Mexican food from scratch. This was in no way shape or form Mexican food. It was, however, an abomination.

The way I decide if a restaurant has Mexican food worth eating is very simple. I order a chille relleno. The proper way to prepare this item is to take a roasted Anaheim chille, stuff it with cheese (my favorite is a mix of mild cheddar and monterey jack), coat it in flour and beaten egg whites, fry and serve covered in green sauce and topped with a dollop of sour cream.

A properly prepared relleno. No red sauce. No flour tortilla shell.

What I got today was a chille of dubious origin, stuffed with cheese and then wrapped inside a flour tortilla, fried and covered with a tomatoey red sauce with bits of hamburger meat.

It was the worst Mexican food I’ve ever forced down my throat. Not just as far as rellenos go either.

This even tops the Blue Jay Inn up in Jamestown, ND back in the mid-1970s that served up a fried burrito complete with fried tortilla, beans and – I kid you not – a hot dog wiener dead center. On purpose.


Yeah, tell me about it, sister.

Fortunately, we had to get going so that chef was spared getting schooled on the proper preparation of Mexican cuisine. Of course, maybe my first clue that something was wrong with the place should have been the presence of ranch dressing at the chips and salsa bar…


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