Culture

Here’s What These Top Mexican Chefs Have To Say About The Future Of Mexican Food In The US

Mexican food is one of most popular cuisines in the United States and for good reason. In 2017, CHD Expert estimated that there are more than 59,800 Mexican restaurants in the U.S. Mexican Menu foods are also more common in the U.S. than hamburgers or pizza. That’s why it’s no surprise that Mexican chefs are constantly re-inventing the iconic food and finding new ways to prepare timeless dishes.

Some of the top Mexican and Mexican-American chefs gathered for a panel about the future of Mexican cuisine in the U.S.

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

Cacique, a leading brand of Mexican-style cheeses, curated a panel discussion with some of the world’s top Mexican and Mexican-American chefs to share their takes on what will impact the culinary world.

The panel was hosted by award-winning chef Aarón Sánchez and consisted of Chef Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza in Los Angeles, Chef Richard Ampudia of La Esquina in New York City, Chef Santiago Gomez of Cantina La Veinte and Tacology in Miami and Chef Wes Avila of Guerrilla Tacos in Los Angeles. These are some of dishes and food trends they think you should look out for in the coming year.

Among the many food trends you should expect to see in 2019 are the return to local origin ingredients and handmade tortillas.

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

In the world of food there are countless trends that come and go but when it comes to Mexican food what was once old is now new. When asked what we should look out for in Mexican food in 2019, Lopez said she sees the return to basics in terms of where chefs find their ingredients. She says there will be a localized understanding and appreciation of the ingredients that comes from Mexican cuisine.

“I think there will be a growing respect and appreciation for these types of ingredients that don’t necessarily come from the U.S. like chiles and pozole,” Lopez said. “Places like Oaxaca have some of the best ingredients and you can tell the difference just be a single ingredient.”

Avila uses handmade tortillas for all his food at his taco restaurant in LA. According to Avila, we should expect to see a growing appreciation for the ingredients and process used to make them.

“I think if you ask anyone that’s had a handmade tortilla they can taste the flour and the corn and there is a certain appreciation for the entire process,” Avila said. “It might take more time to make but that’s where the consumer needs to appreciate there is a lot of heart going into their dish.”

Open fire cooking will return as the top preparation style at restaurants.

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

According to Avila and Lopez, open fire grilling isn’t only what’s next in Mexican cuisine it’s going to be part of a revolution in how many restaurants prepare their food. Open fire grilling is popular because of the slow cook burning taste that meats like barbacoa get when prepared over wood.

“It’s a unique taste when you bite into some barbacoa and can see the smokey flavors that went into preparing it,” Avila said.

Lopez says when she traveled to Oaxaca she saw many homes with no refrigerators or stoves just open fire cooking.

Vegan makeovers to Keto Diet-friendly versions of your favorite Mexican classics will be on menus.

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

As more people switch to healthier and more plant based diets, Mexican dishes have adjusted as well. Ampudia says you may start to see full Mexican food menus catered to vegan and keto diets.

“Dishes like eggplant and squash will take the base of the meal instead of your traditional meats,” Ampudia says. “We are moving towards a new movement in Mexican food that is being influenced by mainstream dieting food trends.”

A fusion of Asian and Mexican techniques will be used when preparing and presenting dishes.

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

Ampudia says that when traveling to Mexico City he has seen a growing population of Japanese chefs in the area that are creating Mexican-Asian fused dishes. He says the growing population of chefs are already influencing young Mexican chefs in the area who in return are traveling to the U.S and Europe with these new fresh ideas.

“Asian-Mexican fusion is here to stay and the dishes compliment each other so well with their flavors,” Ampudia says. “Umami and these different types of spices can be found in Mexico and in Asia which makes it easy to create these dishes.”

Los Angeles and Chicago will continue to grow as hotspots for Mexican food in the United States.

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

Both LA and Chicago are home to some of the largest populations of Latinos in the country. Avila says LA is the mecca of Mexican food in the U.S. and says that that’s where the Mexican food future is. He says that because of California’s resources when it comes to ingredients which makes it easier to experiment and try out new dishes year round.

“All eyes are going to be on LA when it comes to the forefront of what’s next in Mexican food,” Avila said.

Gomez has also seen Miami grow not only as a Mexican community but a hot spot of new dishes because ingredients are becoming more available than ever before.

“Everyone down there is into the corn, frijoles and quesos which is paving the way for more dishes. It’s a difficult place because it has a lot of Latin influences but not Mexican,” Gomez says. “Were trying to show that Mexican food not only is making its mark in Miami but it has a home.”

As for things that need to change is the misconception that Mexican food is cheap street food.

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to Mexican food is that it’s cheap and you shouldn’t pay as much for it compared to other dishes. All of the chefs agree that this stigma needs to change and it starts with Mexicans themselves who need to start appreciating their own food. That also applies to using the correct names when listing food items on menus instead of trying to create trendy new titles.

“I always hear people say ‘OMG I love Mexican food but when it’s too expensive I won’t pay for it’ and that needs to stop and start with us,” Lopez says. “The idea that it’s okay to pay $20 for a bowl of pasta but trip when they have to pay for a $20 bowl of mole is insane. As Mexicans and Mexican-American chefs we should be the first to give our food the respect it deserves.”


READ: These Restaurants Are Serving Up Some Of The Best Mexican Food From The West Coast To The East Coast

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Here Are 9 Salsas From Across Latin America That You’ll Carry In Your Bag Every Day Of The Week

Culture

Here Are 9 Salsas From Across Latin America That You’ll Carry In Your Bag Every Day Of The Week

I guarantee that since Beyonce’s hit anthem ‘Formation’ hit the airwaves, we’ve all been wanting to channel our inner Bey and carry some hot sauce in our bags. But which one would you choose?  

Whether you prefer sweet and sour, ranch, spicy, or mild, when it comes to options, the possibilities are endless!

A sauce’s beauty is that every country has its famous creation that usually accompanies their traditional dishes. Every Latin American country has its mouth-watering sauce that was created using recipes passed down from ancestors.

AJILIMOJILI

In Puerto Rico, this sauce is quite popular because of its ají dulce flavor – a mix of sweet and sour notes. The green salsa is the Caribbean’s version of hot sauce and is added to recipes, such as seafood and boiled vegetables.

VALENTINA

Few of us don’t know about the magic that is Valentina. Pour that sauce all over your papas, pizza, jicama, elotes, and so much more. And it’s great because it’s available in a variety of heat levels so everyone can enjoy. 

TIÁ LUPITA HABANERO SAUCE

This Habanero Hot Sauce is an original family recipe of the brand and combines just the right amount of heat with each fruit’s natural sweetness. It is handmade in small batches, using only habanero peppers, dates, mangos, and spices. All ingredients are sourced from local farms and are non-GMO and gluten-free certified.

The sauce can be used as a condiment with breakfast burritos, eggs, sandwiches, tacos, pulled pork, steak, chicken, fish, quesadillas, and more.

CHIMICHURRI

Chimichurri is mostly tied to Argentina, even though other countries also serve the herb-based salsa. To achieve the perfect chimichurri, mix parsley, oregano, garlic, onion, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil. Pair with meat cuts like churrasco and watch the magic happen.

CHIRMOL

In Central America, chismol or chirmol is made of tomatoes, onion, peppers and other ingredients. It’s similar to pico de gallo and is used in a variety of dishes.

RICANTE

Sauce, dressing, dip, marinade… Ricante does it all and with no sugar or salt added and with just the right amount of approachable spice. Ricante is not only Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, and Keto Friendly, but tiá approved!

Ricante launched with five incredibly unique hot sauces, marrying non-traditional essences like apples, mangos, carrots, and habaneros.

SALSA ROSA

Pastas are enjoyed all across Latin America, especially in Argentina and Uruguay, which pair the dishes with salsa rosa, a tomato-based sauce mixed with heavy cream. Together, they create a pink paste that blankets a variety of pasta dishes.

TACTICAL TACOS

Wait, so not all taco bases are citrus?! Tactical Tacos knows how to do taco sauce right with their notes of orange, lime, and cilantro to start your bite out just right, followed up with a perfect hint of Jalapeno and Cayenne pepper in the background. That’s just their mild sauce, Snafu. The Fire Fight and Ghost Protocol give you a similar ride with the citrus kick but with a much bigger spice hit for those that are brave enough to try it out!

MOLE

Mole is a spicy-and-sweet sauce made from chocolate that translates. The dark brown sauce gets its heat from chiles, but also has a touch of sweetness from the cacao, almonds, and peanuts often added. The sauce is topped with sesame seeds.

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Neiman Marcus Is Charging White People Prices For “Traditional, Handmade” Tamales And The Internet Has Had Enough

Culture

Neiman Marcus Is Charging White People Prices For “Traditional, Handmade” Tamales And The Internet Has Had Enough

America’s fancification and appropriation of simple, traditional foods – especially “ethnic foods” – reached another milestone with the news that Dallas-based retailer Neiman Marcus is now selling gourmet tamales on its website at a pretty astounding price — six dozen for $92, plus $18 for shipping. That’s $110 for 72 tamales.

How have we made it this far without Neiman Marcus tamales? For years, we’ve been relying on handmade tamales from our tías and primas like peasants, unaware that luxury tamales were just a click and a payday away.

The luxury tamales made headlines in outlets ranging from the Dallas Morning News to GQMy San Antonio called it “an outright food foul,” taking this “usually affordable, traditional dish” and tacking on “an outrageous price tag.”

But is it really at all surprising that a luxury retailer is trying to make a buck off our people’s food and culture?

Neiman Marcus is the type of place where you can expect to see a Mexican-inspired jacket, such as this one, retailing for more than $300.

Given the propensity for corporations from around the world to try and capitalize off other people’s cultures, it really isn’t too surprising that Neiman Marcus would launch a line of luxury tamales.

Now the Dallas-based luxury retailer is once again offering up ‘luxury yet tradition’ with their ‘handmade’ tamales.

Although news of the tamales has once again shocked many of us, it isn’t exactly new. It was in 2016 when Neiman Marcus first started offering these highbrow tamales and even then it made headlines. And it’s easy to see why.

An order of six dozen Neiman Marcus tamales will set you back $92, plus shipping. Neiman Marcus tamales might look like regular tamales, but they’re actually very expensive and fancy. They are “handmade from a traditional recipe of fresh stone-ground corn, top-quality meats, lard, spices, and natural flavorings.” Can the food truck by your office honestly claim that its meats are top-quality? Or is your mama using luxury masa?! 

At six dozen (72 total if you’re too lazy to do the math), the $92 price tag isn’t totally off the mark, especially if they’re truly handmade. Anyone who has helped make tamales during the holidays knows that it’s not only time-consuming, it also takes a bit of practice. (And if you screw up too often, you’ll be roasted for it by your mom and tías).

They’re only available in beef, chicken and pork. Sorry, folks, no rajas. Unfortunately for Neiman Marcus customers, they’ll never experience what it’s like to unwrap a tamal, bite into it and realize it’s a random tamal de dulce that got mixed in with a different batch. 

But wait, there’s more! You can also order an “Enchilada Dinner” for $72.

Neiman Marcus didn’t stop with the tamales. Shoppers can also order flautas and enchiladas. In fact, for $72, plus $18 shipping, you get 12 enchiladas: six with beef and six with chicken.

Yup, Neiman Marcus is asking people to pay $90 for 12 enchiladas.

Just curious as to how many people are actually paying these white people prices to get their hands on traditional Mexican foods?

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