Saturday, October 9, 2010

So what exactly is Ecuadorian Food? ...chuta!

I have to admit, I have always identified with my Mexican half more than my Ecuadorian half because of the amazing amount of Mexican food that can be found around the city. My dad is Ecuadorian and, of course, he never learned to cook any traditional Ecuadorian dishes besides Tostado. Maiz Tostado is toasted dried corn, which is sometimes toasted in pork fat to give it some really great flavors. We had Tostado and Quinoa at home all the time, but that seemed to be the deepest I ever really dove into Ecuadorian food. As a family, we often visit Peruvian and Columbian restaurants, which share some similarities, but nothing like the real deal.

Ecuadorian Independence is celebrated on August 10th, and this year there was a big Ecuadorian Festival at Elysian Park. This gave me the perfect opportunity to finally get to explore the cuisine my father talks about allll the time! I got a little of everything on my plate from the Cerdo Hornado (Roasted Pork), Maiz Tostado (Toasted Dried Corn), Aji (Salsa), Maiz Fresco (Fresh Cooked Corn), Papa Frita (Fried Potato), y Empanadas de Queso con Platano (Cheese & Plantain Empanadas). I really loved the Cerdo Hornado, which is somewhat similar to Mexican Carnitas. It was crunchy and juicy all in one bite. It was all very delicious, but the Mexican in me kept searching for a slice of lime or some Chile de Arbol! Between you and I, Mexican food is still King in my book. But I am grateful that I had the opportunity to try the food my father loves and misses so much! :D

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Un Limón Gigante!

I really do believe that I love limón more than the average person. I mean, lime/lemon/limón are all sooo great and they pair well with almost everything! They are usually one of the ingredients of many dishes found around the world, and it is rare to find a dish were limon is the star; but today this is the case!

Our good friend Andy has a tree living in his front yard in Silverlake that grows the largest lemons I have ever seen. When he gave it to us, I was convinced it was a grapefruit because of its size, but he reassured me that it was indeed a lemon. I thought it was so awesome that I couldn't just use it as an ingredient for another dish, but make it thee main dish.

All I did was cut the segments out of this enormous limón, added some
Tajin (a good Lucas substitute for you true die-hard Lucas fiends like
me :D), and a little pepper. No mixed greens to make it a salad, no
Saladitos to make it a sour treat; just fresh lemon. Yes, it was a sour
feast, and yes, my face did twitch a little; but it was all worth it! This
gigantic limón did not go down in vain!

Another wonderful and satisfying LA grown limón!

Chocolate & Banana Pancakes!

I love making this quick and easy recipe on a weekend morning. Trader Joe's has a really great Multigrain Pancake Mix that I use all the time. If you happen to have your favorite chocolate bar and some bananas hanging around, you should definitely try this one!

All you have to do is make the pancake mix according to the instructions and the amount of pancakes you would like to make. Chop up your favorite chocolate bar (i usually use dark chocolate) into little 1/4 inch chunks, and mash your banana. Add the chocolate and smashed banana to your pancake mix and get cooking! Finding all the gooey bits of melted chocolate throughout your breakfast will be sure to make you very happy. All you'll need is a vaso de leche!

If you love the flavor of abuelita chocolate, you can add a cup of melted abuelita con leche to your mix in place of your liquid. I've tried that a few times, but I usually end of drinking mi chocolate caliente before it touches the dry mix :D

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Perfect Saturday... In East Los!

There is one area in all of Los Angeles that holds the best Mexican food in the whole city! My husband and I always find ourselves back in this area several times a month because the food proves time and time again to be so amazing. The perfect place to be on a Saturday afternoon is non other than beautiful EAST LOS ANGELES!

If you happen to find yourself on Whittier Boulevard, you have to stop at Chago's Ahogadas and have some Guadalajara style Tortas Ahogadas. It's a little messy, i know, but the homemade Bolillo, Chile de Arbol, and Cebolla Roja make the mess sooooo worth it! You won't be disapointed, just look up while you're there and you'll see that even Jesus gives his sign of approval! Yes, Jesus knows a good Torta when he sees one! :D

This hot mess of a picture is making my mouth water!

After eating at Chago's, we usually make our way over to El Mercado de Los Angeles on 1st Street, also known as El Mercadito la Primera. Here you will find the best Churros known to man! They are soo crispy and crunchy. No dowey nastiness in the middle. I am usually not a fan of the typical churro, and I've tried many, but this churro is different than the others. I guess you'll have to judge for yourself...

And, since you're at el Mercadito, you have to try all the endless amount of little bites or snacks available through all its little ally ways, such as the Limones Rellenos de Coco, Mangos Tiernos, y Elote en Vaso. The Nieve de Nuez y Nieve de Mango are must eats while you're there, which are sooo amazingly delicious! The Nieve de Nuez has little bits and pieces of walnuts, almonds, and pistachios in it's creamy base. The Nieve de Mango taste like a ripe and juicy mango in it's prime! There are so many options to choose from, but these are my fave. :D

If you happen to be cruisin' down Cesar Chavez/Brooklyn Avenue, look out for Raspados. There is no exact spot to find delicious Raspado joints on wheels, but I always manage to find the same guy around Antojitos Carmen between Soto and Mott Street. A Raspado always manages to hit the spot on a very hot summer afternoon in the city. The Raspado de Mango is another delicious find in the endless opportunities for good eats in East Los!

Another perfect day in this paradise we call LOS ANGELES! :D