Category Archives: Food & Beverage

Ordering Eggs in Mexico


foto por Bajadock @ Casa Marcelo, Ensenada

mexkitchen.blogspot

One of the lesser, but frequent challenges for the expat in Mexico is ordering eggs in a restaurant. If you are fussy about how you want them cooked, as many are, you should read the following primer about getting your eggs the way you want.

But before anything else, I want to confront head on the nearly apocryphal mysteries of the double meaning of the word, “huevos”. While it’s true that it also has a second meaning of “testicles”, or more accurately, “balls”, the visiting gringo or savvy expat should not worry about evoking snickers or even guffaws from the waitstaff. The staff deals with eggs all morning, and if they were constantly snickering, they’d have no time or energy left to serve customers. That sort of humor, and also about chiles (a potent phallic symbol) is best relegated to the humorous repertoire of small boys and barely pubescent adolescents.

Nota bien: if you accompany your ordering with sign language, you may provoke humor. If you personalize your order, you run further risks. For example, don’t say, “I’ll have youreggs, fried, and over easy.”
That’s personalizing it. You just want “huevos estrellados.”

Common Pitfalls In Ordering Eggs
1. “Huevos al Gusto”, literally, “eggs to your pleasure”, but really “eggs to order”.
Don’t make the mistake of a one of our visiting friends and say, “I’ll have the huevos al gusto.” The waiter will have to ask you again how you want them prepared.

2. “Huevos Estrellados”, or eggs, sunnyside up. These are among the most popular. You need not accompany your request with elaborate sign language, making what seem to the waiter to be confusing and possibly humorous gestures. You have a better chance of getting them as you like if you use those two simple words. And, “por favor”, of course.

3. “Huevos a la Mexicana”: eggs scrambled with chopped chiles, tomatoes and onions. Simply, “eggs in the style of a Mexican woman”. Try not to say, “huevos al MexicanO”, which gives a simple order a new, special meaning.

4. “Eggs, over easy” aren’t easy to order. Many restaurants don’t get the concept. You have to ask for “huevos fritos volteados”. I once mistakenly said, trying to be helpful to another breakfaster, “huevos revolcados”, or something like, “knocked down eggs”. Where did I get that?

If you are lucky, one of your breakfast companions will order eggs sunnyside up, using gestures, and his eggs will arrive revolcados, umm, volteados, and you can swap.

Let’s move along quickly now. The following egg dishes are less fraught with peril:
5. “Huevos Rancheros”: eggs sunnyside up, on top of a lightly fried tortilla or two, covered with a salsa picante. Why this is totally snigger free is a mystery.

6. “Huevos Divorciados.” Sounds spicy, and they are: two eggs, estrellados, one in salsa verde and the other in salsa roja, on top of tortillas. This is a gringo favorite, especially those who have been in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

7. “Huevos revueltos”: I almost forgot them! Scrambled eggs. They are seldom cooked as I like, so I do not order them while breakfasting out.

8. “Omeleta” Sounds like “omelet”, and it is. Usually made with two eggs, and filled “al gusto”. What does “al gusto” mean? Class???
“As you like.”, that’s right. Muy bien.

So, you will need to specify what you want in it. “Tocino” (bacon), “queso”, (cheese); “cebolla” (onion), et cetera. Omelets are usually attractively garnished with onion, tomato and avocado, so you get a bonus for your breakfast pesos.

Special hint: The Omeleta de espárragos, cebolla, nopal y queso at the Gran Hotel Café in Pátzcuaro is a delight.

9. “Huevos Albañil”, or “Stonemason’s eggs”; scrambled eggs drowned in a very spicy sauce. Order this, as I do, when you want to be a cool, Old Mexico Hand.

10. Poached eggs: in general, don’t even try, unless you are in the restaurant of an international hotel. My Spanish-English digital dictionary yields the word, “escalfar” for “poached”, but we have had some limited success with “huevos pocheados”. Don’t get your hopes up. Please, whatever you do don’t call them “huevos pochos“.

There are other ways of preparing eggs, but the above listed are among the most commonly encountered. For further information, sign up for our advanced Huevos Clase.

Always be polite, and say “Por favor” and “gracias” at appropriate times. Try to keep gestures and especially sign language to the minimum. They look rude.

Finally, try to remember that Patience Is A Virtue, and that glitches in service do not occur only in Mexico. I’ll end with a video drama, made in an American diner, to keep things in perspective.

This is probably my last post of 2008. We’ll be travelling to México D.F., Puebla, and then spending a couple of weeks on Oaxaca. I hope to be observing, tasting and even cooking while we are there. With luck and energy, I’ll report back on our experiences.
May you have una Feliz Navidad y Provechoso Año Nuevo 2009!

 

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Best Fun of 2017


Last week, wrote about my Best of Baja food and beverage experiences of 2017.  In so many ways, this past year was a renaissance of my spirit with family, friends and fun. Here are some of my Best Fun of 2017 highlights:

Attitude adjustment and house remodel(front side photo above) were my best improvements for 2017, with new entry, curtains, paint color and outlook heading into my new adventures.

Best Sign of the Apocolypse: Rosarito fire in October

Best workout: Bodyweight workout followed by legs/chest/arms weights followed by intervals on this hill

Best Love Thy Neighbor Advice

Best Sunrise

Best Sunset

Best Optimism

Best Movie:  Hidden Figures  (I video my movies, as I have not been out to a flick since 2004), Thanks W, for the reminder.

Best Car Rental: CPE Isuzu Trooper Rent-A-Car, gracias!

Best Unfair Fight, Four on 1

Best Home Dinner: chili verde

Best Street Performer: No fire, no tricks, no assistants, no juggling…just a man and his bottle….Wowzers

Best Street Performer with Fire: The Silver Man Clan, Tramo de Muerte

Best Green Flash: Edgar Lima

Best Jail

Best Alternative Workout Studio: Angie’s Pole Fitness

Best Road Trip: Reno to Ensenada, September, was my first trip through the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Can’t wait to return and spend more time soaking in the scenery.

Best Christmas Decoration

Best Birds and Bees Do It Photo

Best Happy Hour: l’chaim

Best Wine & Food Pairing: Bocelli Sangiovese and cauliflower crust pizza.

Best Bubbles

Best Bubbles Saluting Flag

Best Mom

 

Best music: Jean-Luc Ponty, “Renaissance”

Best Photo: Owl in my front yard.  Certainly not a great composition, but, it was fascinating to share the moon with this little guy perched on top of a pvc pole lot marker.

Best Moments with family and friends, thank you.  Cheers to our adventures and new friends this year.  Ring my bell soon.

 

Baja United Wines


Baja United Wines

Serenity and beauty, set amongst a rugged and adventurous landscape. It’s easy to look back now and see why our love affair with the Baja Peninsula started all those years ago. Maybe it was the excitement of leaving the familiar confines of our home. Or maybe it was the adventurous experience itself. Perhaps a little of both. All we know is that we saw firsthand what a magical place Baja is, full of breathtaking views and extraordinary people.

It was always our personal goal to create a business in Baja California, Mexico. A business that would showcase our love for the region and simultaneously give back to the area.

This ambition led us to create the Baja United Group. Our overall goal was to create a sustainable business that worked to secure valuable assistance and resources for those in need. Each of the three divisions that make up Baja United Group will consistently support and raise funds to help the greater Baja community. The first of these is the Wine and Beer Division. This includes the importing of select wines from the booming Valle de Guadalupe region into the United States, as well as producing Baja United handcrafted beers – proudly brewed in Ensenada, Baja California. The second division is the Baja United VIP Wine Adventures, which are designed to exceed expectations for any guided wine tour. This elite service will feature experiences such as helicopter rides to and from the region, access to an exclusive executive penthouse, personal chefs and red carpet welcomes. The third division will be a series of Baja United Group hotel experiences that are located throughout the Valle de Guadalupe and Baja coast regions.

Bajadock’s Best of Baja 2017


foto por David Martinez/Muelle Tres

Here is my list of best food and beverage experiences in 2017.  As normal, none of my meals and beverages were complimentary. I always pay to play. Click links for detailed reviews.

Best Dinner: Restaurante Nomada

Best Appeteaser: Portobello mushroom at La Forchetta

Best Soup: Tortilla sopa at Casa Marcelo

Best Beer-http://aguamala.com.mx/Mako

Best Wine: Valle Girl Vino 50 Shades of Red 2013

Best Tacos: Los Chavalos

Best Cafe: Cafe Arabiga

Best Breakfast: Casa Marcelo

Best Lunch: La Concheria

Best Happy Hour(and marguerita): Punta Morro Restaurante

Best Winery: Adobe Guadalupe

Best Brew Pub: Cerveceria Transpeninsular

Best Exotic Dish: Pulpo Huitlacoche at Muelle Tres

Best Salad: spinach,grilled shrimp,strawberry,walnut,blue cheese,vinaigrette at Acua Sunset

Best Happy Hour Munchie: Chiharron de pulpo at La Cevicheria

Best New Wine Find: Vina de Frannes Cabernet Franc

Best Seafood Restaurant and Para Llevar(to go) Restaurant: Mariscos El Primo Nava

Best Dessert: Ramonetti Heladeria

Best non-tourist Valle de Guadalupe Restaurant: Restaurante Familia Samarin

Best Border Vendor: D’Volada Coffee

Best Yuck Factor Food: Chapulines(grasshoppers) can be found at Gastelum & 4th in front of Banorte from a guy selling them in baggies or at Rincon de Oaxaca on Reforma, east side, just south of Diamante

Best Seafood Cart: Mariscos El Pariente

 

Tortilla and Gasoline Price Hikes


reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s government on Wednesday denounced forecast price hikes by fuel retailers and tortilla makers, saying increases were unjustified as it sought to allay public concern about high inflation at the start of a presidential election year.

Prices for corn tortillas, the Mexican staple, are forecast to rise in the coming days by between nearly 11 and 21 percent, according to figures from the National Union of Industrial Mills and Tortillas.

Meanwhile, gasoline and diesel prices are seen by one retail association rising an average of about 7 percent this year due to tax changes, volatility of the peso currency and higher crude prices.

“That they say they are now going to hike prices is unjustified. We don’t see the market conditions for this to happen,” said Jose Rogelio Garza, a deputy economy minister.

The forecast from the Mexican Association of Gasoline Businesses (AMEGAS) was quickly dismissed as false in a statement by state-run oil company Pemex, but that did not stop complaints.

“My suppliers bring me the dough by car and if gasoline prices go up then obviously they are going to have to adjust their prices,” said Jorge Garcia, the owner of a Mexico City bakery.

The price of liquefied natural gas, used for cooking, rose by an average of 25 percent in 2017, while electricity rates have also inched up, according to government data.

“With increasing gas prices we’re going to have to make adjustments… I can’t work without gas,” said Garcia.

As inflation hovers near a 16-year high at just below 7 percent, officials insisted the forecast price spikes, which have triggered social media outrage and threats of protests, are not warranted.

“In 2018, variations in international fuel prices will continue to be cushioned,” the finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, emphasizing a scheme that allows it to reduce a key excise tax applied to fuel sales.

With presidential elections looming in July, the government is especially sensitive to the possibility that protests could further erode its support among voters.

But beyond rhetoric, the government is mostly powerless to force the hands of gas station owners as its ability to set prices ended in late November after it finalized a gradual, nationwide fuel liberalization.

The move to market prices, part of sweeping 2013-2014 energy reform, ending a transitional period during which it still set maximum gasoline and diesel prices.

The fuel regulator, or CRE, said in a statement that prices in central Mexico for Pemex’s Magna gasoline, which makes up more than 80 percent of total sales, have only risen 1.3 percent compared to average prices at the end of November, an increase it described as stable.

The CRE reported that the average nationwide price on Tuesday for Magna stood at 16.13 pesos per liter.

That works out to about $3.15 per gallon at the current exchange rate.

For many years prior to the passage of the energy reform, fuel prices in Mexico were set by the government and were the same across the country.

($1 = 19.3710 Mexican pesos)

(Additional reporting by Alberto Fajardo and Adriana Barrera; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Ruta Vino, Comida, Cerveza APP


http://larutavcc.com/

Casa Marcelo Dinner


Centro Ensenada has been packed with visitors and cars during the last two weeks of this year for Christmas                             and New Year celebrations.  My team and I decided to get a few blocks away from the mayhem and hope that Casa Marcelo was open.

Scored a front row parking spot and Casa Marcelo only had a few diners this late Wednesday afternoon.  Had only enjoyed breakfast here , so we were very interested in the dinner possibilities. Found out that in addition to their wine selection, Victoria beer is available.

We tried some appetizers to start.  The tortilla soup was thick, rich and full of chunky goodness.  The hunks of queso fresco melted into the broth as we slurped.  This sopa is a luxurious cauldron of flavors and textures.  You must try this soup!

A grilled octopus and veg tortilla was next.  We have all been to marisco stands that brush a 1/4″ slab of ceviche or other mush on a tortilla for 20 pesos and it is usually ok.  But, check out this mound of pulpo meat and veggies on this tostada.

This pulpo risotta is an entree.  My dining partner liked it, but, said the light amount of pulpo meat actually relegated this dish as a side, rather than the main course.  “Throw a filet of fish on this and you would have something special”, was his idea.

Ok, here comes the yellowfin tuna.  Missed taking a shot of the pink meat from the side. I had the fish cooked lightly, maybe grilled 2 minutes on each side.  Yum to tuna perfection!  For those of you needing separation between your veggies and meat, this “Where’s Waldo?” puzzle might bother you.  Not me, as I love vegetables.

The plates on the dinner/lunch menu were all more like tapas than entrees other than this tuna and a steak dish.  Suggest ordering a handful of the plates and share.

Casa Marcelo’s  garden atmosphere is a unique oasis in Ensenada.  There are a handful of indoor tables and half of the garden area has roof coverage.

 

This visit earns Casa Marcelo four out of a possible five tortilla strips.

Casa Marcelo location is Riveroll, between 7th and 8th.  8am – 6pm, closed Tuesday.  646 187 3158    Facebook

 

 

 

Quercus Restaurante


My first visit to Quercus Restaurante in Valle de Guadalupe was Christmas Eve.  Quercus has been on my list for a while and was happy to find them in their convenient location in San Antonio de las Minas on the western edge of Valle de Guadalupe.

Love the rustic setting with rock and wood decor.  Owner Federico greeted and seated us with some ideas from the menu and the wine selection.

We started with rabbit machaca and guacamole tostadas for a fun treat with our Cava Maciel Merlot. Quercus is “oak” in Latin, so the rugged wood platter was a nice serving touch.

Pork ribs were done perfectly with a mild tomato salsa and served with grilled corn on cob. Yep, that’s a cloud of mashed potatoes hiding underneath the ribs.

Yellow tail tuna was grilled with a barley malt crust and orzo.  Our fish was slightly overdone and will order it grilled lightly on next visit.

Too many trendy, polished granite and white table cloth dining spots chase me to a simpler setting with a warm fireplace and the touch of family.  Quercus and Federico’s team are a refreshing welcome. Will award them with four out of five possible oak acorns for ambiance, service, food and unique setting.

Winter low season and holidays often make dining a challenge so call before you go.  Lucky us, Quercus has an opentable.com connection.

Quercus Facebook

Location is in San Antonio de las Minas.  Take an east at the only Valle de Guadalupe stoplight, two blocks on your left side.  646 155 3167, bilingual

El Pariente Mariscos


One of the best seafood carts in Baja is Mariscos Pariente in Maneadero.

We wanted an easy break from the heavy foods of the Christmas holiday, so we stopped at the north Pariente(yep, there are two, see map below) for ceviche and almejas gratinadas for a complete seafood fiesta.

Half of the fun is watching them prepare the food.

Clams, oysters, shrimp, fish and lots of creative seafood cocktails are available at Pariente.  You can dine at the tables or “para llevar,” get your food to go.

We honor Mariscos Pariente with our coveted five Pismo clam(out of five) award.

Both Pariente locations are on the west side of Hwy 1.

 

 

 

Negrete’s Restaurante


Visited Negrete’s Restaurante for the first time this week and enjoyed a homey and delicious breakfast with friends.

Meet and greet was excellent and the coffee was fresh.  We were surprised when the complimentary pastry provided included fruit inside, yum.

Eduardo, one of the family members, talked about the restaurant opening in 2012 and that it was his mother’s creation.

This restaurant is spotless and that includes the bathrooms.

Stumbled into the back end of the menus with Englis translation.

We shared each other’s dishes and slightly preferred the chilaquiles in red sauce, second plate above.

Only thing that went slightly wrong on our visit was that there are two similar plates on the menu.  I ordered El Tampiqueño, an egg plate.  What was delivered was Tampiqueña, a carne dish from the dinner menu.

Eduardo offered to change it or add eggs or get whatever I needed.  The carne dish was fine and I enjoyed it along with the cilantro dressing salad for a big boys breakfast.

We’re giving Negrete’s a solid four out of five possible sombreros and will be back soon.  Hours are 8-5 Tuesday through Sunday and closed Monday.   Pedro Loyola, west side, just south of Las Palmas is the location.

Negrete’s Facebook

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