Now that I’m back in the States, I’ve found myself occasionally wondering where to find the best varieties of Mexican cheese, or which American cheeses might have Mexican properties. Just a few weeks ago I emailed Carlos Yescas to answer my questions — he’s a Mexican cheese expert whom I interviewed on this blog last year, and we’ve become friends. He’s also written a new book in Spanish called Quesos Mexicanos. Carlos wrote me back a pretty great response and I had a lightbulb moment. What if others out there had Mexican cheese questions, too? Surely I can’t be the […]

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Up until this year, I wasn’t quite sure what the typical Day of the Dead Foods were in Mexico, beyond the traditional pan de muerto, candied sweets and hot chocolate. I had an idea of the sweets, but what about the savory stuff? I did some research and it turns out that Day of the Dead foods vary across the country. According to the excellent Sabor a Mexico magazine, which publishes recipes and articles about Mexican culinary traditions, savory Day of the Dead foods can include tamales (both zacahuil-size in Puebla the Huasteca and the smaller Mucbi Pollo in Yucatán), […]

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One of my favorite restaurants in Mexico City, for most of the time that I lived there, was Nicos, a neighborhood spot off a busy avenue in Azcapotzalco. Chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo has presided there for seven years, and his menu of traditional-but-creative Mexican food has turned the place into a citywide destination. He sources some of his recipes from colonial-era cookbooks; others might highlight a lesser-known chile or dish from a particular region. Vásquez’s parents opened the restaurant in 1957, and the neighborhood clearly adores the place — it can be impossible to get a table during the average […]

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Last week I went to a food fair near Madison Square Park, and I was super excited to try a deep-fried Brussels sprout taco I’d read about online. The taco, which I gobbled up in about three bites, was fine enough. It had creamy sauce and pureed beans, and some pickled onions. But it wasn’t what I was envisioning in my head. I’d wanted just plain old fried Brussels sprouts. Maybe their papery insides lightly charred. Some bacon mixed in. And a simple, good salsa on top. I don’t fault the taco stand for not selling this, by the way. […]

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Mexican Food Porn’s photos make me ache for Mexico City. His images — shared both on Tumblr and his Instagram account — capture Mexican food’s rich colors and layers, and sometimes its chaos. Chilaquiles bask in a messy lagoon of cream; a shrimp taco with a harsh sheen of cheese shines a little too brightly under white lights. (Haven’t we all eaten that shrimp taco, maybe a little too late at night?) The owner of the account is a 27-year-old Mexico City resident, who spent five years living in California’s Bay Area. He was born in Monterrey, Mexico. MFP agreed […]

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Remember when I posted in June about not feeling like I was home? That’s changing. More and more, I’m feeling like I belong here, no doubt because I’ve spent my first solid 30 days in New York without jetting off to somewhere else. (I had to double-check that on my calendar — had I really not spent a straight month in New York since January? Yes, it’s true.) In the past month, I have… 1. Gotten off the subway, and a growing number of times recognized east from west. A few days ago I even corrected Crayton: “Are you sure […]

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I’m generally an guacamole purist. Or really, an avocado purist: pass me a few slices of ripe avocado, a sprinkle of salt and a crispy tortilla, and I am perfectly happy. But when Roberto Santibañez’s PR team passed me a recipe for grape guac a few weeks ago — smooth and crunchy, it promised; spicy and cool at the same time — I thought, oh hell, why not. The thing is, this summer was hot in New York. Like sweaty Texas hot. Sit-on-the-air-conditioner hot. Now the temps have cooled off, but when it was hot, all I could think about […]

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When people ask me for my favorite Mexican restaurants in New York City, Fonda is typically high on my list. The restaurant’s two locations (in Park Slope and the East Village) are comfortable and cozy, and the menu sticks closely to Central Mexican classics, with some New York flair. I’ve tried and loved Fonda’s cochinita pibil and the braised duck tacos with tomato-habanero cream sauce; the tlacoyo with spring-pea spread and mushrooms is currently on my must-try list. Chef Roberto Santibañez, who grew up in Mexico City, opens a new restaurant in Brooklyn this fall, after spending the previous few […]

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My first pulque experience happened at La Pirata, a pulquería in the Escandón neighborhood where locals go to drink and play dominoes. My friend Jesica had warned me that pulque was an acquired taste, but I didn’t realize how much. The drink was thick and viscous, like baba de nopal. When we took sips, little slimy strings stretched from our lips to the glass. It tasted slightly sour. Kinda funky. (Kinda like… rotting food?) The guava flavor was better. And the celery, even better: like a fresh, bright jugo, accented with heat from the chile-encrusted rim. From then on, my […]

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There’s a saying in Mexico: sin maíz, no hay país. It means without corn, there is no country. This isn’t really an overstatement — corn has been domesticated in Mexico since at least 2,500 B.C., and it’s still the most important ingredient in the Mexican diet. Corn is used in everything from tortillas to soups and beverages, and the husks (and occasionally fresh corn leaves, when in season) are used to wrap tamales. I’ve even had charred cornsilk in certain types of atole. Mexico is connected to corn in a way that I can’t fathom as an American who grew […]

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