Author Archives: lavitaminat

Pasties, Soccer and other Welsh Gifts to Mexico

Phyllis Marquitz is a food-industry professional. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, her job relocated her and her family to Mexico City, where she had the opportunity to enjoy, understand and appreciate the local culture and flavors first hand. These gracious guests were in turn, a gift to Mexico- they are vocal Mexico enthusiasts, even to the point that Phyllis’ husband is the editor of soccer blog, soccer mexicanaPhyllis is also a long-time reader of La Vitamina T. Earlier this year, I had the privilege to meet her personally during one of her business trips to Chicago. The pasties she is referring to in her article, are known as ‘pastes’ in Pachuca, Mexico.

By: Phyllis Marquitz

Welsh leek soup served in my Mexican pottery bowl to celebrate St. David's Day

Welsh leek soup served in my Mexican pottery bowl to celebrate St. David’s Day

Today is St. David’s Day, a Welsh Holiday, which you can read about thanks to Wikipedia here. My husband (Jason) and I have Welsh heritage. We are both from a coal-mining region in Pennsylvania that had an influx of Welsh and Cornish immigrants in the later part of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. I’m always looking for an excuse to pair food with learning for my kids. We honor the day via the kitchen at our house.

So what does that have to do with a food blog that is primarily about Mexico? Well…St. David’s happens to remind us of Mexico too, now.

In February 2011, our family made an unplanned move to Mexico City for my job and stayed for a few years. Neither of us had spoken Spanish previously and it was a big change. Unlike mine, Jason’s work left him with little opportunity to practice Spanish or interact with locals. He turned to a natural outlet: sports. A long-time Liverpool fan (he used to wake early EST to watch), he went about researching, Google translating, and trying to find his Mexican team. He found it and bought season tickets to Cruz Azul. He would scour the internet for English information about opponents and the league and eventually settled on filling the void himself. His blog, Soccer Mexicana, was born and I watched Jason fall in love with Mexico one game and one city at a time.

But this blog is about St. David’s Day and Mexico… and food. That is because after returning from an away game in Pachuca when I interrogated him about the street food, I learned something amazing. Instead of tacos or tortas, the food stalls on the road to Pachuca’ Estadio Hidalgo were full of pasties.  Unlike the low-spice Methodist-church fundraiser versions we were accustomed to, these had chilis blended into the filling,  I’m told. He didn’t bring me one.

Now, before I go further and tell you that the Cornish have been credited for bringing soccer to Mexico when they came to work the silver mines, (and specifically to Pachuca), I should mention that the pastie is actually Cornish. They have a Protected Geographical Indication for the thing in the EU! Apparently the Welsh version is called an “Oggie” lamb (and I add veggies) pies in a crust with a rim so that it could be carried into the mine and held without dirty hands putting coal dust all over the rest. To this I say, “potato, potahhhto” Welsh and Cornish share a Celtic language and much much more in common. And for us…well…the pasties were Welsh. (although when the Prince of Wales visited Pachuca last year, the media declared it Little Cornwall)

It is all a testament to how food shapes our experience. So today is about us: Welsh Pennsylvanian… Mexican!


Prepping for St. David’s at my house: Leek Soup and Pasties (Oggie?)

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Viaja al Pasado sin Dejar la Ciudad con Chicago, Ford y Tú

CFYTSe terminó el Chicago Auto Show, un evento que en su edición número 107 rompió records de asistencia. Como es tradición, el público tuvo la oportunidad de votar por sus favoritos, y Ford ganó a lo grande, incluyendo premios al auto más popular y al mejor auto en producción.

Uno de los coches que obtuvo mi voto es el GT-350, un vehículo increíblemente poderoso inspirado en un clásico: el Shelby GT350, y para ir a tono con el tema de la nostalgia, visitamos una de mis cafeterías favoritas: Eleven City Diner en Lincoln Park.

Este establecimiento nos remonta a una época de antaño en la que abundaban los ´diners´ o cafeterías casuales y de ambiente familiar. Aquí puedes encontrar deliciosos sandwiches, sopas, ensaladas y hasta dulces a granel. Algo que siempre me ha fascinado en esta cafetería (además de su pan recién salido del horno) es la fuente de sodas, donde se preparan bebidas que definitivamente te transportan a otra época. Prueba sus malteadas hechas a la antigüita, o sus “fosfatos”, que son bebidas gaseosas que se popularizaron a fines de los 1800s y que están recobrando auge en la coctelería actual.

Si traes tu auto contigo, estás de suerte, porque el restaurante ofrece estacionamiento en la parte de atrás, así que no tienes que sufrir en este frío tremendo para viajar al pasado.



2301 N. Clark St.,

Chicago, IL 60614

Phone. 773-244-1112

Este artículo ha sido patrocinado por Chicago, Ford y Tú. Sigue a Chicago Ford y Tú en Facebook on en Twitter.



Nuestra Mesa – Para esta Cuaresma, Chilpachole de Jaiba

Photo courtesy of Chef Aldo Saavedra, Mexico City, Mexico

El chilpachole es un guiso generoso que puede servirse como entrada o plato fuerte. Este platillo mexicano es originario del estado de Veracruz.

Sirve: 5 porciones generosas


– 1.5 Kg. de jitomate

– 2 cebollas blancas

– 4 dientes de ajo

– 50 gramos de chiles chipotle

– Sal de mar

– 3 ramas de epazote

– Pimienta negra recién molida

– 3 litros de caldo de pescado

– 15 jaibas chicas

Para los Chochoyotes:

– 200 gramos de masa para tortilla

– 1 cucharadita de sal.

– ½ cucharadita de pimienta negra recién molida.

– 5 hojas de epazote picadas.


  1. Pon a asar los jitomates con la cebolla y el ajo.
  2. Ya que estén bien tostados o de color negro, licúalos junto con los chiles chipotles y 1 litro de caldo de pescado, reservar.
  3. Lava muy bien las jaibas y pártelas a la mitad.
  4. En una cacerola, pon 50 ml. de aceite de maíz a calentar.
  5. Ya que esté caliente echa las jaibas a dorar.  Una vez  que tomen un color rojo y estén bien doradas, agrega la salsa de los jitomates haste que tome un color rojo intenso.
  6. Agrega el caldo de pescado de medio litro en medio litro cada que vaya soltando el hervor. Cocina a fuego bajo.
  7. Para hacer los chochoyotes, mezcla la masa con el resto de los ingredientes y forma bolitas del tamaño de una nuez. Presiona con la punta del dedo para que se les haga una pequeña hendidura sin llegar a perforarlas
  8. Ya que se haya terminado de agregar el caldo, 10 minutos antes de comer el chilpachole, agrega los chochoyotes con cuidado y de forma separada para evitar que se peguen unos con otros.
  9. Espera 10 minutos para cocer la masa. Espera a que el caldo espese.
  10. ¡Listo! Se puede disfrutar con unas gotas de limón al gusto. ¡Buen provecho!
El Chef Aldo Saavedra ha cocinado para huéspedes de establecimientos como el conocido Hotel Condesa D.F. y ha contribuído con sus recetas en proyectos con marcas de la talla de Larousse y Danone. En Nuestra Mesa, el Chef Aldo comparte con los lectores de  La Vitamina T, su pasión por la cocina y por México.  Encuentra más información sobre el chef Saavedra en su página en Facebook México de mis Sabores. 

Estampas de Mi Ciudad – Tejate, the Drink of Kings

Tejatera. Tlacolula, Mexico. Photo credit: Chef Aldo Saavedra

With the precision of a natural event, spring after spring, dozens of tejateras (ladies who make tejate) descend upon the village of San Andrés Huayapán, a town about 15 miles away from the city of Oaxaca. The big colorful clay pots signal the beginning of La Feria del Tejate (Tejate Festival), one of Oaxaca’s many tributes to this ancestral drink.

Tejate is made with corn masa, cocoa beans, mamey fruit and the flower of the cocoa plant, also called “rosita de cacao” (little rose of cocoa). Expert tejate drinkers usually agree that the thicker the foam made by this flower, the better the tejate.

This cold drink is served in small handcrafted containers or jícaras. Each drink  is as unique as the jícara that holds it, and as proud as the hands that make it. At first glance, tejate might seem a bit rough and perhaps even unappealing. One sip, and you will understand why this complex mix of flavors was the favorite of Zapotec kings.

Not in Oaxaca in April? Don´t worry. You can easily find this drink year round in any Oaxacan mercado, or around the city.

Nuestra Mesa: Pulpos Enamorados – La Receta

Foto: Manuel Rivera

Foto: Manuel Rivera


Este Día de San Valentín, impresiona a tu media naranja con esta deliciosa y romántica receta del chef Aldo Saavedra: pulpos enamorados.


  •  1 pieza de zanahoria
  • ½ cebolla
  • 1 rama de apio
  • Chile de árbol al gusto
  • 5 hojas de laurel
  • 1 pulpo
  • Sal marina
  • Pimienta negra
  • 200 gr de mayonesa
  • 1 lata chica de chile chipotle
  • 1/4 lechuga romana
  • Aguacate al gusto
  • Suficiente agua para hervir


  1. En una cacerola,  pon a hervir el agua con la zanahoria, la cebolla, el apio, el laurel y el chile de árbol.
  2. Mete y saca rápidamente  los tentáculos del pulpo en el agua hasta que se enrosquen, después mete todo el pulpo a cocer (alrededor de 30 minutos por cada kilo).
  3. Deja enfriar al pulpo en el agua para que esto lo haga mas suave.
  4. En un recipiente hondo aparte, mezcla la mayonesa con el chipotle y la lechuga lechuga.  Sazona con sal y pimienta al gusto.

Opción 1:

Una vez que se haya enfriado, el pulpo puede cortarse en trozos pequeño y revolverse con el aderezo que hicimos previamente. Sirve acompañado de tostadas.

Opción 2:

Pasa el pulpo por las brasas y sirve el aderezo a un lado. El toque ahumado le otorga al pulpo un sabor diferente.

chefaldoEl Chef Aldo Saavedra ha cocinado para huéspedes de establecimientos como el conocido Hotel Condesa D.F. y ha contribuído con sus recetas en proyectos con marcas de la talla de Larousse y Danone. En Nuestra Mesa, y en su página México de mis Sabores, el Chef Aldo comparte con los lectores de  La Vitamina T, su pasión por la cocina y por México.

¡Feliz Día de la Candelaria! La Historia Detrás de La Tradición


¿Por qué celebramos el Día de la Candelaria con tamales? Encuentra algunos detalles sobre esta deliciosa tradición en esta entrevista con Brenda Storch de La Vitamina T en Eye Witness News en Español.  Haz click aquí para verla.


You say “Pigskin”, I think “Chicharrón” – A Quick and Delicious Snack for the Big Game



Very close to el Día de la Candelaria, when Mexicans celebrate the end of the Christmas season with tamales,  a party of a very different ‘religion’ takes place: the Superbowl.

The already amalgamated celebration of Día de la Candelaria, fuses the pre-Columbian tradition of making food and other offerings to several deities, along with the presentation of Christ at the temple. According to Jewish law, it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after forty days had passed from the day of the infant’s birth. Jesus would have been taken to the temple on February 2nd, which is when this festivity takes place.

Around the same time, and adding a layer of complexity to my world, I was quickly evangelized on the celebration of the Superbowl, which could very easily be considered a holiday.  Intriguing as the game is, though, I have always been more fascinated by the  soap-opera worthy plots, the off-the top commercials,  and of course, the food.

Food was my easy way in, and when I was first asked to bring a dish to the party I thought it would be clever to bring chicharrón… I thought, this is really “pig skin” after all.

For a quick and easy to make a snack, serve chicharrón in a molcajete with avocado, salsa and warm tortillas.


Food: How it Makes Words Delicious. From the Series #DíloconSabor (Say it with Flavor)

A Darle

“A darle que es mole de olla” (Let’s get to work because we are making mole de olla). This expression is used to instill motivation to begin working on a complex task.

Post 1 of the series #DíloconSabor (Say it with Flavor)

Having been raised in Mexico City, Mexico,  it was not until I moved to the US as a young professional, that I realized that sports jargon was prevalent in colloquial language.  I might have not fully understood which sport the expressions had been borrowed from, but I very quickly became adept at seasoning my language with phrases such as “touch base”, “call an audible”, “drop the ball”, etc.   Something that was very curious to me is that in contrast, Mexicans season their language with food. This series, “Dílo con Sabor” is a collection of food-centric sayings or allegories that are now part of popular wisdom or folklore.

Do you have a favorite food-related saying? Tweet it to @lavitaminat with the hashtag #díloconsabor (sayitwithflavor).

Nuestra Mesa – Tamales Veracruzanos

tameles veracruzanos

Fotos: Manuel Rivera – Veracruz, México

Por: Aldo Saavedra

Receta cortesía de la señora Guadalupe Reyes Navarrete de Villa Isla, Verácruz

De gusto popular en la región, este platillo suele ser servirse en fiestas  e incluso velorios. Familiares, amigos cercanos y vecinos se reúnen para su preparación.  Los varones cuecen la masa, mientras las mujeres elaboran la salsa y ejecutan el armado. La cocción final es responsabilidad de los varones. Generalmente se hacen grandes cantidades para comer durante la festividad y es costumbre regalar un ¨itacate¨ a los que ayudaron en la elaboración de esta delicia.

Para los tamales:

  • 1 kilo de masa de maíz
  • 1 rollo de hoja de plátano
  • 12 piezas de pollo (puedes sustituir el pollo por costilla de cerdo)
  • 3 litros de agua
  • 100 gramos de manteca de cerdo
  • 100 mililitros de aceite de canola
  • 7 piezas de hoja santa
  • Sal al gusto

Para la salsa: 

  • 12 piezas de chile morita
  • 2 jitomates
  • 1 diente de ajo
  • 1 pizca de comino
  • 2 pimientas gordas
  • 2 clavos de olor
  • 1/4 de pieza de cebolla
  • 1 litro de agua
  • Sal al gusto



  1. Pon a cocer el pollo en el agua con sal y hierbas de olor a gusto
  2. Pon a batir  la masa con 500 ml de caldo de la cocción del pollo
  3. Añade  1.5 litros de caldo de pollo hirviendo, la manteca, aceite, consomé, sal y  una hoja santa
  4. Añade la masa y pónla a cocer durante 20 minutos sin dejar de batir, hasta que quede una masa homogénea y suave


  1. Pon a hervir los chiles. Añade los jitomates una vez que los chiles estén suaves.
  2. Ya que los chiles y los jitomates estén cocidos,  muélelos con el agua en el que se cocieron y  añade el clavo, el comino y la pimienta
  3. Colócalos en fuego y agrega sal al gusto
  4. Hierve de 15 a 25 minutos
  5. Mezcla las piezas de pollo con la salsa. Deja entibiar.

Limpa y soasa la hoja de plátano (pásala rápidamente por fuego para que ablande)
Sobre la hoja pon 1 cucharada grande de masa, una pieza de pollo, salsa, media hoja santa y cierra el tamal
Pon los tamales a cocer en una vaporera acomodándolos acostados, durante 45 minutos o hasta que estén cocidos

Acompaña con atole o champurrado.

chefaldoEl Chef Aldo Saavedra ha cocinado para huéspedes de establecimientos como el conocido Hotel Condesa D.F. y ha contribuído con sus recetas en proyectos con marcas de la talla de Larousse y Danone. En Nuestra Mesa, y en su página México de mis Sabores, el Chef Aldo comparte con los lectores de  La Vitamina T, su pasión por la cocina y por México.

Rosca de Reyes – A Slice of Gospel and Tradition


Photo Courtesy of "El Deleite".

Photo Courtesy of “El Deleite”.

Often used as evangelizing tools, celebrations in Mexico feature elements that are charged with symbolism. Take the piñata, for example, used as an allegory of sin (colorful and appealing on the outside, yet hollow and empty on the inside). Still today, during parties, people are blindfolded (a nod to faith being blind) when facing the piñata, which will yield fruits once fought and defeated.

The Rosca de Reyes (cake of kings) is no exception. Even as I type, kids who have been taught to expect the arrival of the three kings or magi, during Epiphany have already gone to bed with the hopes of finding gifts by their shoes when they awake. This festivity marks the culmination of the “12 Days of Christmas”.

Rosca de Reyes is shaped and decorated as if it were a crown. Inside, little figurines representing baby Jesus while in hiding from Herod can be found. Whomever discovers  the figurine it their slice of rosca gets to share their good fortune- they will buy tamales for the group on February 2nd, to celebrate the presentation of Christ at the temple.

Without even knowing it, tradition is celebrated and perpetuated in a delicious slice that is typically enjoyed with a cup of hot cocoa.

Yanet Hernández Tabiel, owner of “El Deleite”, a bakery in Mexico City, shared her popular recipe with La Vitamina T readers.


  • 1 tbsp of yeast
  • 5 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of crystallized fruit
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 5 plastic “muñequitos de rosca” (plastic rosca dolls). These can be substituted with large beans.

For the butter crumble:

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  1. Combine the yeast with one of the tablespoons of flour and the warm water. Let rest for 1o mins. or until it’s foamy
  2. Combine the remaining flour with the sugar, vanilla extract, salt and milk in a mixing bowl. Mix until incorporated. Add the eggs and the yolks.
  3. Continue mixing until smooth. Add the yeast and mix until you have a smooth, and flexible ball.
  4. Add the butter and continue mixing until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the mix in a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Keep at room temperature until it doubles in volume.
  6. Make a dimple with your finger and knead.
  7. Extend the dough into a rectangular shape, add the crystallized fruit and the plastic dolls. Twirl to form a crown shape.

Crumble and Decoration

  1. Mix the butter with the sugar, eggs and the vanilla extract
  2. Decorate the rosca with strips of this mix.
  3. Glaze your rosca with the eggwash and decorate it with crystallized fruits
  4. Bake for an hour at 375 degrees or until golden brown