Tag Archives: Tortillas

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

 

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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

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The chipotle variation (the chile not the chain)

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

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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?

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

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*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.

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

 

‘Peking Duck?’

‘Yeah.’

‘How the fuck they know that duck’s

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

Not Totally Orignial* El Sangre de Vida Picante Sauce (Kojack var.**)

31 Jan

What makes Mexican food Mexican?

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Mexicans?

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Kojak?

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Where that that it estar, cuz Mexican food is all we eat when we eat out. From Mickey D’s on up the foodie chain. As much as The Food Networks try and present otherwise (oh do I so pray for the premiere of Meso-America’s top chef: ‘Tonight’s ingredient: the human heart.”) the novicest CSI gets that what’s plated before them eating out hecho by Mexciano bro/bra. And if you pensar about it, most your produce and meat and packaged goods pass though brown manos. Ergo mi amigos….

The point estando? My guess is that top five answers to our query might prove to be considerably more short-sighted than the previous paragraph’s pontification proposition.

For the love of Richard Dawson, we aqui @ IFAG posed this question of ‘What makes Mexican food Mexican?’ to the #Joneses.

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‘What makes Mexican food Mexican?’

Survey sez:

  1. Chips & Salsa
  2. Taco Bell
  3. Rick Bayless
  4. Tortillas (pronounced : Tor till uhz)
  5. Margaritas

In all fairness to the googles, survey monkeys and Family Feud who contributed to the findings presented aqui, I’ll agree to disagree. As always yo estoy aqui to inform, confirm and condemn, confuse. Mira, this ain’t no trick question, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around. At the corazon of all listed foods Mexican – except Rick Bayless –  runs a common stream – mi número uno answer-deep, red and vital: blood.

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Call me a broken record, a scratched CDDDDDDDDDDD, a glitched MP3, a dementia patient a dementia patient, a dementia patient for repeating mi self but this bares (or is it bears? – chingada!) repeating: Sangre es El Santa del comida Mexicana perfecto. El proof esta en the blood pudding.

Y yo estoy here to blog you brothers and sisters I inexplicably avoided opening myself up to risk death by epic coconeria failure – and knife blade – for nigh nearly a half century until only last week when at first try yo long last divined a batch of this sacred, holy, and profane comida Mexicana lifeforce.

Of course I’m a chief rocking a mad metaphor here but you try and travel through Mexico without either A.) Bleeding  or B.) Noticing much of Mexico’s history esta escribir en Sangre (the bloody revolutions, the bloody conquistadors, Los Indios blood sacrifices, Narco blood sacrifices, the bloody bullfights, bloody Christo (of the cross, not Central Park).

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You no snap a selfie with any of this? Try leaving Club Med next time.

On the literal tip, para me, que gives comida Mexico its vida, its cojones, its ability to resurrect the sorriest slab o carne, the stalest nacho, make Taco Bell not suck? Sangre aka el sauce picante. Not salsa, gracias very mucho. Yo hablando hot sauce. No fucking cumin, no tomatoes, no cute labels or names or commercials. El deal real.

Sure, you’ve got your Chollas y Valentinas y Buffalos y Pico Paca y others I forget even the closest spelling of, all  welcome additions to comidas tipica and especially hot dogs. (I blog not of the obnoxious “Hotter than _________” and/or “Hot Coal Colonic” variety favored by diners more concerned with the grade of their toilet paper than the quality of their meals aqui.)  But, and this is a big but – but not one en fuego por que picante – once you divine a batch of your own making, starting with this here recipe of course, you too shall uncover several picante milagros of your own making.  En mi cocina por ejemplo, a soggy, salty batch of black beans were transmutated by this blood  into the “Best thing you’ve ever cooked for me” – Mi Esposa. (Sangre + NM red enchilada sauce + dried/cooked frjoes negros con Goya adobo seasoning = Amor).

‘nuff of this blogging…onto the bloody manna

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Not Totally Orignial* El Sangre de Vida Picante Sauce (Kojack var.**)


The Batch Size

1 ¼ cup = avg hot sauce bottle (dump whatever’s been clotting in the fridge, on the counter, etc and wash out bottle and scrape off gluey label; FYI most old hot sauces serve as an excellent de-gluer; viva repurposing!)

The Contents

The dry/smoked whole chile peppers (usually on a rack in produce or ethnic foods in clear plastic bags. I grabbed one of each not knowing what to expect. Siri no hablo espanol so no checking with that fickle gringa puta.)

 

1 – Mulato

2 – Pulla

2 – Japones

1 – Arbol

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1 clove of minced/smushed garlic

tsp vinegar

pinch of Mexican oregano

No fucking cumin

1 ¼ cups water

salt to taste

The Directions

  1. Seed and stem peppers (I did this under running cold water. sorta works)
  2. Skillet roast at medio heat 5 minutes or so

(you’ll smell when they’re ready – more on this later)

  1. Transfer bowl, cover with water. Cover bowl
  2. Soak peppers for an episode of your favorite cop show (60 minutes)

(*Not totally original. Google served as sous chef. Searched her for: “Mexican” “Taco” “Sauce” “Hot” “Salsa” “No fucking cumin”.)

(**Kojack, Hunter, Rockford, just no fucking CSI)


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One episode of Kojack later:

  1. Chop up but do not skin or scrape the Molado pepper (the skin serves as a mighty thickener)
  2. Filet open other peppers and scrape out the meat (takes some practice and getting the angle of the blade right. What’s nice about hot sauce is that because you really should not take all the heat these peppers bring en todo, by just “scraping by” what you can measures out perfecto – at least for me it did first time out – more on that lado.)
  3. Toss in food processor*** with garlic, oregano, and pepper water
  4. Process to fluidity (escuchando en mas importante)
  5. Gradually salt to taste; taste vehicles include but are not limited to fingers, spoons, tortilla chips, tortillas heated on pepper griddle or open gas stove flame.

(***Mas Importante Note: use either a spare mini food processer you don’t mind staining or once stained, don’t mind reminding your esposa (regularly) pepper heat does not transfer from the blade stem to your 6 month old’s applesauce, you hope, and even if it does, “the ancient Aztecs applied chili pepper paste to newborns whilst teething provinding both a soothing numbness and arousing a warrior-like spiritedness in the form of a blood-curdling wail [it all comes back to blood, verdad]. Seriously, see for yourself honey, it’s the Internet, right here on my blog = true!”)

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How flipping milagrolous did this turn out? I polished off a bottle in 5 days**** – with the help of my wife and some creative additions to our regularly scheduled menu.

(****Any keeper of picante sauce will recognize how rare this use in excess. The average shelf-life of hot sauces is 7 years.)

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..and shot for a miracle, nesting the bottle in our dying Xmas Cactus (llama Frida) to see if we might get her to bloom.

Results: La Milagra, baby….


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What’s my secret? No fucking cumin, no fucking CSI, y mucho mucho mucho Kojack.

 

 

Leftover T-Bird Green Chilenstein Enchiladasserole

6 Dec

Only caught a sense a local radio programme planned to run a piece about some gringo in NM who sent a batch of green chile seeds through the way back machine. His promise: a pre-genetically engineered chile verde = pure, unadulterated, virginal.

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By some reports our contemporary chile verde esta veritable genetic Frankenstein. Y what’s mas, the holocaust has been captured in glorious pixelated color, currently Netflixing. Oh my o my o mi dio.

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Am I alone in both my distaste and distrust the food superstition movement? Though I ‘spose it’s much more of a religious movement, how every time I log on to Netflix or NYTimes.com the documentation on why really only eating only Yeti is safe & ethical anymore grows quicker than AquAdvantage salmon.

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Yoo hoo, a-hem, yo, looky here overevolved Homo sapiens, did it possibly occur to you you are playing right into the hands of food? Look, I don’t want to eat ‘roided out chicken anymore than you do but we gotta keep eating up these mutants into extinction por population control RFN + once them chickens figure out how to wield a bat…we’re goners. chicken_slam_large_2

And C.) Back to the beginning, this supposed ghost of chile past. Pre-Colombian green sounds about as appetizing to me as authentic 1800s hard tack huslted up by a Civil War renactor. You know the breed, the Rebs and Union Oppressors who soak their coat buttons in their own urine, getting down to the last detail just right. Read: scary genetic freaks.

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Call this back to the cave cooking retro, call it vintage, call it pure, I call it playing God with horseshit. Fb Update: The entire universe has evolved several million times over since these supposed ancient seeds were unearthed, re-birthed and planted. Sin Machina de Tiempo: pass, me. Unless of course I can have my helping slathered on a loaf of SPAM. This paring  would be the closest and hopefully equally tastiest approximation of 2015’s T-Giving Leftover Casserole. Mi esposa went organic with the bird I went to the factory with a canned green chile, among other tinned ingredients:

Mira:

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Leftover T-Bird Green Chilenstein Enchiladasserole

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COMO:

Mix:

1-2 Cups leftover T-giving turkey: shredded

Above canned ingredients

Sauteed chopped onions and garlic

Salt, pepper, chile powder, oregano

Leftover turkey gravy

Layer in a buttered casserole dish:

Corn tortillas – Above mix – Mexi-cheese

Bake 350 covered in foil 25 min

uncovered 15 min

Under the broiler 5 minutes

Serve topped with sour cream, black olives, leftover canned cranberries

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Crank. It.

Do salsa and a tortilla a Mexican dish make?

10 Oct

Not necesarioly, but it beats hell outta Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip.

You can be the judge and try any of the following fer yerself.

Exhibit 1: The Hello Darlin’ Dixiecan Carne Asada y Queso Grits y Amp & Alternator Burro

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Inhaled this tube ‘o old grits and glory serenaded by Howe Gelb, ergo the AA&A title reference. Tastes nothing like auto shop or hard tack even though the HDDCAyQGyAA&AB guts esta rooted in ancestral midnight moonshine runs & rusty rebel resentment. Mi esposa, a great great great grand daughter of the Confederacy, hustled up the skirt steak and Southern napalm. I added the refrieds and tort. The red stuff aka ‘octane boost’ is yer highly coveted Valentine salsa.

 

 

Exhibit 2: Dixiecan Casserole B-fast Burro

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 Innards:

1. Frozen shredded proper western hash browns fried in butter, onions and b-fast sausage (con grease) layered in a casserole dish with prepackaged shredded cheddar baked at 350 till crispy, bubbly, lethal.

2. Scrambled eggs
3. Canned refried frijoles

4. Salsa of your choosing. IMO, one can’t do better outside of Mexico than Herdez. The small cans epecially provide – por mi lengua y nariz – notes of first-class Puebla bus estacion diesel fumes and stray Die Hard battery volts forever singing me back to any one of several dozen viajes taken across the line. (Mas on salsa luego.)

 

 

Closing Argument: Faux Rancho Greenplat

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With dozens of superior green chile cheeseburgers for the wolfing up and down and back and forth across New Mexico – blogging from memory aqui – la pregunta para me’s never been one of quality but of quantity. For a decade now I’ve taken to the unofficial state plate like a sow to the truffles, sans merde. Rooting GCCB out of the unlikeliest of confines (gas stations/horse tracks/McDonalds), fue me. Me mentions this by way of introduction to another superior NM plata originel I’ve nearly cloned at home: The Faux Rancho Greenplat.

 

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 Faux Rancho Greenplat Bacchanalian back story:
Twas on a three GCCB bender, heading south to The Owl en San Antonio, btw GCCB #2 y tres, bisecting the interstate was we. Bacchus gripped the wheel of his company SUV. His company: Guiness. (His appetites mas grande than mine. Hence, why his name has been changed, both to protect the innocent and call off any open container charges.) Yo fue dios’s co-pilota.

San Antonio. NM sits a non-God of Drink and GCCBs 90 minute drive South of The ‘Burque. I ‘splain this por que Bacchus measures time by the beer. So, from The Frontier’s breakfast green chile , egg, bacon guacamole, and western hashbrown (con chile verde y queso) burgers, at Bacchus speed, we were looking at an ETA of about 3 Guinness. I cracked open número two, turned down the Drive-by Truckers, eager to learn all about El Rancho Greenplat, a plata Bacchus had been howling about through the months leading to my virginal tour de NM.

‘Now that were alone together and not shoving anything into our pie holes* (*Bacchus hails from Dixie, hence the dialect) I gotta ask why the hell they gotta name a cheeseburger El Rancho Greenplat? Not the most appetizing…..’

‘The what?’

‘El Rancho Greenplat? The burger we’re driving 90 miles – I mean 3 beers for?’

‘The what the fuck?’

‘El. Rancho. Green. Plat.’

‘You. Stupid. Fuck.’

‘The El Rancho Greenplat is a stupid fuck?’

‘Jack ass. The El Rancho Greenplat is from Quarters Bar-b-que……………In Albuquerque.’

‘So it’s not a green chile…’

‘No’

‘Then what the hell are we driving to The Owl for?’

‘Jack. Ass. You said you wanted to blow up your body mass index with green chile cheeseburgers – whatever the fuck that means – so we are going to for the best goddamn green chile burgers you ever had.’

‘Does someone need a hug?’

‘No…a beer.’

(Crack, slurp, silence, acceleration,
Drive-by Truckers.)

‘Can we go get a El Rancho Greenplat after?’

Dos mas beers and The Owl burgers gone and then one more beer and 3 gallons of gas more and Bacchus talks Mrs. Quarters herself into rolling up dos ‘killer’ El Rancho Greenplats for our dining pleasure; an ugly plata with an even uglier name that:

Me: ‘definitely lives up to its billing’.
B: ‘Whatever the fuck that means.’

The ERG TKOed us both. I recall little more than a cracking jolt to the system as maw closed down on the final bite.

Post blackout, the Mrs shuffled me y B across the gravel parking lot to digest down and sober up ‘neath the shade of the Guinessmobile.

While I never set boot back into Quarters, yonder in NYC and again high in Colorado, I tracked down the ingredient which I believe provides El Rancho Greenplat with its essential ‘Fuck yeah!’: fresh smoked turkey breast.

No longer down the road from a Rocky MT smokehouse and/or Jewish deli I settle for the bridesmaid: applegate organic smoked pavo. The remaining ingredients: non-canned pinto beans or canned refrieds, fresh roasted NM Greenchile, prepackaged preshredded cheddar cheese, flour tort. Tasty cold to hot, sober to drunk.

No surprise aqui, all platas – to me -take no prisoners and even less time to make than they do to eat (quite to opposite to most things ‘worth the wait’) or to read about even. Guaranteed to make all go boom boom boom…down comes the gavel….and I’ll leave the last word on whether or not tu will buy torts y salsa turns all comers into Chorizo to Pat Travers:

Top Chicago Taco Gringo #23 – Dixican Puerco del Fumar

6 Jun

Why stop at just uno? (Mira post previo.) It’s Weber season along the concrete shores of Lake Michigan and so long as El Milagro keeps cranking out packs of .49 cent tortilla maize amazing, I will continue to out-gringo-taco any and all contenders for any and all ‘top Chicago taco’ lists and compose really really long run-on sentences.

Diga me Dixican Taco:

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Dixican Taco filler:
– mi neighbor’s leftover smoked pulled pork skillet heated and tonged onto a skillet warmed corn tort

Dixican Taco Topping(s):
– mi esposa’s NC corn relish (corn off the cob, mini heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, cilantro)
– avocado
– Valentina caliente sauce splash

Futura Dixican Taco toppings/salsas/relishes/chutneys fantasized post-taco inhalation over Five Roses (rocks) with Michigan cherries y fresh local balcony garden mint:

1. Bourbon soaked Michigan cherries chopped up con Weber roasted peeled and seeded jalepenos y creama Mexicana y Lima y fresh local balcony cilantro

2. Homemade NM red chile powder BBQ sauce y peach chunx

3. Chopped fresh/roasted/defrosted NM Green chile con diced raw onion y fresh local balcony cilantro

Plata de jour: Chilaquiles de Ochco de Mayo

9 May

Even though Cinco de Mayo es mas or menos fading in the rearview mirror, may of us celebrants are still charged with lingering clean up and/or consumption of what’s been leftover or left behind, dealing with reconnoitering the den for piñata limbs, fishing empty Coronita bottles out of the shark tank, corraling the stray chihuahua or two,“What the hell are those rubbed into the rug, ironic Frech fries? Can French fries even be ironic? Oh, they’re from McDonald’s? Still warm? Give me one.”,  breaking down the occasional mechanical bull

 

Got gist?

And if like some revelers I know, who perhaps dove down into the deep end a bottle of Hornitos, and maybe lost a battle of their own with say the Ziploc seal on a bag of corn tortillas, leaving them on the counter for, oh, a couple days, to grow stale, I am here to share with you a time-worn El Sul recipe that will at once salvage both said tortillas and trounce any accompanying agave-fuled shame.

Nun

 

 

Bonjour Chilaquiles!

While around Chicago chillaquilles has come to mean “awesome trendy brunch Mexican food/hangover treatment” (practically everyone I know seems possessed with a burning desire to tell, text and tweet me with the what they think I’ll rush out an order in a bistro de gringo what is actually one of the easiest Nah-Az-Mexi-cago-uatl dishes one can cook) as often as it is mispelled, most Mexicans and Nahuatls you meet think of chilaquilesas little more than misplled leftovers cooked con mucho awesome (pronounced “Aw-eh-saw-meow).

 

Before we get to the recipe and obligatory gustatory iPhone pix, consider yourself warned, while freakishly deliciouso, chilaquiles are no feast for the eyes (“gourmet food for the blind”, according to my imaginary abuela) and hell on pots and/or pans.

Oh yeah, chilaquiles also leave your cocinera smelling like a Tijuana taco truck (sans diesel). To my nariz, the last detail esta fairly awesome, to mi esposa’s not so mucho.

 

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CHILAQUILES DE OCHO DE MAYO

INGREDIENTS (amounts vary according to size and flavor)

Stale corn tortillas torn into 2 inch pieces (of El Milagro)

eggs (of the chicken)

minced onions (of the yellow variety)

cheese (of your choosing)

salsa and/or enchilada sauce (of your choosing)

sour cream (of the cow)

oil (of the vegetable)

INSTRUCTIONS: Cover the bottom of a deepish sauce pan with oil, heat till smokey. Toss in tortilla strips. Stand back. Cook and stir till crispy. Crack and stir in an egg or two. Nearing cooked, add enough sauce/salsa to cover all ingredients. Remove from heat and stir in queso. Topped with sour cream dollop.

Mira: The obligatory iPhone pic:

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(the brilliant Herdez 5 chile salsa was used in the making of this dish, though my personal favorito mole es leftover chipotle enchilada sauce)

NOTE: I prefer my chiliquiles sans meat. Don’t let this stop you from adding leftover carne o pollo o chihuahua.

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Here is the aforedescribed “hell on pot”:

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Y aqui estas Ocho to help turn cleaning the whole confounded filthy Cinco de Drinko mess up into a funky bailar:

 

Behind the tortilla curtain

4 Aug

Not the steel curtain separating the El Norte from Mexico.

Not the film of the book starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Costner either.

Nada. No. Nyet. The Tortilla Cortina of which I blog separates NM torts from AZ ones.

Mi compa del Mexico Nuevo para Nogales, Arizona’s cousin has a saying about the thick, billowing, puffy, chewy round white flat four things that are NM’s version of tortillas, “They’re a waste of flour.” This may be a bit of a stretch.

Or it may be that NMTs aren’t stretched out enough.

No matter. I reserve a soft place in my otherwise cast iron stomach for nearly all variety of tortilla so long as they are as they go by their god-given name, in other words: “un-wrapped.”

So much depends

upon

a white

tortilla

glazed with

(insert ingredients here)

beside the rice

and beans.

Por ejemplo, NM torts make excellent paper towels. They wipe up nigh every last drop. Your own personal Brawny Man in the face of a shimmering plate of carne adovada. When your casita crock pot de carne adovada (recipe to come) burbles “Let’s Eat,” Phx has several outlets where one can score super absorbent semi-fresh ALB Tort Factory torts.

Newsflash: soon the same thing can be said about Bangor, Maine:

(Not “Let’s Eat” but Alb Torts go global blah x 3.)

AZ torts are flatter, wider, drier, grittier and tough enough for even the deep fry baptismal necessary up from which rises the golden chimichanga. (Kinda like our summers.) A safe place to stuff your stuff (and face) with your saucier fillings like green and red chile, chorizo, and clam chowder. The larger circumference provides the tort for essential folds to prevent contents from running down your arm and/or into your lap. (If you are thick enough to try a Chowderitto, send video to: azfeed2002@yahoo.com)

Red Eagle Brand, a local maker/distributor regularly supplies most Phx grocery stores with a variety of sizes in white as well as high hosanna masa maize amarillo (yellow corn). At the home base or operations, El Porvenir sells fresh torts and tamales to go.

 

 

Go forth. Be ready to strap on the feed bag. Don’t be fooled by the factory/filling station façade. Be surprised as I to graze on a full menu of  top-notch AzMex“food”.

 

 

 

Though the owner will tell you straight up (just like she told me when I said, first time I stepped into the dimly lit shop, “I didn’t even know you served food.” ):

“TORTILLAS ARE FOOD.”

Indeed.