Things That Matter

El Chapo’s 91-Year-Old Mom Is Coming To The US To Visit Him In Prison And Is Bringing His Favorite Mexican Dish

Frontline / La Visión de Chihuahua / YouTube

Earlier this year, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera was found guilty on all ten criminal counts in Brooklyn, New York. Since then, life hasn’t been all that bad for the former Mexican drug lord. His wife is launching a clothing line, and even though El Chapo’s team has complained about the unfair treatment at his prison and lack of outdoor time, it’s been manageable. He still faces sentencing later this month, which means El Chapo has yet to face the worse of it. So, it makes sense that he’s getting some sort of encouraging visits.

El Chapo’s mom, 91-year-old Consuelo Loera, got her visa approved to visit her son in prison.

Twitter/@AFNTIJUANA

The Independent is reporting that Loera got her visa approved to enter the United States after requesting it from the Mexican Embassy. They also say that Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador fought to have her visit her son because he had “an empathy toward the elderly woman.”

El Chapo’s next court date is scheduled for June 25, where he faces sentencing. If he thinks his mom’s presence might persuade the judge to be lenient on his jail time, he should think again.

“It is a sentence from which there is no escape and no return,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said earlier this year in Brooklyn.

According to her attorney, Jose Luis González, Consuelo Loera proved to the government that she has the means to travel to the U.S. She also proved her reason to leave and travel back to Mexico.

Consuelo Loera told reporters she plans to bring El Chapo his favorite dish, enchiladas.

Twitter/ @ElColonialKY

We had no idea, El Chapo was such a traditionalist when it came to Mexican food. We thought he might have requested a burrito or carne asada tacos.

Now, if the 91-year-old woman shows up in New York City, where is she going to cook up some enchiladas? She’s probably going to have to order take out. If that’s the case, do you have any recommendations on the best enchiladas in New York? Let us know!

READ: El Chapo’s Wife Is Launching A Fashion Line And I Am So Dead

Chipotle Is Expanding Its Menu Options For A Limited Time Only, They’re Adding Carne Asada To Stores Nationwide

Culture

Chipotle Is Expanding Its Menu Options For A Limited Time Only, They’re Adding Carne Asada To Stores Nationwide

Chipotle / Instagram

Word on the street is that Chipotle has added a new source of protein to its menu for the first time in a year. According to CNN Business, Chipotle is rolling out carne asada for a limited time at its more than 2,000 stores in the United States. 

The real question here is, however, is it better than the carne asada at your tio’s BBQ on Sunday’s? Guess we’ll have to read the reviews and try it out for ourselves.

According to CNN Business, the carne asada option was tested in three American cities over the past year and the company states that it was received “incredibly well.” Chipotle also said that it approved the new addition to steak for three popular diets that you might have heard of recently — ketogenic, Paleo, and Whole 30. 

Here we thought Chipotle was simply trying to cater more to their Latinx consumers, but alright, we see you. 

Since news broke that Chipotle would now be serving carne asada, Twitter had some thoughts. Some positive, some negative, and others downright hilarious.

If you’re a member of Chipotle’s app-based rewards program then you were most likely one of the first to receive notification about the new menu item, and if you’re not — don’t worry, because carne asada is already available for you to order.

However, before we dive in @VidaByJen on Twitter is asking the REAL question on our minds.

Can guac just be free now? Please. Thanks.

Twitter users were also quick to publicize their own personal reviews of what the carne asada was like.

One Twitter user said that “upon first bite the difference in flavor from the regular steak is noticeable.” But in the larger scheme of things, it doesn’t have a noticeably significant effect on taste. The reviewer then went on to say that the carne asada “comes in bigger pieces than the regular steak” making it “difficult to bite into and chew.” Well, the Latino community is used to that, but fair point. 

The bottom line? The carne asada “is tasty but not a huge game changer especially if you typically order steak.” The price point is also a bit higher, so she said she would “not recommend it to a friend.” Welp, there you have it. 

Another Twitter user pointed out the obvious, the carne asada is just steak cut into long strips but go off Chipotle.

Don’t @ us!

One Twitter user said that Chipotle was playing y’all, “you know they already had steak. They’re just adding a lil lime and calling it carne asada.” 

Hmmm, where’s the lie? 

However, these facts still didn’t dissuade anyone from being excited. 

We’ll let them have this one. But y’all should get invited to a BBQ instead of spending your coins at Chipotle, tbh.

Chipotle also spoke up when asked exactly what the difference is between carne asada and steak.

A twitter user asked “what’s the difference between this and regular steak?” To which Chipotle replied, “The original steak is marinated in adobo sauce so this lime and cilantro Carne Asada recipe adds a whole new flavor profile to the protein.” See, the previous Twitter user was onto something. 

Even with Chipotle’s transparency, people are still not believing it.

We’ve been led astray! Carne asada IS steak. 

Someone who may or may not be a Chipotle employee also tweeted that “the amount of times we’re all gonna have to explain the difference” is going to be tired.

We feel ya, but good luck girl! 

Kat Thompson of Thrillist also reviewed Chipotle’s new carne asada addition. Here’s what she had to say: 

Did the carne asada turn out to be better than the steak? “This is something I’ve been going back and forth on. Would this new version of steak replace my beloved cubes? And the conclusion I’ve come to… is no,” Thompson wrote. Although the carne asada was delicious, she still found herself craving and thinking about the steak cubes. 

Despite the steak cubes fairing better in her experience, she still thought the carne asada addition was a great idea. “The acidity of the lime is welcomed, and perhaps the protein would function better in a taco — where it wouldn’t be lost amongst the pool of rice, beans, and salsas,” Thompson wrote. 

Will you be trying Chipotle’s new carne asada? Let us know in the comments below! 

This Traditional Mexican Ingredient Is Ending Up On More And More Menus In The US But Do You Know What It Is?

Culture

This Traditional Mexican Ingredient Is Ending Up On More And More Menus In The US But Do You Know What It Is?

Omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Corn smut, fungus, Mexican truffle — these are just some of the aliases of huitlacoche(pronounced whee-tla-KOH-cheh). But what exactly is this soft, spreadable and dark-as-night ingredient? In simple terms, it’s a plant disease (yes, it’s a parasite) that grows on ears of corn around the kernels in puffy, gray clouds that look kind of like river stones. But when you take this strange fungus into the culinary world, huitlacoche becomes a delicacy used in all sorts of dishes from soups to enchiladas to sauces.

This is an ingredient that Indigenous people have been working with for centuries but as it becomes more common on menus across the US, people are wondering what exactly it is.

Yes, it’s even referred to as the Mexican truffle.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Because it’s technically a fungus, much like the ultra expensive truffle, many restaurants – especially upscale ones – across the US are truing to market it as a truffle. Sure. Whatever floats your boat. 

So where is this Mexican delicacy from, exactly?

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The name huitlacoche is Nahuatl, which is the language of the Aztecs still spoken by more than a million people in Central Mexico today. Utilizing this ingredient also dates back to this time. Corn, or maize, was a staple in the Aztecs’ diet, and they used the corn fungus mainly in tamales and stews.

The Native American Hopi and Zuni tribes have also worked with huitlacoche from the get-go. The former called the fungus “nanha,” and the latter held the ingredient in such high standing they say it symbolized the “generation of life.” In fact, huitlacoche has been an important food for indigenous peoples of the Southwest for centuries. So much so that the fungus has ceremonial, culinary and medicinal uses. As far as the healthfulness aspect is concerned, huitlacoche offers more protein than regular corn and has high amounts of lysine, an essential amino acid not found in normal kernels.

Nowadays, chefs are popularizing this once lesser known ingredient in restaurants from LA to NYC.  

Credit: Rosa Mexicano / Screenshot

Of course, as they say, an ingredient could be used for thousands of years by a certain culture but once the white folk ‘discover’ it, it’s said to have gone mainstream. Although it’s true that many US-based chefs are cooking with huitlacoche, it’s still predominantly an ingredient you’ll only find in Mexican driven kitchens. 

Ok, where can I get it? 

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Huitlacoche can be bought at most Mexican food specialty stores and comes frozen, jarred or canned. Since you don’t have to strip the corn of the fungus, using huitlacoche in this way proves pretty easy and requires little to no prep. If you do happen upon it fresh, pick the spores when they are light gray in color on the outside and have a spongy texture. Firm samples are overripe and bitter. For a superior earthy-corn taste, go for huitlacoche that forms on the ears, not the stalk. Occasionally, you may find this ideal huitlacoche at a farmers’ market

Now, I’ve got it. What can I do with it?

Since it’s technically a vegetable, you can use it raw. And because it’s a soft fungus, you don’t have to worry about chopping, pureeing or shredding, especially if you get it in a can or frozen. If you do manage to source some fresh huitlacoche, first thank the corn gods, then throw it into dishes whole, or delicately tear it apart with your fingers. Don’t be surprised when the gray fungus turns black with heat — this is a signature characteristic of the ingredient and the reason why many dishes that contain huitlacoche have a dark hue.

At the Rosa Mexicana chain, executive regional chef Joe Quintana says the ingredient goes with so many things, you will have no trouble finding a way to play with it: “Huitlacoche has many uses, and its earthy flavor gives you options to put it into dishes as well as sauces.” At the restaurants, he has paired it with chicken, beef and, surprise, more corn! He also says it goes particularly well with cheese, especially in quesadillas. In a way, you can think of pairing huitlacoche with items that you would normally add mushrooms to, and beyond

Here are some of our favorite uses for this delightfully tasty ingredient. 

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Quesadillas de huitlacoche are a go-to on the streets of Mexico City and the earthy flavor of huitlacoche (which also somehow tastes similar to corn) pairs perfectly with the fried masa and salsas. Remember, in Mexico City quesadillas don’t traditionally come with cheese – you have to ask if you want ‘em cheesy. 

You can also throw huitlacoche on top of a sope.

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Sopes were built to showcase the flavor of its toppings, which make them the perfect vessel for huitlacoche. 

Or in a gordita. 

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Paired with the crisp dough of a gordita, the flavor of the huitlacoche is allowed to shine through and I couldn’t be happier when I eat a huitlacoche gordita. 

They also make an amazing filling for enchiladas. 

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Because of their rich, earthy flavor, enchiladas de huitlacoche are often served bathed in a rich mole sauce. Seriously, one of my favorite go-to dishes. It’s rich and kinda heavy but you don’t regret a thing. Get a super good recipe here.