¡Ay, caramba! Fresh off the tortilla press comes a steady stream of warm Mexican eateries that are reinforcing Melbourne's affectionate reputation as the Mexico of Australia.
Say adios to the Tex Mex of yore and open your corazon to Mel Mex, an interpretation of Mexican food that's fresh, vibrant, experimental, spicy, perfect for sharing, and just made for matching with boozy beverages. Melbourne's Latino taquerias and restaurants sing in summer and offer a culinary escape from the depths of winter.
Standing in a slow-moving queue on the narrow stairs at Mamasita is a Melbourne rite of passage. And it's completely worth it. Mamasita kick-started the craze for street corn (elotes callejeros) that has revolutionised the small yellow cobs, and nurtured a new love for tostaditos and ceviche. They showed just how gauche hard shell tacos really were and made immediate connoisseurs of the warm tortilla. Most important was the discovery that tequila doesn't always need to be accompanied with lime and salt, and has subtleties to be discussed at length.
Hot on their heels came a host of young upstarts, determined to take Mexican food to the masses. Taco Truck does exactly that, roving the city's northside with its soft-shelled delights. Touche Hombre is the young punk of the set with its DJ tunes and spicy flair, while Paco's Tacos gives the lunchtime crowd sustenance for weekday afternoons.
Check out the Mexican in your barrio and find a favourite.