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Found 462 results

  1. RockADS21

    Mexican...

    I am heading to a Mexican BYO tomorrow night and was looking for a few suggestions as to a good wine to bring. Thanks.
  2. For the last few years I lived in San Francisco I worked three nights a week, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. My sleep schedule became very skewed, as did my meal schedule. I got into the habit of coming home from work and waiting until 8 a.m. or so when the taqueria around the corner from me opened so that I could have burrito de tripas (or buche) for breakfast before I went to sleep for the day. The guys working in the taqueria thought it was hilarious, but it was very comforting food. My favorite combination was chopped up pork stomach, yellow rice, black beans, monterrey jack cheese, finely chopped white onion and cilantro, tomatillo-chipotle salsa, and sliced avocado all wrapped up inside a big flour tortilla. The smoothness of the black beans and avocado were so delicious alongside the slightly chewy, but smooth, texture of the pork stomach. I recently found a recipe for cooking the stomach that sounds authentic. The method is rather like confit. Pork stomachs are sold whole and can usually be found in Chinese butchers. They're football shaped and need to be cleaned carefully. Remove all the excess fat from the stomach, wash, rub with salt and rinse again. Sometimes I rinse it in some white distilled vinegar to get rid of any strong odors. Then melt a lot of lard (enough to cover the stomach) in a big pot. Add a cup of water (or more) in which some salt has been dissolved. Water allows the lard to boil; also, salt won't dissolve in lard. Bring the lard-water mix to a fast boil; try not to get splattered. Add the stomach and simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 2 or 3 hours, until the tripe is very tender but not crisp. Drain well, blot with paper towels and chop the meat.
  3. I made mole for the first time on Saturday night/Sunday morning. I've eaten it a few times in restaurants and bought a jarred version after reading an article that said this one brand was acceptable (it was good), but never made it from scratch before. I had a pot luck lunch/meeting scheduled for Sunday afternoon. They chose Mexican, so I was stuck. I scoured my three Mexican books, Cantina by the Two Hot Tamales; One Plate by Bayliss, and Border Cookbook by the Jamisons. For some reason, Bayliss' Apricot-Pine Nut Mole jumped out at me and once I thought about it, I couldn't do anything else. Didn't matter that I've never made anything like it before. Didn't matter that I've never used dried chilis before. Oh, and did I mention one of them's a professional chef? Once I thought of it, I had to do it. I made the grocery list: tomatillos, sesame seeds, dried ancho chilis. I had the dried apricots, pine nuts, garlic, chicken stock and chocolate (I thought). Store #1 Safeway had tomatillos and sesame seeds, but no whole dried chilis. Store #2 Albertson's had whole dried California, New Mexico, and Guajillo chiles, but no anchos. No way was I driving to another store this late. I bought a bag of each kind thinking maybe one of them was a regional synonym for ancho. I found a bag labelled Pasilla Ancho in the cupboard too. But a quick google search led me to a site that explained that probably none of them were real anchos. Oops #1. I decided to use the bag of Pasilla Ancho (3 oz.) and then half California and half New Mexico with a coupld of Guajillos thrown in for the hell of it. Oops #2: procrastinating on egullet, I notice it's 9:45 pm and decide I probably should get started. I assemble some of the ingredients and stem and seed the dried chilis just to get started doing something. I did remember to use gloves, but didn't think it would take as long as it did to do the 6 oz of chilis. It's now 10:30. I get the rest of the ingredients only to find oops #3, the recipe calls for Mexican chocolate and not only do I not have any of that, I'm out of all forms of baking chocolate too. But I do have some Williams-Sonoma sweet chocolate and Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder. And there's really no way I'm driving to the store again now. I plunge ahead, roasting the tomatillos without incident. I toast the dried chilis, learning not to put a lot of small pieces in at once because they're really hard to fish out before they over-cook, cover them with boiling water to soak. Back to the tomatillos, I mix them with the sesame seeds (toasted), fried pine nuts, fried garlic, bread and spices. Since I don't have chocolate, I try to figure out how much powder to use. I end up with 4 tablespoons of the sweet chocolate and one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa, plus an extra 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon because that's in Mexican chocolate. I don't know why that worked, but it seemed to taste "right" though I don't really have a clue as to what "right" is. Back to the chilis. It said to taste the soaking water and if it's bitter not to use it. I had tasted it earlier and it wasn't bitter at all. I measured 2 cups, tasted it again, it was a little bitter, then as I added 1 cup, the bitterness kicked in. Oops #4, but at least I didn't add the whole 2 cups. I added 1 1/2 cups plain water after that. I blend it up and then strain it. I hope a lot of the bitterness is in the solids, so I don't press down very hard on it, discarding a fair amount. I add the tomatillo mixture to the blender and find I have to add 2 cups of chicken stock to get it to swirl. It's supposed to be smooth, but it's thick and chunky and since it's supposed to be cooked down, I don't want to add too much liquid. I don't strain it, deciding that I'm making the rustic variation. Oops #5. I reduce the chili puree and then the tomatillo blend without incident, add the rest of the stock and simmer away. After an hour, I taste it and it's bitter. And needs salt and sugar (both in the recipe). I add the salt first and it intensifies the bitterness. Oh oh. . . . I add the sugar which tames it a bit, but there's still a definite bitterness to the sauce. I keep it on low while I sautee some boneless, skinless chicken breasts sprinkled with salt, pepper, and chili powder in the left over oil from frying the chilis, garlic, and pine nuts. One last taste and the bitterness is still there. I clean up the kitchen and by the time I'm in bed it's around 4 am. I'm tired and annoyed by the thought that I'm going to have to get up early and get some butternut squash tamales from Picante's Cocina on the way to the meeting. And that I still have to serve the mole if nothing else so they can tell me what I did wrong (though I have a good idea I screwed up the chili toasting/soaking). I get up and heat the sauce on low, resigned to failure, and lo and behold, somehow overnight, the bitterness vanished! It's actually good. The other people thought it was good too. Now I want to make it "right" and also to try other versions. It seems, at least to my uneducated palate, to be a resilient dish. It takes some effort and time, but nothing really that difficult or complicated to do. Does anyone have any other versions they'd like to share?
  4. I'll be in SF from 27-29 October. It's my first trip to the West Coast and I'd appreciate some restaurant recs from those in the know. Having scanned the board I thought I'd try Cafe Panisse and Zuni. I also want to try some decent Mexican food, as the Mexican scene in London is dire -- crappy all-you-can-eat Tex-Mex where the best places are those that don't poison you. Any pointers? We're staying fairly centrally (Hotel Rex near Union Square) and aren't going to have a car, so only places that are walkable or on public transport please. Thanks!
  5. 3 CHICAS Mexican Kitchen - Wyckoff NJ Eat in / Take out Seats at bar to watch cook Sep 3rd, 2002 Dinner - shrimp burrito, pork quesadilla, chips, salsa, guacamole Cost - $26.00 Rating - 1 LIMA BEAN --------------------------------------------- Everything on the menu is a la carte including the chips Food is served on paper plates, bowls. Have you ever tried to eat a burrito in a paper bowl? The pork was not shredded but chunks of fat, the shrimp was old and over cooked. The red salsa was home made, slightly boring and served in a very small cup that I couldn't get the chip into. The chipolte sauce was good, but I dont think it was homemade, the same for the guacamole. ___________________________ They serve the basic "fast food" mexican fare with bergen county prices. ____________________________ We prefer the Blue Moon Cafe in Wycoff for variety, and good food. or Mamacitas in Ramsey (former owner of the small mexican diner on rt 4 in Paramus). The menu is basic, but I think she makes one of the best mole and tomatillo sauces around. Her red salsa is more like tomatoe paste/sauce. We eat there once a week and can always count on the food.
  6. I think I am in the majority when I say that I have often sought after an authentic New Jersey Mexican restaurant to practically no avail. It seems that Mexican food in this area for the most part means Jose Tejas, On The Border or Chevy's. While those places serve their pupose I often tend to just stick with a margurita and chips and salsa at the bar (they actually all generally have good tequilla). I am however still wondering if there are some good legit Mexican restarants out there that I am unaware of. I was told that Ixtapa in Morristown was very good but shortly after read a review in New Jersey Monthly that made it sound just average. Thoughts on Ixtapa and any other suggestions are much appreciated.
  7. I remember reading a post by somebody here (a regular i think) that mentioned a very good mexican place that seemed casual (perhaps even take-out) that had a "schooled" chef from some fancy schmanzy culinary school, but i'm not well versed in that sort of thing to recognize or remember the name. It was in the North Bergen/West New York area. I tried to search using key words, but couldn't find what i was looking for. Does anybody remember or perhaps was the original poster? Thanks.
  8. I plan on making both beef (skirt) and chicken fajitas this weekend for @ 10 people. Any recommendations for great (homemade of course)marinades? I have tried quite a few over the years and am looking for something new. Apperciate your suggestions in advance. Cheers, JFK
  9. Has anyone else made it down to South Park for Mexican? I went for the first time the other night; I'm not ready to talk about my meal, since it's going to be for a review, but I will mention that there's a pasteleria with sixty-cent pan dulce and other confections, including great palmiers and some pink frosted rolls that our accompanying friends haven't seen since they moved up from southern California. It's not exactly bursting with vibrant street life, but there is a taco van called Porky's Taco Wagon--there was a guy (Porky?) and a kid (his son?) working, and for an appetizer (we went somewhere else for dinner), I got a beef cheek taco and a taco al pastor. The pastor was flavorful, but a bit greasy and without much char (I'm too lazy to use italics at the moment, so feel free to laugh at this sentence). The beef cheek was rather dull. But I'd go back to Porky's and try a couple others--the tortillas had good flavor and the tacos were only $1.25.
  10. Well...it's been a few weeks since I came back to British soil, but work's been pretty unforgiving so I haven't been able to write up my holiday notes. Now that my tan is fading (but my freckles aren't, oddly), I hope that I've still got all the details down accurately! As mentioned before I went, I was lucky enough to be visiting someone whose boyfriend is Mexican and local to the Yucatan. So I had a great guide to all the best places to eat (not to mention the cleanest - I think Sian was the biggest neat-freak I've ever met) and an 'in' to his 80-year-old mother, a tiny lady with a great line in tamales. I have a LOT of things to talk about, so rather than writing one single post (which is going to take AGES), I'm going to do this is bits & pieces. At least that way it all seems a bit less daunting... First, my overall notes. I'm relieved to report that I didn't suffer even the smallest bit of tummy trouble, in spite of eating everything under the sun. I'm sure this was mainly due to Sian's hawk-like attention to cleanliness, although I joined both him and Tara in munching veggies washed in tap water with no ill effects. (My hosts were adament I wouldn't have any problems, so I thought it was worth the chance.) And Stellabella, I have to shamefacedly admit that I COMPLETELY disregarded your advice on the seafood, and not only indulged but paid special attention to the local cerviche. (Served with tortilla chips. Mmmmmm....) So anyway, without further ado here's Part One of What I Did On My Mexican Holiday: Tara & Sian picked me up from the airport after waiting for nearly two hours for me to clear customs. It seems that I'd booked just in time to coincide with the arrival of the North American Spring Break package tours (which I remember being advertised at my own university), which meant that EVERY new arrival was having his/her luggage searched for illegal substances. This took ages, and Tara and I consoled ourselves with jumping up & down and generally trying to communicate through the thick glass separating the customs queue from the arrivals area. We failed dismally, and in retrospect were probably lucky we weren't arrested on some set of charges or another - a really bored official might have thought we were arranging some sort of smuggling ring, or something... They live in Playa del Carmen, a fairly built-up coastal resort that used to be a sleepy little fishing village before Cancun's popularity started spreading to the rest of the Yucatan. On the way into town, we stopped at a supermarket to pick up some key ingredients for dinner, and I was THRILLED as snooping around supermarkets is one of my favourite things to do when I first arrive somewhere new. I was delighted by the huge carts of dried chiles in umpteen different varieties (so different from the UK, where having more than a couple types of chile is considered a bit excessive), and by the enormous piles of less-than-perfect limes. It was refreshing to see fruit with all the typical blemishes on them, instead of the gleaming and heavily waxed 'perfect' versions we usually find in our supermarkets. I was also interested in the in-store bakery. Tara picked up a big metal tray and a pair of tongs, and walked around selecting her choices. When she was finished, she took the tray up to a counter where the assistant bagged her goodies and wrote the price on them - hyper-service, or just an attempt to keep people from scoffing their rolls before reaching the checkout? I was never entirely sure... I was also intrigued by the huge vats of mole and spice pastes, all ready to be scooped out in bulk and packed home for dinner. As I was to discover later, the 'rojo' seasoning paste was ubiquitous at the pollo rojo (grilled rotisserie chicken) stalls, and unfortunately was so readily available commerically that no-one was really bothered to make it themselves. Which means that I haven't got a recipe for it, alas... I scored the extra room in Tara & Sian's small two-bedroom flat in the 'tourist' area (translation: the roads were paved), and within an hour of coming through the door Sian was preparing his famous chicken fajitas to 'give me an easy introduction to real Mexican food.' His mix for the filling was very simple (onions, green peppers, chicken, salt and pepper), and he made up a big pot of rice to go alongside it. He also produced a wonderful guacamole and fresh tomato salsa, also with a bunch of hand-patted tortillas from a bag of tortilla dough he'd picked up at the supermarket. According to Sian, the biggest problem with guacamole in the US & Canada is that we put far too many ingredients in it. His rule of them is to stick to six ingredients, stretching to seven if you fancy a bit of tomato in your buttery green dip. The five key ingredients are: perfectly ripe Hass avocados, white onion (a fairly mild variety), salt, pepper, a bit of lime juice and fresh habenaro chile.* Sian mixed everything into a still-slightly-chunky texture, and then finished the whole thing off with a few shakes of bottled green habenaro sauce. *The habenaro - cousin of the Scotch Bonnet and popularly known as the hottest chile in the world - is THE chile of the Yucatan, and it turns up in absolutely EVERYTHING. I saw our local empanada vendor carting home a 3-kilo bag of habenaros at the end of the day, which must contain enough firepower to light most of Western Europe for a week. Fortunately, I'm a chile devote and wasn't the slightest bit put off by the region's passionate habenaro-worship, but anyone who's a bit nervous about fire should be warned to be very, very careful about what you eat when in Mexico's "Mayan Riviera." Some of the most innocuous-looking red sauces (like the one that came with the empanadas) left my lips glowing with chile burn after just a couple of eager bites - no build-up required! Our salsa was a simple mixture of freshly chopped (and very ripe) tomatoes, white onion, cilantro (fresh coriander to UK readers), fresh lime juice and another whole bunch of chopped habenaro - deseeded for Tara. It just needed a bit of seasoning and a few minutes to sit so the flavours combined before we were allowed to snorfle it up. One of the first things I observed that night was how 'natural' tortillas are in a Mexican meal. None of the carefully pre-rolled, painsakingly presented stuff you find in restaurants (although admittedly most places are more casual with fajitas). And assembling a fajita was a very loose, off-the-cuff experience compared with what I've seen north of the border(s). Most of this was down to the size of the tortillas, which Sian made just slightly larger than palm-sized. This made it simple to pick up a warm tortilla in one hand and quickly fork just a little fajita filling, rice, guacamole & salsa in, and then fold it with a quick flip of your fingers & thumb before biting in. No complicated rolling, no knives, and just a fork required to move food from your plate to your tortilla-wielding hand - truly, poetry in motion. We accompanied our meal with lots (and lots) of lime-spiked Dos Equis, a local lager with an incredibly numbskulled sex-sells advertising campaign (as an Ad Girl, I feel allowed to criticise campaigns no matter where I go). Sian is fond of adding a bit of salt to his lime before popping it into his bottle, and it's quite common to add a few slices of fresh habenaro too. Figuring that my system was probably at its weakest due to air travel, I didn't give this a try right away. Sian pressed me though, insisting that it was really refreshing and not to be missed. :wow: Many, many fajitas later, I gave my thanks and made my excuses and headed off to bed. My hosts told me to rest well, as we were going to depart the next morning on a short trip taking in the Mayan ruin sites at Tulum and Coba before heading inland to the colonial city of Merida, where Sian promised to show me some of 'the real Mexico...' To be continued. (And don't worry, I'm not going to detail every day and all its meals to this extent!) Miss J
  11. I've made a snap decision to head off to Yucatan next month, and I'm now in the contradictory position of trying to coax my body into bikini-ready shape whilst dreaming of Mexican seafood extravaganzas. Can anyone recommend a few 'must-go' eateries around the Yucatan peninsula? I'll be starting off in Playa del Carmen, but travelling down to Belize so anything in that area would be brilliant. Miss J
  12. Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake We experimented with adding a little ancho chili powder to the cakes as well, so that's an option if a more spicy cake is wanted. ( RG2168 )
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