Over the weekend I discovered a new Mexican restaurant on the East Side called La Catedral del Marisco, thanks to the suggestion of Alex Hannaford, an Austin-based British freelance journalist, that a few of us meet for breakfast.
Spanish is the lingua franca inside and it’s easy to feel you’ve crossed the border. The discovery of the day was a drink called horchata, a mixture of rice water, cinnamon and sugar that is amazingly drinkable.
I checked up on the restaurant’s line in micheladas and wasn’t disappointed as an enormous chilled and steaming goblet-shaped glass arrived at the table full of Negra Modelo beer mixed with tomato juice, spices and with salt and chilli around its rim (it’s Mexico’s version of a bloody mary).
It strikes me that Mexicans and the Irish share a number of similarities. They’re both a gregarious and passionate people and during their histories have lived in the shadows and under the influences of much more powerful neighbours.
An article in this weekend’s New York Times Book Review discussed a new book about the Irish potato famine of 1845, which resulted in a third of Ireland’s 8 million population dying or emigrating.
Britain’s rulers underestimated the severity of the situation until it was too late, while some of them assessed the famine to be a Malthusian check devised by Providence.
“A reminder to beware of civil servants and politicians who think they are doing God’s work,” said the review.