Mexican food, for most Americans, is influenced by northern Mexico: burritos, beef tacos and lots of cheese. But more and more, southern Mexican cuisine is making inroads. Some of the most popular restaurants in Phoenix and Scottsdale feature healthy Mexican cuisine made with vegetables, corn tortillas and other ingredients that are common on the streets of Mexico City and other parts of the country, but new to most Americans.
Foodies looking for healthy and tasty alternatives to Taco Bell-like Mexican cuisine are flocking to places like Barrio Cafe and Gallo Blanco, where tacos are served on soft, fresh corn tortillas, little on the menu is fried, and ingredients are always fresh.
Barrio Cafe owner and chef Silvana García said she opened her restaurant because it was time to show Americans another side of Mexico.
"Because of all this different misconception of what people see as Mexican food, I feel like it is my responsibility to show that we come from different fabrics in Mexico," she said.
Dozens of other new restaurants feature similar menus, and Arizonans are now demanding a new brand of Mexican food. Douglas Robson, who runs and operates Gallo Blanco, said most ethnic foods become more authentic over time, from Italian to Chinese. Mexican is no different.
"You are giving another choice that is refreshing to people," he said.