Tag Archives: torta

The Verdad La Mexicana Comida Esta Out There….

1 Aug

So these three youthful Midwesterners are at NYC’s La Guardia airport baggage claim abuzz with anticipatory crackish then/Red Bullish ahora pre-embarking adrenaline rush exclusive to both visitors and residents of Gotham and maximum security prisons.


What today would have been a text and/or tweet shared among friends we the public actually participated – okay eavesdropped – in their animated public discourse.

And what today would have been a Yelp! search actually turned into a lively debate with real opinions shared from real live experience instead of online strangers.

To the dulcet caterwaul – with occasional thud – of a luggage carousel – this husky body politic weighed in on Chicago vs New York pizza: ‘I can’t wait to try Domino’s. I bet it’s way better here.’ ‘No way, ‘Yes way’ ‘No way’ ‘yes way’ ‘Chicago’ ‘New York’ Chicago New York and on and on and on and maybe text might have been less Valley Girly and distracting so the rest of us could focus on our opinions and obvious superior big city sophisticated taste, grab bags, turn up noses, bolt.


All but yo en verdad. Mi cargo fue returning con yo from Mexico. While the fuerte opinions blogged aqui suggest otrowise. I am still here to tell you the only reason Taco Bell en Mexico is better albeit more authentic than Taco Bell en Esatdos Unidos por que you get to order en Espanol.


And even though I’ve been called a snob because I refuse to eat @Chipotle – which is to Mexico as Red Lobster is to the sea – you can’t feed a more Catholic, democratic, open and omnivorous maw than mine. Beyond therapy for my PTAzMexSD, the entire purpose of this here blogging a la Marco Pollo is to document my quest for el Cocina Mexicana ultima outside the friendly confines of mi beloved Sonoran desert. I know it exists, even if I have to make it so in mi own cocineria por ejemplo:



I can’t believe you’re not Midwesternican pollo asado y chile verde y cream of chicken y corn tortillas that taste like dumplings y cheese casserolenchiladas


The chipotle variation (the chile not the chain)


North Carolina BBQ pork/Trader JoseNM salsa verde/avocado/refried frijoles/Trader Jose flour tort/burro


Elotes/frijoles/pollo asado tacos con cilantro y radishes from our urban parking garage rooftop garden

Or when I have to burn $5 on some breakfast burrito from Pret-a-Porte labeled ‘Southwestern’ because maybe that’s what Mexican food is like in France?


Egg Soufflé (Cage free) Refried Black Bean Salsa Red Peppers Cheddar Red Onions Tortilla Wrap


*To the credit of the Midwesterners who I had no intention of having personify the acronym IOWA (idiots out wandering aimlessly) the very same week I took again to wandering yet again NYC’s sts/aves rather aimlessly, confident enough in my Espanol lengua to order for lunch – much to the delight of the entire diner – a Cubana Torta’ (trans: Cuban Prostitue) and also overheard the following exchange along the way:

Scene: 8th Ave, Times Square, NYC before the greasy window of a Chinese take-out joint tastefully appointed with garlands of Peking Duck.


Cast: Two young men with Long Island accents sporting Yankees caps – backwards….of, course – studying the menu:


‘Peking Duck?’


‘How the fuck they know that duck’s

from Peking?’
And it probably tasted just as good as Long Island duck in Chinatown Chicago.

A Torta Worth Killing For

1 Jan

Have you ever found yourself hungrily watching another person eat in such a way it made you want to eat not only what they were eating but also the hand holding the eats, on up the arm, past the shoulder, neckchlipsnose, their whole flipping engorged, orgiastic, blissed out face? To not just jump in for some sloppy seconds at their taste bud orgy but to flat out deprive one of one’s life. Surely we’re blogging about something primal and instinctual here – moi métier. As the incident coming into focus via Google earth 2011 this time out stars a dirty blonde CNA at the glass-topped dinner table of my late mother’s Youngtown, Az memory care unit not-so-daintily dredging flaming hot cheetoes (crunchy) through a soft brick of generic cream cheese. Not comida tipica of murder one. A diet of donuts and farmer brothers truck stop coffee though will drive a man hot wire Sly’s ‘Death Race 2000’ ride straight down desperation blvd.


 Another  but actually my first ever autonomic nervous system overload facing down starvation – fight hormones MMAed flight ones – can be located by google mapping a Houston, TX Astrodome parking lot in an era when Astroturf was the Google of its day and turned out to be little more than Krispy Kreme.


Why would responsible parents think waiting for a bus after a Major league sporting event in a unfair city, in the dead swamp of summer, seem the sensible alternative to driving to and from the motor hotel? True, the station wagon was loaded to the dome light with all the personal effects needed to survive our cross-country summer from Phx, Az to Coco Beach, FLA and back. (Years ahead of the Griswolds, we.) ((But seriously folks, is it because we kids were all adopted you deemed us as replaceable as diapers?))

Far past midnight the other 5 of family sat, starving and delirious and nervous and yeah sure very very white watching waiting and pacing and panting while I stared rather ignominiously at the mouth of an extremely drunk black dude rather passionately devouring a double Whopper with cheese in about 5 bites. I’m still not quite clear whether he even bothered to remove the wrapper or use his hands.


Now if only my own starving college student days ended in my twenties. Instead, I cued up for the twenty year plan. Es verdadm The Fire Cheetoes era ran concurrent with both my fourth decade out of diapers and the finishing up of bachelor degree. Obviously I did not expire from malnutrition. But most days – whenever the 4 for $2 JITB tacos wore off – the brain fattened on knowledge as the rest of me ran famished.

 Too old for dorms, credit fucked, and un pello away from foreclosure on the underwater residence (La Madre’s Loco’s condo) forced to sell for a b-side, rather than live out of my LandCruiser I took a room in the home of a quadriplegic man.  “J” paid me ‘in kind’ to wash, dress, feed and ready him each morning and should I be home between classes, cover lunches – my landlord, my leash. Since I’d never held another man’s penis in my hands before, let alone wrestled a prophylactic onto one not connected to my person (NOTE: notably easier sober), and always being one for a new experience to add to largest collection of jokes ever assembled, that tome being my life, I figured it was either “Go Jimpy*” (*J’s vanity licence plate) or set up camp in the Wal-mart parking lot.


Back to school: Of all the psychology lessons college taught, that which resonated with me – due in no small part to my living arrangement – was studies in highlighter-penned ‘altruism’; mas research suggesting it’s something akin to Santa Claus. Conclusion: Moving in with Jimpy grew not out of some faux kindness but Darwinian survival. What was at work working on Jimpy was an extend dance remix of the other psyc 101 concept that stuck: ‘Change blindness’. (You can You Tube this one ’till yer actually blind – and still not quite believe it.)



For this second most viewed memory of undergrad multiple choice psych exams of yore when faced with the aforeblogged Jimpy duties – including occasional doody duty – got me through even the leakiest morning.

As fine and dandy as a handi-wipe, verdad?

Yeah, about that…

Neither change blindness nor cognitive dissonance nor altruism nor even singing a happy song* could derail the homicidal tendencies aroused whenever Jimpy inquired once I got one foot out the door: ‘Are you going to be around at lunch today?’

 (*Heard or read outside of psych class how when forced to complete a less than desirable task, singing removes some of the sting. Unless of course you’re Sting, Then you can only hope the children love the Russian’s too. On those mornings when Jimpy took longer than the  change blindness lasted – pun ragin’ full on – I broke into song. Since I only know the words to three

1. Happy Birthday by Preston Ware Owen

2. Take Me Out To The Ball Game by Harry Caray

3. The Message by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5

I often skipped off to school smugly satisfied in a job well done leaving Jimpy in my wake in a puddle of befuddle.)

Personally and perhaps even spiritually I believe no person on earth, except maybe Jeff Bezos, should ever have to suffer hunger. I say spiritually because the same beige agnosticism aroused when churchgoing scrambles my ceso whenever traipsing down my local grocer’s aisles. Unless there’s some invisible race of gluttons and/or drunk frat bruhs who ravage every last shelf of every last grocery store everywhere every night, how is it possible any mouth goes to bed unfed?

That e-belched, the act of feeding Jimpy did not wake my inner-Lechter one iota. Nada. Twas what Jimpy ate had me reachin’ for the cleaver. As a Wisconsin farm boy from a large German family of farmers = incredibly well-stocked Frigidare.


A couple times each year Jimpy’s loving and wonderfully sarcastic sisters flew in to fill the house with aromas wholesome, mid-western and beefy. The menu they cooked up, then froze, ran from ground beef chili to chuck beef stew to roast beef sandwiches. And they always arrived bearing chocolate chip cookies with a hint of mint. I only ever got a taste of these. And if their lustful notes were suggestive of the beefier dishes I might have regretted not simply stealing into the freezer** for one of Jimpy’s juicy roast beef sandwiches w/ cheddar cheese had I not crafted a vastly superior mid-southwestern torta with recent batch of magnificent machaca – today’s featured comida.

(**Stealing another’s lunch is the only crime I consider punishable by death. So even though I could have cleanly blamed nicking Jimpy’s beef on our junkie/tweaker roommates – who actually stole from me [cheese] and Jimpy [Pace salsa] and met an untimely eviction and accidental demise – I’d have not been able to live with the guilt .)

 Today’s Featured Killer Comida: 

photo (29)Sloppy Machaca Torta con Queso

Kaiser roll

Mexi-mix Pre-Shredded Queso


Canned refried beans



If you know the rhymes you should rap along w/ yer bites…uh huh huh….

You Will Know Us By The Trail of Blue-haired Cross-dressers

17 Oct

You may know him as the tortilla/diaper model, having been featured on IFLAG last June. No need to name names. Protect him from the NSA and future stalkers and/or bullies. Besides, he only really answers to dog barks, wolf howls and food. I mention the little critter here because our canine conversations inspired me to set the alarm clock early enough to hammer out a catch-up post. I have approximately 90 minutes to complete a post chock full of sabrosa feedings (and feelings) before said boy starts howling for his Chi-Mexless mix breakfast. Such is the schedule of a new/old papa grande.


If you’re still with me, great, though I figured maybe the mention of dogs and wolves on a mostly food blog might send even the most adventurous eater running to the ASPCA. Other major turn-offs: diapers and hummus.


There is a method to all this meandering.

It occurred to me yesterday how vital reconnecting to this blog, and the English language as communicated by grown-ups, albeit at a 3rd Grade reading level. Too much son can turn the brain into Gerbers.

Running late to work and confounded by Ventra, Chicago CTA’s latest public transportation pass upgrade/get-rich-quick-scheme/fiasco I hoped on a DIVVY – CTA gem  – to pedal Wicked Witch of the West fast to work. (Note to DIVVY designers: a 4th or 5th gear please? And maybe slow down on distribution. Rode past three full docks last week. Hey CTA! Two words: supply & demand.)

I didn’t get all Wizard of Ozy and cackle and screeh “I’ll get you my pretty,” yet spending most non-work waking hours immersed in the vernacular of a toddler finally overtook me at a traffic signal. A young Taylor Swift fan pulled up next to me in her forest green Saturn, this blissfully mild autumn morning, windows rolled down, stereo crancked. Riding shotgun her fellow blissed out traveler, her rescue mutt, hung his head out the window for a good pant. Overcome by this still life, I began to bark and say “doooogie googie doogie poochie poochie pooh”. Taylor Swift yanked her pooch in by the collar, rolled up the windows and nearly knocked me off the DIVVY making a hard right away getaway from this barking loon.

If only this weren’t the second public baby-babble/holwing outburst this week.

Background: In a desperately hilarious sad sack SAHD tome I read prior to the tortilla model’s arrival the author slyly creates a mix CD of his favorite animal songs to play for his kids that also serves to provide the reader a hip-ness check list.

Cut To: Taking a note from this book (hyuck) and upping the ante, I created both a iApe and iDog tunes folders. Obviously Snoop is number one with a bullet (hycuk 2.0) with George Clinton riding shotgun. The lesser known – to my middle/indeterminate aged ears -is a ‘Big Bad Wolf” (NC-17 video closes out this post), which is, as they say on the BBC, “a real banger”.  Even though dance tracks are really songs and don’t really have choruses, this chorus of this song is incredibly danceable and sing-a-ble “The big bad wolf, hoowwoooooohhh”. The UK sausage comparison becomes obvious.

If you are still with me it’s obvious where this new paragraph is heading. So yes, with the tortilla model faced out, strapped into the Bjorn for all the world to fawn over and adore, we strolled merrily along north up Halsted street. Lost in the bliss known only to a 1 y.o . tortilla model and his pop aroused on such outings, I unconsciously broke out singing “Big Bad Wolf”, replete with howls and beats…at top volume causing a 6’3’ blue-haired cross-dresser to scurry, no, sprint through traffic towards safety.

Or the tortilla model might put it:

Q: Why did the blue haired cross-dresser cross the road?

A: The Big Bad Wolf.


All of this of course, an exhaustingly prolix explanation and/or excuse for the dearth of posts – it’s not like I’m not eating – while a lot of comida rico continues to go in my mouth all that’s come out – until now – is HOOOWWWWLLLLLll….anyway, onto the the vittles:

Colorado Cantaloupe w/ Lime and New Mexico Chile Powder

Rocky Ford Cantalope with lime and NM Red Chile powder

Inhaled this astounding combination daily in DF, 2000 – along with a considerable amount of smog. No better way to have melon. Same holds true for a Southern (as in Dixie) version: Honeydew w/ lemon and black pepper.

Taost and Hot Honey Monkey Toast



Layers: butter, cream cheese, raspberry preserves, green chile

Hot Honey Monkey Toast

Layers: butter, peanut butter, banana slices, hot honey

Pollo Asado del Magico Realisticimo

This one talks in stereo to your lengua – not unlike those parrots in Love In The Time of Cholera.

Seriously, if you can whip up a better marinade shoot me an email with directions: to you casa, for dinner, pronto….




Marinade boneless chicken breasts overnight in the following mix; adjust to your preferences:

¼ cup Trader Joe’s Virgin Olive Oil

tsp salt

tsp black pepper

pinch Mexican oregano

tbls red chile powder

tsp red chile powder (from same spice section as oregano: “ethnic foods”)

few shakes of garlic powder and Goya Adoba

juice of 1/3-1/2 lime

Splash of tequllla

The Next Day:

Heat grill to 500 degrees min

Let pollo reach room temperature

Grill covered 5 minutes a side

Remove from grill and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes

Serve chopped/sliced/whole/on a stick/in a tortilla/etc


Exhibit A: Torta


Layers: smushed black beans, tomatoes, PAMR, roasted jalapeno, avacado

Pan: La Boulangerie