Monthly Archives: April 2012

Everyday Food with a Hint of Celebration

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Tomatillo Soup at Nordstrom Café. Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL

I was recently delighted to find that tomatillos, the main ingredient in salsa verde, were creatively used to craft this delicious soup at my local Nordstrom Café. This glorious bowl knows how to please crowds while giving a secret handshake to Mexican food fans- the soup brilliantly merges both the everyday salsa and the celebratory pozole. If you know what this means, I am sure you are nodding in agreement.

The chef at this hidden gem is a curator, an artist, an interpreter. This dish captures some of the most representative ingredients of Mexican cuisine,  pours them into a glorious cup and serves them with a side of memories- both special, and deliciously quotidian.

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Saliditos del Comal – Estampas de mi Ciudad

La Casa de las Sirenas, República de Guatemala No. 32, Centro Histórico, México City, Mexico

RUTA MEXICANA

Sopes and quesadillas fresh of the comal delight tourists and locals at “La Casa de las Sirenas”. At this restaurant, food comes with a side of history- the eatery is located inside a 16th century building.



Pura Vitamina T – Estampas de mi Ciudad

La Dosis Nuestra de Cada Día.

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Tamalero. Photo Credits: Lissette Storch. Mexico City, Mexico.


Tamal-stuffed tortas or guajolotas are quite ubiquitous in Mexico City. These delicacies are served street-side, usually accompanied with atole, a corn-based drink.

Mexican Restaurant “Pujol” Among World’s Best

Find Chef Enrique Olvera´s Elotito Asado Recipe here and find out how you can purchase his new recipe book,                   “En la Milpa”.  Photo Courtesy of ¨Pujol¨.

¨Pujol¨ Francisco Petrarca 254  Polanco, Mexico City (01 55) 5545-4111

Just like movies sketch the reflection of a society in celluloid, Enrique Olvera captures a piece of Mexico in every single one of his dishes. Complex, surrealistic and magical, his cuisine catches the soul of an ancestral culture, and artistically presents it through the lens of modern, world-class gastronomy.

For those fortunate enough to be familiar with the extraordinary array of delicacies that make up Mexican food, Olvera’s flagship restaurant Pujol, offers a haute-cuisine take on a culture that bends time and overlaps the past with the present. Pre-Hispanic ingredients such as insects and chiles, interact with other elements through the alchemy of modern techniques to delight guests with a piece of this fascinating country.

For those of you with the impression that Mexican food does not go far beyond your chain burrito establishment, a stop at Pujol is a must if you are interested in experiencing authentic Mexico in one single bite.

Pujol is the first restaurant in Mexico to be inducted into the prestigious San Pellegrino List of the World’s Fifty Best Restaurants, by Restaurant magazine. The private, understated establishment is a treasure to be found in the heart of Polanco, Mexico City’s financial district.

Receta del Chef Enrique Olvera: Elotito Asado

“En la Milpa”: Un compendio de Recetas del Chef Enrique Olvera

En la Milpa, el recetario del Chef Enrique Olvera

The Best of Two Worlds: Mariano’s Fresh Market

Have you ever wished you could get the Whole Foods experience minus the price tag? After picking up your fresh-from-the-oven pizza, have you like me, ever experienced a little pang of angst knowing that instead of a Diet Coke you will have to get a bottle of green tea to wash it down?

Sure, no one disputes the benefits of antioxidants, but if you have dreamed about a perfect balance, a hybrid offering the best of both of worlds-  specialty foods, extraordinary in-store dining and your favorite brands under one single roof, your dream is a reality. It is called Mariano’s Fresh Market.

I have shopped and dined quite a few times at two of the five Mariano’s Fresh Market stores in the Chicagoland area, the Arlington Heights and the Lakeshore East locations. Whenever I visit, I feel like pinching myself  to make sure I am awake.  See for yourself. Aside from choices, you will consistently find live music at the register and an impeccable service. The depth and breadth of assortment covers anything from groceries to deli, bakery and flowers.  If you like food, Mariano’s Fresh Market makes it difficult to believe that you have not entered an altered state of consciousness.

What’s even dreamier, prices are very reasonable.

Aside from visiting the store to do your shopping, if you have the good fortune to be a local and want to run in for a quick bite,  you will find quite an array of options – sushi, guacamole and a variety of salsas (my favorite is the pineapple salsa), as well as seasonal dishes. Today, for example, a good selection of fish choices was available for those observing lent.  There is also a great variety of drinks and dessert, freshly-squeezed juice, Italian prosecco, beignets and even gelati.

I found my bakery and deli foods and even my favorite Mexican staples at Mariano’s Fresh Market.

Mariano’s has a nice casual indoor dining area that is equally suitable for families with small children, hungry teenagers or busy time-crunched professionals. In its downtown location, the store also has a patio with umbrellas.

The quality of the food is superb. I had the best rice pilaf I’ve had in years, baked chicken, grilled vegetables and for dessert, hazelnut gelato.

And yes, I had a Diet Coke.

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The Mexican Flair of an Italian Husband

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My Italian husband loves to cook, and while he is still trying to figure out which Mexican dish is supposed to have lime and which one does not, this citrus, along with avocados, pickled rajas and a wide array of peppers, are staples in our home.

In Mexico, lime, salt and chile piquín can turn jícama, cucumber and almost any fruit into a snack. These delicious bites are quite ubiquitous- you can find them being sold from carts on the street,  moms pack them as lunches, hosts and hostesses have them ready for a variety of events, both big and small.

Enrico knows this, and last night he prepared  this mango which we/I devoured in a matter of minutes. Although he might still have to do some work to understand the complexities of the Mexican lime protocol, he has definitely already mastered the ratios!

Fabulous Food in the Suburbs and Other Unlikely Places

Schaumburg is definitely not known for its collection of boutique restaurants,  much less Mexican eateries. Interestingly,  an oasis in an otherwise food chain-dominated town is Nordstrom. Yes, I just found this amazing chicken torta at my local retailer. I saw this as a special on the menu and had to try it. I am not sure how long it will be featured for, but if you have a chance, swing by and try it. This is truly the best interpretation of a torta I have ever had outside of Mexico.  If you don´t happen to see it on the menu, usually the daily specials are a good way to go.

Nordstrom Restaurants give the concept “boutique restaurant” a completely new meaning.  This gem awaits you on the third floor of Nordstrom at Woodfield Mall.

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