Taqueria Mixteca: Your Next Mex

A uthen-tics Me Off So I am going to talk about the food at Taqueria Mixteca, whose first location at 1609 E. Third Street opened in 2005 (The newer location in Trotwood is on Shiloh Springs Road). I’ll be telling you about my visit to the Dayton location, and that the food was pretty darned […]

Get in the mix with some of Dayton’s best Mex

Taqueria Mixteca’s Chile Rellenos are not to be missed.

By Paula Johnson

Authen-tics Me Off
So I am going to talk about the food at Taqueria Mixteca, whose first location at 1609 E. Third Street opened in 2005 (The newer location in Trotwood is on Shiloh Springs Road). I’ll be telling you about my visit to the Dayton location, and that the food was pretty darned good. But first, we need to do a little exploring about how we think and how we talk about what Mexican food is. There’s a woman named Diana Kennedy who you’ve maybe never heard of, but she’s pretty much responsible for all of America’s misconceptions and elitist assumptions. Lest you think I’m out of my mind on mezcal, I’m going to ask for your forbearance to get through some context around the food at Taqueria Mixteca—what it is, where it comes from, and what assumptions we have about it. “Is it authentic?” is the first thing people ALWAYS ask. We have this notion that “authentic” Mexican food is the only Mexican food that is worthy and should be sought out, and that anything else is crap.

Diana Kennedy is a Mexican cooking authority known for her nine books on the subject, including The Cuisines of Mexico, which started changing Americans’ understanding of Mexican food, expanding it beyond Tex-Mex. She stressed the idea of authenticity based on her extensive travels throughout the different regions of Mexico exploring their indigenous cuisines. And while her work brought these cuisines to light, the downside of her lifetime of writing and teaching is the disparagement of Tex-Mex, the Americanized hybrids of traditional Mexican dishes made with what is available here. The point I am making with all this exposition is that we are asking the wrong question. The better question is, is the food good, well prepared and made with fresh quality ingredients? We need to recognize and honor that these American Mexican dishes are their own tradition, their own culture, and should be respected as such. Whew—that was a looooooong way to get to what I ate at Taqueria Mixteca, but it needed to be said.

Tacos and Sopes and Beans! Oh My!
And now I need to say that Taqueria Mixteca does a great job using traditional recipes, quality ingredients, and cooking techniques to put out some tasty food, as PIP (Palate In Progress) and I discovered at a recent dinner. There’s a wide range of dishes and ingredients both familiar and unfamiliar available here—fajita-style grilled meats, shrimp dishes, mole, goat, tongue, tacos with numerous topping options to name some.

We started with chips, salsa, and gooey delicious Choriqueso ($4.50), a hot melted cheese dip with spicy chorizo. Sopes ($3.75 each) were next. I particularly like the soft, slightly pliable texture of the sope. The base is made from a circle of fried masa, and its thickness is a great platform for lots of toppings, with the slight frying of the exterior surface keeping it from getting soggy. Ours were topped with beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream, and for the meat, we chose carnitas and chorizo.

The Chilaquiles ($8.99) are not to be missed. Fried corn tortillas are the basis of the dish with salsa verde, cheese, pulled chicken and a grilled fried egg crowning the mound, accompanied by refried beans and rice. South of the border, chilaquiles are thought of more as a breakfast dish, perhaps because of the fried egg, but it’s a dish I love anytime. Chile Rellenos are a favorite, and Taqueria Mixteca’s are deserving of mention. They are basically Mexico’s version of stuffed peppers, far superior to the American version my grandma used to make. Here, poblanos are peeled, stuffed with cheese, dipped in an egg wash and fried to a crispy exterior. We added ground beef as an option, making it a hearty platter with pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, avocado slices, rice, and beans. Nachos and tostadas were also consumed and enjoyed, filling us to near capacity. However, there’s always room for dessert, particularly if flan is offered.

Frequent Flan-ing
When it comes to dessert, I am what my pun-loving dining companion refers to as a “frequent flan-er.” I order this custardy confection anytime I see it, addicted to its silky rich mouthfeel and caramel syrup glaze. The $4.50 portion was more than enough for two people, with a bit left over for next day’s breakfast.

A taqueria is a casual taco stand, and Taqueria Mixteca stands out among them. The service is warm and friendly, the food delicious, generous in portion, and incredibly affordable. If you haven’t tried Mixteca, it’s time to make this your next Mex.

Taqueria Mixteca, 1609 E. 3rd Street, Dayton. 937.258.2654, taqueriamixteca.com

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Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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