September 28, 2012 |
HAMMONTON, N.J. - Long touted as "the blueberry capital of the world," this Pinelands town is rapidly gaining another distinction: taco capital of South Jersey. With no fewer than half a dozen restaurants and trucks dotting the downtown streetscape, Hammonton - just a short jaunt off the Atlantic City Expressway - has become a destination for those craving everything from a humble soul-food menudo stew to crispy tostadas de tinga or unapologetic Tex-Mex. And in a decidedly new chapter for this traditionally Italian agricultural enclave, the civic forces have lately embraced these Mexican kitchens as a much-needed jolt of energy to revitalize the downtown, helping to market businesses like Roberto Diaz's El Mariachi Loco to a wider audience.
June 23, 2011 |
Chicago chef Rick Bayless, this country's best-known interpreter of Mexican cuisine - winner of numerous James Beard Awards and cookbook honors, plus the very first Top Chef Masters title - is fresh off a Baja project and ready to share his enthusiasm for beachy dishes and cocktails. We caught up with him on a busy afternoon. Here is an edited version of that chat. Question: Any new projects? Have you been to Mexico recently? Answer: Yes, I just finished a new series for public TV, the eighth season of Mexico: One Plate at a Time . I will be focusing entirely on the Baja Peninsula.
February 3, 2011 |
Downtown Wayne is getting a burst of Latin excitement from the new Matador (110 N. Wayne Ave., 610-688-6282). Matt Pressler, a Culinary Institute of America grad who worked in Scottsdale, Ariz. (La Hacienda, Marquesa) before coming home to open La Taverna and Crazy Cactus in Phoenixville, is pairing Spanish and Mexican cuisines at the former Freehouse. There are street-level and upper-level bars, and its low-lit, wood-and-wrought-iron environs have more bullfighting paintings than you can shake a red cape at. Pressler says he became enthralled with "earthy" Spanish cuisine at CIA. He decided to offer Mexican dishes (quesadillas and carne asada, for example)
October 14, 2010 |
HE HAD ME at, "It's Le Bec Mex. " That's how Chef Adan Saavedra describes his "Mexican haute cuisine," a melding of French cooking technique with Mexican ingredients. He says its origins are as old as the Franco-Mexican War in the 1860s and can be traced to Maximilian I. After a 10-year run in the Northeast, Chef Adan Saavedra has moved his restaurant, Paloma, south to 8th Street in the Italian Market, which is also becoming its own cultural fusion. At first glance this "Le Bec Mex" seems an improbable blending of styles that could lead to fusion confusion on the plate.
December 12, 2008 |
THIS TIME OF year it's easy to work up an appetite standing in line in the Italian Market. One of the options for an inexpensive recharge is one block south of Washington on 9th Street at Moctezuma Restaurant. Here you'll find a pick-me-up gordita, quick Mexican sandwich or leisurely dinner. Yes, Moctezuma is an unfortunate name for some of us who may have bad south of the border vacation memories. Put those aside, though. Owned by the familia Hernandez, Moctezuma is an expression of their Mexican cuisine and ancient culture.
August 28, 2008 |
LEAVE IT to Jose Garces to capture the crazy, wonderful, delicious world of Mexico City's cuisine under one roof. He's done exactly that at Distrito, the energetic two-story space he recently opened at 3945 Chestnut St. in West Philadelphia. "What I love about Mexico City is how it can be so urban, with street food everywhere, and so sophisticated at the same time. There's two different spectrums in terms of food," said Garces, who, along with his culinary and design team, spent eight days chowing his way through the city in February.
June 17, 2007
What we like: Mole poblano (chicken in a spicy brown sauce), and queso fundido with chorizo (melted cheese with spicy sausage). What it offers: Customers who sit down for a taste of the Mexican food at Pancho Villa Mexican Grill won't find the kind of Americanized cuisine that translates into a crunchy taco. This bright and cheery restaurant specializes in "authentic" Mexican food, owner Luis Marin said. That means no taco salad with a glop of sour cream on top. What it does mean is comforting, spicy and flavorful cuisine served in a setting named for a Mexican revolutionary and folk hero.
November 6, 2005 |
What we like about it: Authentic Mexican cooking with wonderful hand-rolled fresh tortillas and a mix of tradition and innovation throughout the menu, from the little panuchos - small fresh tortillas topped with pulled pork in a savory sauce - to the amazing, creamy carrot sopa that was the soup of the day. At a recent lunch, we chose huaraches (sandals), a thick corn dough rolled to form a shallow dish for the chicken, black bean and salsa filling. Topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and fresco cheese, it is a delicate mingling of traditional flavors.
July 12, 2002 |
BELLA VISTA is way over mob guys, red sauce and Sinatra. These days, the talk of the neighborhood around the 9th Street Italian Market is "location, location, location" as a real estate craze transforms rowhouses into gold mines. The old-timers are scratching their heads. "Three hundred thousand dollars for a townhouse? Hello? This is South Philly," said one. But the pleasures of visiting Bella Vista are still cheap: the market, the old Italian ways, the vibrant new Vietnamese and Mexican presence.
May 1, 2002 |
It happened in Mexico on the fifth of May, 140 years ago Sunday. But many of us don't know why the event is still celebrated today. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. And it should not be an excuse to marinate our neurons in Dos Equis beer. It's about pride. "On the fifth of May, Mexico rejected a foreign invader from France, and the date has become a celebration of Mexican nationalism," said Miguel Angel Corzo, president of the University of the Arts and a native of Mexico City.