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Chiles en NogadaThis magnificent dish of Stuffed Poblano Chiles in Walnut Sauce, was created in the city of Puebla by the nuns of the Santa Monica Convent in honour of the triumphant arrival of General Agustin de Iturbide, when independence from Spain was finally attained in 1821 after some not so easy negotiations with General Vicente Guerrero who was then at the head of the Insurgentes army.

Agustín de Iturbide

Agustin de Iturbide (1782-1824), a criollo (born in Mexico of Spanish parents), having been fighting for a few years against the rebels of Insurgentes, first against José Maria Morelos y Pavon (another hero of the independence) who was captured and executed at the end of a ferocious battle, and then against General Guerrero.

Several years had passed before Iturbide realized that the royalists would never win this war and as a result, decided to present General Guerrero with a plan (Plan of Iguala) through which an independent Mexico with himself as Emperor, could be established. General Guerrero agreed to meet with him in Acatempan (The Embrace of Acatempan), in order to discuss the plan drawn out by General Iturbide.

The Plan of Iguala (March 1821) became very popular mainly due to the fact that it satisfied both parties, the Insurgentes by implementing Independence from Spain and the Peninsulares (Spaniards living in Mexico) for avoiding attacks on them and their properties.

Ejército Trigarante

On September 17, 1821 (Iturbide’s birthday), he marched triumphantly into Mexico City with his Ejército Trigarante (Army of the Three Guarantees). The following day Mexico was declared an independent empire and General Iturbide was crowned on July 21, 1822. He ruled as Agustin I (1822-1823), over a large territory which was bordered by Panama in the south, and by the Oregon territory in the north, including the present countries of Central America and the U.S. states of California, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. Less than a year later, Agustin de Iturbide was forced to abdicate his reign by a General Santa Ana who announced the birth of a Republic.

During his reign as Emperor of Mexico, he lived in what used to be known as the Palacio de Iturbide now Museo Palacio Cultural Banamex, a true jewel of Baroque architecture with marked Italian influence. This magnificent building was built by the Count of San Mateo Valparaiso as a wedding present for his daughter whose fiancé was of Italian descent. The building is currently a museum that holds the vast Mexican art collection of Banamex (the National Bank of Mexico) and is located in downtown Mexico City, or the Centro Histórico, just a few blocks from the Zócalo and the Cathedral where General Iturbide is buried.

Historic Mexican Flags

During his brief Empire, Iturbide was responsible among other things, for the creation of the modern Mexican flag with its three colours, green, white and red. These colors representing the three guarantees and to honour the legacy of the Aztecs, the emblem of the cactus with the perching eagle.

The decoration of the Stuffed Poblano Chiles in Walnut Sauce (Chiles en Nogada) was clearly a political move. If there is something that gives a unique character to Mexican cuisine in my opinion, is most definitely all its sauces and moles with key ingredients such as peanuts, almonds, walnuts, and of course chiles. In fact, poblano chiles are sometimes identified outside of Mexico as the ‘stuffing’ chile, so the uniqueness of this particular dish is clearly due to its attractive decoration and the history behind it.

In Mexico, this wonderful dish is traditionally served in the fall, when the walnuts for the creamy nogada sauce are harvested in northern Mexico. The combination of the pulled pork, the sweetness of the raisins, almonds and candied fruit, with the spicy heat of the chiles, is bound to conquer refined palates anywhere.

Stuffed Poblano Chiles in Walnut Sauce
Chiles en Nogada
Serves 10

For the filling
1 lb (500 g) pork loin
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup chopped onion
3 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ cup canned tomato sauce
Dash each of cinnamon, cumin, cloves
½ cup chopped cooked ham
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup raisins, soaked in water
½ cup chopped, candied citron or
¼ cup each, peeled and chopped fresh apple, pear, and peach
Dash each of salt, sugar

Cook the pork loin in boiling salted water for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and reserve the broth. When the pork is cool enough to handle, shred it with your fingers and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic and onion until the onion is transparent. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce, and continue cooking for a few minutes longer. Stir in the pork, ½ to 1 cup of the reserved broth, the cinnamon, cumin, cloves, ham, almonds, drained raisins, and citron. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the fruit is tender. Set aside to cool.

For the Sauce
1 slice of bread
½ cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (4 oz/125 g) package cream cheese or
125 g. Mexican Queso Fresco
Dash each of cinnamon, sugar
1 teaspoon dry sherry

Soak the bread in the milk. In a blender or food processor, half an hour before serving the chiles, blend the walnuts with the cheese, soaked bread, sherry, cinnamon and sugar. The nogada sauce should be thick. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

For the chiles
10 small Poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 to 2 pomegranate(s) or
1 (2 oz/60 g) jar red pimientos
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Fill each chile with a spoonful of the pork mixture and carefully place each stuffed chile on a serving platter. Cover the chiles with the nogada sauce and garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley.

Serve this festive dish at room temperature with good French bread on the side and celebrate the Mexican Independence.

Note: In later years, cooks wanting a smoother creamy sauce for the nogada, introduced cream cheese, but the original recipe called for queso fresco (fresh cheese), which fortunately, is now available anywhere in English North America where Mexican products are sold.


VIDEO: Chiles en Nogada with the World’s Premier Culinary College

Credit: Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio, Texas

Here is another colourful dish that can be served as an appetizer with small corn tortillas or as a salad.

Nopalitos Salad

ENSALADA DE NOPALES (Cactus Leaves Salad)
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

4-6 cactus leaves/pads, fresh or
1 (825g) jar Nopalitos or Tender Cactus,*
1 tsp. salt
4-6 tbsp. finely chopped onion
2-4 Serrano chiles, chopped
4 sprigs fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt & pepper
1 large fresh tomato, sliced
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

Peel cactus leaves and remove thorns, if any. Wash with running water and slice into strips. Transfer cactus strips to a dry saucepan and cook at very low temperature stirring occasionally, for approximately 6 to 8 minutes or until the sap is gone completely and nopalitos are tender. Depending on the altitude, they might need to be cooked in water beforehand. Drain and cool.

In a salad bowl, mix nopales with the onion, chile, cilantro, oregano and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top salad with the tomato slices and the cheese.

Serve with warm tortillas.

*Cooked nopalitos would still need to be placed on a dry saucepan for a few minutes to remove the sap completely. I recommend La Costeña brand.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little more on history of Mexico, the history of the Mexican Independence, Chiles en Nogada, and a simple but delicious Nopalitos Salad recipe. Please comment below your thoughts, and what you’d like me to write about if you have any suggestions. I’d love to hear them!

Mexican Culinary Treasures: Recipes From Maria Elena's Kitchen

Mexican Culinary Treasures: Recipes From Maria Elena's Kitchen

Maria Elena Cuervo-Lorens is the author of Mexican Culinary Treasures cookbook. She takes you back to her childhood, spent around her grandmother’s table on a shopping expedition with her mother to Mercado La Merced, and for a merienda (snack) of café con leche and bizcochos (Mexican sweet rolls) at a bakery in downtown Mexico City. The authentic Mexican recipes she shares with us include tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas. The nouvelle cuisine of cosmopolitan Mexico City, such as cuitlacoche (huitlacohe) crepes, oysters with chipotle chile.

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Memorial Day is a holiday in which we remember all those who gave their lives while serving in the US Armed Forces. MexGrocer loves and appreciates our military customers. We have been sending orders all over the globe, even to submarines for over 12 years. We have many stories we could share about these orders. Thank you to all these great people who protect our country.

Let the SUMMER begin!

Memorial day also marks the start of the summer vacation season. What best to kick off one of our favorite seasons that with Margaritas. The margarita is one of the world’s great cocktails: smooth and tangy-sweet, it goes down easily and tastes like more.

HIBISCUS MARGARITA

Hibiscus Margaritas (Photo by Sara Remington)

Yes! Margaritas!
This Hibiscus Margarita is made with a gorgeous fuschia-colored infusion of dried hibiscus, also known as flor de jamaica (pronounced ham-í-ka). Hibiscus has a sweet-tart taste that blends deliciously with a good, smooth tequila and a hint of cinnamon sugar. The syrup is also delicious as an agua fresca, poured over ice and topped off with sparkling or still water and a squeeze of lime. The infusion is rich in Vitamin C and flavonoids, a great nutritional bonus while you enjoy your margarita.

HIBISCUS MARGARITA
Adapted from Amor y Tacos by Deborah M. Schneider
Makes 1 margarita.

Chef Deborah Schneider Cookbooks1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Lime wedge
1 cup ice
4 ounces Hibiscus Syrup (recipe follows)
1 ½ ounces 100% agave blanco tequila
1 ounce sparkling water
Lime wedge or cinnamon stick

Combine sugar and cinnamon on a small plate. Rub rim of glass with lime wedge. Dip the rim of the glass in the cinnamon sugar and shake off excess.

Fill a 12-ounce glass with ice and pour over the tequila, hibiscus syrup and top up with sparkling water. Stir carefully. Squeeze the lime on top of the drink and discard it. Garnish with a fresh wedge of lime, or a cinnamon stick.

Variation:
Chill a 7-ounce martini glass, and prepare the rim as described above. In a shaker jar combine ice, hibiscus syrup and tequila, along with 1 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier. Shake well for 15 seconds and strain into the glass. Garnish with a thin slice of lime.

HIBISCUS SYRUP
Use as a base for drinks, or freeze into a delicious sorbet.
4 cups water
2 cups white sugar
2 cups dried hibiscus flower (flor de jamaica)

Combine all ingredients and simmer over low heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring often. Cook at a slow simmer for 30 minutes. Let stand 2 hours (or as long as overnight) and strain, pressing down on the flowers. Keeps indefinitely refrigerated.

About the Author:

Chef Deborah Schneider

Chef Deborah Schneider is the executive chef and partner at SOL Cocina in Newport Beach, California and Scottsdale, Arizona. She lives in San Diego with her family, married a surfer, and began exploring nearby Baja where she found her love for Mexican food. She worked her way up through the professional kitchen brigade, eventually leading some of San Diego’s finest kitchens and receiving her Certified Executive Chef designation from the American Culinary Federation in 2001. Chef Deb has been with MexGrocer.com since April 2012.

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Zucchini Flowers (Photo by Vladimix)

In many parts of the world, including the United States, Mother’s Day is celebrated the second Sunday of May. In Mexico, since 1922, May 10 was declared as a special day to celebrate Mothers. From this date, all day on May tenth, no matter what day of the week it is celebrated on, it’s MOTHER’S DAY . This tradition has become one of Mexico’s most celebrated holidays, where Mexican families meet to celebrate their mothers. Mother’s Day is perhaps the most important Mexican holiday for tasting the typical dishes of Mexican food.

In the United States celebrates Mother’s Day the 2nd Sunday of the Month of May. This tradition dates back to 1907 when Anna Jarvis began campaigning for recognition of this day as Mother’s Day at a national level, in memory of the second anniversary of the death of her mother. The first proclamation to celebrate Mother’s Day “the second Sunday in May” was given by the government of West Virginia in 1910 and was in 1911 when it began to date more popular and spread to the other states of the United States.

In Mexico, all Moms with their children, grandchildren and other in-laws, so that also becomes the day to celebrate grandmothers, daughters, daughters-in, sisters and all those women with a family who have had offspring. And, of course always celebrated and most importantly to the largest of the Mothers of Mexico: the Virgin of Guadalupe is remembered with prayers to all the Moms that are no longer are present.

From MexGrocer.com to all mothers out there, we wish you the greatest day: Happy Mother’s Day!

Zucchini Flower Soup (Sopa de Flor de Calabaza)
8 Servings, Preparation time: 25 minutes
by Jenifer Hernandez

Zucchini Flower Soup (Flor de Calabaza)

Zucchini Flower Soup

1 can of Zucchini Flowers (15 ounces in drained weight)
4.25 cups of chicken broth
1 bar of cream cheese (8oz)
1/4 onion finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1) Strain the zucchini flower and blend with the cream cheese and half of the chicken broth (2 cups).
2) Fry the chopped onion in a pan with butter until translucent.
3) Mix blend and onion in a pot and bring to a boil.
4) Add salt and pepper to taste.
5) Add the remaining chicken broth as needed for consistency during boil.

Enjoy your delicious zucchini flower soup.

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Cinco de Mayo Folk Dancing

Cinco de Mayo Folk Dancing

Few people in English North America are aware that the celebration of CINCO de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla against the French, and not the Mexican Independence from Spain.  Although a celebration in its own right, it is definitely not as important for Mexicans as the celebration of Las Fiestas Patrias in September.

Some of you might be wondering how the French came to invade Mexico and how, in just a few years, left their mark in our cuisine.  It is always a surprise when in my cooking classes, I sometimes include crepes as part of the menu.  It is hard to associate the very French crepes with Mexican food, until I mention that I grew up having savory or sweet crepes as part of our meals.

It all began with napoleon III, Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew who as soon as he was settled in his role as Emperor of France, began to dream about creating an empire in Mexico.  That exotic and far away country seemed like the perfect place to appoint a catholic European prince.

In Europe at the time, according to many Mexicans living there in exile, the current Mexican government had not been functioning well as a republic, proof of which was the civil war that had devastated Mexico for almost 40 years.  In their mind Mexico needed a change and a monarchy appeared to be the perfect solution to end the war.  After all, Spain had ruled Mexico for more than 300 years.

It was not only the French who had their eyes set in Mexico, but the English and the Spaniards as well.  They all  had their own reasons to invade Mexico and in January of 1862, the first naval squadron landed in the port of Veracruz, only to find the Spanish flag in the fortress of San Juan de Ulúa.

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoleon III)

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoleon III)

Meanwhile back in France, it was not very difficult for Napoleon III to find a suitable regent for the soon to be conquered Mexico.  Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg, the younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, whom simply seemed to be a liability to his brother and did not have an appropriate position in the courts, was the perfect candidate.

The Archduke Maximilian was married to Charlotte, daughter of King Leopold of Belgium who had her own dreams of becoming an empress herself.  Their idle life in the castle of Miramar had become boring and they both began to entertain the idea of ruling a country, far away from the intrigues of the European courts.

Soon after, Spain realized that her hopes of recovering their former colony was starting to vanish pretty quickly, and the English who were merely trying to collect a debt, had lost interest as well.  The French army was at this point, free to invade Mexico, but as soon as they started to trek into the hills, the tropical climate of the state of Veracruz began claiming the lives of the soldiers.  The beautiful city of Orizaba, a beautiful hill town between Veracruz and Mexico City, with its coffee plantations, tropical gardens and the majestic Pico de Orizaba, proved to be a most welcome sight.  However, along with the warm climate came malaria and other illnesses that were not part of their master plan.

Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo

Nevertheless, the army continued its incursion into Mexican soil, arriving at the city of Puebla where each church had become a fort and where more that 4,000 Mexicans in shabby uniforms fighting with obsolete guns, defeated the finest European soldiers on the famous battle of CINCO de Mayo, 1862.  Unfortunately, this glorious moment was short lived, and the French army continued towards Mexico City where President Juárez had already fled the capital.

The French army commanded by General Achilles Bazaine entered Mexico City on June 7, 1863.  By this time the people were tired of the uncertainty prevalent in those days and welcomed the French troops with marked enthusiasm.  Soon after, in August of 1863, the Mexicans accepted an empire, and the following year Maximilian and Charlotte landed in Veracruz in May of 1864.  Maximilian and his 23 year old wife Charlotte ruled Mexico until February of 1867, when Maximilian fled the capital for Querétaro, and was later executed as a foreign usurper, on June 19, 1867.

The events that led to this tragic moment in the history of Mexico are too long to tell in this article and should be told in greater detail. 

 The French intervention had a strong influence on everyday life.   It created a new and enriched cuisine, especially in the capital of the country.  Many years passed before people went back to serving indigenous ingredients such as the very Mexican nopalitos (cactus pads).  This cactus leaf is nothing short of a miracle plant, as nutritionists and scientists have since discovered astounding characteristics in this unpretentious vegetable.  Extensively and imaginatively used in prehispanic and contemporary Mexican cuisine, there are now more than 150 different ways of cooking nopalitos.  Please see the recipe below for a delicious

Cactus Pad Soup or Sopa de Nopalitos

2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded

1/4 medium onion chopped

2 large cloves garlic, peeled

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 tbsp. chicken bouillon mix

Two – 15 oz Tender Cactus Nopales jars

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles,

1 tsp. chipotle adobo

1 cup cubed Oaxaca or Monterey Jack cheese

In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and process until puréed.  In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the tomato mixture, tomato sauce, and chicken boullion.  Bring the sauce to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly.

Add the broth to the tomato sauce and correct seasoning.  Add the cactus pads, corn kernels, chipotle chiles, and the adobo. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, and serve hot with the cubed cheese.

Mexican Culinary Treasures: Recipes From Maria Elena's Kitchen

Mexican Culinary Treasures: Recipes From Maria Elena's Kitchen

Maria Elena Cuervo-Lorens is the author of Mexican Culinary Treasures cookbook. She takes you back to her childhood, spent around her grandmother’s table on a shopping expedition with her mother to Mercado La Merced, and for a merienda (snack) of café con leche and biscochos (Mexican sweet rolls) at a bakery in downtown Mexico City. The authentic Mexican recipes she shares with us include tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas. The nouvelle cuisine of cosmopolitan Mexico City, such as cuitlacoche (huitlacohe) crepes, oysters with chipotle chile,

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Pozole comes in Red, White and Green.

Pozole, a heartening soup and a favorite dish for people coming out late in the evening from the theater or a nightclub or, better, to cure a terrible hangover, originated in the state of Jalisco, where they use pork instead of chicken. Here’s a little more history:

  • Background: Pre-Hispanic origin, prepared with cacahuazintle corn, pork meat, chicken and/or shrimp. Serves with vegetables, or you can make an all vegetarian version by excluding protein.
  • Red Pozole: Is typical of Sinaloa and Jalisco, usually prepared with chile guajillo salsa.
  • White Pozole: Is more popular in Central Mexico.
  • Green Pozole: Originates in the state of Guerrero, where it’s color comes from a tomatillo salsa. In some regions they add sardines, egg and chicharron.

The spicy combination of the ancho and guajillo chiles with the tomato, oregano, and cloves turns an ordinary chicken broth into the most flavorful broth for the hominy corn.

Pozole is really what we call a plato fuerte or main dish, when served with lots of chicken and all its trimmings. This recipe can be found on pg. 69 of Mexican Culinary Treasures.

RED POZOLE WITH CHICKEN
Pozole Rojo

1 whole chicken breast
1 chicken backbone
2 chicken wings
3 dried Guajillo chiles
2 dried Ancho chiles
2 large tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
½ tsp. oregano
½ cup tomato sauce
1 tsp. vegetable oil
4 to 5 chicken cups chicken broth
2 (900 g) cans hominy corn*, drained
Salt
6-8 corn tortillas, fried until crisp (tostadas)
Garnishes:
Chopped radishes, finely chopped lettuce, finely chopped onion, avocado slices, ground piquín chile, and quartered limes.

In 6 cups of salted boiling water, cook the chicken breast and backbone for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken breast is tender. Reserving the broth, drain, remove the skin and bone, and shred the chicken breast with your fingers. Set aside, discarding the backbone and the wings.

While the chicken is cooking, stem the chiles, shake out the seeds, and wash them under running water. Soak the chiles in 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth for about 15 minutes, or until soft. Transfer the chiles with the soaking liquid to a blender and process with the tomatoes, garlic, onion and oregano until puréed.

In a soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat and fry the chile mixture for 3 to 4 minutes before adding the tomato sauce, the remaining chicken broth, hominy corn, salt to taste, and the shredded chicken. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes longer to allow the flavours to mix.

Divide the pozole between soup bowls and serve hot, with the tostadas. Let everyone add their choice of garnish to their own bowl.

Mexican Culinary Treasures: Recipes From Maria Elena's Kitchen

Mexican Culinary Treasures: Recipes From Maria Elena's Kitchen

Maria Elena Cuervo-Lorens is the author of Mexican Culinary Treasures cookbook. She takes you back to her childhood, spent around her grandmother’s table on a shopping expedition with her mother to Mercado La Merced, and for a merienda (snack) of café con leche and biscochos (Mexican sweet rolls) at a bakery in downtown Mexico City. The authentic Mexican recipes she shares with us include tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas. The nouvelle cuisine of cosmopolitan Mexico City, such as cuitlacoche (huitlacohe) crepes, oysters with chipotle chile.

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Mexican Candy & Snacks Buffet

Whether you’re celebrating a party or a get together to watch your favorite game on TV, we bring you a new concept of creating the Ultimate Mexican Candy and Snacks Buffet for your guests.

A buffet as it’s defined, is “a system of serving meals in which food is placed in a public area where the diners generally serve themselves. It is a popular method for feeding a large number of people with minimal staff.” Okay, so that’s what it means, but can you WOW! your guests? That’s what I’m positive you’re looking for. Traditionally, we think of buffets for a complete meal or for desserts, but what about the goodies, fruits and snacks with a Mexican flair. Your guests will love this! Check out the video on how we have our setup:

As you will notice, we have chosen a variety of mexican candy, fruits, snacks and chips (most of which you can find on our store if you need them delivered right to your home). Below is a list of the items, but you’re always welcome to choose whatever you like. Make them sweet, make them sour, make them crunch or spicy hot, make them healthy concious, make them colorful, make them simple. It’s real Mexican, real simple and really good.

Below is another picture for the layout of your buffet counter:

Mexican Candy & Snacks Buffet Layout

Enjoy! And please share with us in the comment below what your ultimate Mexican candy and Snacks buffet would have for your favorite guests.

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Consumers seeking for "authenticity" in Mexican dining.
Special Article Contribution by Kathleen Furore

The new Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trends Report from Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based market research firm, was full of interesting information about consumers’ preferences in ethnic cuisine. The finding that most intrigued me: only about one-fourth of people polled are satisfied with restaurants’ selection of ethnic foods. That included just 23 percent of consumers speaking about limited-service chains and 28 percent about full-service brands.

If those consumers are unhappy with selections of Mexican food specifically I have to admit I’m a bit surprised, considering how significantly Mexican food has evolved since I started covering the industry in 1997—the year el Restaurante Mexicano magazine debuted.

Consumers responding to the Technomic survey said they want more “authenticity” in the ethnic cuisine they’re consuming. And that is exactly what Mexican restaurants today are striving to provide. From taquerias and food trucks to fast food chains and sit-down family restaurants to fine dining chains and single-unit independents alike, chefs are reaching beyond the nachos, ground beef tacos and melted cheese-drenched enchiladas that once prevailed on U.S. Mexican menus.

Examples of the authentic food these establishments are serving:

Puesto Mexican Street FoodTaco stand/fast-casual eatery: At Puesto Mexican Street Food, a restaurant in La Jolla, Calif., that is modeled after a Mexico City taco stand, customers enjoy homemade salsas prepared fresh daily and tortillas made on-site from stone ground maize. The menu focuses on guisados (grilled foods) that include fish, shrimp, chicken al pastor, carne asada and gourmet Mexican vegetarian items like zucchini flower, corn truffle and soy chorizo potatoes.

Rubios Mexican Fast FoodFast food chain: Rubios, famous for its fish tacos, features a Mango Habanero Pacific Mahi Mahi taco. The fish is seasoned in olive oil and garlic or house blackened, then grilled on an authentic comal and topped with mango pineapple salsa, a smoky red chile sauce made with guajillo, ancho and red jalapeño chiles, crema and serrano cabbage slaw.

Rosa MexicanoFine dining chain: Rosa Mexicano debuted in New York City in 1984. Back then New York Magazine applauded the restaurant for introducing New Yorkers to a “hitherto unfamiliar, elevated version of Mexican cuisine.” Today, Rosa Mexicano serves “contemporary Mexican cuisine rooted in authentic flavors utilizing socially responsible ingredients combined with stylish spaces and festive atmosphere” at its 15 locations (with one scheduled to open in San Francisco soon). Upscale menu items include ceviches such as Camarones (Rock Shrimp) with sweet mango, pineapple, heirloom tomato, mint, toasted pumpkin seeds and chile pasilla-avocado sauce; Tablones (Tequila Braised Short Ribs) with Mestiza sauce (tomatillo-tomato-chipotle) and rajas (slow-cooked Mexican peppers); and the Cochinita Pibil (Yucatan Baked Pork Shoulder) that has been on the menu since 1984.

Babita MexicuisineFine dining, single-unit independent: Babita Mexicuisine, owned and operated by Chef Roberto Berrelleza, specializes in the kind of gourmet Mexican fare often found in Mexico City. Popular dishes at this San Gabriel, Calif., restaurant include Chiles en Nogada, Lamb Shank Mixiote and the classic Chile Relleno Oaxaqueno along with unique culinary creations such as the award-winning Shrimp “Topolobampo” in a super hot habanero, mustard, tomato and white wine sauce and the Chicken and Shrimp “Elba” sautéed in tequila, banana-chipotle sauce and served over chayote gratin. Chef Roberto prepares every dish, using such unique ingredients as zucchini blossoms, cuitlacoche, prickly pear and guamuchil.

Those are just a few of myriad restaurants answering consumers’ calls for authentic ethnic cuisine. Based on my experience covering the food and beverage industry—and on the fact that the Mexican restaurant segment is experiencing higher growth rates than the industry overall—I am confident chefs will continue to innovate as Mexican cuisine in the U.S. continues to evolve.

See Related Articles:
Restaurant Reviews: Xoco (by Rick Bayless) in Chicago, IL

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I discovered Cherimoya (Chair-ee-moya) one day as I was looking at a list of fruit in season. Recognizing every fruit listed but this one, of course, my interest was sparked to do some research. Finding an article that called this the “Ice Cream Fruit” drew me in further. The fruit looks like a cross-pollination between an artichoke and an avocado… oval,  with a smooth or slightly tuberculated skin. The fruit flesh is white and creamy, and has numerous dark brown seeds embedded in it.  According to one article, “Some characterize the flavor as a blend of banana, pineapple, papaya, peach, and strawberry. Others describe it as tasting like commercial bubblegum. ” which is probably the reason why Mark Twain called the cherimoya “the most delicious fruit known to men.”

Unfortunately, you won’t find this treasure on the shelf of your local Whole Foods Market. Though grown throughout Central and North America (even making it up to growers in California), the soft skin and short season of this fruit makes it hard to produce commercially. After doing a little search for it myself, I found it online for $15 a fruit! Despite it’s rarity, the cherimoya’s popularity in the U.S. and Mexico is growing. There’s even a Cherimoya Fair held in Irvine, Ca (and a website dedicated to the fruit, too: cherimoya.com).

And it’s no wonder, though the flavor could sell itself, the cherimoya has multiple health benefits too.

  • “100 g of fresh fruit pulp provide about 75 calories. It contains, however, no saturated fats or cholesterol. It characteristically contains a good amount of dietary fiber (3 g per100 g) that helps prevent absorption of cholesterol in the gut.
  • Cherimoya contains several poly-phenolic antioxidants. Among them, the most prominent in annona family fruits are Annonaceous acetogenins. Acetogenin compounds such as asimicin, bullatacinare…etc are powerful cytotoxins and have been found to have anti-cancer, anti-malarial, and anti-helminthes properties.
  • It is very good in vitamin-C.
  • In addition, cherimoya fruit is a good source of B-complex vitamins, especially vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine). 100 g fresh fruit provides 0.257 mg or 20% of daily-recommended levels. Pyridoxine helps keep-up GABA neuro chemical in the brain. High GABA levels calm down nervous irritability, tension, and headache ailments.Further, it has a well balanced sodium-potassium ratio. A good potassium level in the body helps control heart rate and blood pressure; thus, counters the bad influences of sodium. It also contains more minerals weight per weight than many common fruits like apples, rich in copper, magnesium, iron and manganese.”

    I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed. Looks like I’ll be ordering some cherimoya very soon.

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    En un cacerola derrita la inercia, la amargura y el tedio. Unte bien con mucha risa, especialmente sobre las propias tragedias. En bol aparte, pele y corte en tiras la ansiedad, pique fino el egoísmo. Ponga en remojo el yo hasta que se macere, pero cuide de no derretirlo enteramente.
    El rencor (que es furia rancia) aplástelo contra una tabla, troce el reproche y la envidia. Tire a la basura el pellejo, la pereza para pensar, la vanidad de no cometer errores y la cobardía de no admitirlos. Deje largo rato bajo la canilla, hasta que se vayan por el sumidero, el remordimiento por el pasado, la culpabilidad por el presente y el miedo por el futuro. Amase todo con ternura, sin ahorrar algún gramo de locura.
    No se preocupe si tarda en ablandarse: la impaciencia no es compatible con la ternura. Sazone con la defensa de algún derecho, propio, y sobre todo ajeno. Cocine al fuego lento de la pasión, pero vigile que no se queme. Para decorar, use armonía con la existencia y distribuya en la fuente combinando imaginación y lucidez. Deje reposar dos horas (o veinte años) y sirvalo con mucho amor.

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    Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe es una de las grandes milagrosas aparaciones de la tan renombrada por la religión Católica Romana “Virgen María”. El 9 de Diciembre de 1531 cuenta la historia que un indio llamado Juan Diego mientras caminaba hacia la Ciudad de México vió en el Monte Tepeyac la visión de una niña de aproximadamente 15  o 16 años de edad. Cuando el Indio se acercó afirmó que era La Virgen de Guadalupe la que se encontraba ahí. La Virgen en el lenguaje natal Náhuatl le dijo a Juan Diego que una iglesia debía ser edificada sobre el suelo que pisaban. Inmediatamente el Indio fué a comunicarle al Fray Juan De Zumárraga. El Fray  no le creyó al instante y le pidió que confirmara que en realidad era La Virgen la que le había hablado. Cuando el Fray y el Indio regresaron al Monte Tepeyac La Virgen estaba ahí y les pidio que reunieran flores, un estilo de flor muy peculiar que en ésa época no se encontraba en La Ciudad de México. El Indio tomó su manto y La Virgen reunion las flores. Juan Diego con las flores en el manto lo tomó y las flores cayeron. El día 12 de Diciembre el Indio y el Fray presenciaron la aparición de la Virgen de Guadalupe sobre el manto de el Indio Juan Diego. Milagrosamente al despejar las flores de el manto apareció la famosa imagen sobre el manto, manto que se encuentra en la Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en la famosa Ciudad de México.

    El pueblo Mexicano y sudamericano celebra el 12 de Diciembre la conmemoración y adoración a la Virgen de Guadalupe. Las celebraciones consisten en miles de peregrinaciones desde diferentes estados de la República Mexicana y Centroamérica hacia la Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

    En México La Virgen es el ícono más fuerte y más reconocido por la Religión Católica. El 12 de Diciembre se celebra el día de la “Patrona de México” La Virgen de Guadalupe.

    Imagen de Sumandoluz.com

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