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Jenise

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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Jenise » Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:47 am

Bill said
"How about taquitos?"

Mentioned them. Thus: "And Mark didn't touch on flautas, chimichangas, taquitos (obviously that means 'little tacos', but it's a form unto it's own and made/served entirely differently than tacos)...."

Re the flat style of enchilada, Bill and anyone else, that's called a "southwest style" and is one of the new-fangled versions. So far as I know the style is credited to Mark Miller (who is also credited with having created the fusion style of southwest cuisine) of Santa Fe's Coyote Cafe, who Cafe used the term "enchilada" to describe his signature dish of alternating layers of crepes and lobster. Yes, crepes, not tortillas. Nonexistent in the Sonora style of Mexican food I grew up with in Los Angeles.

Chilaquiles--you guys got it. And the sauce doesn't have to be red--a milk based sauce works wonderfully. What we had for dinner last night? About two inches of tortilla chips went into the bottom of a deep souffle dish. I pressed them down lightly then topped them with a sauce made from a half an onion sauteed;, half an orange bell pepper sauteed with the onions; a charred, chopped pasilla chile, a heaping teaspoon of Gebhardts chile powder and about a cup and a half or so of milk (didn't measure). On top of that went some shredded beef from some short ribs I'd made a few nights before and sauteed with thinly sliced halves of roma tomato and garlic, on top of that went another inch of chips which I pressed down, then topped with a couple shakes of Cholula sauce and two handfuls of shredded cheese. A piece of foil went on top and it went into the oven for 40 minutes. When it came out, I scooped helpings onto plates and topped them with shredded green cabbage and thinly sliced radishes that I'd doused with salt and white wine vinegar after the casserole went into the oven. Voila, chilaquiles.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Gary Barlettano » Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:51 am

Chris wrote:El Grullense? We'll have to check it out. We like Los Panchos on Pacheco, also in a strip mall, for their carnitas; they also have a great enchilada sauce. We've trekked out to Pittsburg for the New Mecca Cafe - Jenise, that's the place that is open 10:00 AM to 1:00 AM, takes only cash, and seems to feature a chile relleno as part of every combo plate. Most times, there's a waiting line.


My ex-wife misses Los Panchos more than she misses me! But I have to say that their chile relleno has taken a nosedive. Seems like they're using frozen. Their carnitas with their pico de gallo is, however, to die for.

Take your Tums along with you to El Grullense! It's not for the faint of heart or at least it wasn't last time I was there.

Do you remember a Mexican restaurant on the corner of Monument Blvd. and Contra Costa Blvd. which got bulldozed to make way for Crescent Plaza in Pleasant Hill? Now, *that* was great, but they didn't survive.
Progess, my eye!
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by TimMc » Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:53 am

Skye Astara wrote:The San Diego taco shops are the one thing that I miss from that area. I finally found a taco shop not too terribly far from me, that is mostly in the style that I am seeking- I think when we found it I was so happy I was practically glowing.


There is a taco shop on Fraternity Row next to the San Diego State University campus that is just fantastic stuff. Not always authentic [a bit Americanized], but very good nonetheless.
Last edited by TimMc on Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by TimMc » Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:56 am

I'm surprized we've come this far and nobody has mentioned Chicken Mole or Carne Asada.


BTW....if you want to sample some great Mexican food, the San Joaquin Valley in the heart of California is the place to be. No kidding.
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by ChefCarey » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:37 pm

Gary Barlettano wrote:I'm originally from New Jersey, went to college in Austin, TX, and now live in California. I can't disagree with any of your descriptions and I'm sure the owner of the roach coach which cruises my neighborhood would agree as well. However what passes for Mexican food here in the SF Bay Area is sometimes rather abstract, most of it being a Chicano-no.

I remember my first blissful experiences with Tex-Mex (19¢ bean burritos about the length of your arm) and how excited I was when I returned home on spring break to find a Mexican restaurant in Belleville, NJ. This was the early '70's. I ordered me up some tacos and gasped a gasp of horror ... taco shells with Sloppy Joe mix within.


You need to get your butt over to the avenues in Oakland - or try Martinez. The best Mexican food I've eaten anywhere (including many places in Mexico and LA) I had in Oakland and Martinez. I had the advantage of being taken to these places by a Chicano television producer.
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Chris

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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Chris » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:16 pm

Gary Barlettano wrote:
Do you remember a Mexican restaurant on the corner of Monument Blvd. and Contra Costa Blvd. which got bulldozed to make way for Crescent Plaza in Pleasant Hill? Now, *that* was great, but they didn't survive.
Progess, my eye!


Don't remember this place - we've only been eating Mexican food in Martinez/CoCoCo for the past 6-7 years. Not a big relleno fan, but those carnitas at Los Panchos are extremely addictive, rivaling what I used to eat near the race track in Tijuana in a low ceilinged, community tabled establishment back in the '80s.

I was so certain that today was Saturday as I read these messages this morning that I planned to take my spouse to El Grullense for lunch today. Unfortunately, only Thursday so he's heading over here (Napa, where I work) and we're heading to the Napa Buckhorn for tri-tip.

He's been working nights for so long that I'm all befuddled.

But we will definitely hit El Grullense as soon as we can. Tums? Ha! Cast iron bellies here.
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Gary Barlettano » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:32 pm

ChefCarey wrote:You need to get your butt over to the avenues in Oakland - or try Martinez. The best Mexican food I've eaten anywhere (including many places in Mexico and LA) I had in Oakland and Martinez. I had the advantage of being taken to these places by a Chicano television producer.


I kinda live in Martinez and have been in this area for about nine years. In fact, I worked in Oakland for five years before they banished me to my current home office. There are indeed many places to find excellent Mexican and Mexican-styled cuisine ... and some of them even come to you in a truck!
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Gary Barlettano » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:43 pm

Chris wrote:[But we will definitely hit El Grullense as soon as we can. Tums? Ha! Cast iron bellies here.


Well, I haven't been there for a while. My ex, my daughter, and most anyone else I've taken there doesn't seem to want to go back. And it ain't no fun getting heartburn alone!! I would say catch it on the way to Sunvalley Mall.

I used to like Lupe's in Martinez. They had the greatest pozole. But some Greek guy bought it and turned it into Pablo's (I think) and started fusing Mexican and Greek cuisine. His baklava wasn't half bad. Now, it's called the Cinco de Mayo, but I haven't been there to check it out.
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by ChefCarey » Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:08 pm

For those of you who need a little education on Mexican food/cookery let me recommend you go to my old friend Spencer's web site where he has his newsletter archive. He has methods and recipes in this archive. He owns a restaurant in Cabo San Lucas. By day it's Mama's Royal Cafe and at night he changes the name to Felix's.

Here's the url:

http://www.felixcabosanlucas.com/newsarch.html

Those of you who are already savants of Mexican cuisine will probably enjoy it equally. Spencer is an old hippie who is quite irreverent and funny as hell.
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Howard » Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:04 am

To James Roscoe.

OMG ROTFL
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Howard » Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:31 am

TimMc wrote:I'm surprized we've come this far and nobody has mentioned Chicken Mole or Carne Asada.




That's where I was going to go. We don't eat alot of Tex-Mex. For us, Mexican food is Chayote soup, various mole sauces, empanadas, tortas, and of course those wonderful steamed corn and meat tamales.
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Bonnie in Holland

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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Bonnie in Holland » Fri Jul 28, 2006 4:28 pm

You go, girl! Great critique! I learned to eat Mexican food at El Tepeyac (Boyle Heights) and couldn't agree more with all you said. I hope you sent Mr. B an e-mail to set him straight. Dang, though, this whole thread is making me hungry for Mexican food in a big way. Even Taco Bell is sounding good at the moment. Hee hee.
Cheers, Bonnie
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Skye Astara

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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Skye Astara » Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:43 pm

Being that the San Joaquin Valley is far closer to me than is San Diego, it pains me to say that I have sampled but still prefer the San Diego taco shops. Of course, it is what I ate almost to exclusion during my teen years, so I'm biased. Juanita's in Leucadia is the ultimate. You learn to get hungry only at off hours though as there is invariably a line stretching a block or two during lunch. The Roberto's in Mission Beach right by the boardwalk was just about as good. That was before Roberto's and Alberto's became ubiquitous chains.

I too thought it was Saturday, and was about to go get some birria and the best chile relleno I've ever had... my only recourse now is to go buy a living goat and make my own birria. Or I could wait for tomorrow.

Oh, and Gary, thank you for the mention of stale tortillas. I was thinking about that as I was posting. I'm pretty sure that is actually the origin of the dish.

Stuart and Jenise, both of your postings sound delicious. Every time I think I've decided to make something, I keep reading and come across something else that I just have to have. So far, just today, I have decided to make Jacques Torres' chocolate blackout cake with ganache, grilled shrimp, chile verde, enchiladas, about 3 different versions of chilequiles. I'll probably just end up having cheese and crackers. Good thing I have some halfway nice cheeses around.
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TimMc

Re: Mexican food definitions

by TimMc » Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:24 pm

Howard wrote:
TimMc wrote:I'm surprized we've come this far and nobody has mentioned Chicken Mole or Carne Asada.




That's where I was going to go. We don't eat alot of Tex-Mex. For us, Mexican food is Chayote soup, various mole sauces, empanadas, tortas, and of course those wonderful steamed corn and meat tamales.


Now yer talkin'!

This stuff is the real deal, folks....home cooked and tasty :D
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by TimMc » Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:33 pm

Skye Astara wrote:Being that the San Joaquin Valley is far closer to me than is San Diego, it pains me to say that I have sampled but still prefer the San Diego taco shops. Of course, it is what I ate almost to exclusion during my teen years, so I'm biased. Juanita's in Leucadia is the ultimate. You learn to get hungry only at off hours though as there is invariably a line stretching a block or two during lunch. The Roberto's in Mission Beach right by the boardwalk was just about as good. That was before Roberto's and Alberto's became ubiquitous chains.



Skye,

Roberto's is very good....I used to live in SoCal myself back in the day. Have you ever eaten at the fish taco place next to SDSU? I never seem to remember the name of it. When I lived in Hermosa Beach a meal at Burrito Bill's on Pier Ave. would keep you alive for days!

BTW, come a bit further to the South...the Fresno/Visalia areas are just loaded with Ma and Pa Mexican restaurants and taco trucks galore. What we lack in Pacific Ocean ambience is made up for with the sheer weight in numbers of excellent Mexican eateries.

TBH, I'd stack Bobby Salazar, La Taquria, Chappalas, and Colimas against anything SD has to offer. All authentic and all very affordable. :D
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Skye Astara » Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:57 pm

TimMc wrote:the fish taco place next to SDSU?



Hmm, no I don't think so. I was mainly on the coast. Grew up in Carlsbad, hung out with surfers, no life east of I-5 lol.

I have long ago given up the coastal ambience for that of the forest/mountains. I can't take the other things that come along with that ambience- crowds, traffic, smog; plus this area is friendlier to hippie tree hugger types like me.

When the weather cools down I'll have to take a trek down toward Fresno and try your suggestion. I have to admit to a certain unease when it comes to food from trucks. I have never seen such a thing. I am sure that this is unfounded on my part, and if you say that's where to go for the authentic stuff then that's where I'll be!
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by TimMc » Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:21 pm

Skye Astara wrote:
TimMc wrote:the fish taco place next to SDSU?



Skye Astara wrote:Hmm, no I don't think so. I was mainly on the coast. Grew up in Carlsbad, hung out with surfers, no life east of I-5 lol.


We feel the same way about anything South of Bakersfield :wink:

Skye Astara wrote:I have long ago given up the coastal ambience for that of the forest/mountains. I can't take the other things that come along with that ambience- crowds, traffic, smog; plus this area is friendlier to hippie tree hugger types like me.


Must be nice.

Here, in the conservative pit, we Liberal-types suffer mightily.

Skye Astara wrote:When the weather cools down I'll have to take a trek down toward Fresno and try your suggestion. I have to admit to a certain unease when it comes to food from trucks. I have never seen such a thing. I am sure that this is unfounded on my part, and if you say that's where to go for the authentic stuff then that's where I'll be!


The taco trucks follow the same food inspection guidlines as a regular restaurant. Besides, how long would they stay in business if they went about making people sick? OTOH, if the trucks worry you, the Mexican restaurants in this area are in abundance...rivaled only by Italian eateries. Plenty to choose from.

Not a lot to do in these parts, Skye 'sep go out to eat :)
Last edited by TimMc on Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Skye Astara » Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:00 am

TimMc wrote:Not a lot to do in these parts, Skye 'sep go out to eat :)


And cropdust. I'm wearing full hazmat gear when I do venture down there.

I am not actually worried about the trucks, I figured that they were inspected and that there would be no repeat customers if they were all in the ER or dead. It's more the element of the unknown. I have only ever seen food sold out of trucks when it is prepackaged, things like bagels, muffins, etc. Even at that, I've only been in close proximity to them on a couple of occasions.

Or it could be the fact that I've mainly heard them called 'roach coaches' and I have a phobia of cockroaches. Good thing they don't live here.

Either way, if the trucks are the best source of authentic fare, as I said I am there. I'm pretty certain that many of the taco shops that I used to frequent were barely hanging on to their A certification lol.
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Jenise » Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:24 pm

TimMc wrote:I'm surprized we've come this far and nobody has mentioned Chicken Mole or Carne Asada.

BTW....if you want to sample some great Mexican food, the San Joaquin Valley in the heart of California is the place to be. No kidding.


The reason neither dish came up was because Bittman didn't mention them in his article so they didn't need correction. :o Love both dishes though. Oh, want to hear a horror? I ordered a mole up here in what is no doubt this town's most popular Mexican restaurant--and it had been made with Nestle's Quik. It was sweet MILK chocolate, with barely a chile flavor. It was disgusting. I did not take a second bite.

I'll bet you do live in heaven for Mexican food. Hey, speaking of ethnic eating, I worked on a project in the south end of the San Joaquin for awhile and was surprised to find a lot of Basque restaurants in the area.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Jenise » Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:28 pm

Bonnie in Holland wrote:You go, girl! Great critique! I learned to eat Mexican food at El Tepeyac (Boyle Heights) and couldn't agree more with all you said. I hope you sent Mr. B an e-mail to set him straight. Dang, though, this whole thread is making me hungry for Mexican food in a big way. Even Taco Bell is sounding good at the moment. Hee hee.
Cheers, Bonnie


Boyle Heights? Didn't realized you were an ex-Angeleno, Bonnie. My you do get around. Say, how are your plans for getting the Mister to consider a relo to the Pac Northwest coming along?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by TimMc » Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:34 pm

Skye Astara wrote:
TimMc wrote:Not a lot to do in these parts, Skye 'sep go out to eat :)


And cropdust. I'm wearing full hazmat gear when I do venture down there.


Probably a wise move [cough, weeze!] on your part. :)

Skye Astara wrote:I am not actually worried about the trucks, I figured that they were inspected and that there would be no repeat customers if they were all in the ER or dead. It's more the element of the unknown. I have only ever seen food sold out of trucks when it is prepackaged, things like bagels, muffins, etc. Even at that, I've only been in close proximity to them on a couple of occasions.

Or it could be the fact that I've mainly heard them called 'roach coaches' and I have a phobia of cockroaches. Good thing they don't live here.

Either way, if the trucks are the best source of authentic fare, as I said I am there. I'm pretty certain that many of the taco shops that I used to frequent were barely hanging on to their A certification lol.


Fair enough.


TBH, I've heard the same stories about taco trucks...not true. However, you might want to hit the local eateries first. We locals know which trucks [and where to find them] are the best/most authentic.

My advice? Ask around and folks here are more than happy to point out the best places to get a good Mexican meal.
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by TimMc » Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:42 pm

Jenise wrote:
TimMc wrote:I'm surprized we've come this far and nobody has mentioned Chicken Mole or Carne Asada.

BTW....if you want to sample some great Mexican food, the San Joaquin Valley in the heart of California is the place to be. No kidding.


The reason neither dish came up was because Bittman didn't mention them in his article so they didn't need correction. :o Love both dishes though.


Fair enough.

Jenise wrote:Oh, want to hear a horror? I ordered a mole up here in what is no doubt this town's most popular Mexican restaurant--and it had been made with Nestle's Quik. It was sweet MILK chocolate, with barely a chile flavor. It was disgusting. I did not take a second bite.


Nestle's in a mole sauce? Holy smokes, I don't blame you!

Ack! :shock:


Jenise wrote:I'll bet you do live in heaven for Mexican food.


Yes.

Yes I do. :D

Jenise wrote:Hey, speaking of ethnic eating, I worked on a project in the south end of the San Joaquin for awhile and was surprised to find a lot of Basque restaurants in the area.


Fresno has a couple good Basque restaurants near downtown. Los Banos has a very good one as well....or so I am told.

We do great Italian food as well. Like I said, not much to do in these parts [heaviest of sighs].
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Jenise » Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:31 pm

not much to do in these parts [heaviest of sighs].


Gotcha. That two years I spent in Bakersfield (Taft, actually--triple UGH) was the longest decade of my life. And so how come you to be there, may I ask?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Mexican food definitions

by Bonnie in Holland » Sat Jul 29, 2006 6:37 pm

Jenise, I grew up in Orange County (Disneyland). Tepeyac was when I went to college back in the 70's - we'd head west over the San Bernadino Fwy (from Claremont) at sunset. It was so beautiful, heavy sigh. And those were the days before Tepeyac had the parking lot next door and the armed guards...hee hee...but, anyway, I learned to eat there. I do have to say though, if you make it to Amsterdam, there is actually a good Mexican resto there. (The only other one in Europe is in London.) These fellows are from Mexico City and do a great job with the resources they have. I just don't make it there much, being so far away.
Re relocation. I am waiting for the results of the WSET wine theory exam, then have to take the fortified wines exam (yet again) in November. and after all that will hopefully get the WSET Diploma and possibly head back to California or the PNW if all goes well. I would so much like to be back there!
cheers, Bonnie
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