Recipe: Batido de Leche con Guineo (Banana Smoothie) + Giveaway!

Batido de Guineo

This post is sponsored by Nestlé Nido. Product for review and recipe development have been received as well as compensation for my time. As always, all opinions are my own.

Carlos doesn’t cook much at all, but the thing he feels most comfortable making is his Batido de Leche con Guineo. Over the years he has made banana smoothies for himself and our boys many times, so much so that when the boys want one, they ask him instead of me. While he makes them year round, he tends to make the batidos during the summer as a refreshing treat. Our family depends on simple everyday things like that because most years we can’t afford to travel or vacation like we want to. Summer memories for my sons are things like lying in the hammock and watching puffy, white clouds sail by; running barefoot through cool grass in our yard to catch lightening bugs, and sipping batidos de guineo that their father made for them.

So, when given the opportunity to develop a recipe with the Nestlé Nido Kinder 1+ (a vitamin-fortified powdered milk), I knew immediately I’d be using Carlos’s smoothie recipe and changing it up a little. What I love about Nestlé Nido is that it adds over a dozen vitamins and minerals, but it also adds a really good flavor.

(Even our dog Chico wants a sip.)

(Even our dog Chico wants a sip.)

(On a hilarious side note, Carlos eats the powder straight. He says one of his cousins in El Salvador used to have a powder like this in their kitchen growing up and he used to steal spoonfuls of it as a kid and eat it. I tasted it straight to see if he was being crazy and strangely enough, it really is good like that.)

Anyhow, when the boys saw me experimenting with the Nestlé Nido in the kitchen they were reluctant to try what I was making because it’s “baby formula for babies” according to them, but they ended up loving it and begging me to make more. Smoothies made with Nestlé Nido are perfect for back-to-school, either for breakfast when your child claims they “aren’t that hungry” or for an after school snack before they get down to doing homework.

nestle-nido-batido

Try the recipe below and then enter the giveaway to win your own Nestlé Nido products plus a $50 gift card!

Batido de Leche con Guineo (Banana Smoothie)

You need:
8 oz. cold water
4 scoops Nestlé Nido Kinder 1+
1 ripe banana
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
4 ice cubes

Directions: Place all ingredients in the blender. Blend for 30 seconds to one minute. Pour into glasses and serve. Serves about 2. (Optional: You can add sugar, which is what Carlos does, but the boys and I prefer it without added sugar.)

========GIVEAWAY CLOSED=======

Congratulations, Cerrie!

=============================

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive 4 trial size cans of Nestlé Nido Kinder 1+ and a $50 gift card.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me the flavor of your favorite smoothie/batido. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the PR agency responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between August 26th, 2014 through August 31st, 2014. Entries received after August 31st, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Sopa de Pollo Salvadoreña

Sopa de Pollo Salvadoreña

Carlos has been sick for a week, and on Friday he was so sick that he even took off work. I’ve been doing every home remedy I know of to make him better – Vicks Vaporub on the feet before bed, honey lemon tea, vaporizers, vitamin C, and just plain old bed rest, but nothing seemed to help very much. (I did all these remedios caseros on myself too for prevention and so far, so good.)

On Saturday Carlos asked me to make him Sopa de Pollo, but he didn’t want the Bolivian Chicken Soup recipe I always use. He asked if I’d try to make Salvadoran Chicken Soup “with lots of vegetables” this time. Obviously he was needing a little extra apapachamiento! Of course I always love making a new Salvadoran dish and seeing the way his eyes light up when it’s a success, so I did some research, looked at a handful of recipes, and then headed to the grocery store to get what I needed.

Before the soup was even ready, Carlos was getting excited. He kept calling out to me from the living room where he was on the sofa covered in a blanket, “It smells so good. It smells like I remember…” Then when it was ready, I put the bowl before him at the table and he smiled, “It looks like how I remember!” … Then he tasted it, and I’m not exaggerating, he stood up, kissed me (on the neck so I wouldn’t get his germs) and told me he loved me. Jajaja.

Here’s my recipe in case you know a sick salvadoreño or salvadoreña who could use a little “TLC”, (Cuidado amoroso y tierno.)

Sopa de Pollo Salvadoreño

You need:

10 chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
3 corn cobs, broken in half
1/2 1 small cabbage, cut in chunks
cilantro
basil, (fresh, not dry)
2 to 3 celery stalks with leaves
2 cups baby carrots, (or cut up carrots)
3 green onions, (roots cut off)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 small potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
1 small zucchini, skin removed and chopped in bite-size pieces
1/2 cup uncooked rice or small pasta like “conchitas” (little shells)
1 tsp. salt, plus to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. achiote (ground annatto)

Directions:

1. Assemble and prepare all your ingredients, (wash and chop vegetables, etc.)

Note: I used all boneless, skinless chicken thighs because Carlos prefers dark meat and it gives the stock a better flavor, but you can use a whole chicken cut in pieces (remove skin – bones optional as some people like to “chupar el hueso”), or substitute some chicken breasts. As for the vegetables, feel free to experiment. For example, some people use yucca instead of potatoes, and some add chayote/güisquil, broccoli, cauliflower, and/or green pepper.

2. In a large stock pot over medium high heat, add the chicken plus enough water to cover by about 2 inches.

3. Add to the pot: a handful of cilantro, a handful of basil, celery stalks with leaves, garlic, tomatoes, green onions, 1 tsp. salt, cumin, pepper, and achiote.

4. Simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked. Use a slotted spoon to remove and then discard the cilantro, basil, celery, tomatoes and green onions. Use a small sieve to skim off any foam.

5. Add the rice (or pasta), corn cobs, potatoes, and carrots. Cook covered until rice is cooked and vegetables are tender.

6. Remove cover. Add cabbage and zucchini. Simmer for a minute or two and then remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly and then taste. Add additional salt as desired. (I prefer to let each person add more salt to their own individual portion.)

7. Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro if desired. (I like to eat all the meat and vegetables out of it and then eat the broth with crushed Ritz crackers.)

Buen provecho!

Quesadillas

quesadillas

I’m hesitant to even publish this as a “recipe” because it’s just basically melted cheese inside a tortilla, but I’m doing this as a service to those who may be totally unfamiliar with the process and have yet to experience the happiness that is a simple homemade Mexican quesadilla. (Salvadoran quesadillas are equally wonderful, but an entirely different food and a bit more complicated to make. My recipe for those can be found here.)

Quesadillas

What you need:

Tortillas (I prefer white corn)
Cheese (Oaxaca cheese is authentic, but a pre-shredded “Mexican” blend is what I use)
A comal/griddle or large non-stick frying pan
Cholula hot sauce (optional)

Note: This recipe is for the most basic of quesadillas and I love them like this, but feel free to add in whatever you have on hand – some leftover shredded chicken, beans, slices of pickled jalapeño, etc. The possible combinations are only limited by your imagination.

Directions:

1. Heat up the comal, griddle or non-stick frying pan. Do not add oil or butter – It should be nice and dry.

2. Place two tortillas on the comal. Allow to slightly “toast” on one side. Flip both tortillas over.

3. Place a handful of cheese on one of the tortillas. Put the tortilla without any cheese on top. Allow the cheese to melt and remove from heat. Cut in half with a pizza cutter. Repeat as necessary. Optional: Serve with Cholula hot sauce.

Note: Another method (and the more authentic way) is to put cheese on each tortilla and fold in half. I find that doing it this way makes some of the shredded cheese fall out onto my comal and burn, so that’s why I use the other method.

Cabalito: An interview with aspiring Salvadoran restaurant owner, Randy Rodriguez

Randy-Rodriguez

I receive at least one request per week from random strangers to support their Kickstarter campaigns but recently I was contacted by a guy named Randy Rodriguez who said he wanted to open a Salvadoran restaurant. For obvious reasons this interested me much more than any other Kickstarter campaign sent to me before, so I got to chatting with Randy, and I ended up deciding to not only give his Kickstarter a shoutout, but because I found his personal story interesting as a Salvadoran American born in L.A., raised in Vermont, and now living in New York, I interviewed him as well. Meet Randy, and his project – a Salvadoran restaurant in Lower Manhattan called “Cabalito.”

Interview with Randy Rodriguez of “Cabalito”

Latinaish: Tell us a bit about your family. Your parents were born and raised in El Salvador, right? Did your mother and tías cook much Salvadoran food when you were growing up?

Randy: Yes, both my parents were born and raised in El Salvador. I am 100% My mom came in her late teenage years and my dad when he was around 13 years old. My parents both have very interesting stories coming to the U.S., (which is a whole other story!) Neither my mom or dad know how to make pupusas but a few of my tías know how to do it up. My grandma makes a mean panes con pavo (which will be on the menu.) My mom can also make the plato típico, but for the most part, I ate most Salvadorian food at the best restaurants in L.A.

Latinaish: You mentioned to me that when you were about 10 years old, your family picked up and moved to Vermont. Why did your parents move there? Was it difficult to adjust? Were there unique challenges as a Salvadoran American growing up in an area of the country that doesn’t have a strong Salvadoran or Latino community?

Randy: Yes, I was around 10 years old when my parents moved to Vermont. They wanted us to have a better childhood. Living in a peaceful countryside was the plan. The L.A. neighborhood I was living in was getting dangerous. They did research and heard that Vermont was one of the best places to raise a family. My dad told us that if he was going to move he would do a big move. So we went for a big change, west coast to east coast.

I think it was a very difficult adjustment. I have an older brother and a younger sister. We had to make new friends and start over which can be hard at that age. I look back now and I don’t know how we did it! I went from being just another latino to the only kid in my school with color! I stood out like a sore thumb. I was different. The kids in my school were nice. I didn’t have any problems which I am thankful for. It was more about how uneducated they were about my culture. They didn’t know anything about Latin American food, dance, culture, or language. They thought I was Mexican! Not because they were mean but because they didn’t know better.

Latinaish: Now this question is definitely out of personal curiosity as a mother raising 2 Salvadoran American sons who are bilingual, but not quite as fluently bilingual as I had hoped. You learned Spanish as an adult – Did your parents attempt to raise you bilingually or did they speak to you in English? Did you grow up with Spanish around you (when your parents spoke to each other or on the phone, or the TV programs they watched)?

Randy: I heard the language a lot when I was young in California. Once I moved to Vermont I stopped hearing it. There was no Spanish television shows, music, or anything around like that. My parents did not make the effort to make us learn. I think it was mainly because my brother and sister didn’t really want to learn. They tried but never fully committed. I think it was hard for my parents because they came to the USA very young. My dad has told me he feels more comfortable in English. They told us that if we wanted to learn it we would have to take the initiative. That’s exactly what I did. Obviously my Spanish is not perfect and I am still learning but I am doing the best I can because I realize it’s important as an adult to be bilingual.

Latinaish: At some point you moved to NYC and began working at Mexican restaurants, right? What was that like? Was a career in the restaurant business something you’d always wanted or something you fell into?

Randy: I moved to NYC in 2010 and I simply needed to find a job. The only job I could find was at an Indian restaurant. It was terrible – it didn’t pay well – but I needed the money. The restaurant was next door to a Mexican place. I met the manager and he eventually called me in to start working. I was happy to be working there. It paid well and I needed to make friends. I worked my way up to be the general manager. That’s when I really grew to love the industry. I started to work a lot and I felt I was running the place myself. I eventually told the staff to stop speaking to me in English. I learned a lot of Spanish from my friends there. I believed in the place and put my time and energy into it. They eventually opened a new location and they wanted to hire someone else with more experience to take my job. I realize now that I was young and someone with more experience could run the place better. I left and started to work at a wine bar and the owner there inspired me to open my own place. That’s when I wrote my business plan.

To answer the question simply. I fell into the business with no regrets.

Latinaish: When was it that you decided you wanted to have your own restaurant? Why a Salvadoran restaurant?

Randy: At the Mexican restaurant my co-workers would tell me that I should open up my own taqueria since I know how to run one. I felt that there is a lot more competition in Mexican food. People have a strong opinion about Mexican food. So many types from tex mex, taco trucks, west coast Mexican, Chipotle, and the list goes on. I did not want to get involved. When I left and started working for a wine bar, the owner motivated me to do something big. A lot of self reflection and thought went into the idea for my own place. The fact that almost no one in NYC has had pupusas made all the pieces come together.

cabalito

Latinaish: How did you come up with the name “Cabalito”? Who designed that awesome bird logo? (I love it! It’s very Fernando Llort-esque.)

Randy: The original name was “El Colón” after the currency of El Salvador from 1892 to 2001. I wanted “El Colón” because it would represent how El Salvador is becoming more and more Americanized. I wanted people to know and remember how El Salvador use to be when it had it’s own currency and to embrace that. However, I did not want to glorify Cristóbal Colón. I also considered that people might mispronounce it and call it colon from human anatomy or colon from punctuation.

After days of brainstorming I was looking over all the slangs from El Salvador. I was also hanging about with a friend born in El Salvador and she was using the word “Cabal” a lot. I liked it. I felt that you could use it for many things. However, I did not click with it because cabal in English is a secret political clique or faction. I read an article with someone using “Cabalito.” That was it! It sounded more Spanish, more official, more on point. “Cabalito!”

My logo was designed by my roommate who is a very talented graphic designer. I showed him art work by Fernando Llort and told him how much I liked his birds. I obviously wanted the logo to be very clear on representing art work in El Salvador. He did some sketches and surprisingly that was the first one he drew of many. We didn’t need to play around with it. That was it! Cabal!

Latinaish: Are you hiring Salvadoran chefs or did you learn to make the food? What’s going to be on the menu?

Randy: I want to hire authentic chefs I can work with to create traditional dishes with a twist. I care a lot about being authentic, however, I want to evolve the traditional recipes to the New York tongue. I am very aware of people being more careful of what they put into their bodies. I want to adapt to the new way of eating without damaging the original recipes.

I have a lot of traditional dishes that I would like to put on the menu but for now I’ve limited it to a few that I think would be diverse enough and affordable. The menu I have ready for Kickstarter is not going to be exactly the same as the menu that will be used for the restaurant. I made a mock up menu to give people an idea of my vision and to understand the brand I want to create. I will later work with a chef to discuss my menu and his/her recipes that will work for the official menu.

Randy-Rodriguez-pupusas

Latinaish: Okay – the big moment! Sell us on contributing to your Kickstarter campaign. Why should we support this project?

Randy: I want people to know that this is my dream. I hope this becomes a story that people will read and feel inspired. I believe that if you can shape it in your mind you will find it in your life. The restaurant represents so much to me. It’s a reflection of myself. It’s more than amazing food. It’s culture, it’s music, it’s art, it’s style, it’s social, it’s Latin American, it’s flavor, it’s affordable, it’s friendship, it’s different, it’s – more importantly – for everyone to enjoy. I hope anyone who comes from little corners of the world will have the courage to share their culture if they want to. This restaurant is for all the hidden recipes all over the world that are not exposed to us because the people who open restaurants don’t typically know how to. The people who should open restaurants don’t have the money to. Unfortunately money is the only thing holding me back from sharing this cuisine with New York City. So anything helps or share this info with everyone! This restaurant is also for El Salvador – a small country with a big heart.

(Visit the Kickstarter campaign here!)

Latinaish: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Wishing you suerte!

Randy: Special thanks to you, Tracy. I wish you and your family the best. May you continue to give El Salvador a good name. It would be an honor to someday see you in NYC with your family at Cabalito.

You can follow Randy and his restaurant, Cabalito, on: Twitter, Facebook, and at CabalitoNYC.com.

“Chachos”

platanos

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Cuando fuimos al supermercado le pedí a Carlos buscarme algunos plátanos. Regresó un minuto después y dijo, “¡Mira! Son plátanos chachos!” Yo no sabía la pálabra “chacho” entonces Carlos me explicó. ¿Ver la foto? El plátano de la izquierda es un plátano normal. Los plátanos de la derecha están pegados y les puede llamar “chachos.” En El Salvador “chacho” significa algo doble. Uno puede usar la pálabra para referirse a cosas así como frutas y también se usa cuando los dados salen iguales. ¡Chachos!

¿Sabes otra definición de la palabra “chacho” en otro país? Comparte en los comentarios!

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

When we went to the grocery store I asked Carlos to find me some plantains. He returned a minute later and said, “Look! They’re plátanos chachos!” I didn’t know the word “chacho” so Carlos explained to me. See the photo? The plantain on the left is a normal plantain. The plantains on the right are stuck together and you can call them “chachos.” In El Salvador “chacho” means something that is double. One can use the word to refer to things like fruit and also when you roll double in dice. Chachos!

Do you know another definition of the word “chacho” from a different country? Share it in comments!

A Sweet Game

BY TRACY LÓPEZ
(This was originally published on the now defunct CafeMagazine.com on June 14, 2010. Since this piece is no longer available online, I thought it would be fun to reprint it and take a look back at our familia during the 2010 World Cup.)

On Friday, my kids and I gathered around the television to watch the opening game of World Cup 2010, Mexico vs. South Africa.

I was rooting for Mexico, so naturally the kids were, too, (much to the annoyance of my Salvadoran mother-in-law who awakened to the entire household vested in green).

The kids really like fútbol but they have short attention spans, so to make it more exciting for them I promised candy at half-time – but this was not any ordinary candy. This was a mixed bag of “Dulces Mexicanos” from our local Latino market. Luckily my boys are pretty adventurous and were willing to give everything a try. Here is how they rated the Mexican candies, keeping in mind they’ve been raised on chocolate, butterscotch, jelly beans and other traditional U.S. candies. The candies are rated from one star (yucky-face inducing) to five stars (they’d eat the whole bag if I let them):

boycandy

Coconut “banderitas”: The tri-colored green, white and red Mexican flags were pretty to look at and tasted almost as good. Rating: ***

De La Rosa Dulce de Cacahuate: To be fair, I buy these all the time and am slightly addicted, so this candy is very familiar to the boys. They rated it highly and licked the crumbs from the wrapper. Rating: *****

Pica Pepino Relleno con Chile (lollipop): My younger son took one lick and rejected it. The older one took a few licks and ultimately agreed. I thought it was kind of interesting though. Rating: **

Duvalín Dulce Cremoso Sabor Avellana y Vainilla:
My husband really likes these, but the kids weren’t that impressed. Rating: **

Go Mango Enchilado: I think the boys were more put off by the way this one looked than the way it tasted. They barely gave it a nibble. To me it tasted like a slightly spicy fruit snack. Rating: *

Obleas con Cajeta: How can cajeta possibly not taste good? Yet, they didn’t like this one. Rating: *

Eskandalosos Paleta de Caramelo con Chile: I thought they would reject this one immediately but they loved it. They were fruity flavored with just enough spice to make them interesting. Rating: *****

Benyrindo: Deceptively shaped like a Coca-Cola bottle, everyone was fine with this candy until biting into it and releasing the tamarindo flavored juices. Maybe you have to be raised eating tamarind to appreciate these sorts of things? Rating: *

Pica Limón: One child rated this highly and the other rated it low, yet they both kept trying it and laughing. I think the fun of this one is watching people’s reactions after eating it. Rating: ***

In the end, Mexico and South Africa tied 1-1, bitter disappointment for fans on both sides who wanted to see their team win, but my boys’ memories of the game are not bitter; they are sweet like cacahuate, sour like limón and spicy like chile.

La Jarochita

la-jarochita

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Cada día en la radio, Carlos escucha un anuncio de un restaurante en Manassas, Virginia, que se llama “La Jarochita” y al escuchar el anuncio siempre le da hambre – Por esta razón, fuimos el fin de semana pasado con nuestros hijos a Manassas buscandolo.

El estacionamiento estaba grande – uno no tiene que buscar parqueo en la calle – y había camiones vendiendo comida mexicana, rodeados por gente comiendo, hablando y disfrutando de la cálida noche de verano. Fuera de las puertas de La Jarochita, una mujer estaba vendiendo raspados y otras cosas.

Al entrar en La Jarochita, es un poco confuso. Hay mesas con sillas por todos lados, a la izquierada hay un carnicero, a la derecha hay vitrinas llenas de pan dulce, un poco más adelante al derecho hay un mostrador por pedir comida, pero también se puede pedir comida en el mostrador de la izquierda, y hay un tercer mostrador en la parte trasera del restaurante. Carlos eligió la cajera al lado del trompo de la carne al pastor. Mientras él estaba pidiendo tacos, saque fotos y video.

trompo-al-pastor

Como puedes ver en el video, el hombre corta la carne para que caiga sobre la tortilla. Después que corta la carne, con un movimiento rápido del cuchillo, hace un pequeño corte en algo en la cima del trompo, (Yo pensé que era una papa.)

Carlos preguntó al hombre por qué hace este corte a la papa y le dijo “Es la gracia” y nada más. Pero cuando investigué en internet, aprendí que en México hay una piña encima del trompo, y para los tacos de carne al pastor, echan un pedacito de piña al taco.

Ahora no sé si era una papa o una piña que tuvieron encima del trompo en La Jarochita. ¿Tal vez lo hacen con una papa sólo por guardar la tradición de cortar algo después de hacer un taco? ¿O tal vez era una piña? (No vi si puso la papa/piña en el taco pero tal vez él estaba demasiado rapido.)

tapatio

Primero yo estaba sentada en frente del carnicero. Ni pienses en usar Tapatío en tus tacos si visitas a La Jarochita. Tienen un bar con salsas frescas, limones, cebollas, rábanos, y todo que puedes querer.

Luego, cambié mi asiento para tener una mejor vista del comedor. La Jarochita está bien decorada y había televisores por todos lados. Yo estaba mirando El Chavo Animado por unos minutos. Después que saque esta foto, entraba aún más gente – el restaurante estaba llenisíma de familias mexicanas, (sólo había otra gringa más que yo.) El ambiente tenía sentido de como estar en una plaza o mercado en México. Parecía que algunos clientes se conocían unos a otros, así que había un sentido de comunidad que era agradable.

jarrochita

Finalmente los tacos estaban listos!

tacos-la-jarrochita

Carlos ordenó tortas para nuestros hijos y ellos dijeron que estaban buenas. Los tacos estaban riquísimos! Los mejores y más auténticos que he comido. Había tacos de todo lo que puedes imaginar. Yo nunca había oído hablar de algunos tipos de tacos que tenian: Buche, Cabeza, Carnitas, Cecina, Cachete, Curritos, Lengua, Tripa, Masías, Ojo, Pastor, Sudadera, Trompa! … Yo comí dos de barbacoa y dos de carne asada – las porciones eran muy generosos y me llenó.

Definitivamente vamos a volver a La Jarochita.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

Every day on the radio Carlos hears an ad for a restaurant in Manassas, Virginia, called “La Jarochita” and the ad always makes him hungry – That’s why we went last week with our boys to Manassas to look for it.

The parking lot was huge – you don’t have to find street parking – and there were food trucks selling Mexican food, surrounded by people eating, talking and enjoying the warm summer evening. Outside the doors of La Jarochita, a woman was selling raspados and other things.

Upon entering La Jarochita, it gets a little confusing. There are tables and chairs everywhere, to the far left there’s a butcher, to the right there’s display cases full of pan dulce, a little further in on the right there’s a counter for ordering food, but you can also order food at the counter on the left and there is a third counter in the back of the restaurant. Carlos chose the cash register next to the vertical rotisserie for tacos al pastor. While he was ordering tacos, I took pictures and video.

As you can see in the video, the man cuts the meat so it falls onto the tortilla. After the meat is cut, with a flick of the knife, he cuts a little something at the top, (I thought it was a potato.)

Carlos asked the man why he cuts a potato after making a taco and he said “Es la gracia” [I'm not exactly sure how to translate that to English!] and nothing else. But when I researched on the internet, I learned that in Mexico they put a pineapple at the top of the “trompo” [vertical rotisserie], and for tacos al pastor, they throw a bit of pineapple into the taco when it’s cut.

Now I’m not sure if it was a potato or a pineapple that was on top of the spit at La Jarochita. Maybe they do it with a potato only to keep the tradition of cutting something after making a taco? Or maybe it was a pineapple after all? (I didn’t see him put the potato/pineapple in the tacos he made, but maybe he was just too quick.)

First I was sitting with a view of the butcher case. Don’t even consider using Tapatío on your tacos if you visit La Jarochita. They have a self-serve bar with fresh salsas, limes, onions, radishes, and everything you might want.

Then I changed my seat to get a better view of the dining room. La Jarochita is nicely decorated and had TVs everywhere. I was watching El Chavo Animado for a few minutes. After I took this picture, even more people came in – the restaurant was full of Mexican families (there was only one other gringa), and I had a sense of being in a market or plaza in Mexico. It seemed that some customers knew each other, so there was a sense of community that was nice.

Finally the tacos were ready!

Carlos ordered tortas [Mexican-style sandwiches] for our boys and they said they were good. The tacos were delicious! The best and most authentic I’ve ever eaten. There were tacos of everything you can imagine. I had never heard of some of the kinds of tacos: Buche, Cabeza, Carnitas, Cecina, Cachete, Curritos, Lengua, Tripa, Masías, Ojo, Pastor, Sudadera, Trompa! I ate two carne asada tacos and two barbacoa tacos – the portions were very generous and filled me up.

We will definitely return to La Jarochita.