First, an apology.
Several readers have pointed out regarding last week's review of In-N-Out Burger that instead of writing, as I should have, that the California-based chain was "creeping ever eastward" in its expansion," I wrote "westward," as if the restaurants are burrowing under the Pacific Ocean toward Hawaii and Japan.
Obviously, that's wrong. I was thinking "eastward" as I wrote, but apparently some demon in my brain is determined to embarrass me. I apologize; I really do know better!
However, on a similar note, I was interested in the volume and vehemence of the comments that piled up behind that review.
Besides the ones inquiring into my need for an atlas and a sense of direction, readers appear deeply split on whether this chain is a welcome addition to Utah or a mediocre-at-best intrusion of California culture into our scene.
Several things, for what they're worth and in my opinion:
I like the food at In-N-Out. I like the company culture, the quality, the price. But you don't have to. The fact that we may disagree is inherent in how critics do our jobs. Doesn't mean either of us is wrong, just that we have different opinions. After all, what's more a matter of taste than what you like to eat?
Most of you were civil, funny, enthusiastic and engaging, regardless of your opinions. To the rest of you, I ask you to put your real names on some of the stuff you post and see how you feel about posting it after that.
Second, I love the Utah restaurant scene, especially our many great locally grown, locally owned restaurants. But it is a marketplace, and I say let anybody who wants to come in and try to make a mark. People here are pretty smart about what's good, once they catch onto it, and they also are pretty loyal. I can't say if In-N-Out and Five Guys will be here 10 years hence, but I'll bet Iceberg, Arctic Circle and Hires Big H will be.
But enough of that. There's another restaurant to review this week, and it's been around a while. Cancun Cafe has stuck it out in an economic climate that has claimed many other Mexican restaurants.
This is the kind of place I ate in as a kid: green Naugahyde booths, a funky mural on one wall that looks like it was painted with spray paint or an airbrush, and a menu of classic Mexican-American food. The food is tasty and much of the important stuff, like guacamole, is made from scratch.
We started with the nachos, done the old-fashioned way with heaps of grated cheese melted over the top of pre-made but good-quality chips and piles of fresh guac for dipping.
My husband had his Mexican default, the chicken chimichanga, well sized for one hungry person, crisped outside and accompanied by the standard beans and rice.
I tried to get him to order the "biggest burrito you've ever seen," with almost a pound of meat plus sauteed peppers and onions, beans, rice, lettuce, tomato, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo — but he wasn't ready to man up to quite that extent. Not at lunch, at least.
Our daughter, too old for the kids' menu but not quite ready for grown-up size entrees, did well with the appetizer plate of four zesty beef taquitos, wrapped tight, packed full and nicely crunchy. Our son took a few bites of his plump, crisp little shredded beef taco and left the rest to us while he played with his beans and rice.
I had the chili verde burritos — big, tender chunks of juicy pork in a piquant and peppery sauce, rolled in tortillas with refried beans, with more chili verde ladled over the top.