DiningDiva's Profile

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good street food town within bus range of Guadalajara?

If you're considering Morelia, you might also want to consider Patzcuaro which is only about 45 minutes +/- from Morelia. It's peaceful, walkable and you could probably get a lot of writing done. It doesn't have anything resembling the Central de Abastros (very few places in MX do) but it does have a reasonably decent daily market and better than average street food, plus 2 plazas in which to hang out.

1 day ago
DiningDiva in Mexico

visiting Foodie on moderate budget seeks suggestions

Aw dang, RBH. I'll miss your posts. You'll miss our beer ;-)

Jul 02, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Next Food Network Star - latest and greatest?

"so we put our groceries in the back of the VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT and drove back from WHOLE FOODS to the studio", the way they do on Top Chef with their product placements!"

No, Bobby and Giada got to name the car model and the grocery store. But if you listened carefully, at least 2 teams did mention "getting in our Golf" and something about a "Passat"

Truly, this group of wanna-bes is so forgettable the only thing I did remember was Volkswagen and Whole Foods.

Jun 29, 2015
DiningDiva in Food Media & News

Next Food Network Star - latest and greatest?

My biggest take-away from last nights' episode? Their major sponsor this year is Volkswagen.

A Dish From Every Mexican State

The white stuff in the cup? CHEESE :-)

Jun 24, 2015
DiningDiva in General Topics

A Dish From Every Mexican State

The first photo are esquites, which is corn that has been cooked and removed from the cob. It can be buttered or not, but is served with mayo (some vendors also offer Mexican crema as an option), a good squirt or two of lime juice, some shredded queso fresco, or cotija and chile powder.

If you've seen the Mexican corn on the cob that slathered with mayo, chile and lime, this is pretty much the same thing only in a cup.

Jun 24, 2015
DiningDiva in General Topics

A Dish From Every Mexican State

MikeG, you are so right. Not sure what, or why, I wrote that Mexico was nearly as big as the U.S. I do know better. The only thing I can do is chalk the error up to a very, very long day. Thx for correcting

Jun 24, 2015
DiningDiva in General Topics

A Dish From Every Mexican State

Even though this link is in Spanish, you don't need to know a lot of it in order to enjoy it.

There are 32 States in the Republic of Mexico, and this link provides a dish for every state. They got way more right than wrong. Kind of a nice visual way to learn about the variety of food and dishes offered in a country that is nearly the same size as the U.S. and with as much (and some would argue more) culinary diversity

Pizzeria Mozza - closing

I think the kitchen was pretty uneven when they opened, but many of those were resolved over the first few months. There very well could have been food issues, I just heard few of those complaints than I did about service.

My experiences with the food was that it was only so-so. But tell me, when was the last time you dined and had at least 6 different people waiting on your table and not one of them knew what the other was doing, or had said. It felt like the waitstaff version of a Chinese fire drill!

Jun 23, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Pizzeria Mozza - closing

I think it's actually a fairly legitimate gripe for some of the better and more skilled chefs around town. I think we've got chefs who are capable of delivering far more than they do and would like to deliver more but are reluctant because they don't have the level of educated diner they probably need. I've got to believe they get tired of all those short ribs and salmon dishes as well. But menu really wasn't the problem with Mozza, it was service, and that is a repairable problem.

But to have fixable operational issues, make only basic, cursory efforts to fix them, efforts that felt more like window dressing, and then blame the people who did make an effort to dine at the restaurant, just leaves a very sour taste. No one was minding the store and it showed. San Diegans may be laid back and easy going, but we are not stupid, and big city arrogance won't fly here.

Jun 22, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Next Food Network Star - latest and greatest?

Bobby Flay keeps saying this is the best crop of contestants? He must see something I don't. These guys are a snooze-fest. And after 10 years of this show, it's all just seeming a little tired and a little too contrived at this point.

Pizzeria Mozza - closing

"Was Mozza a snobby place with a bad attitude, or was it too much for the tourist crowd?"

Mozza wasn't so much snobby as it was clueless. You didn't need to be either a local or a tourist to realize they were a rather rudderless ship. The food was okay, not good, not bad, but given it's pedigree it probably should have been better executed than it was. The potential offered by big name chefs got people in the door, their failure to deliver gave no one a reason to go back. Rather than owning up to their internal operating issues and trying to fix them, they folded their tents, blamed the diners and blew town. You might call that a bad attitude, but I think ego (over) inflation might be a more apt description

Bracero

Told ya so ;-)

Jun 21, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

Bracero

IIRC, he's had at least one, if not more, caja chinas specially built for Bracero. I would certainly expect to see borrego done it on the menu.

I was at Finca Altozano week before last, our table split an order of the caja china borrego. It was pretty delectable. Our best dish, however, was the Pulpo al Brasa (see photo below) which was probably one of the best dishes we had all week, absolutely spectacular.

Jun 19, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

No clue.

I follow Javier on Instagram and he posted a photo of some escamoles cooking and said they'd be on the Bracero menu. He didn't say anything about chauplines :-)

Jun 19, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

I've eaten just about every insect in Mexico and escamoles are my favorites.

Saute them off in a little butter, some epazot,e a squeeze of lime some hot, fresh corn tortillas and it's a great appetizer.

Jun 19, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Is lard traditional in corn tortillas?

LGA, think of it like this...

When you put an uncooked masa (no lard) tortilla on a hot comal the underside (or 1st side) begins to cook and forms a skin. As it cooks, it heats the masa in the center of the tortilla creating steam. When you flip it, the tortilla should puff up like a balloon from all the hot air inside it, which also helps with the internal cooking.

Now think about an uncooked corn tortilla that has lard in it as well. Masa + lard = masa preparada or masa para tamales, tamal dough. It's wetter, heavier and denser. Put a tortilla made with masa + lard on the comal and the dough is too heavy for much, if any steam to develop. What you'll end up with is a dense, doughy, perhaps uncooked tortilla.

Masa (no lard) for tortillas creates steam that functions as both leavening and internal heat for cooking.

Masa (with lard) is most often used for tamales and does not create steam that can be used as either leavening or a heat source for cooking. In fact, you have to apply steam in order to cook them.

Jun 19, 2015
DiningDiva in General Topics

Bracero

Escamoles are coming to Bracero :-)

Yummy delicious ant eggs!

Is lard traditional in corn tortillas?

Corn Teleras???!?!???
More menu confusion. Every telera (i.e. type of torta roll) I've ever seen was wheat, and only wheat. See link for photo of a telera http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_7DPFterkAAE...

They've made an interesting choice in naming themselves 'Naco' which is Mexican slang for pretentious, white trash, uncouth and so forth. Naco Taco may rhyme and have a certain ring to it, but they're basically saying they're serving low-class, white trash tacos. Not necessarily how I'd market a taco business ;-D. (There was, at one time, an interesting discussion by several old posters about the term Naco, it's meaning and use, but I could not locate the old thread, sorry)

Jun 19, 2015
DiningDiva in General Topics

Bracero

Bingo!

Jun 19, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Bracero

Potato tacos and flautas are pretty common in Mexico. Spaghetti tacos? Not so much. But given that Baja doesn't share a lot of the same culinary traditions as the mainland, perhaps it's just better to think of it as a regional specialty; -)

Jun 19, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Is lard traditional in corn tortillas?

Fermented kale?

See numbers 1 & 10 above ;-)

Jun 18, 2015
DiningDiva in General Topics
1

Laja or Corazon de Tierra

Probably not as I'm on the non-commercial side of things. But send me a PM - the e-mail is on my profile here - and we can compare notes :-)

Jun 18, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Is lard traditional in corn tortillas?

1) They're clueless?
2) They've never been to Mexico
3) Their PR person screwed up and associated the lard with corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas
4) They're trying to cash in on the growing trend in Latin food
5) They're using Americanized recipes for Mexican food
6) They've never eaten really good corn tortillas
7) They're banking that their customer base doesn't know the difference, or how corn tortillas are actually made
8) Their BOH kitchen staff is not from Mexico
9) They drank too much tequila during recipe development, accidentally added lard to masa but liked what they got
10) They're clueless?

Laja or Corazon de Tierra

I don't think you can go wrong with either choice. It's been awhile since I've eaten at Laja but I ate at Corazon de Tierra week before last.

Here are some photos of the some of the dishes we had. I'm not big on oysters but the 3 people I was dining with loved them. I can say that the blue fin tuna was probably one of the best dishes I've had in the last 6 months and probably the best piece of actual tuna I've had in many years. It was sublime. And, I hate to say it, but I can't remember what the dish with the carrot chips actually was :-(, only that it was very flavorful and we all liked it alot.

The pastry chef at Corazon de Tierra was recently named one of the best in the world, but be forewarned, they like to include savory elements in dessert along with some chollorphyl (i.e. green juice). The dessert they served us missed by a mile, so you might want to consider someplace else for dessert.

Jun 18, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

Is lard traditional in corn tortillas?

Corn tortillas have only 2 ingredients and lard is not one of them. They are made from nixtamalized corn + water, or masa harina + water.

Nixtamalized corn is corn that has been slacked out in cal (lime) to soften the outer skin of the corn kernel. It is then put through a mill. Sometimes the water clinging to the corn kernels is sufficient to bind it, sometime a little water has to be added. I've seen this process in Mexico many times, and I've done it as well. I've attached some photos of the process using a hand crank mill to grind the nixtamalized corn. The hand crank method is laborious and you have to grind it through twice to get the proper consistency. It's also not unusual for women to nixtamalize their corn at home and then take it to a community mill to be ground into masa.

A corn tortilla from nixtamalized corn is a thing of beauty. Light, soft, pillowy, pliable and full of flavor, all of it the result of the corn. Lard plays not part in the process.

Lard is a common ingredient in flour tortillas.

Bracero

There is, as I suspect you know EC, a huge gap between the Mexican and American palates in terms of sophistication, with the Mexican one winning that battle. It's not really a matter of dumbing up or dumbing down as much as it is a matter of substantially different food culture and sensibilities, although Mexican fine dining is often more about being seen or seeing who is dining with whom than it is about the food.

It should not be forgotten that Javier grew up on both sides of the border and is a graduate of one the high schools in CV. I think the family is well aware of what sells on which side of the border.

There are 2 issues I see...

1) Bracero is so over-hyped at this point can it possibly live up to expectations no matter how good the food is? Javier could be the next coming of Thomas Keller with Bracero for all we know, but everyone is walking in the door expecting the food to be a religious experience. That is not an enviable position.

2) Javier's heart lies in the Valle de Guadalupe. Once Bracero settles in and he doesn't have to be - or isn't - in the kitchen, all bets are off as to where the restaurant ends up.

Jun 17, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

No, not exactly, just that that's where it is going to be located. I think it will front on Old Decatur Rd. but don't quote me on that ;-)

Jun 15, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

Is Popcorn The New Bread?

The tables, chairs, candle, salt and pepper can all be reused. Unless things have changed recently, I'm still pretty sure that once a free bread basket hits the table, it's contents cannot be reused even if no one touches it.

I really have to agree with Honkman on this one, why should we expect a restaurant to put a free bread basket on the table if it's not going to be eaten and then have to throw it away. That's money down the drain for the resto...

Jun 15, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego

San Diego restaurants OPENINGS (2015 edition)

Encocotte, yes it is in Liberty Station, yes it is the Blue Bridge project

Jun 15, 2015
DiningDiva in San Diego