Wednesday, August 6, 2014

SMA Shorts 8/5/2014

Good morning San Miguel!

Light Breakfast at MiVida
50 pesos
Pan Brioche with butter and homemade jams
Fresh squeezed pineapple ju


I spoke to Robin today and the rooftop bar at El Pegaso is opening tomorrow. The guys gave me a sneak peek today. Cozy and intimate. The perfect place to share a cocktail. And look at the view! Stay tuned. See you there.

New restaurant opening up at 74 Mesones. Mesones Cafe? We'll find out when they get the name signed off on. Opening September 1st. Southern Food. Chicken fried everything. A first in San Miguel. Stay tuned. Love southern cooking!

New chef at Dos Casas. Renovations still in progress. August 15 is target opening.

A week from yesterday, Alex Cervantes, the owner of El Tucan will take over the management of the restaurant at the Shelter Theater. Look for many El Tucan favorites after a show. Alex cooked in Chicago for 11 years and managed The Longhorn when it was in its prime.

N43 Deli
Relox 43

A product of the California deli circuit, local Kyle Justice recently opened N43, a deli at Relox 43.

They serve Corn Beef and Roast Beef imported from Canada and Cheeses imported from Switzerland. Local Pesca del Dia Lox and Meat from La Lonja at Mesones #33. Don Nicos Finest in Los Frailes makes organic sausages with no preservatives for their kitchen.

This is their version of a Chicago dog. El Muchacho: Smoked polish sausage, tomato, onion, mustard, relish, pickles, chiles. It came with a small salad and a coke for 95 pesos.

I know sausages. This is what I use to get when I wanted a sausage back home. I also cooked them often on the grill for my crowd. 

But this is a Chicago dog.

How did N43's stack up against the other dogs in town?

El Grandpa and Sons
Fabrica de la Aurora 2A

Very long, flavorful sausage smothered in caramelized onions and bacon and served with French Fried Onion Rings. 95 pesos.

The onion rings rivaled those at Hank's New Orleans Cafe and Oyster Bar.

Chucho's Gyros
Below Ten Ten Pie on Sterling Dickenson

This Chicago dog has great flavor and Chucho has all of those authentic Chicago dog ingredients down. 35 pesos.

Winner: Chucho's. Not just for the price but more like a Chicago-style hot dog. It's also much easier to eat than the other hot dogs.

When I want a dog, I want it to taste like a hot dog. Not that the others weren't good. They were. But sometimes simple is better.

Ancha de San Antonio #7

This courtyard is so beautiful, you'll swear you are in Italy.

Owner Francine is charming and dished out some amazing menu items. Like this flatbread with figs. Her passion for cooking truly shows through in all of the dishes she presents.

What we loved most? The cold Avocado and Almond soup.

Like Don Day said when he reviewed the restaurant, the soup is now on his best list. It's on ours too.

Something we didn't know: There is a sandwich menu at Cumpano. You have to ask for it.

Our favorite addictions:

The Purple Pig, Chicago.

Asparagus Ravioli made with won ton wrappers.

Cajun Chicken Parmesan.

A Farmers Market Breakfast at lakefront's Green City Market, Chicago.

Thick cut bacon.

                                                                               photo: Humbert 
 A bad day at the office

Markets around San Miguel

Hansen's: And you thought we were going Vegetarian? Sorry. Need my steak.

Tuesday Market Tour

Twin brothers Chuck and Rick recently asked if I take them on a tour of the Tuesday market. 

I was fascinated by the fact that Chuck has lived in the area for over 20 years and had never been to Tuesday Market. Expect to see him as a regular from now on.

Are these two fun? This will tell the tale. As teenagers back in California they use to crash ethnic weddings to check out the customs... and of course the food.

Someone recently asked what the best dessert is in San Miguel for celebrating a birthday.

 Here are our top three picks:

1) The Caramel Marshmallow Sundae at The Restaurant.

2) Claudia's Lemon Meringue Pie. We never liked Meringue but Claudia's is ever so creamy. 35 pesos.

3) or make it yourself! Homemade Ice Cream with Chihuahua peaches.

As the climate has gotten hotter, fruit growers in Chihuahua, Mexico, have been switching from apples to peaches. There are now over 5,000 acres of peaches.

Lucky for us. They taste a lot like California peaches. Eat them right away. They do not keep more than a day.

And here is the recipe that produced the best Vanilla Ice Cream we've ever had...we even ate it for breakfast!

Thank you David Lebovitz!

1 cup whole milk (we used half and half)
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.

In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Control Your Camera With Your Headphones

Arms not quite long enough to get everybody into that selfie? Use your earbuds as a remote shutter button for your iPhone's camera. Simply launch the camera as normal, set up your shot, and then press the volume-up button to snap a photo.

Controlling weight: yes, eating is an occupational hazard, especially when you're a food photographer. I've learned the art of sampling something and opposed to devouring the entire thing. Although I'll admit I'm often tempted.


California Chardonnay

Homemade Chocolates

My BBQ Ribs

Photos from Readers:

John Hodge's beautiful hand stenciled tortilla. A work of art!

Favorite words of wisdom this week from travel and food writer Valen Dawson:
"I'm learning not to be attached to my plans.

I like that plan. Mine can change in a minute depending on which way the arrows point.

Yep. Me and my gypsy soul!

Travel Planning 2015:

Noche de Brujas - Mexico’s Night of the Witches
Cerro Mono Blanco, Catemaco, Mexico.

The Mexican town of Catemaco, considered the center of Mexico’s witchcraft industry, hosts an annual witchcraft convention the first Friday in March.

Hundreds of shamans, witches and healers perform a mass cleansing ceremony to rid them of negative energies from the previous year. There are also song and dance performances, tarot readings and even a black magic ceremony.

This is a fascinating town with a dark history. I was there 20 years ago long before the shamans, healers and witches of the town organized their craft. It is now renown as an asylum for mysticism and witchcraft.

You'll also find Chamanes (local "white" witches), Culebreros (snake bite healers), Yerberos (herbal healer), Hueseros (a form of chiropractor), Yorbateros (massage healers) and of course Parteras (midwives). In fact, the Aztecs classified almost 40 different types of healers.

And why does one go? Many people simply want “una limpia,” or a cleansing to ward off evil spirits but a majority of the complaints are broken hearts and physical ailments. Some also look for protection from the drug cartels.

Interestingly enough, the Grand Warlock, also known as Antonio Vazquez, looks like a fuzzier version of someonI know. 

It's a fascinating drive just 100 miles south of Veracruz City.

Buen Apetito!