This week the new Tex-Mex restaurant Peak & Elm Cocina y Bar held a media preview to showcase its new menu to the blog-nicks. The folks behind La Popular Tamale House are preparing to open the new place at the corner of (can you guess?) in early February.
There won't be any chips and salsa on the table, according to this post on Dallas Food Nerd.
How can this stand?
I have a love-hate relationship with the chips and salsa served at most Tex-Mex and many Mexican restaurants. I love them because the chips are salty and crisp and the perfect complement to a boozy margarita. I love them because the salsas are bright and acidic. They wake up your palate and hint at all the spicy savory things that lay ahead, provided you save room.
That's where the hate half comes in. I have absolutely no control with the damn things. I shovel them into my mouth with fury until the basket is empty. I make an effort. I swear it! I wave off the next two baskets the food runners bring. But the procession is relentless and in a moment of weakness a second always lands on my table. Seconds later it's gone too.
I have a theory based on nothing but my own anecdotal evidence about tortilla chips. I believe that once inside the human body, they don't lay passive and simply wait to be digested. Instead, they swell like one of those cheap toys the size of a bean you soak in water. They grow 30 times their original size. Meanwhile, you're eating a massive plate of sour cream enchiladas, and of course, more chips and salsa. Then you scoop up the remaining beans and sauce with more chips. The result is the inevitable departure from the restaurant in a state of distention so advanced it's painful. Not only have those chips ruined any chance of your enjoying dessert, they've ruined your entire evening.
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This is precisely why there will be no pre-meal chips and salsa served at Peak and Elm, according the blog post. Instead you'll get a small bowl of freshly pickled vegetables.
How can this stand?!?!
I'm reminded of a conversation I had with Abraham Salum's PR engine while reviewing Komali. The chef didn't want chips and salsa on his tables but his customers demanded them. Komali isn't even Tex-Mex and they were forced to acquiesce.
I wonder how long it will be before chips and salsa land on the tables of Peak and Elm?