Monthly Archives: August 2014

Estampas de Mi Ciudad – The Ubiquitous Street Quesadilla Stand

Street Quesadilla Stand Photo: Guillermo Chan – Mexico City

A sampling of Mexico´s mestizo nature in a bite, (the fusion concept of a quesadilla already combines the Spanish word for “queso” with the Aztec word “tortilla“) try a chorizo and cheese quesadilla. More pre-Hispanic stuffings include flor de calabaza (zucchini blossoms) or huitlacoche (corn fungus). The latter might not sound too terribly appealing, but trust me, there is a reason why Mexicans have consider it a treat for centuries.

You will never go hungry in Mexico City, where quesadillassopes and other garnachas* are easily found street-side and served either as a snack or a meal. Filled with a variety of stuffings ranging from flowers and vegetables, to meat and even insects, these portable pockets of pure joy are a staple of any modern Mexican meal.

 

*Garnachas: Slang term for comfort-food, usually made out of corn on a comal.

Quesadilla: More than Cheese Meets the Tortilla

Photo: Lissette Storch Correspondent in Mexico City, Mexico

Delicious quesadillas made with blue-corn tortillas materialize right in front of patrons’ eyes in La Marquesa, Mexico. Photo: Lissette Storch

You will never go hungry in Mexico City, where quesadillas, sopes and other garnachas* are easily found street-side and served either as a snack or a meal. Filled with a variety of stuffings ranging from flowers and vegetables, to meat and even insects, these portable pockets of pure joy are a staple of any modern Mexican meal. Given the apparent simplicity of their execution, it would be easy to assume that quesadillas are predictable and uninteresting, but skilled artisan hands bring these delicacies to life in such way, that defeños** will consider traveling to indulge in a perfect one. La Marquesa, a national park west of Mexico City, is a popular weekend getaway as well as a quesadilla haven. Here, locals and visitors are able to choose from a multitude of establishments offering a variety of quesadillas among other local delicacies that include trout and even rabbit.

For a sampling of Mexico´s mestizo nature in a bite, (the fusion concept of a quesadilla already combines the Spanish word for “queso” with the Aztec word “tortilla“) try a chorizo and cheese quesadilla. More pre-Hispanic stuffings include flor de calabaza (zucchini blossoms) or huitlacoche (corn fungus). The latter might not sound too terribly appealing, but trust me, there is a reason why Mexicans have consider it a treat for centuries.

If you are in Mexico City and the foodie in you wants to venture to La Marquesa, we recommend making a day trip out of this culinary excursion. Consider hiring a reputable cab company to drive you to and from the food area. La Marquesa is about an hour away from downtown Mexico City.

*Garnachas: Slang term for comfort-food, usually made out of corn on a comal.

**Defeño: A citizen of Mexico City.

 

Pilsen y su Calle 18: Una Puerta Dimensional a México en Chicago

Si estás en Chicago y te da un ataque de nostalgia, o si estás de visita y quieres descubrir un lugar diferente dentro de la ciudad, a sólo 5 kilómetros al sureste del “Loop” se encuentra  el barrio de Pilsen. Fundado por colonizadores de Europa del este a fines del siglo XIX, Pilsen fue nombrado en honor a la cuarta ciudad más grande de Checoslovaquia. No fue sino a principios de 1960 que la comunidad hispana empezó a hacer de Pilsen su casa. Ya para los 70, Pilsen era, como les hoy, una colonia muy diversa y predominanemente hispana.

Virtualmente un museo al aire libre, quien visita Pilsen podrá descubrir una serie de murales que sirven como vehículo para el discurso social. Exilio, lucha e identidad son los mensajes predominantes de esta expresión de arte urbano. Si prefieres un museo intramuros, no te pierdas el Museo de Arte Mexicano.  La entrada es gratuita.

La calle 18 es una puerta dimensional a una serie de negocios que van desde restaurantes, panaderías, dulcerías, hasta peluquerías. ¿Quieres pan como ese que probaste en las ferias de Acámbaro? Aquí lo encuentras. Estos personajes llegaron como recetas en los morrales de artesanos michoacanos y aquí se hicieron pan.

Y si en tu paseo te da hambre, acuérdate de visitar Carnitas Uruapan, donde encontrarás desde chicharrón, hasta quesadillas de sesos y ensalada de nopales. Pasa a saludar al Güero Carbajal y díle que te recomendó tu amiga Brenda Storch de La Vitamina T.

 

Estampas de Mi Ciudad – If Life Gives you a Cactus, Make Salsa

Photo: Manuel Rivera

If you are in Mexico, chances are that you will find cacti in your dish. As surreal as it may seem, Cacti have been an element of  Mesoamerican cuisine since pre-Columbian times.  Nopales and tunas, also known as “prickly pear cactus” and “prickly pear fruit”  in the US, can be easily found today as an ingredient in  sweet and savory dishes and drinks ranging from tacos to sherbet. The jiotillas or xoconostles in the picture, for example, can be turned into a smoothie or a refreshing drink.

Find a delicious recipe for a salsa made with this fascinating and healthy ingredient, here.