The culinary metaphor probably occurred to me because I'd come to visit El Paso and its neighbor just across the border, Ciudad Juarez, to learn about a reportedly delicious sub-variety of Mexican cooking that might best be termed simply "border food." Now, El Paso is in Texas, and Juarez is in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico—but the cuisine I'm talking about is not, emphatically, what is usually meant by Tex-Mex. It isn't oversized combo platters blanketed with melted orange cheese, or crisp-fried tacos filled with greasy ground beef. It's marinated cactus salad wrapped in a just-made tortilla, or enchiladas, stacked instead of rolled, and smothered in delicate red chile sauce, or flavorful fresh chiles stuffed with cheese and lightly fried, and served with nothing on the side except more of the same. It is plain cooking, served up unadorned, with a distinct regional character—pure, complex, and unambiguous.