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Encounter

Some like it hot

October 26, 2008
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At El Braserio, a restaurant in the Mexican city of León, wooden tables with colorful cloths and walls covered in long-ago painted murals welcome a business crowd on weekdays, and families and tourists on weekends.

Amid this setting of static tradition moves a woman pushing a cart, on which intimate tastes come to life. Like your salsa hot? There is habanero, serrano, and jalapeno. Or guero, a sweeter but hot pepper. With fresh tomato, red and green, the woman works quickly, adding the choice of peppers and flavoring with garlic and salt until finally she presents it proudly, and there is nothing to do but eat.

TOM HAINES

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