Before the story behind the sauce, this is a quick and easy 3 ingredient enchilada sauce. No chiles, only chili powder. An ode to Super Mex’s mild tomatoey enchilada sauce. Click jump to recipe if you don’t like stories.
Every other Sunday, my dad used to come pick my sister and I up to go to the beach. When my little brother, Dylan, wasn’t with his dad for the weekend, he’d get to tag along too. We’d get up earlier than any other day. Beach days were meant for surfing and surfing is best done early. When we’d see the wind create tiny white caps on the water, we knew it was time to go.
Super Mex or Ice Cream?
If there was enough time left, on the way home we’d stop for lunch at Super Mex or ice cream at Thrifty’s. Double scoop of sherbet in a sugar cone upside down in a cup for me. I didn’t like drippage and what’s up with the cake cone? Like biting into Styrofoam. I always preferred Super Mex over ice cream but knew ice cream came more often because it was cheaper. If we were REAL lucky, we’d get both.
A few times, my brothers Dad, John, did a beach day too and my sister and I were able to go. I’ll never forget the first time we went to Super Mex together. The servers knew us, so they automatically brought out salsa, enchilada sauce, and sour cream. The salsa was a bit too spicy for us little ones then. We’d break the big tostadas into smaller chips, dip it into the sour cream for a small dollop, and then dive it into the enchilada sauce for a heavy coat.
Hot Plates turned Cold
Orders were taken. One chicken taco combo with all rice, no beans for me. The plates come out hot at Super Mex. Like, super hot. Servers provide fair warning before placing them in front of you. Lunch was served. Dylan, about five at the time, did not take warning to the hot plate and grabbed on tight enough to evoke a shriek and a couple tears to follow. John lost it.
“Why the hell would you give a scorching hot plate to a kid?!”
He went on and on to the servers about how stupid it was. I was old enough to know that it was a bit of an overreaction, but too young to be embarrassed. The next time we went to lunch there, I looked at the check and noticed the words “COLD Plate!!” scribbled on top. From that point on, we’d never get another hot plate set down in front of us at Super Mex.
Dylan and John left this world way too early. John passed a couple years later, and Dylan at 26 just last year. When I look back to that lunch at Super Mex, I remember John’s love for his son. Today, I choose to find it charming more than an overreaction. I also choose to find Super Mex’s enchilada sauce nostalgic more than an acceptable substitution for salsa.
About the Sauce
This Enchilada sauce is not “authentic” enchilada sauce at all, but this is the way I’ve been making it since I can remember. I was trying to replicate Super Mex’s which seems very tomato based. I might not have been wrong about their sauce, but true Enchilada sauce is chile based. There are no chiles in this one, only chili powder.
White Kid Enchilada Sauce
I wanted to call it “White Kid Enchilada Sauce” because it reminds me of that day and “fake enchilada sauce” just doesn’t sound good, but for the sake of letting people know what it is right away, it’s my “3 Ingredient Enchilada Sauce”. And it’s pretty darn good, even if you’re not a white kid.