We’ve been chosen as an Ambassador to Mexico Today!

I’m incredibly excited to announce that my passion and desire to share Mexican cooking and culture with the rest of the world have led me to a new partnership that I’m very proud to be a part of. The Other Side of The Tortilla has been chosen as one of 24 ambassadors by the Mexico Tourism Board for the Mexico Today program to promote the country as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination!

This blog has always focused on the positive aspects of Mexico as a destination that offers world class cuisine, abundant natural beauty and a melding of ancient and modern cultures. It feels only natural, then, to become a part of Mexico Today because we know and frequently share here that Mexico is more than what you may see on TV news or in newspapers in the U.S. and in other countries. This partnership will give us access to exclusive interviews and other resources to share more of Mexico with you and we’re thrilled to be involved. In addition, some of our closest blogging amigas are also involved, including Ana from Spanglish Baby and Silvia from Mamá Latina Tips. I can’t think of two better friends to embark on this journey together with.

I invite you to LIKE Mexico Today on Facebook, follow @MexicoToday and all 24 Mexico Today ambassadors on Twitter, and visit the website at MexicoToday.org to check out the program.

Read on to find out where it all started and how I keep Mexico close to my heart even when I’m thousands of miles away…. 

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Travel Tuesday: Antojitos en Aguascalientes

Last summer, I traveled to Aguascalientes to visit José’s abuelita for her 90th birthday. And of the many things I discovered while visiting this centrally-located city (and state), I learned that antojitos are king! Antojitos are like the Mexican cousin to Spanish tapas.

This past week, the Mexico Tourism Board in Chicago began a campaign called “Share Mexico/Comparte México” to educate the public about each of Mexico’s 31 states and the Distrito Federal. Each week will promote a new state and I’ll be blogging about all the states that I’ve visited to share my experiences. The first week is all about Aguascalientes, and I’m so happy to have the chance to share some photos from my trip.

There are several typical antojitos that you’ll see on just about every menu in Aguascalientes. In any lonchería or cenaduría, you’ll find some version of each of these dishes:


Enchiladas estilo Aguascalientes’n – These enchiladas are filled with chicken and cheese, and the tortilla is bathed in a chile mixture and lightly fried (just enough to make it pliable) before they’re stuffed. Usually, they’re topped with lettuce, diced tomato, cheese and crema Mexicana, and served with a generous side of potatoes and carrots, sort of cooked hash brown-style…. 

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Cooking Combat at the Kenmore Live Studio: Chilaquiles

Back in November, I did a cooking show with a live studio audience at the Kenmore Live Studio in Chicago. It was so much fun, I can’t wait to do another! For those who may have missed the show in person or couldn’t watch the live stream online, Kenmore was kind enough to put the show on YouTube so I could share with all of you.

¡Buen provecho!

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Mexique: Celebrating Mexican Cuisine with a French Twist

A few weeks ago I attended a dinner given by the Mexico Tourism Board and Chef Carlos Gaytan at his restaurant, Mexique, in honor of the recent UNESCO designation of Mexican cuisine as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Tourism Board over the last several weeks has hosted authentic Mexican dinners in a number of major North American cities to celebrate, including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Miami, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, so I was thrilled to receive the invitation.

Did you know that French recipes and cooking techniques during the French occupation of Mexico in the 1860s became an important element in the evolution of modern Mexican gastronomy?

Gaytan’s concept behind Mexique is modern Mexican food with French influence. Hailing from Huitzuco, Guerrero, Gaytan’s love of food helped him rise from pantry cook to executive chef. He trained with French chef Dominique Tougne of Bistro 110 (Gold Coast) and has also spent time in the kitchens at Bistrot Margo (Old Town) and the Union League Club (Loop), all in Chicago. If you live in Chicago or are visiting, I highly recommend you visit Mexique for a meal.

One thing that left an impression on me at the dinner was when Carlos explained why he doesn’t serve mixed drinks in his restaurant: they take away from the palate and so instead, he serves wine and tequila. And God bless him for telling everyone in the dining room that tequila should be sipped. Someone at a table near me chimed in that “only heathens drink tequila shooters,” which caused an eruption of laughter at my table.

And I can’t end without showing you what we ate. It was a lovely four-course tasting meal with excellent wines and ended with tequila. I can’t wait to return to Mexique for another meal!

PRIMERO: Ceviche

Ahi tuna, avocado mousse, chipotle aioli, mango habanero galette… 

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Un rico fin de semana en Cuernavaca

This past weekend, I spent some time with my suegros at a friend’s weekend home in Cuernavaca with a group of my suegra’s best friends from college. Cuernavaca is located in the state of Morelos, Mexico. They were all at our wedding in Los Cabos nearly two and a half years ago, so it was wonderful to see them all in one place again. And the last time I was in Cuernavaca was two years ago when we stayed at the Camino Real Sumiya for a short New Year’s vacation, so I was overdue for a visit.

A home in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico - theothersideofthetortilla.com

Cuernavaca is nicknamed the city of eternal spring because of its pleasant year-round climate and is located about an hour outside of Mexico City.  There’s a little bit of something for everyone: museums, resorts and spas, ecotourism that includes national parks, and an abundance of historical architecture including a palace that belonged to Hernán Cortes. According to the Mexico Tourism Board, the palace is the oldest example of viceregal architecture on the American continent. The first time I saw it two years ago, I was in awe – to think of how long ago the palace was constructed and that it still exists today left an incredible impression on me.

At the home where we gathered in Cuernavaca, there was an abundance of food, dancing, chatting, food, swimming, fireworks… and more food. The fireworks weren’t ours, though; we just enjoyed someone else’s from afar. My suegro told me that it’s fairly common in Cuernavaca to see fireworks when there’s a wedding. In the food department, we had a little bit of everything: fruta, huevo con chorizo, barbacoa, tamales, paella, pollo, botanas, tortitas de bacalao, quesos, jamón serrano, flan, paletas, just to name a few things.

What we ate in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico - theothersideofthetortilla.com

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Salsa Showdown: Join me for a live cooking show!

I’m proud to announce I’ll be partnering with the Kenmore Live Studio for the second time this year for a live cooking show!

Tortilla fans of Chicago, I hope you’ll join and support me in the studio on Friday, November 19 as I cook off against my friend and chef/owner of Chilam Balam, Chuy Valencia. If you’re an out-of-towner, no worries: the show will be broadcast live over the internet so you can still cheer me on! There will also be video available here on The Other Side of The Tortilla the following week.

Chuy’s restaurant is one of my favorites in Chicago, so I’m thrilled to be cooking alongside him. He’s a Rick Bayless-alum and also the youngest person ever to have been elevated to the position of sous chef at a Bayless restaurant when he was just 20 years old. Bayless recently told Chicago magazine that Chuy is destined for stardom, and I couldn’t agree more. Before starting his own restaurant, Chuy also worked as Chef de Cuisine at Adobo Grill. Check out his website for more about the concept behind Chilam Balam.

So…

¿Roja o verde? You be the judge.

I’ll make my salsa verde, and Chef Valencia will make his salsa roja. Will I leave him green with envy? Or will he get ahead with his red? Taste and decide for yourself.

We’ll introduce you to some authentic Mexican flavors and the salsas will top chilaquiles and enchiladas. You won’t believe how easy they are to make! And as always, the audience will get to taste-test!

The Mexico Tourism Board will also be on hand to support me, share information and answer questions related to Mexican food and culture.

Dress to impress; the event will be livestreamed on Kenmore’s Facebook page on the Live Studio tab and seating is first come, first serve. Come early to reserve your spot!

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7 p.m. CST.


To reserve your FREE ticket and get details with the studio address and directions, please click the Live Studio button below:

  • I’d love if you’d leave me a message of encouragement in the comments! Let me know where you’ll be watching from!

The photo of me above at my Kenmore demo at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach in Miami is courtesy of Carol Cain, official photographer for the Blogalicious ’10 conference
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