Instagrammers I love: Mexican Food Porn

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October 11, 2013Interviews8 Comments

Tacos Leo in Los Angeles. Photo by Mexican Food Porn.

Tacos Leo in Los Angeles. Photo by Mexican Food Porn.

Mexican Food Porn’s photos make me ache for Mexico City.

His images — shared both on Tumblr and his Instagram account — capture Mexican food’s rich colors and layers, and sometimes its chaos. Chilaquiles bask in a messy lagoon of cream; a shrimp taco with a harsh sheen of cheese shines a little too brightly under white lights. (Haven’t we all eaten that shrimp taco, maybe a little too late at night?)

The owner of the account is a 27-year-old Mexico City resident, who spent five years living in California’s Bay Area. He was born in Monterrey, Mexico.

MFP agreed to answer some questions for me via email, but he said he preferred to remain anonymous, as he’s actively pursuing other interests unrelated to photography and food.

Here’s more from him. (Disclaimer: he sometimes uses stronger language than I generally do on this site.)

Q: Why Mexican food and not some other kind of food?

Tacos guisados in Mexico City. Photo by Mexican Food Porn.

Tacos Guisados in Mexico City. Photo by Mexican Food Porn.

Ask any Mexican who leaves the country for any period of time, what do you miss the most? Politics? Traffic? No… people miss their food. The blog was formed in San Francisco, basically because of my nostalgia for Mexican food and culture. During my five years in SF, I noticed that while the Bay Area has some decent Mexican food spots, I was always longing for more authentic stuff.

While exploring, I realized that Mexican food, or any food really, is marked by geography and culture. A taco in L.A. is way different from the ones in S.F. A burrito in SF is way different than in San Diego. The possibilities are endless, and I tried to embrace everything. One of my favorite burritos? Señor Sisig California burrito. A fusion between Filipino and Mexican/Californian, stuffed with French fries. Is it “authentic”? Nope, but who cares? It’s a niche on its own.

Also, Mexicans tend to “Mexicanize” anything in their way, especially food. Go to a Japanese restaurant in Mexico and it’s not uncommon to see bits of jalapeño in your soy sauce. Hot dogs? Wrap them in bacon and top them with grilled onions and serrano peppers. Fettuccine with creamy chipotle… so what is truly Mexican cuisine?

Fettuccine with creamy chipotle sauce. Photo by Mexican Food Porn.

Fettuccine with creamy chipotle sauce. Photo by Mexican Food Porn.

Finally, more than Mexican food I want to emphasize one of life’s greatest pleasures: sitting down, ordering drinks and enjoying a meal with loved ones. Doesn’t matter if it’s Chinese, high-end Indian or drunk greasy tacos at 4 a.m.

Q: What was the best thing you ate recently? 

A barbacoa taco with avocado cream, from Pujol, Mexico City. Photo by Mexican Food Porn.

A barbacoa taco with avocado cream, from Pujol, Mexico City. Photo by Mexican Food Porn.

Pujol in Mexico City. I went for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it was simply amazing. The food, the decor, the concepts. It was a great experience. From that entire meal, the barbacoa taco with a tortilla made with poblano peppers and the Mole Madre were fucking unreal. I forgot I was sitting in a fine dining establishment. Enrique Olvera is redefining our cuisine in amazing ways.

Another amazing spot? La Panga del Impostor in Guadalajara, a little informal hip seafood joint run by Chef Antonio de Livier and restaurateur Javier Rodriguez. Everything in the menu is jaw-droppingly good. You happen to be in Guadalajara and have a near-death hangover? Go there.

A scallop, octopus and shrimp tostada from La Panga de Guadalajara. Photo by Mexican Food Porn.

A scallop, octopus and shrimp tostada from La Panga del Impostor.

Q: You’re stranded on a desert island and can only take 3 antojitos. What are they?
This is a cruel question. Only 3? 

- Guacamole with pork cracklings to scoop 
- Tacos de carnitas
- Tortas – Cemitas 

It’s interesting, because seafood isn’t considered to be in the antojitos realm, but I think they totally should. And since I am in a deserted island: 

-Aguachile 
-Coctél Vuelve a la Vida 
-Oysters. Oysters and more oysters. 

Extra points: 
-Mezcal, tequila and ice cold beer. (Better be hydrated.)

Q: Do you cook?
I try to as much as I can. I tend not to measure things, I just throw things around, scoop with my finger to taste. For me cooking has been lately some sort of laboratory-style therapy. Chopping things, letting things simmer, smells… just simply engaging all the senses and testing. It’s pretty relaxing. That said, I don’t think I would last 3 minutes as a line cook, but I can feed a small group of people.

Mexican Food Porn's homemade tomatillo salsa.

Mexican Food Porn’s homemade tomatillo salsa.

Q: Have you found any Mexican food dishes particularly hard to photograph? 
Not really. As of now most of the food pictures I take are with my iPhone. I guess the challenging part is to have a good angle and right lighting. At times it’s hard to just whip out the phone and take pictures. You know, just holding your plate of tacos, or at a restaurant. Moving around the plate and other eaters. I’m getting better dealing with the “what the fuck are you doing?” looks.

Q: Chile de árbol or habanero?
Lately I have been eating a lot of habanero. But how can you say no to chile de árbol? 

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8 Responses to “Instagrammers I love: Mexican Food Porn”
  1. Bella

    Dear Lesley

    Your blogs are very fun to read. They’re very informative, but today, well…

    I was rather taken aback by the heading. Instagrammers I love: Mexican Food P…, Yuck!

    Frankly, I did not want to read it. There’s was something so wrong about this. I certainly cannot comment on the rest of the piece, but just thought you should know.

    Thank you.

    • Lesley

      Hi Bella: Thanks for reading, and I’m sorry you didn’t agree with my headline choice. I think the term “food porn” has gained widespread acceptance in colloquial American speech, so I really wasn’t bothered by the word. The implied use is that the photos will make your mouth water — it’s more of a slang term than anything else.

  2. Andrea Lawson Gray

    Lesley,
    Nice piece! Personally, I love the title, perfectly captures the spirit of MP’s work. Great angle on the Al Pastor photo, really draws the viewer in. See you in the funny pages (or are you too young to relate to that?!)

    • Lesley

      Thanks for commenting, Andrea. I don’t think I’m too young to relate to that saying — I used to read the funny pages every day when we subscribed to the newspaper. :-) Now we only subscribe to the weekend paper, and I’m usually too busy trying to keep up with the news and other current events to even find the funnies! Do they even publish them anymore?

  3. Don Cuevas

    I wasn’t at all bothered by the language, it’s just another form of speech. I did enjoy the photos a great deal. But I’m not attracted to high end “author” cuisine. To each their own preference.

    Best Mexican food we’ve had in a while was last night, when our vecina sent her hija to us with an olla of caldo de pollo and a stack of freshly made tortillas del comal. It was riquísimo.

    http://tinyurl.com/ma3slco

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

    • Lesley

      Tortillas del comal! Now my mouth really is watering…

  4. Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes

    Loved this! I totally followed him on Instagram and LOLed at his comment about the Mole Madre – I need to get my hands on some of that mole!

    • Lesley Tellez

      Thanks, Meagan. I want to try the mole, too. I think one of my life’s goals is to be endlessly mole-searching, actually… on another note, congratulations on your new cookbook! Really looking forward to reading it.

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