I went to Pedro’s Tex Mex Cantina to claim my racist sombrero

It’s the restaurant that shows what dire straits progressive politics are in – and its fajitas are excellent

17 October 2015

9:00 AM

17 October 2015

9:00 AM

Pedro’s Tex-Mex Cantina is a fantastical shack near a ring road in Norwich. It was recently asked to stop handing out sombreros at the University of East Anglia Freshers’ Fair, because anti-racist activists (henceforth known as ‘morons’) at the UEA Freshers’ Fair reckon the sombrero is racist, and gave the staff of Pedro’s Tex-Mex Cantina a lecture about ‘cultural appropriation’, which they took well; that is, they did not set fire to the UEA Freshers’ Fair, which is what I would have done.

This is where we are with progressive politics, Spectator reader, although I think you knew that anyway. Anyone who thinks wearing a sombrero is racist — rather than suave, because the usual student headgear is still the traffic cone — needs an education in the true nature of racism, and should visit Ferguson or Tower Hamlets, instead of wondering if Yad Vashem should do millinery, and calling, however obliquely, for ‘white culture for white people’, because they are morons. I was overcome by a dark longing to wear a sombrero and vomit all over Twitter. Perhaps I can persuade the editor of this magazine to offer every subscriber a sombrero and a stick-on Zapata moustache? Perhaps we could rename the UK ‘El Sombrero’? It is obvious that racism will not be eradicated by banning the sombrero. Polemically speaking, it is a straw hat, and we all know it.

Anyway I was so angry I went to Norwich in solidarity with the sombrero, a hat too often maligned because, on the right face, it can be terrifying. Norwich is, as you know, a city famous, at least in Jewish circles, for a medieval pogrom — was anyone wearing a sombrero? It has a re-pointed Norman castle on a boob-shaped hill; many Georgian houses; and a market selling principally baskets.

Pedro’s Tex-Mex Cantina is a wooden house, alone in its park; its sign — ‘Open All Day Saturday from 12 noon’ is in Labour colours, which might confuse the morons; Pedro’s Tex-Mex Cantina is, in signage terms, wearing borrowed robes. It reminds me, for some reason, of the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars even if the exterior is pointy, Swiss and vaguely Heidi; and also of Casablanca. It is a place out of time. Inside, it is a Tex-Mex theme park: dull gold walls with red and green stripes for the Mexican flag; wooden booths; paintings of cactus; a saddle; a plastic buffalo; a plastic lizard; a wooden lizard; masks; fans; a random guitar; an excellent painting of a man in a sombrero (racist bastard); many, many sombreros. One table, set for 12, has a sombrero at each place setting, like a gun, or a racist novelty item, perhaps a balloon or whistle, celebrating the Confederacy; on the wall is an ornamental sombrero in mauve velvet. It is a taunt. A couple suck cocktails in tandem; their sombreros touch.

Now I am here, what to do? I ask the staff about the ‘incident’. They are discreet, but they giggle; their eyeballs roll up the walls towards a plastic lizard. I order a non–alcoholic mojito, or ‘faux-hijo’, and read the menu, which is large, gaudy and dedicated to getting the more racist elements of Norwich as drunk as possible on Pedro’s party jugs without the need for hospitalisation, due to the application of huge amounts of meat. I can’t face nachos, mucho nachos, combo dinners or classic Pedro’s stacks, so I order sizzling chicken fajitas, which I eat while wearing my sombrero and taking selfies. They are huge, doughy and excellent. I ask the party next in the next booth if they have heard of the racist sombreros and, if so, what do they think. ‘Fucking morons’ is their summary. We eat the sizzling chicken fajitas near the ring road of fear.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Pedro’s Tex Mex Cantina, Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich NR2 1NY, tel: 01603 614725.

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Show comments
  • Kasperlos

    Good on Tanya for showing solidarity with sanity and reality. For the academia-led cultural Marxist supreme goal is to create a new reality, a reality devoid of any semblance of original human nature. The ‘paradise’ they wish to create for others is one of a zombified, drone, cloned ascetic. In other words a living hell that only Mao’s Red Guards with their little red books could appreciate. Has it ever occurred to anyone that if these fervent crackpots of PC with too much time on their hands truly believe that a sombrero is racist then why haven’t they flown to Mexico to lobby the Mexicans – who actually do still wear them – to cease and desist. Truly disturbed people have taken over the asylum called the UK. It would be very worthwhile if the Spectator would devote a series on the origins of political correctness and what it has wrought in society.

  • E.I.Cronin

    Great review Tanya! Henceforth I too shall refer to anti-racist activists as morons and tell them to stick their jalapenos… For a colleagues birthday we once put 2 buck sombreros on and came out with the cake stomping to La Cucuracha. Racist? Nonsense. Just fun.

  • DavidL

    I remember Pedro’s from the 1980s. Its survival is eloquent testimony to the dire shortage of good eating places in the fine City that is Norwich. But I uphold the right to give out free sombreros anyway.

    • Gilbert White

      They can only do it cos they are made in China by prisoners and cost ten pence each. Enjoy your meal?

  • Jon Green

    Campaigning against racism is not moronic. But calling the identification of sombreros with Mexican culture racism certainly is. I go to the States regularly. The Mexicans (immigrants and naturalised) get a pretty poor treatment – witness the loathsome Donald Trump’s recent diatribes.

    Unless there’s a deliberate attempt to diminish them by stereotyping – which I don’t think is the case in this instance – the sombrero-wearing can only be simply an affectionate tribute to Mexican history and culture. And that’s no bad thing.

    • Ken

      Trumps “diatribes” are all about ILLEGAL immigration. BTW he has plenty of support from Mexican Americans.

      • Jon Green

        Only in his fevered delusions. The (legal) Mexican Americans I’ve met and talked with – and not a few, either – hate him with a passion. He might be able to find one or two of the most well-off to put in front of camera, and the likes of Fox News might be drinking and disseminating that particular Kool-Aid, but I see no evidence that it’s actually true amongst the general Mexican American community, on this planet (as opposed to Planet Trump).

        • Ken

          The polls trump your anecdotal “evidence”. (No pun intended).

        • Gilbert White

          Tis a bit like 99.9% of Africans are for free Coca Cola as part of US Aid, so what.

      • Juli

        Where? I am Latino and I every other Latino I know despises him. Plus, the hatred has little to do with him wanting to deport legal or illegal immigrants. It has to do with the fact that he said the immigrants weren’t “their best people,” calling them rapists instead.

    • davidshort10

      I thought Trump was wearing a sombrero then realised it was his hair.

    • get a pretty poor treatment
      Great joke. Got any others?

      Yet another Leftist that can’t tell ‘illegal’ from ‘legal’ and doesn’t recognize free entitlements, available work, and medical benefits even for illegals when the evidence is all around you.

  • WillG

    I presume, if wearing a sombrero is racist, then so is a Mexican restaurant, in fact any non ethnic British restaurant, and so UEA’s student union will be calling for no ethnic British food to be banned on campus.

    • As a former Texan, I want in on the action! If there are any stetsons on the premises, they are in BIG trouble!

  • jim jones

    Every time I see an African with a mobile phone I think ‘cultural appropriation’

    • Tamerlane

      So do the cops….narf!

      • Todd Unctious

        You monumental twit.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    “This is where we are with progressive politics…”
    Nah, it’s just student politics, or posing, or something, but ’twas ever thus. Much of the blame lies with the absurd recognition given to the NUS/student “unions”: there are no reasonable grounds for these self-evidently ridiculous, superfluous bodies to exist, and the fact that they do exist provides a platform for the kind of blinkered Lefty control-freaks who inevitably control student unions – then grow up (after a fashion) to become real politicians like Jack Straw and Harriet Harman.
    Next time I’m in Norwich I must try the Cantina, sounds fun – great Mexican grub + kitsch decor…

    • Todd Unctious

      In Norwich to murder some foxes Malcy.

      • Tamerlane


        • Todd Unctious

          …’s cold outside…

      • Malcolm Stevas

        You have too much time on your hands. Maybe you’re unemployable.

        • Todd Unctious

          No.Just so well paid, I can take more time off to point out the disgusting habits of Tory twits.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            How dare you call me a Tory.

    • Tamerlane

      Suspect the real attraction is that student stories always provide good copy and a better laugh as per this sombrero palaver or the loony Oxford Uni President’s antics. Plenty of mileage in tinsel town student politics.

    • No, it wasnt’ ‘ever thus’. Are you 20 or something?

      • Malcolm Stevas

        Gosh, a petulant assertion with no evidence adduced, and a particularly daft rhetorical question.
        Actually I observed the transformation of student politics in the 1960s, and the sort of dimwit intolerance described in this piece has been par for the course, certainly during my own student days in the ’70s. But I admit I haven’t been watching student politics longer than a half-century or so: perhaps you’re 90, or something?

        • The 1960s to now is a very short frame of reference. I could go on but I’m too busy.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Like I said, maybe you’re 90. You’re certainly short on evidence and argument.

          • I’m not short on anything but height: I don’t have time to spell it out, but the ‘evidence and argument’ is certainly there for those looking. I’m not 90; I’m 47. Cheers.

          • pedestrianblogger

            I AM 90 and it certainly wasn’t “thus” when I was in the Bullingdon.

          • :^0

  • trace9

    Sombrero off ready when I come home! A PC quote; err, SORWICH, or in this case, SOREWITCH. & Which of us ain’t sore at sumpin’ these days..

  • Mr B J Mann

    I take it the UEA activists have also banned the Palestinian Keffiyeh(sp?), and those comical Andean hats stdents like to wear?!

  • Richard Eldritch

    I almost regret not going to Uni, the trolling potential is just staggering……

  • jeremy Morfey

    As someone born in Middlesex and went to the same Sussex school as Harry Enfield, I am a proud wearer of a cloth cap, which I doff whenever I feel like racistly winding up Northerners.

  • Tamerlane


  • Juli

    I feel more offended about them saying it’s racist as if Mexicans are a race.