What makes good Mexican food, like the food you’ll find at La Cantina, authentic? Authentic Mexican food generally has several qualities.


  • What we now call corn is an indigenous plant from southern Mexico.
  • Corn has been an essential part of Mexican food since before there was a Mexico.
  • It is thought that corn was domesticated by the year 2500 BCE.
  • When combines with beans, a complete protein, limiting the need for meat.

Fresh Vegetables

  • Colorful chilies are also indigenous to the Americas and were originally miss-named by Columbus as peppers.
  • Chili peppers have been part of the human diet since approximately 7500 BCE, according to Wikipedia.

Diverse Meats

  • While pigs and cows are not indigenous to the Americas, other land-based meats are and were always used in Mexican cooking.
  • The proximity to the ocean made seafood a natural part of Mexican food.


As Mexican food made it’s way up from Mexico, it encountered and mixed with other types of cooking. One of the most popular type of Mexican food is Tex-Mex. Since Texas was part of Mexico, when European settlers came in, they encountered new and exotic foods. Two main ingredients that you can expect expect from mexican food, but are really Tex-Mex, are wheat flour and beef. While we are proud that our Mexican food is what we consider authentic, we love being part of a wider tradition of food culture that has so much variety! When you are in Cedar Rapids or Marion Iowa, stop into La Cantina and try our delicious Mexican food.