The makings of a Mexican food
identity in the Hudson Valley
PHOTOGRAPHS BY SAUNDI WILSON
The 1980s were a great time for Mexican cuisine—especially in the Hudson Valley. It was this decade, after all, that saw the Mexican community grow larger and faster than any other immigrant group in the nation. Towns like Poughkeepsie and Newburgh swelled as young men arrived to pick the valley’s apples and wash onions and lettuce grown in its black dirt fields—and the Mexican food followed shortly after. In Newburgh, several Mexican- owned grocery stores sprang up to quell the demand for authentic Mexican-made staples, like corn tortillas and spicy chiles redolent of the arid soils of the motherland. It was in these bodegas, with their teetering shelves piled high with the delights of Mexico, that Mexican-Americans were able to find a little taste of home, though thousands of miles away. What’s more, such pioneering businesses paved the way for the region’s now flourishing Mexican culinary scene and the crowds of gringos ready for freshly griddled picaditas.
In Newburgh, Los Portales’ port-wine-colored awning marks its place as one of about 10 Mexican restaurants now jostling for real estate in the city’s center. Once home to … Read More