Wandering around Tokyo’s Shinjuku district alone one winter, on a research trip, I found a taco joint. No one who knows me was surprised by this. “Of course you found a taco joint,” my wife Rebekah said. “You always do.” I was raised in the Arizona desert, eating tacos, burritos, and enchiladas every week. Even though I’d moved to Portland, Oregon far from the Mexican border, I still ate Mexican food at a rapid, rabid pace. So when I found a hand-painted sign on the Tokyo street listing “Mexico tacos” and nothing more, I got excited. In Japanese tako means “octopus.” I loved grilled tako’s flavor, and I was curious to taste Japan’s version of my native desert cuisine. More… “Tacos / Takos”

Aaron Gilbreath is the author of the personal essay collection Everything We Don’t Know, and the ebook This Is: Essays on Jazz. An editor at Longreads, his essays and articles have appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Lucky Peach, Brick, and Saveur. He’s working on a book tentatively titled Tanoshii: Travels in Japan. @AaronGilbreath
Don't be so corny when it comes to tortillas.

Then again, the flour tortilla has always been fighting for its identity. Its brother, the corn tortilla, gets all the glory. The corn tortilla is, first of all, older than the flour version — wheat didn’t even show up in Mexican cuisine until the Spanish brought it over in the 16th century. The corn tortilla is healthier than the flour tortilla too, because the flour tortilla requires a fat-like lard or shortening to hold it together. Hell, some people even claim that the corn tortilla is the only traditional tortilla, and that our floured friend is nothing but an American impostor. In a 1998 edition of the Boston Globe‘s Sunday magazine, authors Sheryl Julian and Julie Rosenfeld said that the flour tortilla is “flexible enough, figuratively speaking, to stray far from authentic Mexican cuisine.”

But the flour tortilla is a Mexican invention. It has a strong tradition in northern Mexico,… More…