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robertogreco : mexican   22

The best Mexican food in the Bay Area
“Mexico’s cuisine is wide-ranging and diverse, and the Bay Area’s selection of Mexican restaurants truly reflects that. The following restaurants are everyday haunts, special occasion spots and meditations on regional cuisines, places where you can get tacos al pastor, black barley chicharrones and green mole.”
sanfrancisco  food  restaurants  mexican  2019  bayarea  oakland 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
Review: At Fonda Mixcoac in Anaheim, order a cheesy 29-inch machete. Bring friends - Los Angeles Times
"There is more to Fonda Mixcoac than machetes.

But you’re here, in Anaheim, four miles but a world away from the tourist hotels and chain restaurants of Disneylandia, for the machetes. A staple of Mexico City street stalls since at least the 1960s, they are the freak show cousins of quesadillas and huaraches: roughly the length of a Louisville Slugger, a folded-over surfboard of masa stuffed with two or three meals’ worth of cheese-smothered meats and veggies.

Fonda Mixcoac is run by several members of the Villegas family, a multi-generational clan who routinely trade off kitchen duties. The elder Villegas, Jose, opened the restaurant about five years ago with a vision that was simple and twofold: to carve out a niche for machetes in Southern California, where they are still relatively hard to find — and to make machetes bigger than those in Mexico City.

To that end, Fonda Mixcoac makes 29-inch machetes — griddle-crisped behemoths so long they barely fit on the restaurant’s tables. (A 12-inch, junior-size version called a machetito is also available). I’m told it took the family years to fine-tune a masa recipe sturdy and stretchy enough to withstand the dish’s exaggerated proportions. They’re stuffed with the standard guisados: thin sheets of the marinated beef called cecina de res; slinky, gooey pork skins of chicharrón prensado; juicy, slightly spicy nubs of homemade chorizo. You can configure a vegetarian machete from wilted, buttery flor de calabaza (squash blossoms); smoky rajas with epazote; or a thick spread of huitlacoche, the earthy, jet-black corn fungus that’s been a culinary staple in Mexico since pre-Columbian times.

Your machete is bulging with melted Oaxaca cheese, finely chopped iceberg lettuce and rivulets of crema fresca. It lands on the table with a whiff of head-turning fanfare, wrapped in the perfume of clean, hot oil. You whip out your smartphone to take pictures. Someone gently raises the baby cradled in their arms next to the machete for a sense of scale (the machete is bigger). It takes three or four adults to polish off one two-plus-foot-long machete. Someone else wisely carves into the dish, divvying it up into smaller, more manageable sections. Hot cheese dribbles out of every loose end. When you take a bite, the fried corn shell splinters against your teeth with a sharp crunch. Stretchy ribbons of cheese and quivering flaps of meat threaten to splatter onto the table. You devour your piece in one unseemly breath, nearly smashing it into your mouth to avoid spillage.

Beyond machetes, the cafe’s wide-ranging menu hews closely to the foods that Jose Villegas grew up eating in Mexico City, and his devotion to home-style Mexican cooking is broadcast loud and clear on the menu. “COMIDA MEXICANA,” the cover declares in all-caps typeface. “No ‘Mexican Food’.”

“My dad always says that if you want ‘Mexican food,’ go to Taco Bell,” Jose Villegas’ son, Erick, explains. “But if you want comida Mexicana, come here.”

So, in place of Doritos Locos Tacos, there are pambazos, plump, chile-stained French roll sandwiches stuffed with a cheesy blend of chorizo and potatoes. There’s beefy alambre, a platter of chopped steak, ham, peppers, onions and bacon fused together with lavish amounts of melted cheese, served with short stacks of hot corn tortillas. Huaraches, smeared with black beans and blanketed with queso fresco, are crisp and massive. Try the huarache azteca, furnished with thin, salty scraps of cecina, grilled onions, nopales, avocado and a drizzle of fresh salsa verde.

There are tacos made with nubbins of gently charred carne asada, or loosely packed with a creamy, spicy choriqueso. The al pastor is altogether unremarkable, but there is always cecina de res, air-dried beef that has something of the clean, thin-sliced, salty appeal of prosciutto.

On the weekends, the restaurant slow-cooks large quantities of lamb barbacoa, a city version of rural Hidalgo’s famous pit-roasted barbecue. The meat is shredded into flossy, slightly chewy tendrils that are gently charred around the edges on the grill and piled into aluminum to-go containers. If you order the family-style barbacoa package, it comes with a large bowl of consommé, a deep, musky aromatic broth filled with stewed garbanzo beans. You splash the meat with some of that lovely, meaty broth, and eat it with hot tortillas and salsa roja.

But a half-pound of lamb is probably not why you wandered into Fonda Mixcoac’s sunny, bare-bones dining room in the first place. You came for the same reason that people pile into small, sun-baked boats off the coast of Baja California every spring to see the blue whales that pass through the Sea of Cortez: to spy for yourself a rare colossus that’s impossible to forget once you’ve seen it in the flesh."
food  anaheim  orangecounty  mexican  restaurants  2019 
april 2019 by robertogreco
La Oaxaqueña- 2128 Mission St, Mission, San Francisco, CA - Yelp
[See also: http://oaxaquena.yolasite.com/ ]

["There are three things to know about the Mexican hot chocolate at La Oaxaqueña. First, is that it's made from pulverized blocks of cacao that are mixed with almonds and cinnamon, dissolved in steamed milk, and then frothed so that it's light and airy. Second is that you should add the guajillo chile powder for a kick of heat that doesn't overpower the drink. And third, is that it is served in a pitcher that fills two mugs, which makes it by far the best value on this list."
https://sf.eater.com/maps/best-hot-chocolate-san-francisco ]
food  restaurants  themission  sanfrancisco  mexican  missiondistrict 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Taco Literacy – Writing Transnational Mexican Foodways
"In recent years, there has been a steady increase of interest in the transnational migrations of Mexican food popularized by television food shows and travel journalism. In addition to the immense number of trade publications and cook books, important social justice issues in regard to multilingualism, migrant labor and digital activism, to representations of Mexican cooking in film and literature, and to the translation of indigenous cuisine for corporate consumption in different contexts have also become topical. This course will examine transnational community food literacies, and how these connect stories of people build publics across borders. Taco Literacy explore the history and networks of Mexican and Mexican American food in the United States writing about recipes as well as rhetorics of authenticity, local variations to preparation or presentation, and how food literacies situate different spaces, identities, and forms of knowledge.

For more about the class follow @tacoliteracy on Twitter and Instagram."

[See: https://twitter.com/tacoliteracy
https://www.instagram.com/tacoliteracy/ ]
tacos  food  us  mexican 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Let White People Appropriate Mexican Food—Mexicans Do It to Ourselves All the Time | OC Weekly
"My thoughts on cultural appropriation of food changed forever in the research for my 2012 book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. One of my personal highlights was discovering the restaurant that Glenn Bell of Taco Bell infamy had cited in his autobiography as being the source of "inspiration" for him deciding to get into the taco business. How did he get inspired? He'd eat tacos the restaurant every night, then go across the street to his hot dog stand to try and recreate them.

Bell freely admitted to the story, but never revealed the name of the restaurant. I did: Mitla Cafe in San Bernardino, which is the oldest continuously operating Mexican restaurant in the Inland Empire. I was excited to interview the owner, Irene Montaño, who confirmed Bell's story. I was upset for the Montaños, and when I asked Montaño how she felt that Bell had ripped off her family's recipes to create a multibillion-dollar empire, I expected bitterness, anger, maybe even plans for a lawsuit in an attempt to get at least some of the billions of dollars that Taco Bell has earned over the past 50-plus years.

Instead, Montaño responded with grace: "Good for him!" She pointed out that Mitla had never suffered a drop in business because of Taco Bell, that her restaurant had been in business longer than his, and "our tacos were better."

It's an anecdote I always keep in mind whenever stories of cultural appropriation of food by white people get the Left riled up and rock the food world. The latest skirmish is going on in Portland, where two white girls decided to open up what the estimable Willamette Week called "a concept that fits twee Portland": a breakfast burrito pop-up located within a hipster taco cart. The grand sin the gabachos committed, according to the haters, was the admission that they quizzed women in Baja California about how to make the perfect flour tortilla.

For their enthusiasm, the women have received all sorts of shade and have closed down their pop-up. To which I say: laughable. The gabachas knew exactly what they were doing, so didn't they stand by it? Real gumption there, pendejas.

But also laughable is the idea that white people aren't supposed to—pick your word—rip off or appropriate or get "inspired" by Mexican food, that comida mexicana is a sacrosanct tradition only Mexicans and the white girls we marry can participate in. That cultural appropriation is a one-way street where the evil gabacho steals from the poor, pathetic Mexicans yet again.

As we say in Mexico: no se hagan.

What these culture warriors who proclaim to defend Mexicans don't realize is that we're talking about the food industry, one of the most rapacious businesses ever created. It's the human condition at its most Darwinian, where EVERYONE rips EVERYONE off. The only limit to an entrepreneur's chicanery isn't resources, race, or class status, but how fast can you rip someone off, how smart you can be to spot trends years before anyone else, and how much money you can make before you have to rip off another idea again.

And no one rips off food like Mexicans.

The Mexican restaurant world is a delicious defense of cultural appropriation—that's what the culinary manifestation of mestizaje is, ain't it? The Spaniards didn't know how to make corn tortillas in the North, so they decided to make them from flour. Mexicans didn't care much for Spanish dessert breads, so we ripped off most pan dulces from the French (not to mention waltzes and mariachi). We didn't care much for wine, so embraced the beers that German, Czech and Polish immigrants brought to Mexico. And what is al pastor if not Mexicans taking shawerma from Lebanese, adding pork, and making it something as quintessentially Mexicans as a corrupt PRI?

Don't cry for ripped-off Mexican chefs—they're too busy ripping each other off. Another anecdote I remember from Taco USA: One of El Torito founder Larry Cano's lieutenants telling me Larry would pay them to go work at a restaurant for a month, learn the recipes, then come back to the mothership so they could replicate it. It ain't just chains, though: in the past year, I've seen dozens of restaurants and loncheras across Southern California offer the Zacatecan specialty birria de res, a dish that was almost exclusively limited to quinceañeras and weddings just three years ago. What changed? The popularity of Burritos La Palma, the SanTana lonchera-turned-restaurant. Paisa entrepreneurs quickly learned that Burritos La Palma was getting a chingo of publicity and customers, so decided to make birria de res on their own to try and steal away customers even though nearly none of them are from Zacatecas.

Shameless? Absolutely. And that's what cultural appropriation in the food world boils down to: it's smart business, and that's why Mexicans do it, too. That's the same reason why a lot of high-end Mexican restaurants not owned by sinaloenses serve aguachile now: because Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria made it popular. That's why working-class Mexicans open mariscos palaces even if they're not from the coast—because Sinaloans made Mexican seafood a lucrative scene. That's why nearly every lonchera in SanTana serves picaditas, a Veracruzan specialty, even though most owners are from Cuernavaca. That's why a taqueria will sell hamburgers and French fries—because they know the pocho kids of its core clients want to eat that instead of tacos. And that's why bacon-wrapped hot dogs are so popular in Southern California—because SoCal Mexican street-cart vendors ripped off Mexicans in Tijuana, who ripped off Mexicans in Tucson, who ripped off Mexicans in Sonora.

To suggest—as SJWs always do—that Mexicans and other minority entrepreneurs can't possibly engage in cultural appropriation because they're people of color, and that we're always the victims, is ignorant and patronizing and robs us of agency. We're no one's victims, and who says we can't beat the wasichu at their game? And who says Mexicans are somehow left in the poor house by white people getting rich off Mexican food? Go ask the Montaños of Mitla how they're doing. Last year, they reopened a long-shuttered banquet hall, and the next generation is introducing new meals and craft beers. They cried about Bell's appropriation of their tacos all the way to the history books."
gustavoarellano  appropriation  food  culturalappropriation  tacobell  history  comidamexicana  restaurants  mestizaje  mexico  mexican 
may 2017 by robertogreco
El Take me to El Take it Easy! - Urbanist Blog
"Jay Porter is about to open his new, adventurous "gastro-cantina" just 2 blocks north of his current spot, The Linkery. El Take it Easy showcases two of the same attributes that have made The Linkery such a hit: 1. Ethical Food. 2. Keeping it Weird.

1. Farm to Table. Local. Small Farms. Organic. Craft Beer and Wine. Mindful food and drink. Ethical. The Linkery has been the undisputed leader of this movement in San Diego...

2. "I feel like chicken heads tonight. Naw babe, we had heads on Tuesday. I'm craving spleen & maybe some beef cheek." The dinner conversation does not sound like this at my house.
But the "Keep it Weird" philosophy works. Modern folks get bored. El Take it Easy satisfies the curious, youthful adventurer within us all. Sure you can dine here and enjoy familiar fare like Chicken Mole (the best I've ever had) or Fried Grouper (nice & light), but you can also try the Kentucky Fried Buches (chicken neck) & have a story to tell at the office tomorrow."

[see also: http://www.eltakeiteasy.com/ ]
food  restaurants  northpark  sandiego  jayporter  mexican 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Los Angeles Eat+Drink - Duck Duck Taco: CACAO MEXICATESSEN
"Cacao will always have its detractors. The tacos are more expensive than those you find on trucks (although there is a daily "happy hour,'' when you can get cheap street tacos, mole fries and mojado dogs), and don't really represent any particular regional tradition. Food is slow to come. The solace it offers is different from what you find at the elbow-in-the-salsa dining at rougher establishments — Cacao is a neighborhood restaurant in a fairly gentrified neighborhood.

But if suffering good coffee, folksy music and the bourgeois presence of duck is the price one has to pay for access to Cacao's chiles rellenos, unbreaded roast poblanos stuffed with cheese and sweet corn or squash blossoms with cod, sometimes sacrifices have to be made."
jonathangold  food  losangeles  eaglerock  restaurants  mexican 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Cacao Mexicatessen Deli ~ Eagle Rock, CA - a set on Flickr
"Cacao Mexicatessen, is a new Mexican Restaurant and Deli in Eagle Rock, CA.
food  losangeles  via:britta  restaurants  mexican 
august 2009 by robertogreco

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