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Queso!

by MexGrocer Staff Writer on October 3, 2012 · 0 comments

Cheese. It’s one of my favorite ingredients to add to recipe because it can add a superb texture and flavor to the recipe that nothing else can. But if you’re like me, an amateur cheese connoisseur, it gets confusing sometimes when it comes to picking out the right cheese. I’m not as familiar with the nuances from different types of cheese – something that I’m always eager to learn about!
First off, there’s soft cheese, a category where a lot of the creamier quesos fall in to:
Queso Panela
This queso is a soft, white cheese that is drained in baskets (a process adapted from the Greek’s). It easily absorbs flavors and is best eaten fresh. It serves as a great topping shredded, or as part of an appetizer.
Queso Blanco
Described as a combination between cottage cheese and mozzarella, this moist, crumbly cheese becomes creamy when it is heated. The cheese is very versatile and is a good choice for stuffing, or eaten fried.
Queso Fresco
As it’s name translates, this “fresh cheese” is a crumbly mix of cow’s milk and goat’s milk. Mildly acidic in taste, Queso Fresco is probably the most common queso to crumble over  tacos or botanas.
Requeson
Described as the “Hispanic Ricotta”. This queso is lower in fat, and works well on salads and in desserts.
Soft And Semi-Soft Cheese: This category of cheese is one of the more popular of the three, because these cheeses really have a presence in Mexican cuisine. These quesos can be melting or crumbled, or if you’re really adventurous, eaten separately.
Anejo
Anejo cheese is an aged queso that is dry and gratable. With it’s zesty flavor, it’s a perfect condiment for tacos and salads, or used as a garnish over an entrée.
Asadero
Similar to Fontina or Monterrey Jack cheese, Asadero is a mild, chewy cheese that adapts well and is great for melting. Traditionally, Asadero fills chiles rellenos  and is the main queso in chile con queso.
Chihuahua
Brought to Mexico from the Mennonites, Queso Chihuahua is a pale yellow queso that’s very similar to mild cheddar but tastes like sharp when it is aged. Chihuahua cheese is great in a Mexican fondue called Queso Fundido.
Oaxaca
Queso Oaxaca is the most popular cheese for quesadillas, and tastes similar to Mozzarella. It is a curd cheese that is stretched into long ribbons that are then rolled up to form a ball. The balls of cheese can be used shredded for toppings, and also works melted on cooked food.
Semi-Hard And Hard Cheeses: This category of cheese is best for grating, or melting into a thick, fondue-like sauce.
Cotija
Cotija is a dry crumbly cheese similar to Parmesan. Both the fresh, and the aged versions are used crumbled or grated over beans and salad dishes.
Enchilado
Queso Enchilado is Cotija Anejo coated with chile that’s ideal in dishes for the spicy flavor as well as for color.
Manchego
This queso is a sheep’s milk cheese that adds a nice salty, nutty flavor. It’s perfect shaved over side dishes.

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Molcajete y Tejolote

A Molcajete is a stone mortar used mostly to grind chiles for salsa. Originated in the state of Oaxaca. Molcajetes come in different shapes, one very popular in central Mexico is the Pig Molcajete.

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In Mexico, September 16th is celebrated as the date of Mexico’s Independence from Spain. Late in the eighteenth century, the middle and upper classes in Mexico began to question the structure of their society. Influenced by the revolutions in the United States and France, they too decided they wanted freedom of speech, a representative government, and a restriction of the over bearing power of the Catholic Church. They determined that the only way to reform their society would be to gain independence from the Spanish, whom they felt had oppressed them for over 300 years. (Cinco de Mayo or May 5th, is when Mexico won a battle against the French in the city of Puebla, Mexico in 1862.)

In late hours of September 15, 1810, Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest in the town of Dolores, Guanajuato, led his people in rebellion against the Spanish. He rang the church bells, calling the Indians and Mestizos (those of mixed Spanish and Indian blood) to mass. He exhorted them to rebel against the Spaniards with cries of, “¡Viva México!” “¡Viva la independencia! (“Long live Mexico! Long live our independence!”), which is the now-famous “Grito de Dolores,” or cry of Dolores. Hidalgo then ordered the arrest of the town’s Spaniard population. With clubs, slings, axes, knives, machetes and intense hatred, the Indians took up his challenge.

The people’s army marched to Mexico City, fighting all the way. When they finally reached the capital, they hesitated, and many soldiers deserted. Before the year was over, Father Hidalgo was captured and executed. His army fought on, however, and his “Grito de Dolores” became the battle cry of the war. The bloody fighting raged on until 1821, when Mexico finally succeeded in winning its independence from Spain.

Every year, on September 15th, the Zócalo, or main square in Mexico City is decorated with flags, flowers and lights of green, white, and red. People sell confetti, whistles, horns, paper-machie helmets, and toys in the colors of green, white and red. Street vendors sell all their favorite foods. At 11:00 p.m. the crowd becomes silent, as the president of Mexico steps out on the palace balcony, and rings the historic bell that Father Hidalgo rang to call the people. Then the president gives the Grito de Dolores. He shouts “¡Viva Mexico!” and “¡Viva la independencia!” and the crowd roars the words back at him. Fiestas celebrating independence take place that night and the next day-throughout Mexico. The air is filled with confetti and streamers. The 16th is a fiesta day-full of music, bullfights, rodeos, parades, more fireworks and plenty of dancing, food and drink.

Authentic Mexican recipes to help you celebrate Mexican Independence Day:
Queso Fundido (Mexican Cheese Fondue)

This delicious fondue takes only about 20 minutes to make. It serves six and can be served on tortillas or scooped up with chips.

1 lb Mexican queso “Cacique” or “El Mexicano” or any other queso blanco (light white cheese), cut into small chunks
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 4 limes, or ¼ cup lime juice
6 to 8 drops of a Mexican Hot Sauce, or other hot pepper sauce

Slowly melt cheese in a medium saucepan over flow heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon. When almost melted, add the garlic, lime, and the hot sauce, and heat through. Serve immediately with tortillas or chips.

Birria de Borrego (Spiced Roasted Lamb)

You will love this one! While this Mexican delight takes nearly three hours to make, it will serve six to eight people, depending on their appetites.

2 pound lamb roast, boned
6 dried ancho chiles
chiles negros
3
Guajillo chiles
1 cup water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp ground cinammon
1 teaspoon ground oregano
bay leaves
¼ tsp thyme
2 tsp cider or wine vinegar
3/4 tbsp water
Salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
tortillas
Salsa Verde

In Dutch oven, place lamb and cover with one (or a bit more) cups of water. Add garlic, pepper, cinnamon, oregano, bay leaves and vinegar. Bring to boil and let simmer for two hours, or until meat comes easily off the bone. Remove from heat. Cut into bite-sized chunks, or shred. Add salt to taste.

In medium saucepan, bring water to boil. Remove stems and most of seeds from the chiles. Put into water and boil for about two minutes, or until slightly tender. Drain and set aside. Mix chiles into lamb. Heat until warm and serve with piping hot tortillas and plenty of salsa verde.

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El 16 de Septiembre de 1810 fue el día en el que se consumó la independencia de México, la cual puso final al dominio Español. A consecuencia de éste acto que desencadenó una gran pasión mexicana se celebra la noche de el 15 de Septiembre el famoso “Grito de Independencia”. Esta celebración por lo general viene acompañana de un grande festejo entre los estados Mexicanos. La fiesta consiste en el establecimiento de las “Fiestas Patrias” las cuales son constituídas por juegos mecánicos, comidas típicas mexicanas, grupos musicales y presentaciones folklóricas.

El “Grito de Dolores” según la tradición mexicana es un llamado que el cura Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla dio la noche del 15 de Septiembre. A lado de el cura Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla venia el Capitán de el Ejército Realista Mexicano Ignacio Allende y el Insurgente Mexicano partícipe en el proceso de independencia Juan Aldama. El “Grito” consistió en tocar las campanas de la parroquia de Dolores ubicada en el estado de Guanajuato proclamando  el inicio de la guerra de Independencia. La tradición consiste en tocar las campanas de dicha parroquia mencionando o proclamando las siguientes frases:

¡Mexicanos!

¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron Patria!

¡Viva Hidalgo!

¡Viva Morelos!

¡Viva Josefa Ortíz de Domínguez!

¡Viva Allende!

¡Viva Aldama y Matamoros!

¡Viva la Independencia Nacional!

¡Viva México! Viva México! Viva México!

Toca la campana y ondea la bandera Mexicana.

El pueblo entusiasta responde con gran pasión “Viva Mexico!” y celebra con fiestas y cantos mexicanos. Es la tradición más pasional que tiene México.  Cada estado de la República Mexicana tiene sus respectivos y muy esperados festejos. Esta fecha conmemora el esfuerzo de el pueblo mexicano contra la conquista Española. Es asi como la celebración se lleva a cabo. !Esperemos con mucho orgullo nuestro 16 de Septiembre en este 2012! ¡Viva México!

http://lemusoft.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/mexico-2.jpg

wikipedia.org

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Ever wonder how Mexican cuisine features in a foreign culture such as….say, Japan?

During my brief stint in Tokyo, I was craving a taste of my favorite cuisine from home.

I looked up local mexican restaurants in my Lonely Planet guide, and out of the two (more than I thought there’d be!) listed, I chose the restaurant with this colorful review:

You’d be forgiven for thinking you were eating Tex-Mex somewhere in America after walking into this cavernous Ebisu institution. Although the jumbo margaritas, enormous bowls of nachos and sizzling hotplates of fajitas are reason enough to stop by, there’s something endearing about Japanese waiting staff in cowboy boots and hats.”

Waiters in cowboy hats? Sounds fun.

First step into the restaurant and you feel like you’ve stepped into a strange Spaghetti Western. The decor was pretty impressive, with tall, antler decorated (I think those were antlers) chandeliers and rustic wood railing everywhere.

The menu was eclectic. Beef Jambalaya, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Enchiladas, Taco Rice. I’m not sure when Beef Jambalaya counted as Tex-Mex food, but okay.

I ordered the enchiladas, and some “Fresh Guacamole” as a starter. The guacamole came, and surprisingly, it was decent. The enchiladas would not have passed muster back in San Diego, but after having no Mexican food for the past two months of travel, they hit the spot.

To wrap it up–my experience with Mexican Food in Japan hits along the lines of the conclusions drawn by the article below:

”  1. It’s expensive
Even if it weren’t for the awful dollar-to-yen exchange rate, Japan is expensive. So, it’s not surprising that a cuisine as rare as Mexican would be super-expensive, though the price tag was still a shock given Gustavo’s no-true-taco-should-cost-more-than-a-buck maxim. Two beef tacos clocked in at 840 yen, which, Google says at press time, is $9.85. A burrito combo meal? $20.99.
2. It’s stereotype-y
elpanchostereotype.jpg
Screengrab from El Pancho website…
Did I spot images of guys in giant sombreros, sleeping under a saguaro? I did. El Pancho actually occupied a pretty cool space above ground level in a Shinsaibashi skyscraper, a dimly-lit, cantina-of-comic-books room. There are Mexican flags, maracas, and, more than anything, lots of cactus-related paraphernalia. All of this may be played out to our eyes, but keep in mind this kind of imagery is awfully foreign in Japan. One lady we dined with–not Japanese but not American–asked what a taco actually was. We’re spoiled in OC.
3. It’s Japanized
I half-expected nothing but corn-and-mayonnaise burritos and pickled ginger tacos from Japanese chefs taking on Mexican food, but instead the differences with the homeland’s–or at least Southern California’s–cuisine were more subtle. The chips and salsa portion was dinky, a far cry from the hefty and constantly replenished baskets of obese America. The burrito combo came with not beans and rice but rather beans, a quesadilla, a taquito, grainy mashed potatos and yes, corn. Rice was nowhere to be seen on the plate, which is a shock given that Japan loves its rice–white rice.
4. Weirdness aside, it’s okay
A week-and-a-half into the trip, I was craving the flavors so abundant here in OC: cheese, fat, tortilla, heat. Japanese food isn’t heavy on those things. And El Pancho mostly delivered the soul-satisfyingness we want from Mexican food.”
Article by Spencer Kornhaber
Read the original article here.

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This recipe combines some of my favorite ingredients in a tasty twist on chicken salad. Plus, presenting in these awesome, easy-to-make tortilla bowls is the best way to fool your diners into thinking you’re a master chef.

Mango-Jalapeño-Chicken Salad in Cumin Tortilla Bowls

Time to Make: 50 Minutes

Vinaigrette

1/2 cup cubed peeled mango*

2 tablespoons mango nectar (from 12.5-oz can)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup CRISCO® Pure Canola Oil

Bowls

4 Old El Paso® flour tortillas for burritos (from 11-oz package)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Salad

4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1 1/3 cups cubed peeled mango
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cups cubed peeled avocado (from 2 medium)
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped seeded jalapeño chiles (2 medium)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray insides of 4 ovenproof 2-cup soup bowls with CRISCO® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.** Set aside.

2. In food processor bowl with metal blade or blender, place all vinaigrette ingredients except oil. Cover; process until smooth. With food processor running, slowly pour oil through feed tube until mixture is thickened. Set aside.

3. Spray 1 side of each tortilla with CRISCO® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Sprinkle cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt evenly over sprayed sides of tortillas. Press tortillas, seasoned sides up, in bowls. Place bowls in 15x10x1-inch pan. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove tortillas from bowls; place upside down on cooling rack. Cool completely.

4. In large bowl, mix chicken and 1 1/3 cups mango. In small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon lime juice and the avocado. Add avocado and remaining salad ingredients to chicken mixture; mix well. Add vinaigrette; mix well.

5. To serve, spoon chicken salad into tortilla bowls. (Bowls will be full.) Serve immediately.

originally posted on pillsbury.com

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There are reportedly over 60 varieties of chiles, chile peppers or hot peppers, ranging from very mild to fiery hot. Chiles are a key ingredient in most Mexican food dishes. All chiles derive their heat from oils concentrated in their seeds and membranes. The heat of a chile lasts six minutes before it dissipates.
Check the Mexican Food Video – Some Like It Hot: Cuisines of Chili Climates with Rick Bayless (VHS) Chiles – Mexican food video

How to Avoid Chile Pepper Irritation
Wear rubber gloves or even small plastic bags over your hands. Don’t touch your face or rub your eyes while handling hot peppers. Slit the chile lengthwise, rinse under running water, remove and discard stem, membranes and seeds. Chop or slice as directed in recipe. Wash hands and utensils thoroughly with hot, soapy water afterward. If your mouth is on fire, try a spoonful of sugar or a bit of salt and limejuice. The heat of a chile lasts six minutes before it dissipates.

Poblano Chiles
Poblanos peppers are used in Chiles Rellenos. They are dark green and about the size of a bell pepper, but tapered at one end. They can be mild or quite hot. They’re best fresh, but also available in cans.

Serrano Chiles
Serranos are hot! They’re about an inch and a half long and bright green and used frequently in salsas. They’re best fresh, but also available in cans.

Guero Chiles
Guero or gueritos chiles are small, yellow and tapered on the end. They’re sold either fresh or pickled and are medium-hot.

Anaheim, Green Chiles or California Chiles
They are light green, mild, medium-sized and tapered at the end.

Chipotle Chiles
Chipotles are made from jalapenos that have been dried and smoked. They are sold both dried and canned in adobo, or a rich, smoky, dark reddish-brown sauce. Their flavor is uniquely delicious.

Ancho Chiles
Anchos are dried dark red poblano chiles. They’re mildly flavored and used in many sauces. All dried red chiles are best if deveined, seeded and soaked in just enough hot water to cover them for about an hour. Afterward, put them in the blender with the water and add to your recipe.

Mulato Chiles
Mulato chiles or Mulatos are frequently used when ancho chiles are called for in a recipe. It’s deep brown, longer and more tapered than the ancho and is a bit more pungent. All dried red chiles are best if deveined, seeded and soaked in just enough hot water to cover them for about an hour. Afterward, put them in the blender with the water and add to your recipe.

Guajillo Chiles
Guajillo is a dried red chile that gives more color than taste to Mexican food recipes. It’s about four to five inches long, narrow and has a smooth skin. All dried red chiles are best if deveined, seeded and soaked in just enough hot water to cover them for about an hour. Afterward, put them in the blender with the water and add to your recipe.

Cola de Rata Chiles
The Cola de Rata or Rat-tail Chile is also known as the Chile de Arbol. It’s about the size of your little finger. These are often dried , toasted and used to decorate Mexican food dishes.

Chile de Arbol
Chile de Arbol is also known as the Cola de Rata. It’s about the size of your little finger. These are often dried , toasted and used to decorate Mexican food dishes.

Chilaca Chiles
Chilacas look and taste much like the anaheim, green chile, california and guayon chiles. They are a mild chile.

Pasilla Chiles
Pasilla or Pasillas are about seven inches long and very thin. They’re dark green like the ancho, but have more fire to them.

Jalapeno Chiles
Jalapenos or Jalapeños are the most recognizable and widely used of all Mexican chiles. Rarely do you see a Mexican table without a small bowl of jalapenos from a can, pickled in escabeche with carrots and onions. They are plump, about an inch or two in length, medium to dark green and fairly hot. They’re used as a condiment, in salsa and in many other dishes.

Pequin Chiles
Pequins or piquin peppers are tiny, dried red bullets of fiery heat. They add a unique flavor to many dishes. To use, crumble the dried pod between your thumb and forefinger. Piquin peppers are also called CHILITEPINS OR CHILTEPIN PEPPERS, tiny seedy red peppers used for seasoning in salsas in combinations with other chiles. They are also used in pickling. They are very, very hot!

Habanero Chiles
Habaneros are the hottest chiles in the world! Bright orange and looking like a tiny bell pepper, their flavor is delicious, if used sparingly. They are used widely throughout southern Mexico, particularly the Yucatan. Originally discovered by the Maya, they are said to have mystical healing powers and to impart a great sense of well-being.

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Once you’ve had a bite of this delicious, fried treat dipped in rich chocolate…you’ll never look at churro carts the same way again.

Until three years ago, I had never known what a real churro was. Or that it is traditionally dipped in chocolate.

My experience with churros had always been the theme-park version– carts with those uniform, probably re-heated from frozen, not-quite-crunchy-yet-not-quite-soggy churros. Figures that while I tried those churros a couple times in my life, I was never impressed.

Enter Spain.

My first night in Sevilla, it was 6 pm and I was hungry. Since dinner in Spain isn’t served until late at night, the only option for my growling stomach was a snack at the local café. Can you guess what I ordered?

The churros arrived, looking like textured french-fries (I am SUCH a gringa). Then the glass of chocolate. Taking a churro, I dipped it generously in chocolate and popped it into my mouth. This churro put all the other churros I had had to shame. Crunchy on the outside, hot melt-in-your-mouth dough on the inside–it was a dream. Paired with the chocolate made it even better (if that is even possible).

The history of the churro is ancient and revered, lending the snack an almost mythical status. It begins not in Spain but in China, where Portuguese merchants first tasted youtiao, strips of golden fried salty pastry traditionally eaten for breakfast.

When the Portuguese recreated this delicacy in Iberia, adding sugar rather than salt and introducing the now-familiar starred shape of the strips, the churro was born. In China, youtiao translates as ‘oil-fried devil’; the snack was original served in pairs, symbolising Song dynasty official Qin Hui and his wife, the ‘devils’ who brought about the demise of the respected general.

In Spain this folklore was lost, and the churro takes its name from the churra sheep, whose horns it is said to resemble.

It was Spanish shepherds who popularised the dish, working as they did in the isolated terrain of the mountains for weeks and months at a time, they did not have access to fresh bread and so used the youtiao idea to cook their own substitute using no more than flour, water, oil and an open fire.

While the conquistadors took churros to South America, they brought back chocolate and plentiful sugar, turning dull dough sticks into a sweet sensation.

Once in South America, the churro continued to evolve from a plain, thin stick to a more rotund stuffed speciality, varying according to region.

While the Brazilians prefer a chocolate filling, the Cubans like their churros with Guava stuffing, Mexicans with dulce de leche or vanilla. In Uruguay, a savoury combination arose: cheese stuffed churros, and indeed, in South Eastern Spain they are still eaten with salt rather than sugar, closer relatives of the original youtiao. Mexican churros are said to act as the bridge between dessert and savoury churros as salt is added to the dough before kneading, while the filling is tooth-achingly sweet.

Unfortunately, now stuck back in San Diego, I don’t have access to those wonderful fried treats. Someday, I’ll try to recreate them myself. Here’s a recipe if you’d like to as well:

Recipe makes 1 1/2 dozen churros.

1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1/4 tsp lemon extract
1 cup corn or canola oil
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon

In a medium sized saucepan, combine water, salt, sugar and butter and bring to a full boil over high heat. Add flour and remove pan from heat. Beat mixture with spoon until smooth and it comes away from the sides of the pan. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after adding each egg. Stir in lemon extract and cool for 15 minutes.

Put half the dough in a large pastry bag with a large star tip. Heat oil in deep skillet or deep fryer to 400 degrees. Squeeze dough into oil until you have a ribbon about 7 to 9 inches long. Cut it off with a knife. Fry 2 to 3 ribbons at a time for 6 or 7 minutes each. When golden brown, remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve warm.

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I stepped off the ramp, enjoying the feel of solid, non-swaying ground under my feet. After living four months on a ship, getting used to a routine of a week at sea, a week in a foreign port–I was going to savor this moment. Especially since this was the last port of call in my journey–and one of the best–Guatemala. The excitement to visit Guatemala has built since high school Spanish class, when we’d learn about the culture, dress, and more importantly, the food, of a Latin American country.

And now it was becoming a reality. Two days to explore the wonders of Antigua.

I caught a bus for the hour-long trip from the port to Antigua. My face with glued to the window looking at the lush, green fields and surrounding mountains. About half an hour into the drive, our bus pulls over for an unscheduled stop. “The volcano is smoking!” Tourists, that we are, there’s a mad dash out of the bus and a grab for cameras as we look in awe at Volcán de Fuego spewing in the distance. It was quite a spectacular sight, and we all knew it would be an indicator of great things to come.

When we arrived in Antigua, our first thought was food. My friend and I walked around until we found La Fonda De La Calle Real, a little cafe that boasted traditional Guatemalan cuisine. I ordered the El Antigüeño. It was a tamale (a red festive tamale, to be exact) wrapped in banana leaves, freshly baked bread, and sweetbread. While we were waiting for our meal, we sipped on the best sangria I’ve ever had. It was so delicious–perhaps also because we were tired and hot—the perfect drink. Since that day, I’ve been on the search for the best sangria recipe I could find. I wanted to share with you all my favorite recipe so far. Cheers!

Ingredients

  • Red wine — 2 (750-ml) bottles
  • Sugar — 1/3 cup
  • Oranges, sliced in rounds — 3
  • Peaches, peeled and sliced into wedges — 4 to 6
  • Lemon, zest only — 1
  • Cinnamon sticks — 2

Method

  1. Pour wine into a large pitcher or earthenware bowl. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Lightly squeeze some juice out of the orange slices into the wine. Then add the orange rounds to the wine, along with the peaches, lemon zest and cinnamon sticks. Adjust sugar to taste.
  2. Chill well before serving, preferably for several hours to allow the flavors to meld

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We all know that the best Mexican food is home-cooked. There’s nothing (and I really mean, nothing!) like fresh tortillas on the press, and the satisfaction that you yourself created a culinary masterpiece. But there are definitely days where I just want to go home and kick up my feet. I certainly don’t feel like pulling out the griddle and cooking.

And from time to time, it’s nice to sample another cook’s take on a classic dish. Living in San Diego, there’s an abundance of options when it comes to Mexican food. Turn a corner and there’s a Del Taco. Amidst the Cotixan’s, Del Tacos, and Taco Bells that spring up everywhere, though, I can’t help but wonder where’s the really good Mexican take-out gone? Enter SanDiegoBestMexicanFood.com. Genius. I first came across this gem when I googled “Mexican Food, San Diego” (I know, not really creative, but I was too hungry to care!) This site is dedicated to a collection of reviews on San Diego’s Mexican food offerings “from food trucks to fancy sit-down dining”. I’ve made it my personal mission to read the website, and try out the reviews myself. Perhaps together, SanDiegoBestMexicanFood.com and I can find the best Mexican take-out in San Diego!

I wanted to share this with you all. When I try out a place, I’ll let you know the review from the site, and give you my own personal review as well.

First up, Tacos El Poblano:

Tacos El Poblano

217 3rd Ave
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 863-741

“Tacos El Poblano says that it’s an authentic TJ style taco shop. And since they actually run several taco shops in TJ, we can accept that as fact. Of course people will still argue about it, much like people will argue that Guinness tastes better in Ireland, but I suggest just relaxing and not worrying about it. The tacos here are really good.

The menu here is simple. Asada, goat, adobada in either tacos, tortas, or burritos, and not much else. And that’s fine. Because what you’re likely coming here is the tacos and there’s no point making it more complicated than that. My go-to order is 3-4 carne asada tacos without guacamole. They come with plenty of smokey meat, a tangy and spicy salsa, and a slightly crunchy tortilla. Simple and delicious.

I typically leave off the guacamole just because I think it overpowers the meat, not because it isn’t good. In fact it quite good, I’d just rather have more meat flavor. But you’ll have to decide that for yourself.

How does it stack up against the 437 other carne asada tacos in San Diego? In my opinion these are some of the best. The meat is the key, and the meat here is just a touch better. Also, rather than the typical raw onion in fresh cilantro garnish, these come with a very well made pico de gallo salsa. The slightly crunchy tortillas are also a nice touch.

There is usually plenty of metered parking on the street. And they only take cash, although there is an ATM there.”  -www.sandiegobestmexicanfood.com

My Review:

Tacos El Poblano was a little ways off my beaten path, but it was worth the visit. The place is clean–certainly a step up from some of the grease-soaked shops I’ve been to before, and the menu is simple. Inspired by the SDBestMexicanFood.com review, I tried the Carne Asada Taco (you can’t beat $1.75!). I love how the flavor of the meat is really highlighted, and not drowned with other toppings. The smell, too, was enough to make my mouth water.

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