Eat_Nopal's Profile

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How do you Fage?

Since moving to Hawaii... Fage has become my go to substitute for Mexican style Cultured Crema.

Jun 01, 2009
Eat_Nopal in General Topics

Southern Cookin'

Why choose... Veracruz has amazing coffee (locally grown & roasted) in addition to fantastic hearty dishes.

Jun 01, 2009
Eat_Nopal in General Topics

Getting a feel for Mexico DF

You are one crazy gringo. I really look forward to all your posts & reports. Good luck with whatever you do.

Jun 01, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

Getting a feel for Mexico DF

In addition the murals at Metro Copilco station are pretty freaking awesome... if I am not mistaken they were all done by prison inmates as part of a rehabilitation process.

Jun 01, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

NEW YORKER in LA 4 Nites Best Chinese? Mexican?

Mexican under $25... Entrees not Tacos... for a NYer...

Birrieria La Barca (Goat Birria, Mixed Molcajetes, Shrimp a la Diabla)
Monte Alban (Oaxacan Moles... Black, Green or Red, Goat Barbacoa etc.,)

If you can go a little over $25 then:

Chichen Itza (Yucatecan)
Mariscos Chente (Sinaloa / Nayarit Seafood)

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Monte Alban
11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Chichen Itza
2501 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Birrieria La Barca
10817 Valley Mall, El Monte, CA 91731

Mariscos Chente
4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

Jun 01, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Los Angeles Area

What is the second dish to order at Shalimar?

Intersting analogy... I had a scrambled egg curry at the vegetarian Indian restaurant at the Ashram in Xalapa (Veracruz)... and now that I think about it there was quite a bit of similarity with the Pakastani lamb brain curry I had in Chicago.... interesting thing way to desensitize people a little scared at the thought of eating brains.

Getting a feel for Mexico DF

Driving through on your way to Guatemala? That could be a fantastic chow trip... you should get sponsored by Chowhound to write it up. Not that Leff's wasn't half bad... but this could be one intriguing Story =)

Jun 01, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

Sonoma county for 3 days

I haven't eaten there... but the food at Girl and the Fig is bleh... I was asking more than anything.. and I guess you confirmed the food is bleh, it just happens to be cheaper. Still bleh though? I imagine they still screw up 50% of the dishes pretty bad.. and the other 50% is okay but nothing too chow worthy?

Getting a feel for Mexico DF

Hi, I think you hit upon something noteworthy. If you are coming to Mexico City from the U.S., Canada, Europe etc.,... just because DF is full of sky scrapers, modern architecture, contemporary art & an efficient, clean subway... don't be fooled into thinking its organized. Its no Zurich hell its no NY... Mexico City is a chaotic place where few things are thoroughly documented, thoroughly organized, thoroughly understood... perhaps its the daunting enormity of it all... but Mexico City isn't one of those places for which you can open up a handy guide or web application... punch in Veracruz cuisine... and find the 500 establishments that specialize in Jarocho cuisine, along with nice editorial reviews & consumer rankings etc., Hell the food writing establishment probably hasn't even hard of the 490 not found on Paseo de la Reforma or Insurgentes etc.,

On the flipside... just because some expat moves to Mexico City and has discovered El Tizoncito and written about it, maybe even taken Bourdain to one, and its now famous to legions of foreign foodies & travelers... it doesn't mean the vast majority of the typical residents have ever heard of it. You talk to a typical local about Al Pastor... and they probably have tried 10 or 20 different independent vendors within the radius of their own little world.. found the 2 they prefer and probably aren't going to leave their everyday routes to pursuit the famous one. On the other hand.. many DF residents instinctively go on the road almost every weekend to try specialities at nearby towns like Texcoco or Chinconcuac etc., Its will definitely seem a little bizarre to most foreigners.

As far as my favorite places... under what circumstances? I was born in Azcapotzcalco then my family moved to L.A., and when I went back as a teenager I lived in two different places... the El Molinito neighborhood in Naucalpan and the La Loma neighborhood of Tlanepantla... later when I was in college I spent a summer in San Angel... and on various trips afterword I have stayed mostly around Polanco.

Living in Naucalpan with my uncle Pancho I was lucky his wife (a true native of the area whose parents still spoke Nahuatl) was an excellent cook who still went to the mercado almost every day and cooked all the regional food that you rarely can find in restaurants. When we ate out... we went to a Pizzeria very close to the Windmill monument that had all this fantastically weird toppigns like salty, dried goat cheeses, fried eggs, chorizo, squash blossoms served on strangly etc., At first it was bizzare to this Domino Pizza fan... but when I went back as an adult it was very cool & chow worthy.

In addition.. on the main commercial drag in El Molinito there was a fantastic rosticeria that we frequented we pick up from there almost once a week... wood fired rotisseries chickens (we would pick up two), they carried tortillas from the tortilleria tow doors down, 3 containers of salsa, several containers of Nopales, Beans, Rice or Fideos or Vegetables cooked Al Sudado method)... the place is still there... no name its just the one with the line out the door.

On the same street as the Rosticeria was a Fonda run by a family from Chiapas that put out amazing, exotic food that seemed so different than what I grew up with. At night time my school age cousins ran a hamburger stand in front of their home... solid homestyle burgers with irregular patties, fresh Bimbo buns, homemade mayo & jalapenos to maximize profit, slightly past perfectly ripe tomato slices & avocados (purchased on sale after 2 PM from the local mercado since they had to make room for the next day's shipment of just harvested produce).

There was also a Cantina we used to frequent with my oldest cousin where we would eat Seafood Cocktails, Oysters on the half shell & cold cervezas... I don't know if it was any good but the waitress was hot.

Living in La Loma... uncle Juan's wife who was from a rural, wealthy family of Jalisco was not quite the cook as Pancho's wife... but we ate deliciously simple food that would seem very familiar to most North Americans... lots of Roasts like whole chickens seasoned with thyme, oregano, marjoram... stuffed with vegetables.. the main difference is these would be served with Beans, Salsas & Tortillas (purchased from the bakery around the corner) instead of Breads etc., overall very continental like food (not surprising since Oralia's family descended from Northern Spain).

Eating out... there was a Tianguis (Street Market) literally around the corner once a week, and another one about 2 blocks away that ran twice a week (same vendors at both)... there was a great burger vendor (Beef & Chorizo patties), a potato chip vendor, a chicken tostada vendor. In addition the Tianguis 2 blocks way set up in front of a Taqueria specializing in Machitos (threaded, knotted sheep intestines deep fried) that were fantastic. And there was a Cremeria we used to frequent (because it had the Video Games that we liked)... that made proper Nachos (using Queso Chihuahua & home made Jalapenos en Escabeche), as well as Headcheese Tortas, and homemade Yogurts served with tropical fruits & granolas... typical teeny bopper snacks we would down sitting on a milk crate in front of the cremeria.

As a college student I rented a room in a Pension... and ate fantastic home meals from the nice elderly couple that ran it... and really learned how to be a savvy street food eater all over DF and nearby communities. Its simple really... stumble upon the any of the thousands of street food vendor groupings around subway exits, plazas & foot traffic heavy thoroughfairs... look for the longest line, observe for cleanliness & following sanitary practices... start chatting them & patrons up.. before you know it... you find out they are from Oaxaca and that there is a bunch of Oaxacans that hang out at X fonda for real Oaxacan homecooking... you try it out... fall in love & try to find more like it.

Later on as a tourist with a little more money I hit alot of the iconic mid to high end restaurants and have had many great meals throughout the city.

You tell me what you are looking for & I can recommend places I think are good. But in general my favorite places have been little, nameless eateries scattered all over the city... but none of them are so unique that you can find something else like it wherever you are. Its not like in LA were people argue about the best of 3 or 4 distinguished Delis and you know there really isn't any better. In DF people can argue about El Tizoncito or Charco de las Ranas or whatever and then you randomly walk into nameless 2 table places on the side streets that blow away the "Official Best Al Pastor in the City"... there is just too many options and competitions to narrowly define favorites.

Jun 01, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

Best High End Butchers in Mexico City DF

I think there is definitely a market for something like that. Mexico City has 250,000 people with a Net Liquid Worth (Real Estate excluded) greater than $200,000 USD so that is the size of the target market... I imagine a much smaller city like Toronto has a smaller total (not per capita) upper middle class than DF.

However, I think you need two things:

> Money
> Educated (brainwashed) / Coaxed to be willing to pay for that (might not be that hard as you have people paying $20 USD for a single appetizer of Pata Negra ham)

The challenge is that the Mexican market is starting with higher quality meats than the baseline in either the U.S. or Canada and it tends to be cheaper. Meaning the average meat offered in Mexico tends to be from small producers, a little more free range, less factory-ish... and from superior breeds (although you note there is a quite a range... that is because there is less standardization of breeds than in the U.S. & Canada where the baseline has been breed for maximum yield & standardization vs deliciousness & variety of terroir).

If its going to work... it will work in neighborhoods like Condesa where the young profession yuppies are more cosmopolitan... often to a fault. I think once you get out to the working class suburbs like Tlanepantla (where there is still a bit of money as evidenced in Country Club or by the german cars on the streets)... you are competing with the traditional butchers who often have ties back to their hometown. For example, you will have butcher that emigrated from Zamora, Michoacan & specializes in pigs that he sources from relatives.. and you are talking about a product that is superior to the Berkeshire Pork that is so cleverly marketed in the Bay Area for example) and that butcher will be able to do it inexpensively and provide all kinds of cuts that your "Artisinal" north of the border butchers usually don't carry... Pork Jowl, Shanks, Skin etc., In other cases you have Cremerias owned by Chiapas natives that can source the Serrano style aged hams & the Chiapas cheese with the buttery core etc., and they get straight from the producers through family connections & do it cheaply without much fanfare & marketing. And the consumers can tell the quality, even in the working class neighborhoods... they may not be able wax poetic like we do on this website... but they will say its better than the FUD stuff and be willing to splurge for it on special occassions.

In essence there is already a Farm to Kitchen Meat Market concept in place in DF that has been there for 100s of years... its just not as craftily marketed as North of the Border.

Now with that said... you just need to walk around Roma, Condesa, Tlalpan, Santa Fe, Polanco etc., to realize that any hip, design friendly establishment that offers something different & new has a great chance of surviving even if its mediocre relative to the less flashy establishments in town.

Jun 01, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

Best High End Butchers in Mexico City DF

As far as I am aware there is nothing quite in that same niche you have in Toronto:

1) Most Mexicans are not yet into the cute marketing of that place, and don't purchase as much prepared, marinated meats as people in North America do. Most serious cooks shop at places like Mercado San Juan which you visited.

2) At a higher end level, with more corporate & serious style less cutsy marketing... but expensive prices is the La Europea chain http://www.laeuropea.com.mx/ which I think provides the products your look for... but with less artsy middle class neighborhood charm than your place in Toronto.

3) Within the residential, established middle class suburbs you will find small, no frills butchers putting out high quality meats at good prices but without the chic & style of your place.

4) Within in the Tianguis & Mercados you will find very high quality meats & seafood for very low prices... but in much more standard, high turnover, less cosmopolitan cuts & animals than you would find in San Juan, La Europea & the neighborhood butchers.

5) Increasingly more & more of middle class is shopping for decent quality (but less varied, cosmpolitan & chowish) meat at Costco & the big box retailers.

Jun 01, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

Getting a feel for Mexico DF

If you are going to DF for the first time, it might be helpful to get a simplified "socio-econo-geographic layout" of this massive overly complex metropolis. So I am going to translate DF into Angeleno because that is a city I know like the palm of my hand:

Here is a simple map with points of interest:

http://www.si-mexico.com/city_maps/me...

La Villa up near the top is where the Virgen de Guadalupe shrine is found... and you can think of this as the heart of Mexico City's blue collar, graceful poor part of town. The LA equivalent would be Montebello, Pico Rivera etc., this is your lower middle class... not rich, not cosmpolitan but not desperately poor either. Good food comes in the form of Tianguis, Rosticerias, Cenadurias & little corner stores & Cremerias.

Xochimilco is the big green area in the South - Southeast part of the map. This is a very indigenous part of town with many people still speaking Nahautl and the best place to find ancient Native cuisine like roasted or grilled rabbit, acociles (local crawfish), steamed trout, pulque, huitlacoche tamales etc., There is lots a decent food in the tourist part where all colorful boats are... but there are also a few Fondas serving organic ingredients grown within the Chinampa. See this for some pretty good insights:

http://www.transitionsabroad.com/publ...

UNAM is west-northwest from Xochimilco in the Pedregal region. That is where you will find Cafe Azul y Oro by Ricardo Munoz Zurita... THE man in Mexican culinary research. Also the area around UNAM... San Angel & Coyoacan are basically the Pasadena of Mexico City with huge old mansions, cobble stone streets, graceful parks that host art fairs, farmer's markets.... and generally play home to the bohemian, poor artist crowd.

From a food perspective... this part of town is home to a lot of the young professionals (and college students)... and many joints are geared towards meeting young people. Lots of bistros & sports bar type places... its very equivalent to the neighborhoods around UCLA, also home to some of the best Argentinian & Brazilian meat centric restaurants.

Secondarily... Coyoacan & San Angel are home to the 2nd tier wealthy people (just like Pasadena is in L.A.).... and this is where you find some nice, traditional haute restaurants set in colonial haciendas. Of the bunch I think Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan is the best: http://www.antiguahaciendatlalpan.com...

The Zocalo is nearly in the center of the map... not far from the Airport. As you go west from the Zocalo and see the World Trade Center & Chapultepec.... that Blvd. is Reforma... think of it as the Wilshire Blvd of DF.... most of the attractive Architectural sites (sculptures, parks etc.,) as well as the Financial District, Hotel & Gastronomic Zones etc., are along Reforma and its off shoots.

The Centro Historico around the Zocalo is the home to the best traditional bars, Mercado La Merced, Mercado San Juan, Parque de la Alameda (birthplace of the bacon wrapped hot dog) and of course the Templo Mayor ruins & museum... this was literally the heart of Tenochtitlan. The place to hit is Bar La Opera, Fonda de Don Chon (temple of insect dishes) and lots of great street food all over including branches of El Tizoncito (the place that invented Tacos Al Pastor) & Pozolcalli (chain devoted to many styles of Pozoles) etc.,

> The area west & northwest from Chapultepec is the real high end part of town. If you have watched the film Man on Fire... this is where the girl's family lives. Within Polanco you will find Avenida Masaryk... very much equivalent to Rodeo Dr. and home to Izote and other high end restaurants.

Ciudad Neza is the part of town where the big Rave takes place in Man on Fire.. you can see it on this map its East of the Zocalo & Airport...

http://www.maplandia.com/mexico/distr...

... if you have watched Amores Perros... this move ends on the industrial edge of Neza... its a surreal place that used to be devoted to agriculture... but with the mass emigration to DF from the Ranchos in the 1950's the government went in & built a very dense, grid dominated slum with no parks. This is ground zero for Naco lifestyle.... life is so dreary & congested there that people become incredibly creative with the little real estate they own... namely their own bodies & ideas... lots of tatoos, crazy hair dos, Rage Against the Machine t shirts, crazy culinary inventions using processed foods & semi cooking etc., The best analogy is South Central & South L.A.

The areas north of La Villa are pretty neat... most are Aztec villages with ruins & the whole spiel that in the 1950s were seperated from the City by forests & countryside... now they have been swallowed up by industrial parks, grey concrete housing projects & haphazard urban growth... but they still retain their charm with colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, ancient ruins... and lots of people that speak Nahuatl, Otomi & other languages and have interesting food traditions.

http://www.maplandia.com/mexico/mexic...

Cuauttilan Izcalli & Tenayuca are the biggest draws.

Back to the Center of town.... as you go from the Zocalo to Chapultepec there are a number of areas along the way including Roma, Condessa & Zona Rosa. The Zona Rosa was the tourist area back in the 60's & 70's... its now a bit cheesy & outdated, and just starting to update.

Condessa & Roma is where its at... with some drop dead gorgeous urban neighborhoods... 1920's Art Deco buildings, narrow cobblesone streets lined with lots of trees.. lots of little make out alleys, upscale & chic hotels, restaurants, bars & clubs, art galleries & museums.... this is the part of town you can stroll around with the sig other. A

couple places to hit there for a few drinks:

http://www.zincojazz.com/

http://www.condesadf.com/

In Polanco there two standout bars... one is inside the Camino Real (hotel designed by Ricardo Legorreta)... Bar Azul... and the other is the rooftop bar at Hotel Habita.

So what is special about Mexico City street food (in addition to things like Tacos al Pastor, & Huaraches that have already been covered Ad Naseum?

> Tacos de Fritangas.... these vendors have cauldrons bubbling with manteca used to cook all kinds of offal... this is the place to sample tacos de Rinon, Corazon, Machitos etc., everywhere you see a grouping of street vendors there is bound to be one of these. In Xochimilco and points south... you are more likely to find Fritanga vendors that specialize in things like Frog Legs, Crawfish, Freshwater shrimp etc.,

> Tacos de Canasta... you will see guys on bicycles, with baskets on them selling you the dumpling like steamed, folded tacos

> Quesadillas de Comal... made from fresh masa & stuffed with things like Huitlacoche, Flor de Calabaza etc.,

> If you encounter a Tianguis look out for the Potato Chip & Donut fryers... pretty great stuff straight out of the lard.

> Tacos de Guisados... again there should be at least one in every grouping of street vendors.... serving up a dozen guisados, ladled over a corn tortilla & a layer of rice (to prevent the taco from falling apart)... true Homecooking housed in edible, convenient, urban packaging.

> Licuados & Agua Fresca vendors inside the Mercados... we are talking places with 25 to 50 types of Agua Fresca "on tap" and a huge variety of Licuados, Eskimos and all types of milkshakes & smoothies.

> Rosticerias... fantastic rotisserie, tortillas, salsa & salads to be found in all the blue collar neighborhoods.

> Cremerias... this are places are basically Mexican delis that specialize in Cheeses, Embutidos (the Mexico City term for Charcuterie), and great variety of preserved, savory foods. They usually offer snack foods as well such as Pig Feet tostadas topped with Artisinal Cremas & Cheese, Headcheese sandwiches & little rolls of deli thin Ham rolled around cheese & strips of house made Jalapenos en Escabeche.... maybe some green olives on the side etc.,

Jun 01, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

Sonoma county for 3 days

But the food is bleh, no?

I always wanted to try **** but have never worked up the nerve because I am afraid I won't like it.

Like AB mentions.. if you are ever duped into biting a competently prepared Lengua taco chances of a Chowhound not liking what they taste is very small.

I kind of liken it to convincing one of my ex-hindu coworkers to eat their ribeye medium rare. Lamb Brain Curry... no problem. But the sight of a bloody steak provokes uncontrolled repulsion among Southern Indians. However, after losing a Cricket bet my westernized not practicing coworker was forced to get blind folded, and eat medium rare steak... at first he was having a hard time... but after relaxing he discovered he likes medium rare steak. Now he is a "Meat Eater" as westernized Indians refer to those that eat beef & steaks etc.,

May 30, 2009
Eat_Nopal in General Topics

I always wanted to try **** but have never worked up the nerve because I am afraid I won't like it.

If you've have had 100 year eggs & lung, then scallop roe will seem like a McD's happy meal to you.

May 30, 2009
Eat_Nopal in General Topics

I always wanted to try **** but have never worked up the nerve because I am afraid I won't like it.

I admitt I am still too skeeved out to try fish eyeballs.

May 30, 2009
Eat_Nopal in General Topics

I always wanted to try **** but have never worked up the nerve because I am afraid I won't like it.

Ah Firtanga de Ancas de Rana... one of the great Mexico City specialities... I can't imagine anyone not liking them (if they don't know what they are)

May 30, 2009
Eat_Nopal in General Topics

I always wanted to try **** but have never worked up the nerve because I am afraid I won't like it.

Nothing to be afraid..... well I shouldn't assume.... at least the Mexican version of Head Cheese is great not any different than a good quality Mortadella

May 30, 2009
Eat_Nopal in General Topics

Union Sq, fisherman's wharf...i know, i know.

FYI... NY is full of crappy "high end" Mexican places like Colibri that don't actually serve Haute Mexicaine (as served in Mexico)... not a good rec for a NYer that is probably already been suckered to eat at Rosa Mexicano, Pampano or any of the other crappy $$$ NY Mexican places that most Chowhounds in Mexico would not eat at if paid.

San Diego restaurants are bad

Wah... Wah.... in Seattle they generally have no clue about acceptable Mexican much less good Mexican.

May 30, 2009
Eat_Nopal in San Diego

San Diego Indian mango?

My backyard has an alphonso mango tree =)

May 30, 2009
Eat_Nopal in San Diego

Kailua Town... Da Good, Da Bad & Da Kine

I have been hesitant to post this because its technically tangential to this board's stated intent... but my god there is absolutely no better Chowhound experience in Hawaii than this.

The coffee at Muddy Waters sucks... and the music isn't always great... but there is simply NO better Chowhound Bohemian experience than grabbing your plastic chair from Muddy Waters.... buying a pastry or drink from them.... walking over to Tamura's in the same shopping center buying a great beer, sake, tequila, wine or bourbon... having it out of a plastic cup will you song to awesome dissonant blues notes & progressive cords. Tonight was just magical with a quarter moon, a respectable Hawaiian summer ale from Kona Brewing purcahsed at Tamura's... chilling on a plastic chair in the warm tropical night... rain drizzling down slightly. I certainly wouldn't trade it for Alan Wong's and a bottle of Chateu D'Yquiem or a Rothschild.

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Muddy Waters Espresso
25 Kaneohe Bay Dr, Kailua, HI

Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquors
25 Kaneohe Bay Dr Ste 106, Kailua, HI

May 30, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Hawaii

The Baja Med Movement:La Querencia, Villa Saverios,Baja Med Pizza Co., and beyond at the frontier of a gastronomic revolution

Absolutely.... well I should be precise... there are two & half bakery traditions. The first is the Spanish (we shouldn't forget that the French baking tradition is actually an amalgamation of Italian, Spanish, Greek & Austrian baking traditions... taking to another level in France. But first their was a Spanish influenced tradition which is always overlooked.... the half is the Sephardic Jewish tradition which does give Mexican baking a very different approach than you will find in either French or Spanish today... and then of course the French tradition which predates Maximilian with these varios pre 1850's waves of French immigrants.

May 29, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

The Baja Med Movement:La Querencia, Villa Saverios,Baja Med Pizza Co., and beyond at the frontier of a gastronomic revolution

I wish that some of their produce, herbs & traditions would find their way in to Baja's best restaurants. I am intrigued to learn how they use bellotas (acorns) as I don't think I have ever seen it documented anywhere.

May 29, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

The Baja Med Movement:La Querencia, Villa Saverios,Baja Med Pizza Co., and beyond at the frontier of a gastronomic revolution

Actually.... Maximilian / Napoleon the 3rd's influence on Mexican cuisine is WAY overstated. The French started immigrating to Mexico (and if you go hunting around Mexico you will easily find many people like my friend Pepe Michel & the various Jacquez clans in Jalisco) in the 1820's... particularly from the Barcelonette Valley. In fact, immigrants from that poor region of France went on to use their contacts in Manchester to corner the Mexican haute clothing market away from the Germans.... making a killing in the process and going on to deeply influence Mexico by opening the first breweries & other business (in fact Barcel and the cute little squirrel as in the snack foods giant is derived from Barcelonette).

So the brief skirmish between Mexico & France known as the Pastry Wars involved 1820's French pastry chefs etc., and this is just indicative of the constant flow of French immigrants to Mexico (encouraged by the Francophilic elites who actively looked to France as an alternative to Spanish domination).

As a result of this deeper influence you find much more entrenched French influences throughout Mexico... from Jericallas in Jalisco, to Sparkling Wines in Queretaro, to Cream Puffs in Chiapas, to Chevres in Veracruz to Mussels in Baja, to Crepes in Mexico State.... the French have brought many traditions that slowly but firmly seeped into mainstream Mexican culture in a way that simply being under French imperial rule for a few years could never have accomplished.

May 29, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

The Baja Med Movement:La Querencia, Villa Saverios,Baja Med Pizza Co., and beyond at the frontier of a gastronomic revolution

I should note though that Baja does have an indigenous cuisine... unfortunately it is largely disregarded just like its cousins in the U.S.

May 29, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

The Great USA Taco Encyclopedia

GREAT STUFF!

May 29, 2009
Eat_Nopal in General Topics

The Baja Med Movement:La Querencia, Villa Saverios,Baja Med Pizza Co., and beyond at the frontier of a gastronomic revolution

I concur and let me add that I give Baja a lot more latitude than Southern Mexico with respect to fusion & innovation. The biggest story in Southern Mexico is:

> 6,000+ year of an awesome agricultural tradition (some of the world's greatest foods / ingredients are the product of agricultural genius in the Southern 1/3 of the country... corn, beans, squash, chocolate, vanilla, chiles, peanuts etc.,)

> 3,500+ year tradition of Advanced Civilizations (you guys realize that December 21, 2012 marks the completion of a 26,000 year astronomic cycle known to the Mayans but only recently thought about by modern Astronomy)

> Southern Mexico is one of THE very most ecologically & linguistically diverse areas of the world. (Mexico is considered among the 4 most bio diverse countries... and much of this is concentrated in the southern half)

So what happens when you take 3,500 years of Advanced Civilizations, Palace cuisines, a storied Agricultural tradition, incredible bio diversity in addition to food traditions that were among the most important traditions in the society... alot of freaking amazing dishes that are unknown outside of Mexico (hell outside of their municipalities they are unknown)... the stuff we get reported by Diana Kennedy and CONACULTA is all great but just a tip of the ice berg.

With that said... the big story in Baja is:

> Northern, lightly populated Frontier
> Home to late 19th century / early 20th century immigration of Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Spaniards, Russians
> Home to large & significant immigration of Oaxacan Mixtecs in the second half the 20th century
> Home to the oldest continously operating wineries, olive groves & aquaculture in the Western Hemisphere
> Possibly the world's greatest depth & breadth of seafood

Take all those things together and it should be NO surprise to sit down to a plate of Smoked Abulone Ravioli sauced with Mole Negro et al.... Fusion defines Baja.

May 29, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Mexico

The Great USA Taco Encyclopedia

Awesome report... great contribution to the thread!

May 29, 2009
Eat_Nopal in General Topics

Bourdain on illegal immigration and the Restaurant Industry [moved from Not about Food board]

When my dad retired from an iconic but casual restaurant in L.A in .... he was being paid $12 / hour + Health Insurance as a lead cook... he was legal but others in kitchen weren't... and the illegal guys earned about the same as the legals employees.

The owners constantly tried bringing in U.S. born, caucasians & african americans to work (often people who had been in the military or gotten out of jail)... but not one over the years could handle the work pace & stress, and they would all quit with a few months. Every time I went to visit, my dad was moving fast, constantly & sweating profusely in fact his first 5k as a 60 something old he ran under 21 minutes beating many, younger men who presumely jogged regularly.

Hell... I ran sub 4 minute 1,500s in College... and I am only 32.. and I don't think I could break 21 minutes if I was asked to run a 5k tomorrow!

May 29, 2009
Eat_Nopal in Food Media & News