Barrio Cafe: Good -- But Glorified -- Mexican Food
Hey, readers, get ready. We're putting new meaning into the term "street food." For Chow Bella's latest mission -- "Eating 16th Street" -- we've employed a young woman who's literally eaten her way around the world. Alex Rodriguez has eaten borscht in Moscow, steak in Buenos Aires and a "life-changing panna cotta" in Bra, a small town in the Piemonte region of Italy. Now we've set her palate loose on Central Phoenix's 16th Street. Rodriguez will try it all, from Jefferson Street north to Thomas Road -- and report back, place by place.
Photo by Alex Rodriguez Enchiladas suizas at Barrio Cafe.
The Place: Barrio Cafe
The Food: Upscale Mexican cuisine
The Backstory: Mexican cuisine in a non-pretentious setting for 10 years.
The Price: $17 for enchiladas suizas.
I'm probably going to get a lot of heat for what I'm about to explain.
But this is Phoenix -- so why not?
I have issues with upscale Mexican food. Call it being a traditionalist. Call it being a hater. Both apply, in this case, so let me tell you why.
To me, Mexican food is naturally rustic. It's meant to be eaten with your hands. It's messy. It's rough on the untrained palate. The roots of most (if not all) Mexican dishes are campesino foods. Meals that are meant to be eaten by the layman, the worker, not the mayor.
That's the beauty of it -- that it's not meant to be fancy.
Barrio Cafe has an admirable mission: a little neighborhood eatery providing authentic southern Mexico cuisine and chef's original creations in an unpretentious atmosphere.
Photo by Alex Rodriguez Barrio Cafe interior.