As a child, my exposure to Mexican food was pretty much limited to Taco Juan’s in Woodstock, New York, where they served what my husband and I refer to as East Coast Tacos: hard shell, iceberg lettuce, shredded orange cheddar, black olives, and that “taco sauce” stuff that is basically ketchup, or hot sauce bred with enchilada sauce, all flavor somehow removed. Plus hamburger meat or pinto beans.
I did not like avocados, hot sauce, or sour cream.
I learned to love avocados in my late teens. I like to eat them with a spoon, sprinkled with salt and lime juice. Soy sauce or Bragg is also nice. Don’t you judge me.
But sour cream and hot sauce remained ingredients only; never condiments.
Until Los Angeles. Now, I’d love to tell you that I learned to love real Mexican condiments by eating real Mexican food, but the truth is that all I learned to love by eating real Mexican food was real Mexican food. No, the truth is much scarier.
I learned to love sour cream and hot sauce at the International House of Pancakes. Yes, folks. I learned to love sour cream at the IHOP in West Hollywood, and hot sauce when I first tried Cholula at the IHOP on 6th near Vermont.