I have never heard of a Tlayuda before, have you? Well, I had my very first one in Santa Fe a few weeks ago at La Gloria while on a road trip to Austin. Basically, a Tlayuda is a traditional handmade dish consisting of a large tortilla that is either baked or toasted. It is then covered with a spread of beans, lettuce or cabbage, a meat, cheese, and salsa. (My boyfriend likes to refer to it as, “basically, a Mexican pizza.”
It is a dish that originated in Oaxaca, and is a popular antojito (a.k.a. snack food). The one I tried with my road tripping amigas Aida Mollenkamp and Gaby Dalkin was true to this description, and was tasty. However, we wanted to try our own versions when we got back home.
My version is a Mini Huevo Tlayuda (Also be sure to check out Aida’s and Gaby’s). Anyone who knows me, knows that I like anything small/mini. My version is the type you make when you want a simple dinner washed down with a margarita. Not a “skinny” margarita, like Bethany Frankel likes to swill, but just a good clean margarita. My version is basically a Tommy’s margarita, the way they make them at the famed Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in SF.
Mini Huevo Tlayuda
2 small tortillas
1/2 cup refried beans, mixed with 1 Tbsp Tapatio or your choice of hot sauce
1 ear of corn, kernels cut off, about 3/4 cup
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 avocado, sliced
sour cream or crema, for garnish
cilantro and hot sauce for garnish (optional)
Heat broiler on high while preparing other ingredients
Mix beans and hot sauce in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, until heated through.
In a small non-stick pan over medium – high heat, add olive oil and cook 2 eggs sunny side up, for about 2 -3 minutes or until whites are set and yolk is still runny. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place 2 tortillas on a cookie sheet and place on the top rack of the oven. Broil for 1 -2 minutes, or until crispy and slightly charred. Remove from oven and top each tortilla with 1/2 the refried beans, 1/2 the cheese, and a handful of corn on top.
Place under the broiler again until the cheese has melted, and the tortilla edges are slightly charred. Top with half the salsa, top each with an egg, and avocado slices. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, and hot sauce to your liking.
Enjoy this dish with a margarita, “Tommy’s” style
2 oz 100% agave tequila
1 oz fresh lime juice (eg juice of 1 lime)
1 oz agave nectar
Shake with cracked ice and serve on the rocks in glass. Serve with a wedge of lime.
I have a love/hate relationship with my city Berkeley. I love that its laid back, has great resources (aka – Berkeley Bowl, Tool Lending Library, a Farmers Market almost every day), and the weather is better than SF. However, there is a severe lack of fashion, sometimes deodorant, and, too often,excitement.
Luckily, Berkeley just got a whole lot more exciting. Off the Grid finally branched over to the East Bay and, lucky for me, to the heart of North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. Every Wednesday night from 5-9pm there will be an assortment of 8-10 food trucks dishing out delicious food that you can eat in the blocked off street either in folding chairs or on the grassy medium.
Thank you Berkeley for giving me another reason to love living here.
On my first visit to OTG, I arrived early–I know from experience that when food trucks put it in park, buzzy, hungry mouths swarm, and you will sometimes, sadly, wait in a long line only to be told your first choice items are sold out–I got to the trucks right at 5:00, as did about 1/4 of the neighborhood. It still took 20-30 minutes to order/get my food, but it was worth it.
The highlight was the prawns and roses, from Brass Knuckle, which I did not even order. (My roommate did.) The prawn was perfectly cooked and had a nice crunchy crust without being too heavy/oily. Upon inspection it looked like the shrimp was wrapper in kataifi (shredded phyllo pastry). That was a nice touch. It came with a simple cabbage salad/dressing. At $3.50 it was well worth it. I wish I could say the same about their Fryin’ Maiden. For a fried buttermilk chicken sandwich it was underwhelming. (Save your $5 and calories and head to Bake Sale Betty’s for their fried chix sammy.)
The Taco Guys have some new ideas about what to put in a tortilla, like the BLT, which had the standard components: pork, tomatoes (though just a sprinkle), arugula, and a mayo sauce. Love the idea, but, unfortunately, the mayo dressing drowned out the other ingredients.
The Hapa truck dishes out modern takes on traditional Phillipino cooking. It was solid when it came to the standby, sigsig. If you haven’t had sigsig, just try it, it’s a savory salty delight that simply puts pork over rice. (Not going to tell you which parts of the pig until after you eat it.)
To end my dinner, I had a child’s-sized snow cone cup of “mellow gold” (a.k.a. grapefruit) at Skylite Snowballs. The ice was perfectly shredded and the syrup they make from scratch was nicely balanced–sweet with a little bitterness, just the way I like my grapefruits. Next time I will get the largest one they offer.
In a nutshell, not all of the food at OTG was perfect–you have to remember that you’re getting your food from a vehicle, not a three-star restaurant–but it kept me wanting more. I am psyched that OTG and Berkeley have worked together to provide a Wednesday-night food round-up that I can walk to.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a food conference in Austin, the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). There I met lots of new colleagues, and made lots of new friends. Two of those new friends happen to be the White On Rice couple–a super talented photographer-and-stylist team (a.k.a. Diane and Todd) that I got to know one evening on a taco/tequila bike crawl for a mutual friend’s birthday. (The crawl was led by the fantastic Penny de los Santos. You might have already read a bit about that epic evening.)
During our crawl I discovered that Todd, Diane, and I have a love for Hi-Chews. For the uninitiated, Hi-Chews are a Japanese fruit candy. They are similar to a Starburst, but a lot less sweet, with better flavors–and, best of all, they don’t stick to your teeth!
Well, I learned from Todd and Diane of a flavor I never knew even existed, which is Grapefruit.
Long story short, we all return home and they send me a pack in the mail. It was like when Charlie gets the golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory. I opened up the package and couldn’t believe the sight. I have eaten a lot of Hi-Chews and never seen this golden pack before.
I, of course, tore into it. You might not think that grapefruit sounds like the most enticing candy flavor, but as soon as the perfume of grapefruit took over, my defenses crumbled.I tried to savor them, but, alas, I ate the whole pack. They were ah-maze-ing. If you have a Japanese store near you, run and find some. And if they don’t carry it, request they do. It will change your mind about your favorite candy flavor.
Austin, TX – The location of this year’s IACP conference, which if you are in the food industry, is a must. Not only do you get to try amazing food from the host city, but you meet veterans of the industry and make new friends. Plus there are tons of seminars, and outings to participate in.
As for Austin, I am officially a fan.
This city has got great bbq. The best cue I have had to date is Franklin’s. They started off as a food truck and soon got a permanent location. You have to line up early as the wait can take hours. After talking to locals, the wait is worth it b/c otherwise you would have to drive hours outside of Austin to get this good of bbq. You can order dishes that come with a meat and sides, or you can do what we did and order pounds of meats, with pints of sides and share them. There is nothing fancy or delicate about it. You grab hunks of meat and eat it off of a piece of butcher paper and dip it into various sauces. Their brisket was the juiciest, and tastiest I have ever had. If you’re in Austin, this is a must.
Another great bbq joint is Lamberts, which is more upscale and makes fantastic cocktails. There are of course, tons of places to try in Austin, but one thing to not miss is Torchy’s Taco truck. The most amazing taco that I’ve ever consumed that isn’t meat based is the Dirty Sanchez. Forget what you think about that, it’s scrambled eggs, a deep fried poblano, guacamole, cheese, and escabeche. It’s crunchy, soft , filling, and refreshingly spicy. I know you’ve probably tried tons of taco trucks in various cities, but seriously, this is one not to be missed. On top of that they do a queso that is like no queso you’ve had before (sans the plastic cheese sauce).
While at my food conference we got to celebrate my friend Gaby’s birthday. In honor or her day we did a taco truck/tequila bike crawl led by the fantastic Penny de los Santos. If you are a fan of Saveur magazine, you are a fan of Penny as she is their senior contributing photographer. She is also a resident of Austin and generously took us around one night biking to her favorite food trucks and bars, which is how I discovered Torchy’s Tacos.
If there is one way to see Austin I would say you have to rent a bike. The city is so bike friendly and it’s a great way to see all the different neighborhoods. My last night was probably one of my favorite nights. I got to ride around with new friends I made and got a tour of Austin hight lighting it’s street food and drinks, and the personality of the city till 2am.
I was also lucky enough to stay at the oh so cool San Jose boutique hotel. If you can, I highly recommend staying there–it’s stylish and still friendly, with minimalist decor that can’t hide the warmth of the staff working there. The property grounds are also a popular place to hang out and have cocktails in their courtyard. And in the morning it’s just steps to Jo’s where you can get a fantastic cup of Joe. It’s like Stumptown is to the Ace.
Austin is definitely a city to go back to and I look forward to riding around it and discovering more of it’s gems.
Phoenix, AZ – Check out the restaurant Mission, which serves up modern Latin cuisine. Great margaritas and palomas and tons of great small plates. They have a pork shoulder taco plate with pork shoulder + pineapple glaze + cilantro + red onions + 10 hand made corn tortillas. It says it serves two, but really it could serve six. The décor is great, and has an entire wall made out of gorgeous pink salt.
The place is sceney and gets packed and you might run into a sorority sister here.
Who knew? New Mexico is--literally--a world class producer of bubbly.
Santa Fe, NM – For an amazing New Mexican breakfast check out Pasquela’s. Their Huevos Multenos was fantastic! It’s two eggs, over-easy, on a corn tortilla with black beans topped with sauteed banana, Feta, green peas, roasted tomato-jalapeño salsa, green or red chile or tomatillo salsa with a side corn tortilla.
Carlsbad, NM — The caverns were pretty cool. Kind of touristy but magnificent inside. Plus, when it’s 90 degrees in the morning, it’s a nice welcome change being in a cool cavern.
Marfa, TX – Who knew that in the middle of west Texas, where they filmed There Will Be Blood, that there would be an amazing artist colony. Back in the 70s minimalist artist Donald Judd moved there from NYC and began transforming buildings into art spaces to house large collections and put them on permanent display. For us, Marfa was a three-hour detour, and when we arrived all the art spaces were closed.
Note: Do not go to Marfa on Tuesdays.
Luckily we had a fantastic lunch at a food truck called Food Shark. Surprisingly we had a fantastic Fatoush salad, and seriously, the best falafel I’ve ever had. Plus, there is a great juice shop called Squeeze that makes juices, smoothies, and coffees.
San Antonio, TX – We got in late, but in time to eat at La Gloria, which serves street foods of Mexico. Great to go with a group of people to share lots of bites. I tried my very first Tlyauda which is a large tortilla that was baked till crispy and topped with beans, cheese, lettuce, and avocado.
Imagine if Thelma & Louise was a film about two ladies that loved food and were trying to get to a food convention in Austin, Texas from Los Angeles–and along the way Thelma and Louise picked-up, instead of Brad Pitt, an Asian hitchhiker that flew down from San Francisco.
That was how my roadtrip to the annual IACP (International Association Culinary Professionals) event in Austin started. In a nutshell, me and my two amigas, Aida Mollenkamp, and Gaby Dalkin, decided that rather than fly to Austin we would drive and eat along the way. In addition we picked up two speeding tickets and a bird that somehow flew into the front grill of our car.
Palm Springs, CA — Check out Cheekys. Fantastic breakfast and lunch with fresh ingredients. Plus, you can sit outside under misters that cool you down from the heat. Just be ready for a wait as it’s very popular. Of course we also had to get a date shake. Vanilla ice cream, and pureed dates. In my opinion the best one is at Palm Springs Fudge & Chocolates Inc, as theirs has the perfect amount of sweetness.
One of the things I love about freelancing is the opportunity to work on a variety of jobs and meet all kinds of people, even on my day off.
This spring I got to collaborate with two fantastic ladies: one makes pictures, one makes pies. And one afternoon we did a photo shoot at my house to provide Jaynelle St. Jean with some images to use for her fabulous pie company, Pietisserie. Oakland photographer Robin Jolin took these great photos, and in exchange for food styling, I got to eat delicious pies.
I can personally attest that Jaynelle puts love, care, and quality ingredients into each and every pie. Check out her site to see what flavors she is currently baking. She now has a pop-up store in downtown Oakland located at 1015 Clay Street (Mon-Fri, 12pm-2pm). She bakes in the back and sells her delicious pies through a little window.
Too adorable right?
Below are some images from our shoot. My favorite was the Okinawa sweet potato. It’s perfectly sweet, naturally creamy, and tickles you with just the right amount of spice.
If you want a whole pie just call ahead (415/999/1446) and you can arrange to pick up them up. Be sure to stop by soon–by the end of summer she hopes to have found new, permanent digs. Either way, if you’re in the East Bay, go out and support a local company–and eat pie.