I whipped up a version of a traditional drink from Veracruz for everyone, called a torito. A name I love because torito translates to “little bull,” which refers to the little kick it gives. It can be deceiving because it’s so sweet and creamy. Since pumpkin is such an essential ingredient in Mexico, I did a pumpkin torito this time.
The last time I went to Los Angeles, one of our producers reached out to Liz and Ramon, who have watched my show for a long time. They were asked if they’d like to make some of my recipes on camera, but weren’t told that I was going to be there. So it was a great surprise when I walked in. In return for them welcoming us into their home and feeding me and my team, well, drinks were on me! I decided come up with a new drink to share with them, a Melon Basil Margarita.
The experience at Alfonsina starts the moment you walk into Jorge Leon’s home on the outskirts of Oaxaca Airport. You’ll be driving through windy, narrow streets until you reach one of the many dirt roads of San Juan Bautista La Raya, Oaxaca. No signage, Alfonsina is located inside a modest brick home. Home to Jorge, his mom, siblings and cousins. Together they work hard to serve affordable lunch menus to the community nearby and a 5-course menu available to those who seek a simply delicious meal.
I think one of the most common versions of salsa macha is a take from the state of Veracruz that uses dried chipotle chiles, garlic and peanuts. But there are of course countless versions. In this one, I use some of my favorite nuts —walnuts, pistachios, and pine nuts. And I play with the crowd-pleasing taste of guajillos and the feisty bite of chiles de árbol. I also add something new that I’ve never put in a salsa macha before — amaranth seeds.
Regina and José are the founders of Tamales Madre. Friends and cousins that are on a mission to find the best corn varieties in Mexico. Heritage corn, free from genetic modification, pesticides, chemicals and toxins. Tamales Madre works with different heritage corn producers that deliver corn varieties that are rich in flavor, texture and color.
Niddo is a small corner space on a quiet, tree-filled street called Dresde. In Mexico City’s Colonia Juárez, just a block behind Paseo de la Reforma and a couple minutes away from the iconic Diana Cazadora statue. It’s a street most people had never heard of or drove by, yet it’s located in the very heart of this city. The space is divided into two concepts: the open kitchen and the café.
Queso fundido is the epitome of an antojo. What we Mexicans call a food craving that can be eaten anytime of day as a quick snack, or a full meal if eaten in a big enough amount. Antojo literally translates to craving, and I don’t know a single Mexican that doesn’t drool over the thought of a queso fundido.
I love how Thanksgiving embraces and holds onto to classic recipes and traditions that have been passed down through generations. But I also love how it welcomes new and surprising additions that complement the rest. In that spirit, I created a Dulce de Leche Chocolate Pecan Pie.
A 3- by 3-meter window in Mexico City’s Colonia Juárez where passionate people make perfect Italian gelato using seasonal Mexican ingredients, and the result is hard to compare to anything else. It was during a dream one night that Kirén Miret (founder, co-owner and master gelato maker at Casa Morgana) decided she was going to open a gelato shop.
For us Mexicans, celebrating means having tequila around. We even joke about it. You got a promotion at work? Come over for some tequila! You are getting married? Do you have enough tequila?!? You have a dinner at home and are having me over? Can’t show up without your favorite tequila because, frankly, you probably don’t have enough.