¡Come to an Adiós!
Why the ¡Ask a Mexican! column has come to an end
Three choice taco recipes
We ran a web contest soliciting top taco recipes from readers. The winners get tickets to our Taco USA party tonight at El Pinto, which stars Al hurricane and ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano. It also stars free tacos.
Here are three winners’ recipes!
1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 ripe tomatoes, cored
2 red jalapeños, stemmed
1 clove garlic, smashed, plus 2 cloves, minced
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup canola oil
18 corn tortillas
thinly sliced green cabbage and tomatoes, and crumbled cotija cheese, for serving
Puree cilantro, oregano, sugar, tomatoes, jalapeños, smashed garlic, and 2/3 cup water in a blender until smooth; set salsa aside.
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil, add potatoes, and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Add minced garlic, butter, salt, pepper, and cumin, and mash until smooth. Set potato mixture aside.
Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Spread 1 heaping tbsp. potato mixture over half of each tortilla, and fold over to form a taco. Working in batches, add tacos to oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes.
Stuff cabbage, tomatoes, and cotija into tacos; drizzle with salsa before serving.
1 can (~16 oz) pinto beans, drained
1 can (~16 oz) black beans, drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (remove the seeds if you don’t want your tacos to be spicy)
1 fresh clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 tablespoons of chunky salsa
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (increase or decrease amount to adjust spice level)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
8 corn hard taco shells
1 fresh tomato, chopped (topping)
shredded iceberg lettuce (topping)
1 can (~6 oz) black olives, chopped (topping)
shredded monterey jack cheese (topping)
salsa or hot sauce (topping)
fresh cilantro, chopped (topping)
sour cream (topping)
spanish rice (side)
refried beans (side)
Pre-heat the over to 325 degrees F (for the taco shells later on).
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the chopped onion, celery, green pepper, jalapeño, and garlic to the frying pan. Cook this until all the veggies are done to the level you prefer.
Next, take the drained pinto and black beans and add them to the frying pan along with the spices and a few spoonfuls of salsa.
Mix together all of the ingredients that are now in the frying pan and cook over medium heat until everything is all heated up (be careful not to overcook since the veggies should already be just about done).
Place your corn taco shells on a baking pan and bake them in the oven (which should already be heated to 325 degrees F) for about 5 minutes.
Remove the shells from the oven, let them cool off a little bit, then add the cooked vegetarian taco filling.
Top your tacos with any of the optional vegetarian taco toppings above such as fresh tomato, black olives, monterey jack cheese, hot sauce, fresh cilantro and/or sour cream.
Serve with a side of refried beans and rice.
Enjoy your vegetarian tacos!
6 tomatillos, husked, washed and grilled until blackened
1 serrano, grilled until blackened
1/2 small red onion coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
8 blue corn tortillas
1 cup crumbled queso fresco
Preheat the grill to medium. Add the blackened tomatillos and serrano to a small sauté pan and briefly sauté in a little olive oil on the grates of the grill.
Place the tomatillos, serrano, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and honey in a blender and blend until smooth. Place the tomatillo mixture in a large sauté pan and place on the grates of the grill. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the chicken, and heat through.
Place the tortillas on the grill, and grill for 20 seconds on each side. Spoon the chicken mixture into the tortillas and top with a few tablespoons of queso fresco.
Fold the tortillas in half serve immediately.
Taco party tomorrow at El Pinto!
Al Hurricane and ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano will perform mañana at the beautiful North Valley spot. This week, the Alibi’s food critic talks taco shop with Arellano, who’s written a book about how the humble food has overtaken the U.S.
Buy your tickets to the event in advance—and for half price!—at alibi.com/tacousa.
The Whole Enchilada
¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano talks taco shop with the Alibi’s restaurant critic
Blake’s Lotaburger vs. Five Guys—Gustavo Arellano on green chile and regional chains
Nothing in this whole wide world compares to the ambrosial sensation of chowing down on foodstuffs covered with roasted New Mexico chile. Smitten with our state’s almighty green chile burgers, Gustavo Arellano—of the OC Weekly and ¡Ask a Mexican! fame—wrote a love letter to Blake’s Lotaburger. In the blog, he praised the fact that the 76 Lotaburger locations are all within the borders of New Mexico. Meanwhile he lamented the outbreak of Five Guys fever (I guess Southern California is experiencing it too), a once D.C.-specific burger joint that now has 625 locations in the U.S. and Canada. It seems that Arellano and I have similar feelings about Five Guys. The burgers are good, but is all of the brouhaha deserved? Wait, what’s that? I can’t hear you over this blaring Doobie Brothers song!
Albuquerqueans can find out what all the fuss is about at 6650 Holly NE (waaaaay up there in that mess of chain stores and subdivisions on Paseo between San Pedro and Louisiana).
¡Mexican St. Patrick’s Day!
Albuquerque lacks the wherewithal of a collective Irish-American community, a cultural influence that might turn St. Patrick's Day into something more than a green-
Dear Albuquerqueros: Ustedes will always have a special place in my heart, since the Alibi was the first paper with huevos to print my ¡Ask a Mexican! column. Unfortunately, I can't live in your wonderful town since my demented homeland of Orange County, Calif., needs me to expose skinheads and pedophile priests on a regular basis. But fate is bringing me back to Albuquerque this week on account of a book I'm working on—Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America (And Soon, the World)! It'll be released next year and deal with how "Mexican" food has evolved in the United States—and I'll devote a whole chapter to the Land of Enchantment, because the rest of the States used to like "Southwestern" food until pinche taco trucks became popular.
The Mexican Asks a New Mexican
... and finds true love. The Alibi’s Joseph Baca responds to hard-hitting questions about the Land of Enchantment.
If you’ve never heard of Gustavo “The Mexican” Arellano and his syndicated column ¡Ask a Mexican!, printed weekly in 37 newspapers throughout the U.S., you must be living on the hinterlands of pop culture. In his column, which has a circulation of about 2 million, Mr. Arellano uses scholarship, acerbic commentary, irreverent humor, cynicism and simple smarts to break down racist boundaries and answer the most straightforward questions about Mexicans. Questions regarding differences among the broad spectrum of Latinos the world over are addressed. No cultural group is safe from his biting wit, as whites, Chicanos, Filipinos, Guatemalans, Chinese, blacks and even Argentines are all fodder for his humor.