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To me, Mexican food is good when the tortilla is made in-house, the filling is made of discernible pieces of meat rather than greasy burger, it’s got real Mexican cheese instead of shredded Kraft melted on it, and there’s no iceberg lettuce visible on the plate. But I’ve noticed that local critics can’t let an opportunity go by to complain that the one gaping hole in Washington’s culinary landscape is a decent restaurant devoted to regional Mexican cuisine. (The perfect mole still eludes us.) Fortunately, relief is in sight, albeit in temporary form: Tonight, the Mexican Cultural Institute is hosting an evening with chef Patricia Quintana. Her menu features a Mayan Peninsula theme—lime-chicken soup, pabile-style pork, gouda with shrimp and scallops, and papadzul-corn tacos with pumpkin-seed sauce. The cooking begins at 7 p.m. at the Mexican Cultural Institute, 2829 16th St. NW. $60. For reservations call (202) 728-1628. (Jandos Rothstein)