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December 2016

As Authentic As It Gets Top 5 Places to eat enchiladas New Years recipies

Grandma’s secret salsa!

What did the 100 Mexicans say?

By : Alexandra Vasquez


iving in the US creates a challenge for any Mexican looking for their authentic food out there so we’re going on a hunt for the best places to get this Mexican delicacies in the Inland Empire. Which dishes stay true to the original Mexican food and what new meals are born with Tex-Mex inventions.


here’s a way to know if a place sells truly Mexican stuff and that is if they have the Mexican Coca Cola with the real sugar or if even when you live in Mexico decide that their tortillas are better than the ones you can get at home. Cardenas is a chain market store situated along Southern California and Las Vegas and has been popularly known in the community since 1981.

“When you are in the mood for some traditional tortillas, step in and choose from a wide range of variety that will impress you. If you are too busy to cook or need some food on the go, simply walk into our kitchen department and pick up some comfort food & everyday favorites. We promise, you will keep coming back for more.” Cardenas About Us. The key to enjoy the best and most authentic food it’s to keep an open mind. Churros are actually descended from an ancient Chinese dish. The Portuguese took it and 4

introduced it to Europeans. Eventually, the Spaniards introduced the churro to Mexico during the Conquista era. So instead of looking for churros as a Mexican dessert opt for a paleta, or Latin American ice pop made with fresh fruits and usually sold at kiosks and carts. They’re basically fresher and healthier popsicles with fruit inside, and are the perfect way to end your meal.

Churros are actually descended from an ancient Chinese dish.

- Laura Esquivel, Like Water For Chocolate

Did you know Tacos are usually only 15-20 pesos in Mexico (which is less than a dollar)

Did you know That all Coca-Cola labeled “Mexican” in the U.S. is made with cane sugar.

Either you’re looking for some chips, cookies, or a soda Cardenas has all the Mexican versions of it, but what really brings in the customers it’s their kitchen. Cardenas is well known for our warm and delicious corn tortillas made from 100% corn. With a variety of white and yellow tortillas, green cactus tortillas (nopal) and purple corn tortillas. Cardenas is distinguished by its variety of products in its creameria and salchichoneria with products such as fresh cheese, turkey, ham and pork. The “Mexican” cheese that you see in grocery stores are what most Americans use to top their tacos and nachos. But it could not be more different from the white, tangy cheeses of Mexico that help balance the heat of the peppers. There are many types of authentic Mexican white cheese, each with its own unique flavor profile. They include queso blanco, 6

Cardenas offers traditional flavors, fruits and vegetables from across USA, Mexico, Central & South America and other different countries.

queso Oaxaca, queso panela, añejo, chihuahua, cotija, and many others, and range in taste from mild to strong-flavored and aged. At Cardenas you will find traditional dishes such as Mexican stew (birria), fried pork (carnitas), tacos, burritos, tortas, beef and chicken soup. Everything is cooked daily and of course, their delicious pork, beef, corn and cheese with jalapeños tamales can be accompanied by a traditional hot chocolate (champurrado).

Cardenas Markets is famous for its fresh steaks and cuts for more than 35 years. Their meat department is the largest of its kind and has gained its reputation for their daily fresh cuts of meat including pork, beef and chicken meat cuts. This department has been a source of pride since Cardenas began its business as suppliers for offering the best cuts of meat and pork to our customers. What really makes the difference in Mexican dishes it’s usually the type of meat cut that it’s used for it. One thing that I have to add is that a lot of the meat cuts used in Mexico are actually non existent in the US which in some way makes it impossible to make a dish taste exactly as it would in Mexico. It is quite common to see the best quality in marinated meats, beef sirloin, boneless chicken, regular or marinated flat meat, dry sausage for roasting (chorizo), and much more on family gatherings and in any Mexican kitchen because most of the meals are composed by some sort of corn an a type of meat.

You must never forget fresh produce! the fresh ingredients are what gives Mexican food its distinctive flavors. There are some ingredients that are good to have in any kitchen when it comes to preparing Mexican food like dried chiles which are the backbone of Mexican cuisine you can get many diffent dishes out of them by toasting, extracting the seeds, soaking them, blending, and finally frying really brings out the chiles’ complex flavors. If you want to make corn cakes, arepas, tamales, or really delicious tortillas, you will need fresh masa (which is a dough ground from freshly made hominy). I must also recommend getting chicharron which is basically delicious deepfried pork rinds. Pork skin is usually fried twice until it’s puffy and honeycomb like in texture, resulting in a super-addicting, greasy, and salty snack. You must never forget fresh produce! the fresh ingredients are what gives Mexican food its distinctive flavors, so don’t forget to also stock up on: limes, onions, tomatoes, cilantro.

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he hardshell tacos in the U.S. have spiced-beef, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese, but these are purely an American invention. Mexican tacos are small and soft, and the tortillas are either lightly grilled or steamed. A taco can be made with a variety of meat, including beef, pork, chicken, or seafood. Mexican restaurant owners started incorporating more gringo elements into their dishes to accommodate the crowds, like putting ground beef in enchiladas and tacos. What resulted was an entirely new type of cuisine that put a spin on Mexican food concepts.


Basically every ingredient in Mexican tacos is different from the commercial taco sold in the US but if you find a place that follows these points it means that they’re as close to authentica as it can get. -They are soft tacos. -The tortillas are always corn by default, but there’s a flour option. -There is never lettuce, tomato, or shredded cheese. Rarely there may be sour cream available at a or public market . -There usually isn’t cheese at all. If there was cheese it would be called something different.(quesadilla) -The meat is what makes the taco. You have dozens of meats to choose from. Most taquerías have at least five or six any given day. Common toppings include cilantro and finely diced white onion. Not everyone adds this; it’s up to the customer. Sometimes you might also be offered radish slices, half an onion grilled to the point of browning, or a whole pepper prepared on the grill or fried in oil. You are offered unlimited slices of fresh limes, and if they have an open topping bar that’s as close as you’re going to get to a Mexican taquería.

Common toppings include cilantro and finely diced white onion. Not everyone adds this; it’s up to the customer.

We’ve made “Taco Tuesday” a tradition in our home simply out of our love for tacos. “Taco Tuesday” was actually registered for trademark in 1989 by a Mexican food chain called Taco John’s. A lot of places now use this trademark name and advertise not only tacos for low prices like $1, but also happy hour drink prices in which margaritas range from $3-$5+. All this sales usually start after 3 pm and carry on until later at night while in the main chains like Taco Bell and Del Taco they have offers that go as low as 99 cents for 3 tacos. Now here is a guide to the wide variety of terms of meats wraped on some sort of tortilla (because a burrito is not the same as a taco, and there are several types of tacos): -Taco: it’s a taco -Burrito: it’s a really big taco -Quesadilla: it’s a taco with cheese -Gringa: it’s a really big taco with cheese -Sincronazada: it’s two tacos smashed together with cheese -Enchilada: it’s a taco smothered in spicy sauce -Enmolada: it’s a taco smothered in mole sauce -Taco Sudado: it’s a steamed taco -Flauta: it’s a deep-fried taco -Chimichanga: Really big deep-fried taco The list goes on. That’s the cool thing about tacos in Mexico is that it’s not really just a single dish. There are hundreds of types of tacos. “Taco” is a family of foods, with all kinds of strange taco relatives hanging out together.

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“Let’s get one thing straight:

takes a certain amount of time to cook. If you don’t have the time, don’t cook it.

but you will pay in some way if you do. You can buy so-called Mexican

food at too many restaurants that say they cook Mexican food. But the

, the most

is prepared with time and love and at home. So, give up the illusion that you can throw Mexican food together. Just understand that you are going to have to make and

-Denise Chavez, A Taco Testimony


exican food is regionally diverse and flavorful, with origins dating back to the Aztec Empire. Yet Americans are more likely to mention Chipotle and Taco Bell when they think of Mexican cuisine, but the authentic Mexican food also varies a lot from it’s geographical location. Cumin is widely used a lot in the north, but it's not a spice that is used much in the southern part of Mexico. This spice it's still a key ingredient in chili con carne, along with chili powder. Out of the three meals we make everyday, breakfast is the most important one, for it’s the one that we commence our day with. One of the interesting things about Mexican breakfasts is that even when it’s homecooked it’s still highly complex when compared with the typical American Slam mainly because of its drastically different components. A usual breakfast can either be simply just some eggs, ham and fries, or go to a high complexity of fried eggs with some sort of special sauce

with several toppings on top, and that’s just the main part of it without including the side dishes. What makes all this dishes so culinary special is the combination of flavors that are present on each one of them. When talking about important components of Mexican cuisine we have the very well known guacamole which is practically identical in both of its versions, but despite what many might think, guacamole is much more frequent in Tex-Mex than in Mexican food. Guacamole

Despite what many might think, guacamole is much more frequent in Tex-Mex than in Mexican food. Cielito Lindo


Salsa Roja Mexicana (Mexican Red Sauce)



6 large tomatoes, red and ripe

-Place the whole tomatoes in a saucepan with the peppers; cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer gently until the tomatoes are fairly soft but not falling apart - about 5 minutes.

2 -4 serrano peppers, depending on how spicy you like it 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 3 tablespoons chicken bouillon 1â „3 cup water (preferably the cooking liquid) 1â „4 onion, roughly chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil

- Drain, but reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Mix the bouillon into the 1/3 cup reserved cooking liquid and pour into the jar of a blender. Add garlic; blend until the garlic is finely dispersed throughout the liquid. -Add the tomatoes and peppers to the blender jar, and blend for a few seconds. Do not over blend. It should have a rough texture. -Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a sauce pan. Add the chopped onion and saute a couple of minutes. Add the sauce from the blender.Cook on high heat, stirring from time to time scraping the bottom of the pan until the sauce is reduced - about 6 - 8 minutes. Taste, and add salt if necessary.

is not omnipresent in Mexico, mainly due to the high price of avocados and because, as a salsa, it has a lot of competition, but it’s still quite popular and widely used in Mexican cuisine although it does have a more wide variety of alterations in Mexico since it can be combined with vegetables when making the guacamole. Just like that dish many others are not as common in Mexico mainly because of the lack of resources to obtaine them. Just as tortillas are yellow here, in Mexico they actually keep a lighter color that resembles more of a white tone. Though nachos are technically a Mexican dish, they don’t really count since they were invented for the American wives of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan. If you want a more traditional Mexican dish, try chilaquiles. They are made with quartered corn tortillas that are lightly fried and simmered with salsa (green, red or mole), and then topped with eggs (scrambled or fried), sometimes pulled chicken, some vegetables as onions and chiles. The key to make any dish authentically Mexican it’s to make your own salsa. The most common Mexican salsas are salsa roja, salsa verde, and pico de gallo. Remember that all this dishes were born in a humble kitchen with a lot of time and love. Mexicans firmly believe that the way to the heart is through the stomach. Putting in the time to cook a Mexican dish is essential, and it would deliver the best quality and most authentic taste to the table.

The key to make any dish authentically Mexican it’s to make your own salsa.

A very important tool for making salsas is a molcajete which is a large mortar and pestle made from volcanic stone used to prepare Mexican food. Think of the molcajete as a pre-hispanic blender or food processor. There are two parts to a molcajete the mortar or base which is called the molcajete and the pestle or grinder which is called the “mano” or hand in Spanish. The grinding action of the molcajete releases the essential oils of the ingredients you are processing which adds depth of flavor to your food. Preparing food in a blender chops the food instead of grinding it which releases less flavor and gives it a different texture.

How to use a molcajete: Chop any ingredients that you plan on preparing in the molcajete. It makes processing easier and gives your food a more uniform texture. The finer you chop the ingredients before adding them the smoother your food will be. Start adding the ingredients in small batches. Don’t dump all of the ingredients in at once. Using the “mano” press and then twist the food to break it down. Add more until all ingredients are fully incorporated and blended to the desired texture. If it feels awkward at first, you will get the hang of it after a few uses. Don’t worry. Now that you know where to obtain ingredients and make the best Mexican dishes you can go out and embark on your own Mexican food adventures. What makes Mexican food so culinary diverse and fun it’s the people that eat it and cook it, they all contribute to it by bringing their own sason (style). I invite our readers to go out and explore diferent dishes and decides by themselves which Mexican place offers the most authentic and better tasting Mexican food around the area because this is something that can’t be taught.

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As Authentic As It Gets

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