Menudo in Paris
Is it at all possible? I know there are Mexican restaurants here but I haven't seen anywhere with menudo.
While we're on the subject, I saw the thread for "Americanized" tacos here in Paris. How about unAmericanized, authentic soft-shell tacos?
I'm from Los Angeles and I'll be here for a while studying.
I don't know why I'm always hungry.
Just because it is available in French supermarkets does not mean anyone reveres it in any way.
John: I clearly said that I find the Mexican food scene in Paris carrément depressing. Of course it never measures up.
If menudo is only a matter of tripe well then let's go for it. But I disagree that Mexican chiles and seasonings are not essential. And they're the hard thing to find here. But surprise, you may purchase them on the Internet!!!
(Come to think of it, tripe is not that easy to find either. Most triperies have disappeared. But the situation is less dire than for Mexican products.)
Everyone is trying to be terribly helpful and for that I commend them all BUT this is France and I must presume you're studying French and in France for a reason. So enjoy.
Monoprix has tacos and such if you find yourself in need (indeed last week I was seized by a chips and salsa fantasma and found the remedy). If you're from LA you too can surely whip up some guacamole and such like at home.
But despite Pti's advice, I wouldn't count on real Mexican places in Paris measuring up - Lord knows I won't give you the name of the place near me, it looks dreadful.
DO NOT - I repeat - DO NOT try "Mexican" food in Paris. It's a disaster. But that is not what makes me the most sad. What makes me ever more sad is that people who go to "Mexican" restaurants believe that what they are eating is the gastronomy of Mexico. It's sad, really. I have lived here for a while now, and have just given up. This has put me on a mission to learn how to make my mother's delicious Mexican dishes for myself. If you are truly going through withdrawal and need to, there is a place called Anahuacali in the 5th that has a pretty good reputation. Its fare is mostly from Puebla/Oaxaca, and they certainly don't have menudo. So I'd say to just enjoy the French food.
And by the way, Carrefour tortillas are horrible. If you want to purchase tortillas, try Izrael in the Marais. They're still not great, though. You can find masa and tortilla presses.
Actually there are three places (that I know of, but I haven't heard of any other) that are somewhat decent. I agree that they are not destination restaurants. And they are so disappointing when you have had the real thing (I never went to Mexico but had a good share of what California and even NYC can offer) that I even wonder if it is a good idea to rely on them if you have a craving for Mexican food.
It is not impossible to make good Mexican food in Paris (some actually succeeded in doing that back in the 1990s, wonder why they're all gone except for Anahuacalli) but that's just that, they're no longer around.
Anahuacalli is good in the way that the cooking is pretty good, even refined, but it is regrettably unspiced to suit a certain idea of Parisian palates. IMO that blows it completely.
I heard very good things about Hacienda del Cielo on boulevard du Montparnasse (not far from La Closerie) but for some reason I have never found this place open when I wanted to go there.
Finally, there is Boca Mexa, a small, fun Mexican fast-food counter in the most unexpected location (corner rue Daubenton-rue Mouffetard) and though a little doughey it is pretty good as tastes are concerned. It is also run by very nice people who are somewhat related to the Hacienda del Cielo team if I understood well. A new place which I believe should be encouraged. It is mostly take out but there are four or five tables with chairs.
Unfortunately it would take more time to describe what is gone than list what is left, from the delicious cantina 'Ay Caramba' on rue de Mouzaïa (gone early 2000s) to the even more delicious 'Los Recuerdos del Porvenir' near Montparnasse, disappeared at about the same time, and the more recently disappeared 'A la Mexicaine' on rue Quincampoix. Some like nibbling things and washing them down with margaritas at La Perla, and I think the food is somewhat okay. I would like to say that anyone having the guts to start a good Mexican restaurant would make a fortune in Paris but seeing the way others have gone, I am not sure. I still believe that should be attempted.
Time to face the facts - there never was enough of a Mexican immigrant population in Paris to motivate the creation of reasonably good Mexican restaurants. I hear of a couple of good addresses but there is just not enough Mexican culture here to make menudo part of the landscape the way couscous is.
There are some things that you may find in good conditions in some parts of the world but seeking them in Paris is only a waste of time. Like decent Central Thai food (we have good Isan food though) or anything Mexican. Time to test the couple of good places I have heard of and figure out whether they redeem the situation.
In many of the Mexican restaurants in my American hometown, menudo was sort of a weekly event and available only on Saturdays. I wonder if there might be a similar situation around here. Have you asked any of the restaurants you've already seen if they ever have it?
I recently saw soft corn tortillas in a Carrefour.
That said, I'm waiting until I get a really strong urge for Mexican to see how it's done here, and I'm not getting my hopes up.