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Manx-Mex Chronicles: Chapter One: Nacho Walks into a Bar

Manx-Mex Defined:
The popularity of Tex-Mex restaurants in Europe peaked sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, but Tex-Mex flavors became indelibly imprinted on the palates of Europeans, especially the French, English, Irish and Dutch. Today, tortilla chips and salsa, chili con carne, and fajitas are familiar menu items. And rare is the English or Irish pub that doesn’t serve some variation on “nachos.”

We first ate Tex-Mex in France in the 1990s. Chapter 14 of The Tex-Mex Cookbook is titled: From Paris, Texas to Paris, France: Twenty-First Century Tex-Mex. Along with menu graphics from the early days of Chuy’s and a portrait of Big Rikki, the Guacamole Queen, there is a narrative about the rise of Tex-Mex in Paris, France.

“Mexican food is too elaborate and too old-fashioned for Parisians,” one restauteur told Robb Walsh. But “Tex-Mex sounds like cowboys and Indians, like the Wild West, and the food is all so crunchy and spicy, it fits the image.” Another Paris restaurant owner remarked, “La Cuisine Tex-Mex garde le parfum de temps des pionniers.”

At Texas Eats, the influence of Tex-Mex on world cuisine is one of our favorite topics. So when our correspondent, Julia Walsh, moved to Manchester, England in January 2017, we asked here to chronicle what she calls Manx-Mex (Manchester-style Tex-Mex cuisine).

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