“Be a tourist in your city” – Dancing Chef Melissa re-discovers Mazatlan

Each year my love of Mazatlan grows bigger and bigger. This is all for the simple fact that I keep a tourist mentality. I never let myself forget the reasons why so many tourists including nationals and foreigners are attracted to this amazing place I live in. A few ways of keeping a tourist state of mind is to re-visit tourist attractions, attend city events, re-create local dishes at home and lastly, don’t be afraid to join in on touristic activities!

Enjoy the beach in MazatlanI always make sure to keep re-visiting Mazatlan’s historic sites, favorite restaurants, best beaches, close-by small towns, and everything else that makes this city what is it. I love visiting the beautiful Cathedral near the downtown market. It is a beautiful site and I never get tired of admiring the beauty that it holds. I also enjoy visiting the little town of “El Quelite,” where you find the best fresh baked goods and incredible homemade cheeses.

Re-creating local dishes in my home is another great way to appreciate the pride I have in the taste of Mazatlan. “Aguachile”  and “Caldo de camaron” are delicious dishes that I am working on mastering in the comfort of my own home. Aguachile is basically a raw shrimp dish made with lime, cucumber, tomato, onion, chili serrano and salt and pepper- it is a like a ceviche. The caldo de camaron soup is a shrimp broth in which you later add seafood and vegetables.

 

Aguachile and CevicheI never feel embarrassed to join in on the touristic activities. Time and time again I will hear neighbors and friends say “I haven’t been to the beach in ages even though it is right here” or “I am not going there: it is just a lame tourist trap.” It is a privilege to live near the ocean. People dream about visiting the ocean and enjoying the beach. Take advantage of the natural beauties in your city, because you will regret it if you leave. Also I hear the term “tourist trap” many times, however visiting those places give you a different perspective on your city and you may be surprised that you may just enjoy yourself!

 

“SER TURISTA EN TU CIUDAD”

🙂

Dancing Chef Melissa

Dancing Chef Melissa

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T- time: All about Mexican culinary vocabulary

Whenever you’re in Mexico or eating Mexican food, doesn’t it strike you how many ingredients and dishes start with the letter T? It seems that this is the most important letter in the food-ABC. But do you know what all these dishes are that start with a T? The Dancing Chefs have been digging deep to find the delicious T’s out there! Olé!

T – Tequila

tequila los osunaIn Mexico we love tequila. We drink it on large and small national holidays, at funerals and anniversaries, at casual lunches and at dinner with friends. Legally tequila is our champagne. All tequila has to come from the state of Jalisco and is protected with a DO (Designation of Origin) by the Consejos Regulador del Tequila (Tequila Regulatory Council). This organization ensures that all tequila sold throughout the world comes from this state in central south Mexico. This arid area with highland soil creates the perfect conditions for the blue agave, the plant from which tequila is distilled, to grow. No tequila made in China (or elsewhere), por favor!

Taste is a key word when it comes to tequila. If you’re interested in discovering its real taste, you should stay away from the image of big testosterone-driven machos gulping shot after shot of tequila and throw away its reputation as a quick intoxicator. Tequila has become more and more sophisticated and today’s is considered a refined drink that rivals an imported single-malt whiskey or a quality cognac, and not only in price but also in its smooth warm taste. Today’s finest tequilas are meant to be enjoyed in a small glass with pleasure, in tiny sips.

T – Tortillas

tortillasTortillas are made from corn dough (masa) and serve in Mexico as bread, plate and spoon at the same time. Every city has many tortillerías (tortilla bakeries) where tortillas are made by hand or with a tortilla machine on a daily basis. Fresh masa is made from specially treated corn that’s ground into dough, but corn flour is also commonly used.  Flour tortillas (tortillas de harina) are staple in the northern regions of Mexico and are less easily broken due to its high gluten content, and can be made larger and thinner without breaking too easily.

T – Tacos

tacos de guisadoThis typical street food can be made of any cooked meat, fish or vegetable wrapped in a tortilla, with a dash of salsa and garnished with onion and cilantro. Soft corn tortillas are used to wrap grilled meats in Tacos al carbon, an array of stews in tacos de guisado or griddle-cooked meats and vegetable in tacos a la plancha. When tacos are filled with chicken, barbacoa, potatoes or cheese and lightly fried they are called tacos dorados. If you are in northern Mexico, chances are you will find tacos with flour tortilla (tortilla de harina) and the fillings will be more meat than vegetarian.

T – Tamales

tamalesMade with masa (corn dough) mixed with lard, stuffed with stewed meat, fish or vegetables, wrapped or steamed. The word comes from the Náhuatl word tamalli and refers to anything wrapped up. Every region in the country has its own special tamal, the most famous being the Oaxacan-style tamales with mole and wrapped in banana leaves, the Mexico City tamales with chicken and green tomatillo sauce wrapped in corn husks and the Yucatecan style made with chicken marinated in achiote (annatto paste) wrapped in banana leaves.

T – Tortas

 

tortasIn every street corner in Mexico you find stands where they sell an abundant amount of sandwiches or Tortas: with beans, chile, cheese, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, and avocado and, if that weren’t already enough, also fried egg, meat, turkey or chicken. All these ingredients go into a bread roll, called telera.

There’s one kind of torta from Guadalajara,  that is believed to be the best hang-over cure, a Torta Ahogada (‘drowned sandwich’).  There are three major components to this dish. A birote baguette is filled with tender chunks of roasts pork leg and then smothered with a searing chili sauce (made primarily from a dried chili pepper called ‘de arbol’, vinegar, garlic and oregano). The soggy sandwich is crunchy on the outside and soft in the center, because of the crusty, sour birote bread.

 T – Tostadas

tostadasTostadas are tortillas that have been baked or fried until they get crisp and are then cooled. The idea is that in this state they can hold a variety of toppings. Tostadas de pollo are a beautiful layering of beans, chicken, cream, shredded lettuce, onion, avocado and queso fresco (a fresh cheese). In Mazatlan tostadas are served with a dollop of mayonnaise and crab meat (tostadas de jaiba) or with shrimp or fish ceviche.

Enjoy these tasty dishes at home!

Olé!!

Dancing Chef Maaike

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