Like many foods, elotes is interpreted differently in different regions. Depending on where you place your order it can be served on or off the cob, and the slew of toppings and condiments varies as well.
When elotes makes its way into professional kitchens it is subject to a new layer of interpretation. Most of them work -- corn, cheese and hot sauce is a hard combination to mess up -- but since elotes is a street food, those interpretations can get a little clunky when a chef decides to chef things up.
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Let me paint you a picture. I'm at the bar with that cob pictured above in one hand and the knife in the other. The cob is sitting vertically with the narrow end pointed down, while I'm hanging on to the remaining husk at the top.
Back in the kitchen, a chef used what I'm guessing was a chef knife to shave the kernels from one side of the cob, and now I'm trying to do the same thing with a steak knife that's as dull as a spoon. As I saw away, attempting to liberate the remaining kernels, the plate slides around the bar top like a drunk on ice skates. A waitress sees me in distress and tries to steady the plate, but her effort is marginally helpful, and as my frustration builds I wonder why the hell the chef didn't finish the job he started and serve the whole mess in a bowl, instead.
I've seen plenty of elotes served on the cob, but usually they were purchased from a street vendor, and served on a stick. The hard part is biting into the thing without ending up with mayo on your nose, cheeks and chin -- although that's somehow fun when you're walking around. At Tacos and Tequila, the new taco bar in Uptown, I'm risking a lapful of corn, cheese and hot sauce. That's more than the average napkin can handle, and it's more work than should be expected of a customer in an upscale taco restaurant.
Tacos and Tequila, 2800 Routh St., 469-518-7888, tacos-and-tequila.com/