McDonald’s:Hamburgers :: Mucho Gusto:Mexican Food

January 14, 2009 at 9:00 am (This Makes No Sense) (, )

There’s a restaurant here called Mucho Gusto that I tend to eat in somewhat regularly.  It’s not especially good (though it certainly isn’t bad), but it’s pretty much the closest I’m ever going to come to Tex-Mex up here in the Pacific Northwest.  There are a lot of other Mexican restaurants, and some of them are even pretty good.  But none of them are anywhere near what I consider “real” Mexican.  In other words, none of them are Tex-Mex.

I’m just often amused by Mucho Gusto when I go there.  The one thing they really and truly have going for them is good tortilla chips.  I’ve found a decent brand of grocery store tortilla chips, but even those are nothing like the kind you get in a typical restaurant.  Restaurant tortilla chips are supposed to be laden with grease and salt – that’s what makes them good.  Pre-packaged chips tend to make up for the fact that they’re not fresh by just being more salty (I’m looking at you, Tostitos).

I’ve also discovered I really like mango salsa – is that very West Coast of me?  Can I still be Texan if I like a type of  salsa that isn’t at all spicy, and is, in fact…sweet?

But the funniest thing about Mucho Gusto is that they try so hard to be “Mexican” and just come off looking a little…insulting almost.  They have phrases painted on their windows, about things like having your food “mex”actly as you want it.  All the people working there shout out “Gracias!” in really bad accents when people leave tips.

Because that’s the thing that really throws me for a loop.  Nearly everyone who deals directly with customers is white.  There are some hispanic people working there, although I notice they mostly do things like the dishes.  Talk about cognitive dissonance for someone who grew up in Houston.  I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Mexican restaurant in Houston that wasn’t staffed entirely by hispanic people, even places like Chipotle.

This is one of those things that makes me take a small mental step back and think the whole state is crazy.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t actually care who serves me my food, no matter what kind of restaurant I happen to be in.  But for goodness sake, if your restaurant chain is going to pretend that they serve “authentic” Mexican food, you might want to try hiring people who know how to pronounce “gracias” properly.  Or, and here’s a truly novel thought, have them just say “thank you.”



  1. Kristan said,

    “They have phrases painted on their windows, about things like having your food “mex”actly as you want it. All the people working there shout out “Gracias!” in really bad accents when people leave tips.”


    “Or, and here’s a truly novel thought, have them just say “thank you.””

    Yeah, I second that.

    Mango salsa sounds awesome, so I vote yes, you can like that.

    I miss Chinatown… 😦

  2. Mary said,

    I’m thinking of trying to make my own mango salsa, so that I can make it a little bit spicy. I’ll have to wait until I can get mangoes at the grocery store, though.

    I miss Chinatown too! It’s completely sad that the best Chinese food I’ve found here is the stuff you can buy at the grocery store. Fortunately, the Japanese and Thai food tend to be pretty good, but all the Chinese restaurants I’ve been to were terrible! And expensive!

  3. redknight38 said,

    Yeah but a lot of the people there are actually Mexican— so their accents can’t be that bad.

  4. Mary said,

    I know that, but they don’t usually work up at the front with customers. I’ve only ever seen one guy who actually spoke Spanish up at the front.

  5. Kristan said,

    Japanese and Chinese here are not very good (with a few exceptions), but yes Thai, and here Indian, seem to be just fine.

  6. Mary said,

    The really unfortunate thing is that I actually kind of dislike Thai food. There’s no logical reason for it, but I almost never want to eat it. And my friends here want to eat it all the time!

    (Also, I hope you enjoyed the flashback to Sophomore year syntax in my post title. 🙂 )

  7. Kristan said,

    Oh really? I looove pad see you!

  8. Mary said,

    I had an unfortunate combination of Thai food and a stomach virus quite some time ago (like…in high school). I’ve never enjoyed it all that much since then, even though I used to really like pad thai.

    I might try to give it another shot, though. Amiel likes Thai food (and sometimes just wants noodles), so it’d be nice if I was willing to eat it more often. He got me to like Japanese food, so it could work. 🙂

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