Road Trip: Quintana Roo and Yucatan, Part 1

I went to Cancún so you don’t have to. Well, no. Go to Cancún for the nice warm beach. Have a cocktail or two in a hollowed out pineapple. Then spend the rest of your time cruising around Quintana Roo and Yucatán. We (2 adults and a child just shy of 2 years old) visited the…

Paletas de Pinole y Chocolate

These paletas exist somewhere between comforting cold weather food and icy refreshing summer treat. Just sweet enough, the pinole granules are mellowed by the richness of chocolate. These particular paletas were made with Rancho Gordo’s Pinole Azul, but you can also easily make your own.

April 30th: Children’s Day

You would think the final days of April would bring mentions all over Mexico of the approaching Cinco de Mayo celebrations. And you would think wrong. For the most part, there aren’t many celebrations for the 5th of May. It isn’t a national holiday, and unless you’re in Puebla, is my not be mentioned as…

From the Old World: Empanada Gallega

Some days, making many individual empanadas simply will not do. Some days, the only thing to do is to roll the dough as big as you can and make an empanada gallega. A savory dish, these large round or rectangular Spanish empanadas are stuffed with a sofrito of tuna, or a beef picadillo. Having had…

Empanadas de Maíz

The most important ingredient when making anything with harina de maíz, is not the flour itself, but the water. The most common mistake in using it, is in making too dry of a dough, resulting in overly lacy edges cracked edges and dense, chewy and flavorless tortillas. This is a mistake I’ve made myself, having…

The Nacho: An Ignacio By Any Other Name

The story is simple. One day, in 1943, in the border town of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, in a restaurant fortuitously placed near the border crossing, a group of American Army wives came in for cold beers and a greasy snack. Don Ignacio  Anaya (nicknamed ‘Nacho’ as Ignacios tend to be), the manager at this restaurant,…

Tortitas de Papa y Maíz

This recipe couldn’t be simpler, yet it demonstrates how little is required to make a meal out of corn flour. Served simply with crumbled queso fresco and chile colorado as is shown here, the soft tortitas easily soak up the sauce. The corn flour referred to here, is of course harina de maíz para tortillas,…

Pan de Dulce: Conchas

After living in upstate New York for almost two years, I have begun to see the Phoenix area as the Mexican food outside of Mexico promised land. I could find almost any ingredient or dish easily, most within just miles of where I lived. Sure, I had to go clear across town if I wanted…

Celebration Food: Bacalao a la Vizcaina Estilo Mexicano

It’s hard to say there is any one food which heavily represents Mexican Christmas tradition. Like everything else in Mexican cuisine, this is heavily dependent on region and class. Tamales are hugely important, but so are pozole and turkey. In some central and souther areas, Spanish dishes such as paella and bacalao are preferred and…

Only From Sonora: Coyotas

If I am to speak in the quaint superlatives Mexico and Mexican cuisine are often described in, I would say a walk through an old Mexican neighborhood is an endless tease of heavenly fragrances promising steaming bowls of caldos, fresh tortillas, silken frijoles refritos etc etc. If the particular neighborhood in this cliche is the…

Mezcal: Past and Future

Nothing has been more tied to Mexican identity than tequila. While this one Mexican spirit was celebrated, many others were pushed into obscurity. I was invited to write about the past and present of tequila, and mezcal in general, for the Best of Phoenix 2016 issue of the Phoenix New Times: If the agave is…

A No Tajín Home: Seasoned Chile Flake

I’ll put chile powder on almost anything, but not just any chile powder. Store bought Tajín? Never. Nothing technically wrong with it, but also not the greatest. This recipe is based on a seasoned chile flake I bought at a spice shop some time ago in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora. The puya chile used in…