Cantina Y Parrilla De la Vecindad

Posted by Brandon |

You know what makes a trip to Mexico, a trip to Mexico? Five words: Eatin', Good, In, The and Neighborhood. Applebee's!

After soaking up the local culture, eating the delicious fresh fish and shrimp in the taco shacks at the Mercado de Mariscos and driving the pothole ridden streets through the squalor filled neighborhoods that make up one of Baja California's nicest cities, Ensenada, we couldn't help but be horrified when we noticed the words "Neighborhood Bar & Grill" on the window of a building being built in the parking lot of a brand new Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

Ensenada is full of American franchises. The aformentioned Wal-Mart has staked their claim and are competing with a humongous Commercial Mexicana (think Fred Meyer) right across the street. McDonald's has a handful of restaurants in town as does Carl's Jr. and KFC. Domino's employs a fleet of motorcycles to deliver pizza to the city. And perhaps with a Home Depot in town, the family that is using a stolen billboard for their roof might be able to shingle it too.

But I draw the line at Applebee's. It represents everything bad about American franchises today. I hate the forced, standardized "uniqueness" and the developed in a lab and tested on focus groups food that has been perfected by Applebee's.

It's too weird for me to look in the distance and see broken down trucks and trash strewn about the hillside, a house that appears to be made completely out of used doors, road workers dressed in flak-jackets carrying AK-47's and cars seemingly held together with matchsticks behind the familiar red and green neon of an Applebee's.

In a city that has both so much unique and exciting local flavor and so many serious problems, it just seems like the last thing that Ensenada needs is a Neighborhood Bar & Grill.

By the way, can you believe that there isn't a Starbucks anywhere in Baja California? There are 36 Applebee's in Mexico including one in war torn Chiapas, but other than the 65 locations in Mexico City, there are only 32 Starbucks. I thought they were everywhere.


Greg said...

Ha ha ha-- that's awesome. Applebee's. I wonder if they have the Weight Watchers selections in Mexico.