food & drink

A Mexican Chef In NYC Is Giving Diners A Chance To Try Gourmet Mexican Food With Traditional Insect Ingredients

@theblackantnyc / Instagram

Back in 2014, the East Village didn’t know it was about to get a gourmet traditional Mexican restaurant. So traditional that Chef Mario Hernandez does not hold back from tossing in a few ‘edible’ insects to top off your guac or rim your tequila glass. Owner Jorge Guzman told New York Magazine that the ants are expensive because they only emerge in Oaxaca once a year.

Here’s a look at the foods you can expect at the gourmet New York City restaurant The Black Ant.

First, start with the guacamole with crushed ants to top it off.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Remember, this is an upscale Mexican restaurant we’re talking about so the guac is going to be extra ($13 to be precise). It’s served with wakame-black ant salt.

Try a grasshopper croqueta.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Mmhm. That’s a croqueta de chapulín. While there is one grasshopper who is staring you down, you can eat the rest of them without looking at them in the eye. They’re tucked in with yucca-manchego and salsa.

Not everything is covered in ants.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Like this buñelo de pato (crispy duck dumplings) bathed in Oaxacan Mole Negro y queso fresco. Támbien tiene algo por veganos: the roasted seasonal vegetables with vegan green mole and greens.

Para tomar: crushed worm salt rimmed tequila.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Yup. I guess worms are salty. The Black Ant is lauded for it’s cocktails above all else and is worth getting a spooky drink or two to celebrate the Halloween season.

Get spooky with these floating ant carcasses in your drink.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Eso es Buenbicho Mezcal with Chile ancho infused campari, cocchi torino sweet vermouth and orange oils. And ants.

Careful, because even dessert can bug you out.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Can you spot the insects? This is a platano cake, parsnip and grasshopper ice cream. Take your next adventure-seeking date here.

The chef goes back to Mexico every two months to restock on insects.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

The menu changes based on the season for insect collection. Did I just block out that vendor at the market?

If you’re adventurous, but only en el mar, try this dish.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

It’s (obviously) a seared octopus tentacle con frijoles, but can I just say that octopus are actually some of the most intelligent creatures and have been spotted playing a game of toss witch each other.

Can you spot the insects?

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Because they’re there, all en mezcla con shishito peppers, avocado purée and queso fresco. I believe these are another variety of roasted grasshoppers.

Get your veggies in, along with these creepy white buggers.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

I’m telling you, people are raving over this restaurant. ZAGAT continually gives the restaurant a 4 star rating and has rated their guacamole as the Best in NYC.

Veganos: meet your meal.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

You know when you go to a fancy restaurant and there’s only one thing on the menu and it’s $22 vegetables? Well this is kind of like that (scroll down for more), but the reviews are incredible. The vegetables are all fresh, and we all know how time consuming fresh mole is to prepare. This is gourmet to the max.

Then of course there are tacos.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

While both the owner and chef repeatedly tell news outlets that they brought The Black Ant to the people to show that Mexican food is more than tacos and burritos, their tacos are showstoppers.

This is a piña pastor with avocado purée on a fresh spinach tortilla. Veganos, rejoice.

You can find more traditional (in the modern sense of the word) comidas here, too.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Like some good ole’ fashioned pollo rostizado (roasted chicken breast). Served with grilled onions, camote purée y chichilo.

Some dishes will have hidden insects.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

The chef told Latin Glam that the key to breaking taboo is to incorporate insects like you would any other food. Hide the face.

“If we don’t have the surprise element, if we see the insects and decide to engage with it, it makes it a little less crazy.”

Although some people are here for the crazy.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

I mean, who hasn’t bought salt and vinegar grasshoppers at your local Sloan’s Ice Cream Shoppe as a teenager just to be edgy? 🙋🏽

Now you can be adult, fancy edgy at The Black Ant.

ZAGAT also rates their brunch as Top 10 spots in NYC.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Don’t worry. These eggs have nothing crazy in them, unless you consider duck confit crazy, which you might if you decide to google it.

Claro, tiene elotes.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

These come with spicy mayo and crab meat, so they’re a little next level. But they’re still our favorite comfort food no matter how you dress them up.

No te preocupes: you can get American things like avocado toast, too.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Although, támbien lo tiene crab meat. Vegetarians can opt for the Peaches and Cream french toast, which is made of brioche, manchego toast, roasted peaches and cream, pistachios and lavender honey.

Let’s talk about dessert real quick.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Because they offer “mousse de chocolate,” which is exactly what it sounds like, but with avocado puree, a cacao crumble and coconut sorbet.

Plus, uji matcha churros?! It’s topped with prickly pear gel. I’m drooling.

Pues, dale and get yourself some merengue if you’re not ready for buggy food.

CREDIT: @theblackantnyc / Instagram

Whatever your dietary restrictions or expansions are, The Black Ant has something for you. Si se puede, support your local authentic Latino owned restaurants, whether it’s your corner taco stand or the gourmet ant specialty Mexican restaurant in the East Village.

Happy crunching.


READ: 5 Things You Should Know About The Iconic Mezcal Worm

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Latinos Have Mixed Feelings About America's Obsession With Pumpkins

Food & Drink

Latinos Have Mixed Feelings About America’s Obsession With Pumpkins

@Daneil_EsqGiz / @TheRealPSL / Twitter

All you have to do is open your eyes to witness America’s obsession with pumpkins and flavored food, drinks and even overpriced candles at the start of fall. Even if it’s 90 degrees out and you’re on Miami Beach, someone is drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Trader Joe’s is selling pumpkin flavored dog treats, pumpkin spiced pancake mix, pumpkin filled pop tarts, pumpkin flavored oatmeal. I could go on.

Americans love pumpkin. But what about us Latinx-Americans? Trust, I am already reconsidering how that stereotype is exclusionary when Latinos (and everyone for that matter) should be able to participate and be reflected in mainstream American culture. Perdóname.

Pumpkins in America: A History Beginning with Starbucks

CREDIT: @TheRealPSL / Twitter

It all started 15 years ago when Starbucks started developing the pumpkin spice flavor after seeing the flavor soar in consumer tests. Apparently, after fiddling with the recipe, they decided to not include pumpkin at all. This sparked the beginning of pumpkin spice product tidal wave in the market.

Starbucks has sold over 200 million PSL’s since it’s first release.

CREDIT: @TheRealPSL / Twitter

And, apparently, created a Twitter account for Pumpkin Spice Latte. It has over 110k followers. 🙊

Latinos be like, “can I have the squash coffee?”

CREDIT: @_trstz3 / Twitter

Pumpkins have no seasonal significance with us. We put squash in so many of our dishes year round, that we don’t get the obsession over a gourd.

In a way, the following statement feels like a restatement of our Latinidad.

CREDIT: @BaddieQue1 / Twitter

Anyone who is firmly against PSL’s or any other pumpkin spiced product is stubbornly proud that they aren’t participating in the trend. It makes you wonder: have they even tried it though?

Yes. We are willing to give PSL’s a try. Still, no.

CREDIT: @ASalas99

We’re used to our coffee tasting like coffee, not sugar syrup. That’s my theory for the anti-PSL community.

More proof that we’re open-minded people:

CREDIT: @marelyvs / Twitter

Even international visitors have given the PSL’s a shot and it’s just a solid, no gracias. I mean, context is everything. Don’t expect a PSL to give you energy.

We just have so many questions for you, pumpkin loving Americans.

CREDIT: @ArianaPlayzz / Twitter

I mean, it makes sense. Pumpkins are native to North America, especially in Canada and the United States. They’re planted in the summer and are ready to be carved and eaten right around October. 🙂

Because so many of us grew up with out top priority being keeping the house clean.

CREDIT: @nekuhlx / Twitter

Personally, my mom is a crafty mother. She entered pumpkin decorating contests annually, and put false eyelashes on every lady pumpkin she ever carved.

So we haven’t had that bonding, sensory overload memory of carving pumpkins.

CREDIT: @natalssofia / Twitter

The memories of doing something as scandalously messy y ‘peligroso’ as carving pumpkins stands out as a fun time. Goopy pumpkin seeds, silly faces, and toasted pumpkin seeds for days.

And some of us are afraid it’ll make us less Latino.

CREDIT: @ArashKaji / Twitter

I assure you, there is no food you could eat that will destroy the fuerza that is Latinx blood running through your veins.

The culture divide is so strong, it’s got trolls calling Latinxs “white latina”s.

CREDIT: @ouijass1 / Twitter

Did I or did I not say that this is a hot button issue in Latino America right now? Por favor, don’t let PSL’s tear us apart.

Pues, no te preocupes. You’ll always be Latino.

CREDIT: @EugeOrdaz / Twitter

Smell that candle. Try that pumpkin pasta sauce. Whateva. You’ll always be Latinx, and there will always be Latinxs that have your back.

Plot twist: there are those of us who lo amos.

CREDIT: @manicpxiedrmgrl / Twitter

Newsflash, if you’re a Latino living in the USA, támbien somos Americanos. So many of us grew up with our friends *needing* a PSL, especially given that the hype started happening right around high school.

So much so that @TheRealPSL will actually retweet this Hallmark statement.

CREDIT: @yeseniawittman / Twitter

There is something irrevocably comforting about the PSL, but only if you’ve spent the last ten years drinking it. As teenagers, it was basically just spicy sugar water, but it reminds us of cooler weather, Halloween and all the holiday foods.

Because let’s face it. We’re Latino and it’s made of coffee.

CREDIT: @CMGuille

There is something that is so Latino about drinking coffee. It connects us to our ancestors and puts us in the right mood for the rest of the day.

It might not be gourmet, but it is still delicious all the same..

CREDIT: @que_ugly / Twitter

But, again, we’re in it for the feels. Starbucks has incepted us. It barely even matters what it tastes like anymore. We’re paying for the emotions.

Ok, I mean, some people actually like the flavor.

CREDIT: @alyoovm / Twitter

But I would like to see a study on the psychological effects of the PSL on our brains. Why is it so good for some of us and so gross for others?

So much so they’ll marry you for your PSL delivery.

CREDIT: @HelenaVBeta / Twitter

Remember that I said it here first. Americans like pumpkin spice, but they love the feeling it gives them just once a year. If you could marry it, it may even lose its appeal.

It’s not even about the Starbucks brand.

CREDIT: @paulaGlezC / Twitter

Caption: “Me había sobrado un poco de calabaza y quería probar lo del pumpkin spice latte este casero. Ahora toda mi cocina huele a clavo, canela, jengibre, dátiles y café y soy un poco más feliz. ”

Most of us just live in the gray, como todo.

CREDIT: @vamp_akire / Twitter

For those of us who like pumpkin, it’s because it’s so closely associated with autumn feels of Día de los Muertos, dressing up like J-Lo for Halloween as a kid, and eating more arroz con leche than you can handle. Dash some pumpkin spice on that café if you want.


READ: It’s That Time Of Year Again. Are You A Basic PSL Or A Decadent Cafe De Olla? Take The Quiz And Find Out

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