Love the Dinner, Hate the Sin

We used to think there wasn’t a food-lover alive who didn’t want to keep the door wide open to immigration. After all, the more immigrants who come to the United States and form communities, the better chance a nearby restaurant (or food cart) will soon be offering amazing arepas or delicious dosas. Heck, the restaurant industry says it would come to a screeching halt if every illegal immigrant were suddenly deported.

But it seems that not all those who love ethnic foods love the people who make them. Progressive Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein followed anti-immigration presidential candidate Tom Tancredo in Iowa and sat down to dinner with him … at a Mexican restaurant. The dinner, at the hideously named Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Café, was a culinary peek into a horrible future, in which immigrants are assimilated (Tancredo’s hope) into the larger, blander culture. “The enchiladas came with a sort of hollandaise sauce that constituted a greater insult to Mexicans than anything Tancredo has ever said,” writes Stein, who also affirms that “Our waiter … was one of the nicest, most incompetent servers either of us had ever encountered. He kept running away in the middle of our orders, apparently distracted by either Mexican or Irish things.”

Despite the quality of that particular meal, Tancredo tells Stein that Mexican is his favorite cuisine, but doesn’t let that fact loosen his stance on immigration. Sadly for Tancredo, his position on Mexican food could affect something he has a better chance of gaining than the presidency: extra pounds.

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