MCCN Interview with La Nina del Mezcal interview

Interview from 3rd Annual Taste of Mexico:

Dave Miller: How did you get into doing Mezcal?

Cecilia:  Well um, kind of a long story but just to put it short… It was a trip that I took to Oaxaca about four or five years ago and the it was the first time I was there taking in the culture, taking in the people and the taste of Mezcal.  It occurred to me that people in Mexico were not appreciating it as they should so I started going back to Oaxaca and learning about Mezcal.  It is very extensive.  And then I started writing about it.  And that’s how the blog started and people started calling me la nina del Mezcal.  (Watch Interview for more)

 

Advertisements

Tlayudas review from Oaxaca, Mexico

Review by Dave Miller-The tlayuda sometimes spelled clayuda, is a handmadeTlayudas
traditional Mexican dish consisting of a large, thin,
crunchy, partially fried or toasted tortilla covered with a
spread of refried beans, asiento, lettuce or cabbage,
avocado, meat, Oaxacan cheese and salsa.

 

But the above description from Wikipedia is like saying

Willie Mays was just a baseball player, Josh Grobin just a
singer or Michael Phelps just a swimmer. They are all
technically true, but woefully miss the mark in explaining
true greatness.

You see, when it’s done right, the traditional tlayuda is
more than just a Mexican dish, it is one of the anchors of
the gastronomical galaxy known as Oaxaca.

Originally posted on Multiculturalcookingnetwork.com January 2013

The tlayuda is an all star baseball player, an award
winning singer and a multiple Olympic gold medal winner all
in one. And if you ever find yourself in Oaxaca, you need
to get a taxi right away and head over to Tlayudas San
Jacinto.

When you arrive the outside is going to worry you if you
don’t typically eat off the beaten track in Mexico. It’s
just an opening in a residential area with blue steel doors
and a banner that tells you the place has a good, clean
atmosphere. Yet, as soon as you walk in, you realize you
are somewhere special, like an enchanted garden. Lots of
greenery, bamboo like plants, umbrellas and a rich almost
tropical feel. It is as if you could sit there all day,
and you can because once you walk in, you are treated like
family. There’s even a playground if you bring the kids.

The menu is simple, and hangs from the ceiling. Tlayudas.
Pick your topping. Beef, pork, ribs, skirt steak or eggs
from the grill. Add your drink, soda or beer, and you’re
all set.

Once we ordered, it took about 15 minutes for our food to
arrive.

And here’s what you get. A gigantic fired roasted
quesadilla like creation stuffed with cheese, black beans
and finished with your desired topping. I had the eggs,
which came perfectly fried hard. Now, I’ve had lots of
tlayudas around Oaxaca, but this one was different, because
the tortilla was cooked to perfection.

When I picked it up, there was no sag at all. This
wonderful creation was crispy through and through, the
result of just the right amount of time over the coals.
The beans were not over the top and there was just the
right amount of that great Oaxaca string like cheese,
quesillo.

Once I added avocado, chepiche, a Oaxacan herb, and a some
roasted chile de aqua, it was off the charts wonderful.

Now, I’ve got to tell you, this place can be hard to find.
It’s in the Colonia San Jacinto but it is not along the
row of the other locations that sell tlayudas. Look for
the San Jacinto signs that call you to this little slice of
heaven in Oaxaca and prepare yourself to fall in love with
this all star of Oaxacan cuisine, maybe for the first time,
or all over again.

Tlayudas San Jacinto
Colonia San Jacinto Amilpas
Calle Benito Juarez #11
Tlayuda and a soda… $6.00 con una cerveza… $8.00

Austin, TX: Hey!… You Gonna Eat or What?

Hey you gonna truck

Narrowing down your food choices to satisfy your hunger pangs in Austin, Texas, can be a little like taking a five-year old to Disneyland and trying to decide what to do first.

When those rumblings hit your stomach it’s best to get used to it, because if you have to negotiate the preferences of a group of people before heading out, those rumblings are not going be satisfied for a while.  There are just so many options in this old Wild West town that narrowing it Dave in front of Hey You gonnadown to a specific choice can be a gargantuan task.

My advice is to go with a goal.  Which is what I did recently when I visited the famed trailer food area on South Congress Avenue known as the SoCo District.  However along with visiting this well-known area, I was looking for something specific… I was hunting for what many Austintonians have described as the best Monte Cristo Sandwich is town.

I am pleased to report that I found it.  Tucked off the main drag at the corner of South Congress and Gibson is a little parking lot with 3 or 4 food trailers, one of which is known simply as “Hey!… You Gonna Eat or What?” You’ll recognize it by its bright red color and sarcastic sayings painted on the side, owing to an idea left behind awhile back by Chef Eric and his wife Liz.

Don’t let the decor or the fact that you have to eat at a picnic table under a less than stellar umbrella discourage you.  This is food you cannot, and should not resist.

I saw the Monte Cristo on the menu board outside and knew I was in the right place, but walking up to the order window can give you pause.  Because this is where you see the beauty of what is being prepared in these spartan mobile kitchens.  Unable to stick with just the Monte Cristo, I decided we also needed to try the pork sandwich and the smoked turkey.

It was a horse race to decide which was best, but here’s what I thought.

The smoked turkey is otherworldly.  Before it ever hits your plate, it is smothered in a homemade jalapeño jelly and then grilled to a caramelized perfection.  Served with more of that sweet and spicy jalapeño jelly, the sandwich is then topped off with crisp leaf lettuce and some wonderful green tomatoes.

Next up is the pork sandwich.  Served on a ciabatta roll coated with a cilantro pesto, the hickory-tinged pork shares the spotlight here with thick slices of fried plantains.  Unlike what you may get at your local Cuban restaurant, these plantains are grilled to perfection when you order your sandwich.  Chef Eric is not pulling these out of some bin loaded with the day’s pre-grilled quantity.  It is that attention to detail and quality that makes this place such a treat.

Then there was our reason for seeking out “Hey!… You Gonna Eat or What?”  The Monte Cristo, scion of delis and golf clubhouses all over the United States.  For awhile you could get this sandwich at almost every coffee house in America, now, not so much.  Perhaps it is due to a fear of eating too much fried food.  We are worse for it and this sandwich explains why.

Dave eating Monte Cristo

Chef Eric has taken what admittedly was a throwaway greasy sandwich in many restaurants and made it a star.  He starts with hickory smoked ham and mesquite smoked turkey and then adds provolone and cheddar cheese before dipping it in the batter.  The batter is what sets this sandwich apart from what you may find in the rest of America.  Were talking a Shiner Bock Beer Batter and the result is a light and fluffy incredible reward for any serious sandwich lover.  It just encases all the flavors of this sandwich as they await there chance to explode in your mouth.  Served with a homemade cherry fig jelly this Monte Cristo is certainly worthy of its reputation here in Austin.

You won’t go wrong with any of these offerings, but clearly the Monte Cristo won the day with the pork and smoked turkey finishing in a photo finish for place and show.

All the sandwiches at “Hey!… You Gonna Eat or What?” come with a side of fresh fried russet potato chips right off the mandolin and if you add a soda, you’ll be looking at around $10.00 for your meal.  A real steal for food of this quality anywhere in America.

 

Hey!… You Gonna Eat or What?

Open 12:00 – 10:00pm six days a week

Closed Wednesdays

1618 South Congress Avenue

Austin, Texas

 

Dave’s Mexico

Dave Miller to the Right

Dave Miller has been a long time contributor about all things Mexico for MCCN.  Now, he has branched out with a new blog here on WordPress called, Dave’s Mexico.   We could never cover Mexico like Dave has the desire to do.  We are too busy covering the world of food.   Now, you may think,  “What can this gringo tell me about Mexico?”  Given that he has been a missionary there for over twenty years and speaks fluent Spanish, there is a lot he can tell you.  From the village folk to the high end culinary world, he will show you Mexico.  He is also a foodie.  Prior to becoming a missionary, he was in restaurant management.  If you are looking for authentic Mexico, let Dave lead the way.

See Blog

MCCN Review of 2013 Taste of Mexico (Los Angeles)

Loteria Grill is one of the most exciting new restaurants in Los Angeles.

The Taste of Mexico Association set out in it’s ignaugural year to prove to the world the culinary scene of Mexico is about more than taco yet a great deal of the vendors this year served…tacos.  Now, these were for the most part not ordinary tacos.  Mexikosher’s Chef and Food Network’s Chopped champion served deep fried smelt (full length little fish)  on tacos.

Deep Fried Smelt from Mexico and yes, the editor took a bite out of the tortilla.

In an interesting twist, quite a bit of ceviches was served on chips including a magnificent octopus ceviche and halibut ceviche.  The flavors and fusion were certainly a culinary explosion for the tongue pero(but) mostly on chips or tortillas.

The reason may be that in the first year of the event, there were only four restaurants involved.  Those four restaurants are the core/founders which are Frida, La Casita Mexicana, La Monarca and Guelaguetza.  Although, the first year had a good attendance it was definitely catering to a smaller crowd.  Maybe bigger crowds translates to faster food.

A unique component of this year’s event was the Mezcal tasting area.  The restaurant association did successfully introduce a multitude of people Mezcal.  What pork is to chicken as the other white meat then Mezcal is to tequila as an authentic drink offering from Mexico.  Click Here to learn more about Mezcal.

Nevertheless, a good time was to be had.  There was more space.  Being an outdoor event for the first time gave it a great feel.   For an early October event the weather for the evening was perfect until the cooler temps at about 8 PM.  It seemed like more parents brought children.  There were not a lot of children but a few sightings.   Live Mariachi performed through the night.  Baked goods from La Monarca, chile relleno and taquitos from Casa Oaxaca.  Guelaguetza promtoed their signature Micheladas in bottled form.  It is best to come early when the crowds pile in after 6:30 pm the lines to get your taste of food become longer.

Watch Highlights from the 2013 Taste of Mexico

Grilled Food and Wine/Drink Pairing

Photo Credit: warginwines.com

As we head into the heart of summer, it’s time to get the barbecue cleaned up and prepared for a good stretch of home grilling. Unfortunately, if you are like most people, including me, when it comes to matching those outdoor delights with a good wine or beer, your lost.

Fear no more!  The MultiCulturalCookingNetwork reached out to our friend Ed Draves, the wine know it all for the Premier Group in Buffalo, New York for a quick primer in making your summer feast a success, at least when it comes to drinks.

 

MCCN: Ed, thanks for taking a few moments to help us out on this.  So, we want to have some folks over for a little summer entertaining and we need some help making sure we’ve got the right wine on the table.  If I’m putting together the classic backyard BBQ, you know, burgers, hot dogs and potato salad, what should I pair with that?

 

Ed Draves: Dave, with the classic burger cookout, a nice Rhone wine from France, think Syrah/Grenache, is perfect.  You can usually find really nice ones in the $10 range.  If you are thinking beer, look for a pale ale and if you can find it, the Live Pale Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company would be a winner.

MCCN: Okay, but what about some of the other options.  What if I want to grill some chicken, do a little cedar plank salmonor even a light summer fruit or pasta salad?

 

Ed: All these scream for Riesling, sweet or dry depending on taste but always cooler climate with ample acidity.  There are lots of great local examples for people living in Idaho, Michigan, NY, Ohio, and Washington.   The German examples (Kabinett level) are also fantastic.  The lemon you’d put with the Salmon has me really exited to match with a Riesling, something from the slate soil of the Moselle region.

 

Also, for the salmon or the salads, you could try an unoaked Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.  If you really want a red wine, try a Pinot Noir, it goes great with both salmon and chicken and is a nice light style wine.

 

MCCN: Okay Ed, that’s the light stuff, but sometimes you need to turn up the heat and throw a couple of T-Bones on the grill.  What works with that or a big juicy Porterhouse?

 

Ed: That’s when you reach for a nice rich Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  Deep red and full-bodied.

 

MCCN: Thanks Ed for your help on this.  Any further thoughts?

 

Ed: Dave, just that if you are doing summer and drinks, why not try something on the cutting edge?  Leave the vodka and rum in the cabinet and go for some premium Wahaka Mezcal [Joven Espadin] straight out of the freezer, ice cold and undiluted.  It’s a great alternative if you are looking for something different in the spirits category.

 

So there you have it, our summer guide to putting your best foot forward  when it comes to the backyard barbecue and drinks.

 

Again, our thanks go out to both Ed Drave and Premier Group VP Jon Notarius for their help and input.

© Copyright Dave Miller, MultiCulturalCookingNetwork, 2013 – 2016. All rights reserved. 

2nd Annual Taste of Mexico – Bigger and Better

2nd Annual Taste of Mexico

2nd Annual Taste of Mexico

Good drinks, amazing food and scene stealing dessert make the 2nd annual Taste of Mexico a night to remember.  You may eat small portions but you can be full from endless morserls in 30 minutes at the Taste of Mexico.  LA’s Top restaurants showcased fusion and upscale presentation of Mexican cuisine.  In 2010 only the four restaurants that comprise the Taste of Mexico Association were serving food.  This time restaurant like famed Chef Rick Bayless,  Red O restaurant was serving up divine pork sopes prepared by  MCCN friend and executive Chef Efren Cardenas.  Official founding Taste of Mexico Association restaurants are Frida Mexican Cuisine, Guelaguetza, La Casita Mexicana and La Monarca. Major brands such as Tapatio, Avocados from Mexico and Goya were providing product for vendors or serving up brand recipes.

Dessert of Mexico featured by La Monarca Bakery

Dessert of Mexico featured by La Monarca Bakery

The event was well attended and brought out a more ethnically diverse crowd than the first Taste of Mexico event.  The first hour VIP’s were invited to a tequila tasting before anticipated long lines.    Food ranged from tortas to tres leches to various moles.  If there was one thing that was better at the first Taste of Mexico, it  was the entertainment line up.  This year the musical program seemed disjointed and inconsistent.  However, food was the star of this event.  There was also a tent set up outside with vendors.

MCCN host Dave Miller got a chance to interview  Chef Katsuji Tanabe of Mexikosher.  Yes, there is  kosher Mexican food.  Everyone was talking about the creamy delicious taste of the  Tequila Sorbet served and made on the premises by Mexikosher.  The mole was pretty amazing.  The variety flavors popping  were extraordinary.

Watch Interview and Tequila Sorbet process

Serving the Mexican Community Dave Miller and Adventures In Life Ministry.

Enjoying Oaxacan Ice Cream

First Church Built by Adventures in Life

Here’s to you Dave! Multiculturalcookingnetwork.com salutes the benevolent work of Adventures In Life Ministry.  The Co-founder of AIL Dave Miller has provided our readers/fans with authentic reviews and stories from Mexico.  His work in Mexico is a life changing experience for those who serve as missionaries and for those who are served in various cities in Mexico including,  Guadalajara,  Oaxaca and more.  The legacy of Adventures in Life  in Mexico… 17 churches built, 3 parsonages built, 2 Sunday school facilities built, kids and youth camps each year in Ensenada and Oaxaca, regular medical clinics held, a growing agricultural ministry, a local sewing ministry and much more.

If you have ever considered missions work, we suggest the the video Q & A What You Need to Know About Missions which gives incite from long term missionaries from around the world about dos and don’ts of missionary work.  The 20th anniversary was held at the Los Angeles based Oaxacan restaurant, Guelaguetza. 

For the celebration Dave wanted his guests to experience a taste of Oaxaca from Clayudas to Tres Leches.  Feast your eyes on the video below. -Crystal A. Johnson

Sawyer Water Filters Making a Difference for Needed Clean Water

A few of the children at El Shaddai Orphanage with their new water filter in Myanmar

Multi Cultural Cooking Network learned about the Sawyer Water Filter through our contributing writer, Dave Miller.  He happens to be a pastor and missionary, spending much of his year serving communities  in Mexico.  Recently, He posted a video about the difference this filter can make.  With a little research we found it is also be used in orphanges in third world countries to.

Here’s a great example of how a small investment can change lives on the field… -Dave Miller Adventures in Life Ministry

This filter is awesome. Only $126 dollars for safe drinking water. That’s 25.5 Starbucks grande latte’ with 2 extra shots. I can go without coffee for a few weeks! – Joe Ramirez –Mission Focused

The Process of Making Mezcal in Oaxaca, Mexico

Mezcal, or mescal, is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant (a form of agave, Agave americana) native to Mexico. The word mezcal comes from Nahuatl metl and ixcalli which mean ‘oven cooked agave.

The maguey grows in many parts of Mexico, though most mezcal is made in Oaxaca. There is a saying attributed to Oaxaca regarding the drink: “para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también” (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.) READ MORE

Dave Miller of Multi Cultural Cooking Network walks you the process of producing Mezcal at the Wahaka Distillery in Oaxaca Mexico.