Before I begin this blog, I would like to offer sincere warm wishes of good health and peace to each of you and your families during this Holiday Season and for 2015. I appreciate your support always.
Food Truck Weekend
by Victoria Challancin
While Mexico has a long history of food stalls, or puestos, the concept of actual food trucks has been slow to take off. Happily for me, it looks like that is changing. Puestos do indeed have a long history here in Mexico, and hopefully are firmly and permanently entrenched in this culture as a quick, economical way to approach every sort of food. Whether located in the local market or as something that springs up in the streets in the evenings, these food stalls serve the people well. You can find specialty foods from modern hamburgers and hot dogs, to rich pozole (a hominy-based soup that comes in three colors with a glory of condiments), the ubiquitous taco in its many forms, empanadas, tortas (sandwiches), tostadas, corn, atole (a rich corn-based drink), aguas frescas, chorizo, frijoles, tamales, mariscos (seafood), huaraches (a shoe-shaped corn-based sort of open-faced taco), menudo (tripe soup/stew thought to be good for hangovers), antojitos (corn-based snack food which includes gorditas, tamales, tostadas, and more) grilled meats such as arrachera, and guisados (stews) made with everything imaginable. The world of food-stall food is mind-boggling...and utterly delicious.
I laughingly remember when my son returned from studying his last year of high school in France, I asked him rather foolishly what kind of food he had missed. That is to say, what did he long for from Mom's kitchen. Imagining that he might ask for lasagna or shepherd's pie, or some other favorite, I was a little taken aback by his response: "Oh, Mom...tacos de cabeza y una torta con milanesa y tajín!" Goat head tacos and sandwiches made of breaded thin chicken or pork with all the trimmings. So much for Mom's cooking. So it was off to the puestos for him, and my son, like most Mexicans, knew just where to turn for his favorite fix.
On December 13th and 14th San Miguel de Allende held its first Food Truck Weekend, which promised Comida-Arte-Diseño-Moda...all rolled into one event. And it didn't disappoint. While San Miguel only has two food trucks that I know of, neighboring Querétaro, which is a much larger city, has burgeoning food truck installations popping up everywhere. Our small event, in fact, featured both of San Miguel's food trucks and five others from nearby Querétaro. All were spotlessly clean and peopled with smiling entrepeneurs looking to expand their reach.
Here is a sampling of what the event had to offer:
To give you an idea of prices, in case you aren't a local reader, there are approximately 14.5 pesos to one US dollar, reflecting both the pesos recent decline and the dollar's surge. So that makes a hamburger cost about $4.15 and a hot dog about $1.40. Just so you have a point of reference.
The Chef on Fuego, or "Chef on Fire," particularly interested me as I had heard that the restaurant that sponsors it features really excellent lamb.
Here is the friendly and knowledgable Chef on Fire himself
I had to smile at how modern we have become with social media...even for food trucks. Of course. It's important stuff, I do realize.
Shawarma, much like Mexico's tacos al pastor, a terrific offering of marinated meat shaved with a special machine in the modern way
Lemon juice and chile to rim the glass or, in this case, cup
Cook's Note: My son, who was born and raised in Mexico will be shocked and probably disappointed that I am including a recipe for michelada, but I do think my readers will want to have an idea of proportions--proportions that can be adjusted to taste, of course. And should be. This is how I learned to make it:
For one serving you need a lime and a small plate with coarse salt or a specific chile blend, such as the one above or Tajín
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Salsa Maggi, or to taste
A 12-oz bottle of Mexican beer of choice
To rim the glass with chile salt: Cut the lime in half and rub around the rim of glass. Invert the glass and dip in the chile-salt mixture.
Fill the glass with ice, if using, then add lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Maggi sauce. Fill with beer. Stir to combine. Check and adjust seasoning
Mayonnaise, plus popular sprinkles, mainly with chile
Altomar (High Sea) is yet another truck which offered seafood, including caldo de camaron, the rich seafood broth so popular here, for basically $1 or 15 pesos. [Note: Mexico has the 13th longest coastline in the world, with 9930 km of coastline]. Their menu also includes tostadas de ceviche (several types), burritos, tacos, seafood hamburgers, and various sushis. And more...always more.
What did I take home?
Because my husband stayed at home, I just had to make my orders "take-away" so I could share with him. I don't have photos of all of the dishes, but here is what I ended up with:
- A Philly Steak Slider
- A Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Slider
- Octopus Tostadas
- Crab Empanadas
- A Mixed Middle Eastern Wrap of Shawarma and Falafel--and fries!
- An order of Falafel
All good. Each one. Delicious. And Chef on Fuego assures me that they are planning an even bigger event soon--and I can't wait!
Octopus tostadas with guacamole...sigh...
Crab empanadas...sigh...yet again
©Victoria Challancin. All Rights Reserved.
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Flavors of the Sun Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, México