Culture

Latinos Never Do Basic Snacks And These Elotes And Esquites Prove Why They Are The Greatest Snacks

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We don’t know what the rest of the world does with corn, but Latinos know how to treat corn right. That’s probably because corn comes from Mexico, and through colonization and globalization, the juicy vegetable has spread to all corners of the world. The corn industry is massive–used to create ethanol fuel, alcohol, cornstarch, and even animal feed. Nope. Not for us.

Mexicans and other Latinos have a more one-on-one relationship with the crop. We’ve turned corn into a staple dish–using the masa to make tortillas, tamales, and desserts. Eloteros have been lovingly feeding us elotes and esquites for a century. Before the elotero proper, it was all of our mamis turning one husky crop into a delicious variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Only a Latino could turn this…

@GtoMeConquista / Twitter

Typically, the elotero will boil corn in their husks (to retain the most flavor) and transport them for the elotes. For esquites, they boil the corn in the husk and then dehusk and kernels are taken off of the cob. It’s typically seasoned and kept warm in a big pot, ready to be scooped and topped with cotija cheese.

That said, an elotero with a grill on hand has been feeding us for generations. There’s nothing better than an ear of crispy charred corn on the cob drenched in cheese and Taki dust.

Into something so beautiful and drool-worthy: 🤤 🤤 🤤

@elotefinder / Twitter

Throughout the years (and the advent of Instagram), we’ve gotten a lot more creative with presentation. We’re trying all different kinds of dustings and flavorings for the Instagram post and the flavors.

How’s it done? Chef German Correa, the possible source of the “Unicorn Elote,” said that he uses food coloring to dye mayo and then “paints” the elotes. The blue is made of blue mayo, and the rest is actually multi-colored cheeses. Rainbow elotes don’t have to be your thing.

The Pavlov test works best with a classic elote, imho.

@eloteslapurisima / Twitter

If you didn’t feel a pang of hunger or a little extra drool than usual, you haven’t had a good elote. The classic fixings of butter or mayo, melted cheese, and chili powder are enough to make anyone an addict. It’s not the worst vice. 😉

In Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, elotes are topped with lechon, cheddar cheese and bacon. It’s no snack or side dish. It’s the whole main meal. The further North in Mexico you go, the more toppings you’ll get on the elote. That isn’t quite true in the U.S., but you get the picture.

Latinos are the most creative and resourceful people. Don’t @ me.

@elotefinder / Twitter

Like everything else in our culture, there are a million different old wives tales about the origins of this brand of elote. More specifically–the variety of accounts range in who came up with the idea. We all know it was someone who shamelessly pours the Taki dust into their throats at the end of the bag and realized if it sticks so well to my fingers… imagine on an elote.

Regardless of which Latino came up with the idea, it’s going down as a Wonder of the World. Only our generation could combine a traditional Mexican food staple with junk food to make its own food group. It’s kind of our generation in a nutshell–the foundation comes from our padres with a sprinkle of the 21st century.

Only a true elote fan could taste test the difference between a Flaming Hot Cheetos and Taki elote.

@elotefinder / Twitter

To be honest, this seems like a low bar for our people but watch anyone else try one of these and start crying because of the spice. It’s how corn was meant to taste, honey. Spicy.  😛

Cuidado, apparently doctors are alerting the public to an influx of children in their emergency rooms because they ate too many Flaming Hot Cheetos. Not to fear–the base spice is chile and it’s the spice that helped all our ancestors flourish. Spice is in our blood.

Let it be known that San Francisco has an Elote Festival coming up this June 22-23.

@liamslemonaid / Twitter

For all you NorCal Latinos who are missing the Angelino luxuries of an elotero or five in almost every neighborhood in Los Angeles, some relief is coming your way. Prepare yourself. It’s called “ELOTE–The Corniest Festival Yet!”

Apparently, it’s the first elote festival in NorCal but promises to have all the classics plus elote tots, esquite topped corn dogs and more. There will be at least ten eloteros serving “elote specials,” plus a Mercadito del Encanto. All vendors are Latinx and dogs are welcome! You can find tickets on Eventbrite or search for the “Corniest Festival Yet” on Facebook. So corny.

In our world, there’s no competition between the elote and esquites.

@elotefinder / Twitter

They’re both literally cut from the same tasty cloth, and frankly, the choice almost always comes down to whether you feel comfortable looking like a slob in your company or not. You have esquites on your lunch break and you bring that elote home to eat while watching Vida. Either way, you need 4-47 napkins handy to wipe up a very beautiful mess.

Fun fact: the word esquites comes from Náhuatl’s word ízquitl.

@Gerardo80842511 / Twitter

Ízquitl and icehqui both mean “to toast.” You would do that on a comal (which means griddle). The story goes that esquites were created by Tlaxocihualpili, the woman ruler of Xochimilco from 1335 to 1347.

The truly ‘classic’ esquites is made with chopped onion, fried green chile, and pollo. It’s topped with lime juice and mayo or sour cream, cotija, chile, and salt.

The classic esquites is comfort food like no other.

@eloteslapurisima / Twitter

I don’t know how we do it, given that Latinos are far more likely to be lactose intolerant than many other races, pero ya estamos. Traditional elotes have evolved in the U.S. to include an abundance of cheese.

Different states in Mexico make it in different ways. In Aguascalientes, the esquites are called chasks and have bacon, mushroom, and strips of chile in them. In Tampico, they’re made with boiled instead of fried corn. In Sonora, they’re sweet–cooked with molasses. In Hidalgo, they’re made with pulque, onion, chile, and epazote.

In Puebla, it looks more like a soup and is called chileatole.

@king_rugge  / Twitter

That’s because it’s made with ground serrano peppers and even has a bit of corn dough to make the soup thicker. Add corn, epazote, salt and more water than usual and it’s Puebla’s version of esquites.

Even Dodger’s Stadium, in Los Angeles, is serving up esquites in little helmet bowls.

@LADExecChef / Twitter

There’s a reason we root for the Dodgers so hard. The stadium’s menu includes a ‘Dodger Dog,’ which is famous for being topped with esquites. You can also order esquite fries with your michelada.

While there are a couple of healthy carts, the vast majority of Dodger Stadium food consists of carne asada fries, tacos, and so much esquite.

Another beautiful example of the resourcefulness of our people:

@Vaainilla_ / Twitter

We’ve been saving plastic containers for eons by using husks and plantain leaves to wrap up our version of a sandwich (read: tamal). These husks make decent napkins, too. Don’t play like you haven’t done it before.

READ: Latinos Never Do Basic Snacks And This Incredibly Photogenic Elotes Are Just Part Of The Wonders Of Latino Foods

Here Are The Latino Sodas You Need To Try Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Entertainment

Here Are The Latino Sodas You Need To Try Based On Your Zodiac Sign

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While the rest of society is tapping into how nature is a significant signaler to our emotional and spiritual needs, Latinos grew up finding meaning in every change in the wind, and every dream. We’re superstitious AF, but we’re also highly in tune with nature.

We’re also chugging soda and eating Goya beans from a can because it’s 2019 and we have full-time jobs and three other gigs to get to. Whatever you have on your plate today, these zodiac-aligned sodas are destined to be more effective for you, hijo de las estrellas.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

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Honey, the arrangement of the stars this summer is signaling you to stay off the ‘gram. Get away from social media and get out of your head. There’s nothing like a sweet, tropical Jupiña to take with you to the beach or mountains.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

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Taurus’s are often misunderstood as lazy, but the fact is that you are more in touch with your self and your needs than any other sign. You’re free from the shame of indulging as an act of self-love. So when you have a Malta, you definitely add condensed milk to it to maximize the effects of every self-treat. Plus, it reminds you of drinking Malta as a niño and feeling like you could kick your feet up with the beer-drinking adults.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

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You’re represented by celestial twins–signifying a range of meanings, primarily to represent your many interests. The story goes that the goddess had so many passions, she doubled herself to get it all done. Cuba’s Iron Beer hasn’t decided whether it’s root beer or cream soda, and that’s because, like you, it can be both. 

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

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This summer, your space is yours. Whether you’re staying home to reflect and refuel your tank or burning up that gasolina on the dance floor, Jarritos stay with you. Nourishing both your home realm and your social side will be important for you. Pro tip: spiked Jarritos is even better.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

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Leo, your allure could be spotted from a mile away. Inca Kola’s neon yellow bubble gum flavors will make you glow in the dark. Don’t play like that doesn’t sound like your dream.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

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The energies of the lunar eclipse in Capricorn is still inspiring productivity like never before in you, hermit. Topo Chico is not a soda, per se, but it is a bubbly drink that you can enjoy anytime. Whether you’re drinking it straight from the bottle at your desk or adding your favorite fruits, Topo Chico is the only bubbly you need to keep you in the zone.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)

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Ooh, Libra, your summer is set to look very physically (read: so much sex) active. You always have many people vying for your attention, but as you work on building trust with your chosen partner, you’re going to need to hydrate. Materva is brewed with mate leaves, giving you a bit of caffeine (alongside 40 grams of sugar, but who’s counting) to fuel your love life.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

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Like Mexican Coke, you, scorpion, have a cult following. But this month isn’t about what other people think of you. No matter the expectations of you, it’s time to turn inward and go back to old wounds that cause all the classic drama in your life. Don’t worry, when you let it go, you’ll still be a classic inside and out.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

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Travels are in your future, Sagittarius. There’s nothing more germane to its country of origin than Colombiana soda. Its bubble gum scented cream soda flavors will always remind you of the importance of honoring the place you visit.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

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Fellow sea goats–it has been un mes tan pesado. No te preocupes–instead of trying to find out where you fit, it’s time to realize you belong everywhere in this world. You’re not just a Mundet, you’re an elusive green apple cider. Embrace your individuality. It will set you free.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

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You, Aquarius, are in a humanitarian activist mode. With Puerto Rico’s police force firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, PR’s favorite soda, Kola Champagne, will be fuel for your fire.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

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Our favorite water-lovers can take their game to the next level this summer with Coco Rico. This soda is here for you when you want to drink out of a coconut on the beach, but with more sugar and carbonation. It’s next-level water, básicamente.

READ: The Brief And Surprising History Of Tex-Mex Food That You’ve Never Heard

Every Foodie Should Familiarize Themselves With This List Of The Best Latin American Restaurants In The World

Culture

Every Foodie Should Familiarize Themselves With This List Of The Best Latin American Restaurants In The World

pujolrestaurant / rgborago / Instagram

As we reported a few days ago, Latin American chefs did pretty great at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in Singapore. Latin American fine cuisine got a total of nine spots in the list, and two in the top ten. This is quite an achievement for a region that is relatively new to fine dining. Cities like Mexico City and Lima have just become culinary epicenters thanks to visionaries that have translated tradition into modern masterpieces. However, credit is due to the centuries of cultural remix that has produced legendary dishes. Indigenous, colonial and other influences come together in the plate and wow judges and patrons. If these places have something in common, it is the inquisitive nature of their lead chefs. They went deep into the cultural roots of their countries, even finding new ingredients to achieve creativity and perfection.

We have to pay respect to the traditional recipes and the many years (and sometimes centuries) of experimentation by everyday cooks that led to these awards. So, we have listed some of the traditional influences that these restaurants have had. Sometimes it was all there already, and chefs just took it a step further! The restaurants in this list range from the high end to a Brazilian eatery that is relaxed and not expensive at all.

At number 6: Central (Lima, Peru), Best restaurant in South America,
Influenced by: ancient, indigenous Peruvian food

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This is the flagship restaurant of kitchen wizard Virgilio Martínez Véliz, who travels deep into each region of his home country to fund ancient ingredients. He collaborates with indigenous men and women to learn about traditional ways of cooking. He has introduced ingredients such as the Amazonian piranha into the menu. His drive to experiment has made him a celebrity chef the world over. You can learn about his journey in S3E6 of the Netflix show Chef’s Table

At number 10:  Maido (Lima, Peru), Influenced by: traditional Japanese cuisine with a Peruvian twist and local ingredients

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A testament to the ethnic diversity of Peru. The Japanese immigration in Peru has been constant and has led this ethnic minority to have a vibrant place in the social, cultural and political life of the South American country. This restaurant is let my “Micha” Tsumura, who offers a Nikkei experience that includes classic Peruvian seafood such as sea urchin and sea snail. Lima is certainly keeping up with cities such as New York, Tokyo, and Paris, which are usually the leaders of the pack. 

3. At number 12: Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico), Best Restaurant in North America, Influenced by: traditional Mexican food, particularly from Oaxaca

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Enrique Olvera has established himself as one of the main voices of the global fine art circuit. In his flagship Mexico City restaurant he offers dishes that use indigenous ingredients, particularly from the colorful region of Oaxaca. His team makes tortillas by hand, grinding species of corn that are rare. Olvera is not shy to experiment with ingredients that might seem “weird” to Western patrons, such as chicatana ants. A delightful experience that needs to be tasted to be believed. 

4. At number 23: Cosme (New York City), Influenced by: traditional Mexican garnachas 

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A New York restaurant with a 100% Mexican soul. Created by Olvera and led by Mexican chef Daniela Soto-Innes, who has revealed herself as a unique culinary voice and was named the World’s Best Female Chef 2019. She serves Modern Mexican food that is inspired by the crunchiness and glorious saltiness of Mexican street food, or garnachas. If you want to take your carnitas, infladitas, and tamales to the next level, then this is the place for you. Sinful delights all around. By the way, the kitchen is 50% female, which goes hand in hand with the chef’s ideas of equality. She also employs people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, both from the United States and overseas. 

5. At number 24: Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico), Influenced by: traditional Mexican cuisine

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The brainchild of chef Jorge Vallejo (who used to work at Pujol) is a tribute to the postcolonial flavors of Mexico. If Pujol strived to bring back ancient recipes, Quintonil offers new interpretations of classic everyday dishes such as tostadas de cangrejo and the luxurious escamoles (ant eggs). Even dishes that your abuelita might have made, such as Huazontles or salpicon, are featured here. Look at their take on a flauta in the photo above. 

6. At number 26: Boragó (Santiago, Chile), Influenced by: ingredients from Chile’s geographical diversity

Credit: rgborago / Instagram

Rodolfo Guzman is a raising rockstar. Like Peru’s Central, this restaurant features ingredients from every corner of the country. Rodolfo gets ingredients from the Atacama desert, all the way down to the frigid Patagonia landscapes. Have you ever tasted flowers? Well, here you can: the signature dishes is a blend of roasted flowers, Van Gogh style! 

7. At number 34: Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Influenced by: traditional asado techniques 

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They say that if you are going to do one thing, you do it the best you can. This restaurant led by Pablo Jesus Rivero might make the best steak in the world. Following the traditional ways of cooking meat in the Pampas, cuts like rump steak and skirt steak are cooked to perfection. Sweetbread empanadas are also a standout. The decor follows the aesthetic of a 19th-century country estancia, when European pioneers made their way into the depths of the nascent country.

8. At number 39: A Casa do Porco (São Paulo, Brazil), Influenced by: Brazilian working class cooking

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Pork is a relatively easy stock to raise, and it has been a staple in the diets of Brazilians for centuries. Chef Jefferson Rueda reimagines everything you can do with pork. He raises the pigs on a diet of vegetables, slaughters them in house and uses every single part of the animal, making items such as blood sausages. The degustation menu is a culinary experience that also includes beans, cabbage, and banana, other staples of Brazilian home kitchens. The owners strive to make the restaurant accessible to the community, so prices are far from exorbitant. You can dine for $13 dollars.

9. At number 49: Leo (Bogotá, Colombia), Influenced by: indigenous uses of local fruits and vegetables

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Chef Leonor Espinosa has become a celebrity thanks to her bubbly personality and her use of little known ingredients such as corozo fruit, arrechon (a supposed aphrodisiac) and bijao, a banana-like plant. She learns from communities and their gastronomic traditions, creating dishes that include, for example, a crunchy coating made from ants. The menu explores different Colombian animal and plant species. A map shows where each one was sourced. The chef also runs a foundation FUNLEO, which aims to identify, reclaim and enhance the culinary traditions in Colombian communities.

READ: Mexican Food Meets Japanese Food In These Next Level Mexican Sushi Creations

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