The City Paper Best of DC Poll.
Now, I know what you're thinking. "The Best of DC poll? But that's always been rubbish." And I would agree. Raku is the region's best Asian restaurant? The hottest fashions in the District are to be found at Ann Taylor? The list of absurdities could go on and on. But, in their reach for biting irony, we now are blessed with this nugget from a CP staffer:
The Rockville Pike Chili's is the region's second-best Tex-Mex restaurant. According to said City Paper contributor, when it comes to Tex-Mex food:
Lamer is better. Tex-Mex is Mexican food tuned to sloppy, portion-crazed American palates[...]In short, the ideal second-best Tex-Mex place is the Chili’s in Rockville. Both because that’s what we deserve, and because it is reliably so-so-bordering-amazing every single time.
You can almost hear the snickering coming from the CP editor's desk as they reviewed that copy. "Yeah man, Tex-Mex food is so lame, let's demonstrate how lame it is by selecting a bland, freeway-food caliber chain restaurant that doesn't even purport to be a Tex-Mex restaurant as one of the region's best!"
Even in the annals of City Paper snarkiness, this is a new level.
And yes, I get that it's supposed to be ridiculous. I get that the writer was showing his general disdain for Tex-Mex food (and the constant fawning over DC establishment Lauriol Plaza) with his selection. But that ignores two important points: 1) not all Tex-Mex is created equally, and 2) there are a number of fine establishments doing it quite well here in DC. Alternately, skip right past the "Tex" portion altogether and head straight for one of our area's wonderful Mexican-oriented establishments.
For instance, head over to La Plaza or La Loma on Capitol Hill, or head up to La Lomita in Chevy Chase, for some Salvadoran-tinged Tex-Mex done pretty darn well. I'm sure other readers could submit their own, and the list would go on and on.
But no. The CP wasn't actually trying to give us good Tex-Mex recommendations, it was going to show everyone a thing or two about how uncool the whole Tex-Mex thing, and consequently DC's culinary proclivities, is. It's so uncool, in fact, that a nondescript strip mall joint that doesn't even serve Tex-Mex food is the poster child for for this gastronomical abomination. I mean, if that's the angle you're going for, at the very least put forth local chain California Tortilla and keep the recommendation local. But that would indicate that the CP actually cared about such things.
So, thanks for that CP. And thanks for reminding me that Starbucks is the second-best coffee shop in town, that Barnes & Noble is one of our best book stores, and that IKEA is one of our top furniture retailers. I'm so overwhelmed by this torrent of information, that I'm proposing a category of my own: Most Uselessly Bland Collection of Commercial and Culinary Recommendations. I think I might even have a winner.