Authentic Mexican food was always on the menu growing up. It sure helped having Mexican parents! For some, it means just another Tuesday, but for me it was filled with all sorts of noises, smells, and getting kicked out of the kitchen because, "I'm busy making dinner!" mom would say. Mexican cuisine is simple and straight forward. Minimal ingredients, but don't underestimate their strong flavors. Cumin, Cilantro, Lime oh my! Below is a small list of what for you may be "Mexican night" but for me, it was my childhood.

1. Street Corn

This treat (usually served on a stick) bursts with flavor! The sweet corn, tang from the lime, and the kick from the chili powder, combined together to make your taste buds run wild. The best part, you can (literally) put anything on this cob and make it your own.

2. Guacamole

This avocado-based dip is everyone's favorite. Start with ripe avocados, lime juice, salt, pepper and dip your tortilla chip. Yes, it's that easy! There are different variations of this dip, which makes it a perfect vehicle to take on any flavor you may desire. 

3. Pico de Gallo

Pico de gallo (rooster's beak, yes that's the direct translation) is commonly known as fresh salsa. It is made by dicing and mixing tomatoes, serrano peppers, onion, and cilantro. Finished with lime juice, it is a perfect topping for tacos or even tortilla chips. This is great for parties and very easy to prepare too.

4. Mole

Most of us know this dish as the "spicy chocolate sauce". Mole is a mixture of spices, and dry chilies blended together to create a rich, complex sauce. Chocolate is added to lightly sweeten it and add too its unique flavor. Primarily used as a sauce with chicken, leftover sauce has been used to make enchiladas. Don't worry, you'll learn about these delicious saucy taco roll ups when you get to number twelve.

5. Taquitos

This dish was created out of necessity. One would ask, what to do with those stale tortillas? Well, stuff them with beef or chicken and roll them up. Make it even better by baking or frying them. Finish them off with a variety of toppings and sauces at your preference. Usually, they are always accompanied by cheese, onion and tomato.

6. Flan

Flan is an egg custard dessert, the creme brulee of Mexico, if that makes sense. Once cooled, the baking dish gets turned upside down to reveal the almost jello-like consistency with its own caramel sauce. It is definitely a must-try dish, the next time you visit your local Mexican restaurant. 

7. Mexican Hot Chocolate

Nothing reminds me more of visiting grandma than smelling hot chocolate in the works. Some of you may have hot chocolate with cayenne in it...sorry, but its a trend. Authentic Mexican hot chocolate is not spicy, but sweet and rich...yum. The bar you see above is dropped into a pot of hot milk and stirred until it melts into chocolatey goodness.

8. Ponche (hot fruit punch)

Similar to mulled cider, this hot beverage is made with different fruits and sweetened with sugar cane. Yes, real sugar cane! Cool right? Easily found in the freezer section of your local international store. The sugar cane serves as a nice treat at the end as well. You can easily turn this into an adult-friendly beverage by adding your favorite brandy.

9. Chile Rellenos

This vegetarian dish is bursting with flavor. Take a grilled poblano pepper, stuff it with gooey cheese and bake it till it's soft! Top it with sour cream and enjoy the flavors. Different regions in Mexico have different variations of this dish, but they all have it stuffed with that stringy cheese.

10. Churros

Churros are fried pieces of pastry dough that are then tossed in cinnamon sugar while still hot. The sugar sticks churro cause an explosion of flavor as you take a bite. These are usually found wherever you see street food being sold.

11. Tacos (the authentic kind)

As we all know, anything can be turned into a taco. To qualify as an authentic Mexican tacos, they need to meet certain criteria. First, a soft shell corn tortilla is the key. There is no room for hard taco shells here. Stuff your tortilla with choice of meat and top with onion, cilantro, and salsa. Leave the cheese and sour cream out too. Finish it with a fresh squeeze of lime and enjoy the authentic flavor!

12. Enchiladas

Take taquitos, top with red chili sauce, add cheese and bake till the cheese has completely melted. You have just created enchiladas. Enchiladas is your "juicy" alternative to taquitos. These are an absolute hit at most pot lucks.

13. Tamales

This family favorite is always enjoyed for Christmas dinner. Corn masa (dough), stuffed with beef, chicken or pork is steamed in a corn husk for several hours. Once cooked, remove the husk and top with your favorite salsa.

14. Tres Leches Cake

This juicy dessert leaves you craving for more. Tres leches cake (three milk cake) is a sponge cake that is then soaked with its signature three milks: heavy cream, evaporated milk, and condensed milk. Plain vanilla frosting is all you will need for this rich dessert to remind you what paradise tastes like.

15. Ceviche

This dish is a perfect lunch for a hot summer day. Ceviche is every seafood lover's dream come true. It is usually made with fresh raw fish cured in lime and lemon juice. Onion, cilantro, chilies may also be added. Ceviche is typically enjoyed with saltine crackers or tortilla chips.

In my experience, these delicious dishes may be found at your local Mexican joint. Variations will exist, as different regions in Mexico like to put their own flair into the dishes. Imagine all the different tacos you can try?! Now that I have thrown some knowledge about authentic Mexican food, it is time to Throw the Perfect Mexican Food Night.