By Trevor Pepys
Trevor Pepys reviews a fun Mex popup at Telephone Call From Istanbul
When it comes to Mexican food, Trevor’s knowledge and experience is so vast that it could not possibly be rolled into even a giant-sized tortilla. Not that there’s a huge amount to know.
Meat, beans, a side of thick mole and a bowl of red hot salsa and you’re good to go. But beyond the mostly, let’s face it, basic elements of its construction, there is a culture even richer than the food.
It’s not widely known, but back in the roaring days Trev was briefly the Australian cultural attach¨¦ for Northern Baja California, until an unfortunate incident one night at Hussong’s Cantina involving a donkey, a schoolteacher and a lapsed priest. It was suggested with brute force that Trev might like to relocate his official post somewhere else, which he did by moving to the other end of the peninsula and setting up a base at the Tropicana in San Jose del Cabo for lunch and evenings out of harm’s way at Zac’s bodega and betting shop at Zacatitas.
These seasons in the sun gave him a well-rounded appreciation of basic tourist Mex, but it is not until you get to know the mainland that you discover the hidden intricacies of Mexican cuisine, a confusing mix of Native, Mayan, Aztec and European influences, all condensed into a frypan and two pots.
Of course, in the trendy parts of Mex City, Cancun, Oaxaca, San Cristobal and San Miguel de Allende, you can find purportedly authentic dishes that have almost disappeared up their own complexity, but in real towns – try Merida, Puerto Morelos, Puerto Escondido or Zihuatanejo – the best dishes at the cantinas and tacquerias come randomly and haphazardly and flavours trump presentation.
Sandy and Scott Kachad are Noosa residents who know the Cali-Hawaii-Mex surf and tucker trail like the backs of their hands. They’ve travelled widely, soaking up the culture and the cooking as they go, so when Trev got wind their Noosa Salsa Company was hosting an authentic Mexican fiesta for owner Ken at Telephone Call From Istanbul, the first of a couple of Sunday arvo Mex popups leading up to the Day of the Dead, wild caballos wouldn’t have kept him away. Last Sunday in the Arcadia Walk wind tunnel, the first popup – codename Telephone Call From Tijuana Prison – went off like a cracker. Sandy’s Noosa Salsa Company is already famous for creating fresh organic salsa and traditional Mex in the artisanal style, so with plenty of beef, port, prawns and vegetarian option, hot tortillas, salsa and a mango side to die for, plus ice-cold Pacifica beers, good margaritas and artesan Mescals to wash it all down with, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, Trev and Mrs Tucker got there a bit late, and a ravenous full house had already devoured a few of the options, but that didn’t stop us weighing into an excellent and juicy shredded beef feast, popping a few margies and grooving to the sidewalk sounds of the very talented Charlie Pearson and Tosh Kachad. All of this for $50 a head. We’ll be back for the next one.
The verdict: If Telephone Call wasn’t an excellent Turkish caf, it would make a great Mex tacqueria, so enjoy it while you can.
Sandy’s Mex popup at Telephone Call From Istanbul, Arcadia Walk, Sunday from noon. No bookings. Find Noosa Salsa Company on Insta @noosasalsacompany or on Facebook at Noosa Salsa Company.