Tag Archives: Mexico

i8tonite with LA’s Revolutionario Chef Farid Zadi & Fennel and Carrot Slaw Recipe

i8tonite with LA’s Revolutionario Chef Farid Zadi & Fennel and Carrot Slaw RecipeIn our global world, food is often the first thing that changes. Chinese noodles appropriated by the Italians after Marco Polo’s visit. How about al pastor brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants, or the deliciousness of a French-Vietnamese banh mi, which features tons of crunchy vegetables and savory pork stuffed into a baguette? This is the case for the much-lauded Revolutionario, near the University of Southern California, helmed by Chef Farid Zadi and his wife Susan Park. The couple came up with an ingenious concept of marrying North African diaspora (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya) tastes with Mexico. The successful result is a delicious fusion of international flavors as noted by the alternative paper, LA Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, and the queue of college students and food-oriented people standing at the counter ordering their $3.00 tacos.

i8tonite with LA’s Revolutionario Chef Farid Zadi & Fennel and Carrot Slaw Recipe
Revolutionario

Zadi’s career started in his birthplace of Lyon, France, ultimately leading him to working in Michelin starred restaurants throughout the world, including stints in Seoul, Korea, and Scotland. Upon coming to the United States, Zadi focused his epicurean talents on being a chef consultant and culinary educator, teaching cooking classes – for the beginner to the accomplished – at such places as Sur La Table, Whole Foods Market, and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

i8tonite with LA’s Revolutionario Chef Farid Zadi & Fennel and Carrot Slaw Recipe
Makroud (Algerian Date Newtons)

Last year, he and Susan wanted to create something different. Park says, “We saw the market going in a different direction towards a fast casual experience. Millennials didn’t really want to participate in the sit down service.” Along Jefferson, Revolutionario is not hard to find, as there are hordes of people waiting for service. Together, the couple have created a refreshing and unique melding of cultures…and the world was ready. Algerian butter and Mexican crema top a cob of corn. An Algerian roasted chicken with rasa al hanout – a Northern African spice mixture — called mechoui — is served up with feta and tortillas to wrap the bird. Wood-roasted cauliflower is also a standout when bound in a corn tortilla.

i8tonite with LA’s Revolutionario Chef Farid Zadi & Fennel and Carrot Slaw Recipe
Mexican Street Corn with Algerian Creole Butter, Crema, and Cotija

Park comments, “North African tacos are an interesting cuisine. Food writers, those who are well-traveled, and people exposed to unique flavors love our food. Where else can you get merguez sausage served like a burrito?

Chef’s Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

How long have you been cooking?
34 years professionally

What is your favorite food to cook?
Dover sole with lemon butter sauce

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Butter, cheese, and cured meat.

i8tonite with LA’s Revolutionario Chef Farid Zadi & Fennel and Carrot Slaw Recipe
Merguez and Crispy Potato Tacos

What do you cook at home?
Nothing

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer?
Openness

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer?
Don’t know what they want

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex?
Pyrex

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
Beer in the summer, wine for fall and winter

Your favorite cookbook author?
Clifford Wright

Your favorite kitchen tool?
Chef’s knife

Your favorite ingredient?
Water

Your least favorite ingredient?
Lard

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen?
Home stove that doesn’t burn high enough

i8tonite with LA’s Revolutionario Chef Farid Zadi & Fennel and Carrot Slaw Recipe
Roasted Sweet Potato and Crispy Kale, Yukon Gold with Lentil Chili or Charred Vegetables.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
Mediterranean and Californian

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
Beef

Favorite vegetable?
Potatoes

Chef you most admire?
Pierre Gagnaire

Food you like the most to eat?
Buttered pasta

Food you dislike the most?
Calf’s brain

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
None. Never.

Recipe: Fennel and carrot slaw

i8tonite with LA’s Revolutionario Chef Farid Zadi & Fennel and Carrot Slaw Recipe

• 2 medium fennel bulbs
• 5 carrots, coarsely grated
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup Spanish green olives, pitted and finely chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon dried Aleppo chile or Espelette pepper flakes (optional), or to taste
• 6 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and very thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 3 tablespoons and reserve.

Discard remaining fronds and stalks. Cut bulbs into thin matchsticks and toss with carrots in a bowl.

Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, oil, olives, Aleppo chile (if using), and salt to taste and toss with vegetables.

Chill, covered, at least 30 minutes (for flavors to develop).

Photo WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ

– The End. Go Eat. –

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Condesa and Roma Norte, Mexico City

Guest Writer and Mexico City travel expert Katja Gaskell is the co-founder of globetotting.com, a website for adventurous family travel. She is a firm believer that you can – and should! – take your children everywhere and anywhere no matter what age they are. Prior to life on the road with kids, Katja wrote across a range of titles for Lonely Planet and tried and tested luxury hotels for the British boutique hotel guide Mr & Mrs Smith. She is currently based in Mexico City with her husband and three children. Find her online: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram

Mexico has long had a reputation for good food, but these days its culinary clout goes far beyond tortillas and tacos. Nowhere is this more evident than in Mexico City, where new dining experiences have helped catapult the capital onto the worldwide gourmet scene.

This is an exciting place to eat, with dining options to suit all palates and all budgets. From a simple torta stand to some of the world’s best restaurants, Mexico’s capital is foodie heaven.

This is, however, also one of the world’s largest cities and finding your way around can take some time. To make things easier, we have focused on two neighbouring colonias, Condesa and Roma Norte, both home to some of the city’s most exciting eateries.

Breakfast: Lalo!

Lalo! From i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Condesa and Roma Norte, Mexico CityOwned by chef Eduardo García of Maximo Bistro fame (one of the capital’s best restaurants), Lalo! is a lively, colourful café and pizzeria. But this is not your average breakfast joint (nor your average pizza parlour). Lalo! boasts an innovative menu that will have you dithering over what to order. Diners sit side by side on one long communal table overseen by a mural of bright caricatures. It’s fun, tasty, and a great way to start the day.

My suggestion: The Croque Madame is, without doubt, one of the best breakfast dishes in the capital. A large slab of brioche bread, a generous helping of ham, mountains of cheese and an egg on top. Have one of these and you won’t have to eat again all day.

Hours: 7am – 11pm (closed Mondays)
Address: Zacatecas 173, Roma Norte
Phone Number: +52 55 5564 3388
Website: www.eat-lalo.com

Second Breakfast: Panaderia Rosetta

Panaderia Rosetta. From i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Condesa and Roma Norte, Mexico CityOwned by Chef Elena Reygada, named Latin America’s best female chef in 2015, this hole-in-the-wall may not look like much but it serves the best breads and pastries in Mexico City. Reygada is particularly well known for her baking skills, and Panaderia Rosetta provides bread for restaurants across the city. Among the many pastries on offer are croissants filled with fig, rosemary flavoured buns, and cinnamon. Grab a coffee at the counter or order to take away and sit in the nearby Rio de Janeiro park instead.

My suggestion: You can’t go wrong with any of the pan dulces (pastries) here but there’s no denying that Reygada’s light and fluffy doughnuts are unparalleled.

Hours: 7am – 8pm Monday – Saturday; 7.30am – 6pm Sunday
Address: Colima 179, Roma Norte
Phone Number: +52 55 5207 2976
Website: www.rosetta.com.mx

Lunch: Tres Galeones Taquería de Puerto

Tres Galeones. From i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Condesa and Roma Norte, Mexico CityThis small, retro-styled taquería is great for a quick lunch and is almost always packed. The chalkboard menu offers seafood dishes such as pescado estilo baja (white fish, battered, fried, and served in a light tortilla with toppings) and taco de pulpo al pastor (octopus dressed in a tasty red sauce). Also on offer are tostadas, sopes, and burritos. Grab a table outside if you can.

My suggestion: The pescado estilo baja are excellent as is the caldo de camarón, a shrimp amuse bouche offered to all diners. It’s worth going to Tres Galeones for this alone.

Hours: 11am – 5.30pm Monday to Saturday
Address: Calle Jalapa 117, Roma Norte
Phone Number: +52 55 5419 3964
Website: www.tresgaleones.com

Coffeeshop: Espressarte

Espressarte. From i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Condesa and Roma Norte, Mexico CityCoffee is serious business at Espressarte, a small artisanal café in Roma Norte where a plethora of coffee-making gadgets and gizmos line the walls. The café even has their its own micro-roastery. Everything from a simple Americano to a Japanese-style slow drip coffee is served. No bells, no whistles, just very, very good coffee.

My suggestion: You can’t go wrong, choose your favourite coffee and enjoy.

Hours: 7.30am – 9pm Monday – Friday, 8am – 8pm Saturday, 9am – 5pm Sunday
Address: Monterrey 151, Roma Norte
Phone Number: +52 55 4171 1969
Website: https://www.facebook.com/espressartel/

Happy Hour: Condesa DF

rooftop bar, Condesa DF. From i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Condesa and Roma Norte, Mexico City

The rooftop terrace at boutique hotel Condesa DF is a great place to watch the sun go down with a drink in hand. This hotel is part of the Habita Group, an edgy brand that has been responsible for some of the city’s most innovative hotels in recent years. Condesa DF is no exception and this hip hideaway is a magnet for the city’s beautiful people. Don’t let that put you off, however, the view – and drinks – are well worth it.

My suggestion: When in Mexico drink Mescal, either straight or in a cocktail. The Cucumber Mescal Mojito, with mescal, mint, lemon, and cucumber is particularly good.

Hours: Sun-Wed 2 pm – 11 pm; Thurs-Sat 2 pm – 1 am.
Address: Veracruz 102, Condesa
Phone Number: +52 55 5241 2600
Website: www.condesadf.com

Dinner: La Capital

La Capital. From i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Condesa and Roma Norte, Mexico CityA modern take on the traditional Mexican cantina, La Capital is a fun dining space with a tasty menu. Watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen and order plates to share; crispy tuna tostadas, shrimp tacos, and flautas (a type of friend taco) are just some of the house specialities. Not forgetting the guacamole, which is sublime.

My suggestion: The tacos cochinita pibil (pulled pork) are simply delicious. This slow-roasted pork dish originates Yucatán and is served with corn tortillas and onions marinated in sour orange.

Hours: 1.30pm – 12pm Monday to Wednesday, 1.30pm – 1am Thursday – Saturday, 1.30pm – 6pm Sunday
Address: Nuevo Leon 137, Condesa
Phone: +52 55 5256 5159
Website: www.lacapitalrestaurante.com

 

Pin for later:

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Condesa and Roma Norte, Mexico City

 

 

Pinnable photo: Flickr user Alexxx C; Feature photo:  ProtoplasmaKid / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0; Condesa DF photo flickr cc: scaredykat; Espressarte and Tres Galeones photos: Katja Gaskell; All other photos: respective restaurants

i8tonite with Humito Tequila’s Juan Domingo Beckmann & Cocktail Recipe for Guava Smolder

i8tonite with Humito Tequila's Juan Domingo Beckmann & Cocktail Recipe for Guava Smolder
Jaime Camil, Juan Domingo Beckmann, and Nick Fouquet. Photo courtesy Getty Images for Proximo Spirits

Juan Domingo Beckmann is not just any man of wealth. Senor Beckmann has the distinction of being the sixth generation company leader of Jose Cuervo, and a direct descendant of Don Jose Antonio de Cuervo, founder of the world’s leading tequila. In other words, his family is responsible for most of world’s population growth (drunken sex = producing babies). Currently, he’s promoting his new product, Maestro Dobel Humitos – meaning “little smoke” – the world’s first smoked tequila. The innovative libation is all Beckmann’s making, and harkens back to his forefathers’ original crafting of the Mexican liquor. Artisanal in nature, the spirit is hewed using 17th-century methods of blue agave and mesquite wood. Even in the bottle, a swirling hint of smokiness is displayed through the clear glass.

i8tonite with Humito Tequila's Juan Domingo Beckmann & Cocktail Recipe for Guava Smolder

Raised in Monterrey and Mexico City, Senor Beckmann is quiet and soft spoken but loves talking about his homeland. Indeed, he even says, “I grew up with Mexican food and love it. I’m addicted to it. Near my home in New York City and I’m visiting, I go to Toloache almost every day. ”

He also admits to not cooking himself, nor do his wife and children – that’s left to the cooks. However, he mentions that he loves skiing and goes to Vail, Colorado regularly. His additional places to relax include going to Ixtapa, located on the Pacific Ocean, or Rio Bravo, centered in the north, with his family in tow. In his answers, there is a certain humbleness of spirit. Generally speaking, most people of extreme wealth talk about Monte Carlo or Costa Smeralda, yet he is never far from his birthplace.

i8tonite with Humito Tequila's Juan Domingo Beckmann & Cocktail Recipe for Guava SmolderInterestingly, he is trying to turn Tequila, a small town located in the state of Jalisco, about an hour outside of Guadalajara, into a Latin American version of Napa Valley, complete with a museum, a train, and pairings of the namesake drink in restaurants. “It’s my father’s dream,” he says, “to turn the area into a destination with hotels. We want to grow it into something bigger.”

When speaking to the Bill Gates of tequila, one had to ask the important question how he felt about presumptive GOP nominee, Donald Trump. He chuckled a little and said, “I don’t like him. What else can I say?”

Food People Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):

What is your favorite food to cook at home?
Any type of Mexican food. Spicy food goes well with Humito, well actually any food, if you make a nice cocktail out of Humito.

i8tonite with Humito Tequila's Juan Domingo Beckmann & Cocktail Recipe for Guava Smolder

What do you always have in your fridge at home?
Tequila, ice, shaker, and fresh fruit.

What marked characteristic do you love in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
People that enjoy a good drink drink and have a good sense of humor.

i8tonite with Humito Tequila's Juan Domingo Beckmann & Cocktail Recipe for Guava Smolder

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
A person who is always criticizing.

Beer, wine, or cocktail?
Cocktail. Smoky Negroni: Negroni with Humito and a grapefruit twist. I do like Mexican (tequila), Italian (wine), and tequila añejo at the end. Japanese beer and tequila añejo on the rocks at the end are always good too.

Your favorite cookbook author?
I like the owner of el Bajio, Cardenal and Jorge Vallejo of Quintonil. (All of them in Mexico City)

Your favorite kitchen tool?
Cocktail shaker

i8tonite with Humito Tequila's Juan Domingo Beckmann & Cocktail Recipe for Guava Smolder

Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
I like all food, but I prefer Mexican.

Beef, chicken, pork, or tofu?
All of the above, except tofu.

Favorite vegetable?
I love asparagus!

Chef you most admire?
Jorge Vallejo from Quintonil

i8tonite with Humito Tequila's Juan Domingo Beckmann & Cocktail Recipe for Guava SmolderFood you like the most to eat?
Every type of food that pairs with tequila. With Humito, I like grilled food or bbq.

Food you dislike the most?
Boiled chicken

What is your favorite non-food thing to do?
I love to ski in the winter and go to the movies.

Who do you most admire in food?
The creativity of the chefs – it’s inspiring. I enjoy sharing any good food experience with great people, and tequila always adds to that experience.

Where is your favorite place to eat?
Mexico and NYC. There is a new trend of great Mexican chefs now in Mexico. I’m sure Mexico in 10 years will have at least 3 of the best chefs in the world.

What is your favorite restaurant?
I have three. I love el Bajio, el Cardenal, and Contramar in Mexico City.

Do you have any tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
No tattoos

Cocktail Recipe: Guava Smolder

i8tonite with Humito Tequila's Juan Domingo Beckmann & Cocktail Recipe for Guava Smolder
Mixologist Gustavo Ortega-Oyarzun

2 oz Maestro Dobel Humito
1 oz Guava Puree
½ oz Canton Ginger Liquor
½ oz Lemon Juice
¼ oz Giffard Pamplemousse Rose
3 dash Peychaud Bitters
Tajin Salt Rim
Mix all the ingredients in a shaker glass and shake vigorously. Serve in a rocks glass with Tajin and garnish with a Lemon wedge.

 

i8tonite: a Cheat Sheet to Eating in San Miguel de Allende

In a guidebook on Mexico, the writer said San Miguel de Allende is a “bit like a Mexican Disneyland” for foreign retirees and Mexico City residents (chilangos). It’s nothing of the sort. There aren’t any grand amusements or incredibly expensive stuffed toys. Granted, there are many English-speaking expatriates from around the world living or owning property. Yet, San Miguel de Allende’s charm is the cobblestone streets, delicious food, and the preservation of its 17th – 18th century architecture. Within the city of almost 150,000, there are families who have lived in the colonial town for as long as they could remember. While Mexico City and much of the world build sleek hotels with faster gigabyte downloads times, the internet connection at one of the luxury hotels is like driving on a Los Angeles freeway at rush hour: inch by inch, than stopping. That’s its allure.
El Pegaso. i8tonite: a Cheat Sheet to Eating in San Miguel de AllendeMuch of the town, including El Jardin, the picturesque hub, is relatively unchanged. The facades of the building have been beaten on for more than three hundred years by the elements and drinkers of all persuasions, yet the bright yellow, orange, red and sometimes, Mexican blue are still vibrantly fresh. The majority of the city’s homes open into an outdoor courtyard, fanning out to salas (rooms). It’s all very formal and European, which is how San Miguel de Allende feels – old-fashioned without the stuffiness. Kids still play with sticks. Adults play chess or smoke cigarettes while taking their coffee in the parks.

Food shopping is a delicious adventure and the markets are the area’s heart. Mexico’s bounty in food, craftsmanship, and kindness is found at Mercado Ignacio Ramirez, located by the statue of founder General Ignacio Allende. One can find fresh handmade tortillas, carnitas to purchase by the pound, and cut fruit with a sprinkle of cayenne, as well as staples like toilet paper and cleaners. There are wagons full of dried and fresh peppers, freshly slaughtered pork and chickens, and stalls where women are making tamales and hand-loomed clothing. Wander. Get lost. Eating lunch will set a couple back a whopping three bucks.

Chef and owner Azucena Tovar, of Scottsdale’s Los Sombreros, grew up in San Miguel de Allende with eleven brothers and sisters, says, “It was such a privilege to be part of the town. Riding a horse on Mexican Independence Day, twirling herbs on Good Friday. There were so many things to participate in San Miguel, it was a full-time job.”

Breakfast: El Pegaso

El Pegaso. i8tonite: a Cheat Sheet to Eating in San Miguel de Allende

Sitting on the corner of a busy cobblestoned intersection, one wants to bypass the place. It seems a little too American, too whitewashed underneath the south of the border orange and yellow. However, as norteamericano as it is, the food is good, with excellent moles and salsas, cacti salads that are palatable for food tourists, yet easy for the non-adventurous as well. It was the first place I had eaten Mexican “escamole,” or ant larvae, an Aztec delicacy.

Escamoles - ant larvae. From i8tonite: a Cheat Sheet to Eating in San Miguel de Allende
i8tonite: a Cheat Sheet to Eating in San Miguel de AllendeSuggestions: Chilaquiles con Huevos are spicy and warm. The totopos are served with a guajillo sauce and topped with eggs anyway you want them. I preferred poached. Also, this was the first place I had eaten Aztec caviar – ant larvae. A Mexican delicacy as reflected in the high price, my friend Penny and I shared a plate. It was slightly nutty and crunchy, with the taste of cottage cheese. Eaten with some guacamole and tortillas, it was delicious.

Address: Corregidora 6, Centro 37700 San Miguel de Allende, GTO. Mexico
Phone: + 52 415 156 7611
Website: https://www.facebook.com/elpegasosma/
Hours: Thursday – Tuesday, 8:30am – – 10:00pm. Closed Wednesdays
Lunch: Mercado Ignacio Ramirez

Mercado Ignacio Ramirez: The central market of San Miguel de Allende. From i8tonite: a Cheat Sheet to Eating in San Miguel de Allende

The central market of San Miguel de Allende, for both gringos and natives . Pick-up some freshly made tortillas and some roasted carnitas, sit at one of the parks and go at it.
Suggestions: See above. You can also grab some tamales which have been freshly made.
Address: Colegio, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto, Mexico
Phone: +52 415 154 4011
Hours: Seven days a week, 8:00am – 6:30pm

Cocktails: Casa de Sierra Nevada

Cocktails at Casa de Sierra Nevada. From i8tonite: a Cheat Sheet to Eating in San Miguel de AllendeA few blocks up from the El Jardin is Casa de Sierra Nevada, the legendary hotel, located in four separate buildings that were all former mansions. It’s an unusual hotel because there isn’t a main lobby. There are two restaurants located a quarter of a mile away from each other, while the spa is a small house. Many of the Mexican presidents have vacationed here, including Vincente Fox and Miguel de la Madrid. Built in the late 17th century, there is nothing like the property. There are newer places in town to lay your weary head, but none quite as romantic and as scenic. Have a glass of tequila on the rocks at The Blue Bar with its soaring ceilings, azul-colored walls, and wooden tables. Although Hemingway never stayed here, it has that presence, like Venice’s Harry Bar.
Suggestions: Tequila on the rocks. It’s the drink of choice for many Mexicans or a margarita but don’t ask for it frozen.
Address: Hospicio 35, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico
Website: http://www.belmond.com/casa-de-sierra-nevada-san-miguel-de-allende/
Hours: Open daily.

Dinner: The Restaurant

The Restaurant. i8tonite: a Cheat Sheet to Eating in San Miguel de Allende

There have been many accolades heaped on the American expat and chef Danny Masterson, who moved to San Miguel in 2005 for a simpler form of life. He’s brought an international flavor to the dining scene in the colonial town by taking it out of the resorts. It’s not Mexican food, although it is made in Mexico. Masterson’s food has elements of French technique using local farm ingredients, such as cheeses and produce. It’s a must if you are going to eat in San Miguel de Allende, but expect a leisurely dinner. Your meal could last from opening to closing – which is a very good thing.
Suggestions: Personally, I like the food where he has touches of Mexican, with American and maybe a little French, Japanese, or Argentinian. The menu changes often – not like El Pegaso – so it would be foolish to recommend something.
Address: Solano 16, Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico
Website: www.therestaurantsanmiguel.com
Hours: Sunday, Tuesday – Wednesday, 12:00pm – 10:00pm. Thursday – Saturday, 12:00pm – 11:00am.

Where to stay: Casa de Sierra Nevada

Casa de Sierra Nevada. From i8tonite: a Cheat Sheet to Eating in San Miguel de Allende

It’s not a typical hotel, since the property is spread out over four buildings. It’s kind of like getting four separate experiences. It’s what gives it a uniqueness. As far as luxury hotels go, it has the spa, the pool, the restaurants, and the turndown service, but you half expect Zorro to come riding up to save the day. Located in the city center, the property is steeped in romance and magic.

Learn more: http://www.belmond.com/casa-de-sierra-nevada-san-miguel-de-allende/

 

The end. Go eat.

Yucatan Chicken Dinner Party with Mark and Mary

Cucumbers with an Herb & Garlic Goat Cheese Dip
Cucumbers with an Herb & Garlic Goat Cheese Dip

Being a single person, I admit that I like cooking for myself. I don’t have to worry about someone saying, “That’s too much of this!” or “Don’t put that in!”. I really enjoy the freedom of not hearing another voice. First, I have more voices in my head then Sybil and, second, I think if you think you can do much better, than I am really happy to relinquish the task. Instead I hear, “What are we going to do for dinner?” Yep, single….much better.

Although I do find, as a couple, you have a lot of dinner parties. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe because you get tired of looking at each other night after night over the same table. Who knows? Recently, I’ve found myself the happy recipient of being a guest at many delicious dinners as I have shared such as Shelley’s, David’s, Mark’s and Mary’s. Thus, in return, I decided to do the same for Mark and Mary making it a two-fer.

Red Potato and Egg Salad
Red Potato and Egg Salad

And…cough,cough… being the over-the-top control freak that I am (“Didn’t I say no wire hangers!” Oops, that was Joan Crawford.)…I love cooking food in themes. Hawaiian-themed with everything garnished with a pineapple. (Heh!) Southern themed. Italian-themed. For Mark, who did Moroccan, and Mary, who did barbeque, I opted for “Picnic Indoors”. It was a menu which consisted of Cucumber Slices with Garlic and Herb Goat Cheese Dip (see above), a simple but delicious Red Potato and Egg Salad sans the Hellman’s (mayo) (also above), BBQ Beans, and a lovely Roasted Yucatan Chicken (Roasted Achiote Chicken). Essentially, everything could be served at room temperature or cold. Making the temperature of the apartment come down by the time dinner came out. It was a very gay dinner. (Get it? Came out? Gay dinner?)

The Roasted Yucatan Chicken is one of my favorites on the roasted Chicken. Hailing from the Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, achiote paste is fairly easy to make or buy it at your local market. The paste made from the annatto seed is very hard so it’s best if you use a spice mill or grinder. (The seed is actually used often as a coloring agent from everything to cheese, to clothes so be careful how you handle it.) Once you coat your chicken in the paste, it will come out with a deep orange hue, something akin to a sunset. It gives the skin a deliciously mild heat and smokiness. You can use this on grilled fish and chicken or oven-steam in foil. Make a lot and you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

You Will Need:
1/4 cup annatto seeds. (Found in the ethnic section of your supermarket, somewhere by the soy sauce and jarred Gelfite fish)
1 teaspoon cumin or powder. (Make these easy on your self, the annatto seeds are tough enough.)
1 teaspoon oregano
1/ 4 tablespoon of allspice berries
Sea salt
4 garlic cloves, pressed
Juice of 3 limes

Let’s Make This Puppy:
Combine the annatto seeds, cumin seeds, oregano, allspice berries, and salt in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Grind to a powderlike consistency. In a small bowl, mix the powder with the garlic and lime juice. Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.

Use for Cochinita Pibil or any grilled seafood