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By Chris Hennes
Over in the Cooking with "Eat Mexico" topic I've posted a about things I've made from Lesley Téllez's recently-published book about street food in Mexico City. I finally had time to go down to "CDMX" (as they are now trying to rebrand themselves) this weekend and went on two of the Eat Mexico food tours. On Friday we went on the street food tour, and on Saturday on the San Juan market tour. The pope was also in town this weekend which made the city crazier than usual and drove the tour selections as we tried to not be where he was, with limited success.
Street Food Tour
I have limited photos of this one because our hands were usually full! There are ten "normal" stops on the tour plus a couple of optional ones. One of the vendors was closed for the day, but we definitely had no shortage of food. I think the tour lasted something like four hours, and we were basically eating the whole time. Most of it was standing and walking, but we did stop into a local coffee shop and sit down for a short time. Our guide, Arturo, was excellent. He is from the city, has attended culinary school, and is very well versed in both the local street food culture as well as Mexican cuisine overall.
While the tour was mostly eating, we did walk through one small neighborhood market just to get the feel for the thing, and we stopped at one local tortilleria:
The classic tortilla-delivery vehicle:
We chatted up a local store owner who was making "antojitos" ("little cravings") for breakfast:
Ate some tamales, walked a bit, then had some tlacoyos: here are the condiments...
We also had some fresh juices. They really like their pseudo-medicinal juices.. we had the one that was "anti-flu" (and delicious):
For the tlacoyos I had a huitlacoche and my wife has the chicken tinga. The huitlacoche was disappointingly non-descript. The remedy, of course, was to douse it in salsa, which fixes everything. A few blocks down we had carnitas tacos:
And then some mango and watermelon with chile powder:
Arturo tried to ply us with more food at the nearby burreria, but at this point we were on the verge of exploding:
So we stopped for some locally-roasted coffee:
Then on to a burrito place (of all things!) -- the guy running the burrito place was hilarious, and totally frank about stealing the burrito thing from Texas and then "fixing it." He's had the stand for something like 20 years. We split a squash blossom burrito (squash blossoms, onions, salsa, and cheese are the only ingredients, no rice or beans) which he makes on the griddle and then covers in a cheese blend and fries until the cheese browns and crisps. Definitely an improved burrito! Yeah, no photos there. Second to last was an absolutely terrific octopus tostada:
And then a final stop for dessert (which we took back to the hotel rather than eating it there):
ETA: A couple more photos. Also, there was a turkey and pork sandwich of some kind that I have no photos of and can't quite remember where it fit into the tour. Just in case you were worried about us starving.
Salsa Para Enchiladas
3 ancho chiles
2 New Mexico chiles
2 chipotle chiles
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 TB flour
2 TB vegetable oil
1 tsp vinegar
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp dried oregano
2 cups broth, stock, or (filtered) chili soaking liquid
Rinse, stem and seed chiles. Place in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover and remove from heat and let soften and cool. While the chiles are cooling, gently sauté garlic slices in oil until they are soft and golden brown. Remove the garlic from the oil, with a slotted spoon and reserve. Make a light roux by adding the flour to the oil and sautéing briefly. Drain the chilies and puree them with the garlic slices and half of the liquid. Strain the puree back into the saucepan. Pour the remainder of the liquid through the sieve to loosen any remaining chili pulp. Add the roux to the saucepan and whisk to blend. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, bring to a boil then and simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and vinegar if necessary.
The February issue of Sunset Magazine has a great article about the beans of Mexico. And guess who is featured.....our own Steve Sando. Nice write up and lots and lots of recipes. I have been a Sunset subscriber for more than 25 years and I finally :"know" someone in it. Cool Beans as they say.
I hope someone with more skills than I have can post a link.
A friend gifted me a book written by someone I know of but only loosely. The acquaintance is a former missionary who has lived in Oaxaca for 15 years and co-authored this book with Susana Trilling (famous Oaxacan cooking instructor). The book is self published and really surprised me with its quality. The whole thesis is saving the indigenous foods of the area and combatting GMO infiltration of the area. Those of you who know the area might know of one of my hero restaurants - the like-minded Itanoni in Oaxaca City - surely they all travel in the same circles.
Recipes are average fare - not fancy - clearly recipes from regular local folk, but very authentic, not fusion. They start with basic fresh masa, run you through all sorts of things including molé and salads and end up with stuff like yucca and egg tacos. The chapters include: Wild Greens (purslane, amaranth, etc), Beans & Squash, Salsa, Nopal and Maguey, Food and Fiesta, Medicinal uses. About 300 pages in all (so figure 150 in English and 150 in Spanish).
This book is not available through Amazon. It is bilingual. I highly recommend it.
Side note: Quite frankly these guys are goofs. They don't know how important and well produced this book is and aren't marketing it worth crap. Go buy it. Tell them I sent you. And enjoy this book.
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