• Which wines go best with bagels?

    Don Day: I had a quandary. I wanted to feature the bagels created by San Miguel’s El Brillo and the wines distributed by Hédoné Experience SMA. And I wanted to do it at the same meal.

    Breakfast? Nah! Even I don’t drink wine at breakfast.

    Lunch? Bagels at lunch? Of course. Wine at lunch? Well, sometimes. Out went the invite and, a few days later, lunch was served.

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  • My romance with romeritos.

    Don Day: I’d only ever seen them in Mexico and, until recently, I thought they were gone from my diet forever, maybe even extinct. These tasty little plants called romeritos used to show up every winter in San Miguel de Allende. Then disappeared. But there they were, back in town this December. First in the Tuesday market and then in the Supermarket Soriana.

    They date back to Mayan days, when, due to necessity , diets were almost exclusively vegetarian. They were part of the milpa system where corn, squash, beans, chiles and a few less common plants like romerito were rotated throughout the seasons. Their name is what my grade eight English grammar teacher called a dimunitive, “little rosemary”, but they are only like rosemary in appearance, not at all in taste.

    Their Latin name (just in case one reader cares) is suaeda pulvinata and outside of Mexico, they are known, in English, as seepweed. But I don’t think they’re eaten anywhere outside of Mexico. Mexicans class leafy, edible plants such as romeritos as quelites which derives from the Náhuatl language’s quilitl.

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  • This month’s wine-pairing dinner.

    Don Day: We have spent some very special evenings in some very special places over the years that I’ve had the pleasure of organizing San Miguel’s small plates/wine pairing dinners. We have enjoyed wines from Spain, Argentina, Greece, Sicily, Chile and the west coast of Mexico.

    This month, we are staying home. This month, for the first time, we will be celebrating local wines. We will be featuring the winery, El Garambullo, from the town that I think is the very best in the world.

    Our hosts are Santiago Hiriart and Macarena Gomez, two chefs who have made a major mark on San Miguel’s restaurant scene in just a few weeks. This will probably be your last opportunity to experience their food in the beautiful courtyard at Hotel Essentia. They will be leaving the location at the end of the month (but opening at a new location shortly after).

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  • Ravin’ about ramen.

    Don Day: Gourmet food courts. They’re usually called Mercado This or Mercado That in Mexico. The concept originally sounded absolutely amazing to me. Take a few good chefs making a lot of the world’s best dishes and put them all in one place sharing tables and chairs, sharing gas and electricity bills, sharing parking and advertising, and, most importantly, sharing customers. The best laid plans of mice and men and restauranteurs…well, you know what often happens to those plans.

    As good as the concept of gourmet food courts sounded, many of them have been dismal failures. In Mexico City. In Oaxaca. And here in San Miguel de Allende. Our first, Mercado Centro, came and went. The second, Mercado Sano survives, but the restaurants on the second floor are as busy as a baseball diamond in December.

    Though I’m sure it hasn’t been a roaring success, San Miguel’s Mercado Del Carmen is, at the very least, still existing well into its third year. Tenants have come and gone, including two with established restaurants in other parts of town, but it’s rare that I’ve ever seen any of the space in the building unoccupied.

    One of Mercado Del Carmen’s newest tenants is Chikatana. ...

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  • A slice of Italian history arrives in San Miguel.

    Don Day: Despite a couple of nasty tantrums and my screeching “but I don’t want to go”, in 1956, my family emigrated from Britain to Canada. I remember those first few days of school. Kids making fun of my accent, laughing at me because I pronounced it “larfing”. There was only one thing that saved me. There was another new immigrant, Ilio, who got twice the teasing I did. Ilio’s family had arrived in Canada from Italy on almost the same day as my family did and poor little Ilio was deposited into grade six with a one-word English vocabulary. “Hello.” “Hello.” “Hello.”

    Neither Ilio nor I had a baseball glove or a hockey stick but Ilio had my most desired of all sports equipment. Ilio had a football, not a strangely shaped North American football, but a perfectly round football. Tony taught me the word calcio and I taught him the word soccer and, on Sundays, on his way home from church, he would knock on my door, say his favorite new English word, and we would continue on to his home to get the ball. But before we left for the schoolyard and argued who was going to be in goal, Ilio’s mother would insist on two things: That Ilio change out of his Sunday best and we eat some porchetta.

    Ilio came from Treviso, a town just outside of Venice, and, apparently, porchetta had the same Sunday significance in Treviso as roast beef did in Britain. Ilio’s madre would thin slice the porchetta and serve it on crusty Italian bread with a yellow rind cheese and, despite me having a hearty English breakfast less than two hours before, I had no trouble leaving only crumbs on the plate.

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  • For perhaps my first time. Paella Valenciana.

    Don Day: I tried to guess how many times I’d had paella in my life. My estimate was somewhere around 100. Then I tried to remember how many times the restaurant had called it Paella Valenciana. That was more difficult to remember but my guess was somewhere around half of the time.

    My next guess was how many times what the menu had called Paella Valenciana was actually a genuine, traditional, Valencia-style paella. My guess was maybe once, maybe twice, maybe never…at least until last Sunday.

    Last Sunday I had an authentic Paella Valenciana at the recent-arrived San Miguel restaurant Oli Tapas. How do I know this paella was the real thing. Well, the executive chef of Oli is Vicente Torres and, though Chef Torres is originally from Ibiza, he rose to fame in Valencia, earning a Michelin star at restaurant La Sucursal.

    Now what makes a Paella Valenciana different from other paellas or what Chef Torres calls “paellas mixtas”?

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  • Affable guys. Affordable wines.

    Don Day: I’m not sure how long I’ve known Boris Olvera and Larry Le Mieux. Probably going on ten years.

    Over those years, Chef Boris has fed me fine barbacoa, taught me how to make a Veracruzana sauce, and chased after free range chickens with me.

    These days, he and his friend Larry are dedicating more of their time to the SMA Wine Society, planning tasting events and marketing a few labels locally. Larry’s emphasis has always been on moderately-priced wines and what he showcased at the latest Wine Society event was no different.

    “There’s no shortage of 500 peso plus wines out there”, said Larry, “but what we’re trying to do is provide decent quality wines at the 300 peso level.”

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  • The day Don Day’s Wife went bottomless.

    Don Day: I’m mostly from Canada but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in Canada. In the U.S. though, it’s apparently a major marketing tool, the endless mimosas promised by restaurants for the pleasure of attending their Sunday brunch.

    I like Sunday brunch. I like mimosas. I like the San Miguel restaurant Zumo. So, when Don Day’s Wife told me that Zumo was offering a three-course brunch with bottomless mimosas for 450 pesos, I had only one short Spanish word to say: “Vamos”.

    The mimosa. There is no other drink that seems more appropriate, more civil, more refreshing, more of an excuse for consuming alcohol when the sun is still at its height, than the mimosa. The recipe is quite simple: 50% orange juice, 50% sparkling wine, united together in a tall, thin glass called the flute.

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  • Santiago y Macarena. Might soon be our place. Might soon be yours.

    Don Day: I have a new date restaurant. “A date restaurant?”, you might be asking. Yes, a date restaurant, not just somewhere you go to eat interesting, well-prepared food but a very special place to visit. A place where you might even suffer a suit jacket and uncomfortable shoes. A place where the style, atmosphere, class, ambience and service are almost as important as the imaginative food. A place that might just, for Don Day’s Wife and I, become “our place”.

    The restaurant is called Santiago & Macarena Cocina Contemporánea. I know, a bit of a mouthful but, so far, I’ve resisted the temptation to shorten it to S&M.

    The chef/owners are Santiago Hiriart and Macarena Gomez, so this is obviously a chef-driven restaurant. Unlike many chef-driven restaurants, however, Santiago & Macarena has not made the mistake of negating the importance of the front-of-house position. They have hired a very charming, very efficient and very likeable woman called Eugenia Torres.

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  • Birria and ramen. A marriage made in San Miguel.

    Don Day: “What brought you in to the restaurant?”, said the well-dressed woman at the doorway to the kitchen. “Was it the sign? I hope it was the sign.”

    Aaah, the power of advertising. Some bold, all upper-case typography. Wrapped inside a sunshine-colored border. And those two words in the copy: Birria and ramen. Those two dishes will get this old dog’s glands salivating. The sign at the entrance to Birrieria Jonacho was like a rare-earth magnet, dragging me by the scruff of my neck off the sidewalk.

    “Que recomiendas?”, I asked the not only well-dressed but very sophisticated-looking woman.

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  • Getting juiced on Mexican fruit. At Ojo de Agua.

    Don Day: I’m a meat and potatoes guy. But I’m also a nosey guy. So even though I don’t eat a lot of fruit, there are some fruits I’ve always been dying to try. Simply because I’m an inquisitive foodie.

    You might have been there. Walking through a Mexican fruit and veg market when some array of traffic light colors catch your eye. Those look tasty you think. But what do I do with them? Do I peel them, stew them, pit them, juice them?

    Sometimes they have signs on them. Exotic words that make you want to finally learn how to roll your rrrrrrrrs. Words like carambola and ciruela. Words like guayaba and guanabana, zapote and chicozapote. When I see or hear their names, my curiosity just grows and grows and grows.

    So what if you could walk through a door of a restaurant and taste so many of those mystery fruits with the restaurant doing all the necessary nasty picking, pitting and peeling for you. That’s what I did in San Miguel de Allende recently.

    Continue reading at Don Day in SMA: Getting juiced on Mexican fruit. At Ojo de Agua. More #DonDay.

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  • The best wine values in San Miguel de Allende.

    Don Day: “Hey, Don Day, you drink a lot of wine. Where, in town, can I get the best prices?”

    Yes, I do drink a lot of wine. I indulge in almost a full bottle on most days. And, along with questions about what do you recommend and what’s available where, I’m often asked about the cheapest place to buy wine in San Miguel.

    Last week, my cramped little cava under the stairs looked like it belonged to Old Mother Hubbard. It was definitely time for a shopping spree. I made a list, checked it twice (Christmas is coming), let my fingers do some walking and then did the same with my legs.

    There were five wines on my want list where I wanted more than one bottle so I used them to do my comparison shopping. There are six places where I occasionally buy wine. Four of them have physical stores in San Miguel, the other two offer easy on-line shopping. All offer free delivery if you purchase in quantity though, sometimes, you may first have to purchase something like a membership.

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  • How I lost 15 pounds. And still ate pizza.

    Don Day: It was day 28 of the longest month of the year…perhaps the longest month ever since a guy named Gregory came up with the idea of a new and improved calendar.

    You see, I wanted to be slim. I hadn’t been slim since I was…well, actually, I’d never ever been slim. But our daughter, Chantelle, was slimmer than she’d been since she started birthing babies. Our formerly chunky son-in-law, Luke, was narrower than I’d ever seen him. And I was jealous. I’ve always wanted to be a leaner cut of meat. But that always meant serious hardships.

    Yet there were Chantelle and Luke eating big fat juicy ribeyes. Drinking healthy (those I never listen to might even say unhealthy) amounts of vodka.

    “Share the secret”, I begged, “Please, share the secret.”

    “Keto”, Chantelle told me, “the only word you need to know, Dad, is keto”.

    Continue reading at Don Day in SMA: How I lost 15 pounds. And still ate pizza. More #DonDay.

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    We have done several posts lately on the keto diet and evidence-based weight loss based on the work of Dr. Greger and . You should take a look at some of these (especially Are Keto Diets Safe?) before going whole hog into keto.

    Body fat loss actually slows down when you switch to a ketogenic diet. Just looking at the bathroom scale, though, the keto diet seems like a smashing success, losing less than a pound a week on a regular diet to boom—three-and-a-half pounds in seven days after switching to keto, but what was happening inside their bodies told a totally different story. On the ketogenic diet, their rate of body fat loss was slowed by more than half; so, most of what they were losing was water, but they were also losing protein, they were also losing lean mass. That may help explain why the leg muscles of CrossFit trainees placed on a ketogenic diet can shrink as much as 8 percent within two months.
    Evidence-Based Weight Loss.

    Yes, the study subjects started burning more fat on the ketogenic diet, but they were also eating so much more fat on the ketogenic diet that they ended up retaining more fat in their body, despite the lower insulin levels. This is “diametrically opposite” to what the keto crowd predicted, and this from the guy they paid to support their theory. In science-speak, “the carbohydrate–insulin model failed experimental interrogation.”

    In light of this “experimental falsification” of the low-carb theory, the Nutrition Science Initiative effectively collapsed…. but, based on their tax returns, not before Taubes and his co-founder personally pocketed millions of dollars in compensation.

    Keto Diet Theory Put to the Test

    The bottom line: keto diets just don’t hold water.

    But the thrill of seeing the pounds come off so quickly on the scale keeps many coming back. When the diet fails, the dieters often blame themselves. But the intoxication of that initial rapid weight loss may tempt them back, like getting drunk again after forgetting how terrible the last hangover was. This has been dubbed “the false hope syndrome.” The diet industry thrives off of “repeat customers,” something low-carb diets were built for, given that rapid initial water loss.
    Keto Diet Results for Weight Loss.

    Keto compliance may be more in theory than practice, though. Even in studies where ketogenic diets are being used to control seizures, after a few months dietary compliance may drop to under 50 percent. This can be tragic for those with intractable epilepsy, but for everyone else, the difficulty in sticking to ketogenic diets long-term may actually be a lifesaver. I’ll talk about keto diet safety next.
    Is Weight Loss on Ketosis Sustainable?

    Given that heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women, “recommending any diet that a patient will adhere to in order to lose weight” seems irresponsible. Why not tell people to smoke? Cigarettes can cause weight loss too, as can tuberculosis and a good meth habit, but the goal of weight loss is not to lighten the load for your pallbearers.
    Keto Diets: Muscle Growth & Bone Density.

    One of the ketones you make on a ketogenic diet is acetone (known for its starring role in nail polish remover). Acetone does more than just make keto dieters fail breathalyzer tests and develop what’s been described as “rotten apple breath.” Acetone can oxidize in the blood to acetol, which may be a precursor for methylglyoxal. That may be why keto dieters can end up with levels of this glycotoxin as high as those with out-of-control diabetes, which can cause the nerve damage and blood vessel damage you see in diabetics. That’s another way keto dieters can end up with a heart attack. So, the irony of treating diabetes with a ketogenic diet may extend beyond just making the underlying diabetes worse, but by mimicking some of the disease’s dire consequences.
    Does a Ketogenic Diet Help Diabetes or Make It Worse?

    Okay, but striking at the heart of the matter, what might all that saturated fat be doing to our heart? If you look at low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause mortality, those who eat lower-carb diets suffer “a significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality,” meaning they live, on average, significantly shorter lives.
    Are Keto Diets Safe?

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  • Nomada. Here’s to thirty more.

    Don Day: It’s not true that more than half of all restaurants fail within their first year. It actually takes almost two. Don Day’s Wife and I even play a little game. On the way home from our first (and very often only) time at an ambitious new restaurant one of us will just throw out a length of time.

    “Six months”, Don Day’s Wife might say. “I’m going nine, maybe ten”, I might reply. Nothing more needs to be said.

    A while back, we celebrated the opening of a new San Miguel restaurant called Nomada that had some very fine food. I can’t remember any time period at all being mentioned on our way home. Yesterday, Nomada celebrated their third anniversary.

    Though I try to present myself as an expert, I really have next to no idea what requires one restaurant to bolt its doors while the one next door might have a line-up snaking round the corner. I do know two things about Nomada, however, that makes it a lot better than virtually any other restaurant in San Miguel de Allende. ...

    Continue at Don Day in SMA: Nomada. Here’s to thirty more. More #DonDay.

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  • Oli Tapas. They’re the tops.

    Don Day: It was always an awkward space. It was plunked between a bakery, a hotel, some upscale boutiques and a hallway that led to a usually empty Mezcal bar, then opened into a mall-style food court with all but two of the tenants (Birdie’s Burgers and Tacolicious) constantly changing. Perhaps it never did stand much of a chance. The venue attempted a few changes, including building a mostly glass wall that helped separate the restaurant from the inquisitive eyes of the tourist traffic that strolled by. But despite a celebrated chef and some extraordinarily good food, the almost never busy restaurant, Jacinto 1930, closed its doors a few weeks ago. I thought of asking the owners (they’ve elevated another property, Matilda, into one of Mexico’s most-celebrated hotels) exactly why they shut it down but then I thought better of it. Instead I’ll share Don Day’s Wife opinion:

    “I don’t think people were ready to pay for fine dining in what looked like a school cafeteria.”

    Replacing Jacinto 1930 in the century old building, formerly known as Cohen’s Hardware Store and now known as Dôce 18, is Oli Tapas, “a new gastronomic concept by Chef Vicente Torres” an email told me. Might this be Vicente Torres, the former Michelin-starred chef? OK, I’m intrigued. OK, I’m going.

    Continue at Don Day in SMA: Oli Tapas. They’re the tops. More #DonDay.

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  • “All I ever wanted was to make music.”

    Don Day: In 1994, a guy named Stuart Bastow walked into an Ottawa piano bar. The 20-something had never sung in any venue except perhaps a shower but, thanks to a pint or two of courage, the next thing he knew there was a microphone where his glass used to be. By the time he had put down the mike, a woman had wandered up to him and asked for his autograph.

    In 1996, a swing revival band was formed in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The ensemble featured some of the east coast’s classically-trained and genuinely-gifted jazz musicians. In charge of vocals was a bit of an unknown, a guy called Johnny Favourite, a guy formerly known as Stuart Bastow.

    The National Post caught the act and wrote enthusiastically about a guy, “swigging and swinging to his heart’s content”.

    Continue at Don Day in SMA: “All I ever wanted was to make music.”

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  • Four favorite reds from a favorite San Miguel sommelier.

    Don Day: Gustavo Aguilar was the first real restaurant sommelier I met in San Miguel de Allende. Sure, when the restaurant Cent’Anni opened a few years ago, he also had a lot of management responsibilities there, but when Cent’Anni’s servers needed to bring some sage advice about wine selection to a table, they brought Gustavo.

    What I liked most about Gus was what he wasn’t. Too many sommeliers have way too much attitude. They come to your table in their crisp white jackets swinging their little tastevin cup from a chain around their neck. The next thing you know you’re spending twice as much as you planned on a wine you had no plans on ever drinking.

    Gustavo Aguilar recognizes that the main job of a sommelier is selling but he also has great respect for value and the affordability of wines to his clientele. Some people have problems putting a peso amount on their prospective purchases. I don’t. And I can’t remember Gus ever having a problem with it either.

    Lots more, including the four favorite reds, at Don Day in SMA: Four favorite reds from a favorite San Miguel sommelier. More #DonDay.

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  • Magda Pablos picks and preps a peck of poblano peppers.

    Don Day: I was reading a story on the digital publication Milenio recently. It said that there are more than 1500 different species of chile peppers in Mexico. One five zero zero! That means that I have about 1488 types of chiles to still experience before I die. But I’m betting one thing. I’m giving odds that I’ll never find one I’ll treasure more than the poblano.

    Chiles are like dates. When you’re young, you think you want a hot one. Show everyone how bravado you are…how you can handle the heat. But when we mature (presuming men eventually do), we want our chiles warm, not hot, and the ideal temperature is very, very hard to find. Poblano peppers are the perfect date. You’ll always get a cozy glow but you’ll never get burned.

    Though they never sizzle, the heat of poblanos is still a little unpredictable. Even two peppers from the same plant can differ in their Scofield level (the scientific heat scale that the commited chiliheads use). As they mature and their flavor changes slightly from a vegetative green to a fruitier red, they also send the Scofield numbers up the scale a little.

    Lots more at Magda Pablos picks and preps a peck of poblano peppers. More #DonDay.

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  • In a kafuffle over truffles. In Istria.

    Don Day: For the normal man, September is the start of football season. For Don Day, September is the start of truffle season.

    As I write this, I am not in front of my 60-inch Samsung, checking my fantasy league performance; I am in the heart of truffle country hoping to fulfill another fantasy. I am in Motovun. No, that’s not in Piedmont, Italy. Nor is it in Perigord, France. Motovun is in Istria, Croatia. And it may just be the home of the best truffles in the world.

    I don’t think there is any other animal, vegetable or mineral that perches on a higher rung of the foodie ladder than the truffle but, before I describe its phenomenal taste, let me make sure that you realize that I am not talking about the delightful chocolate truffle (which also sits sky-high on the culinary scale) but the ugly, lump-of-fungus truffle. The one that grows around the roots of trees, usually oaks. The one that is hunted by dogs. The one that looks like a dog may have actually deposited it in the forest.

    Read more at Don Day: In a kafuffle over truffles. In Istria. More #DonDay.

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  • When in Venice

    Don Day: The Champagne Lady. That’s what they call Don Day’s Wife. For seldom a day goes by when she doesn’t tootle a flute of sparkling wine. It’s rarely real Champagne. Usually it’s a French Cremant. Occasionally, a Spanish Cava. And once-in-a-while, an Italian Prosecco.

    But this week we are in the home of Prosecco. Don Day’s Wife and I are in Venice. And with bottles still going for about 20 Euros in upscale restaurants, a lot of flutes of Prosecco are getting tootled.

    I’m a take-it-or-leave-it guy when it comes to sparkling wine but add a little something extra to the glass and you’ll perk up my interest. In some places that something extra is orange juice as in a Mimosa. Other times it’s cassis in a Kir Royale. In Venice that something extra is most often peaches. And the drink is called the Bellini.

    The cocktail is almost as old as I am. The year was 1948. The creator was Giuseppe Cipriani. Giuseppe was the son of Arrigo Cipriani, the owner of a bar called Harry’s. And yes, the original Harry’s…before there were all those other Harry’s.

    I felt it was my dutiful responsibility as a tourist to have a Bellini at the original Harry’s. ...

    Read more, including Don Day's recipe for The Perfect Bellini, at Don Day: When in Venice. More #DonDay.

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  • Cherimoyas

    Today, Don Day introduces us to the Cherimoya!

    Don Day: Oh, my goodness. Cherimoyas.
    “If I were asked which would be the best fruit, I would choose without hesitation, cherimoya. Its taste, indeed, surpasses that of every other fruit.”

    There were two reasons I had to write about cherimoyas.

    I had been reading this book Life In Mexico, a diary written by a Scottish woman way back in 1831 (that’s a quote from her that I started out with) and I was fascinated by how often cherimoyas came up in her diet.

    Then, my friend Richard Smerdon forwarded a BBC piece on The 100 Most Nutricious Foods. There at number two were cherimoyas. Cherimoyas, those big ugly green things I see in the market. The second most nutricious food in the world. I had to have some. And soon.
    Read more at Don Day: Oh, my goodness. Cherimoyas. More #DonDay.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    The flavor is best described as a blend of pineapple and pear. Some also say they taste notes of mango, strawberries and lemon.
    How to Eat Cherimoya – A Photographic Guide
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    The cherimoya (Annona cherimola), also spelled chirimoya and called chirimuya by the Inca people, is an edible fruit-bearing species of the genus Annona from the family Annonaceae. It is generally thought to be native to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru , Bolivia and Chile, spreading through cultivation to the Andes and Central America. Cherimoya is grown in tropical regions throughout the world. It is in the same genus, Annona, as soursop.

    Mark Twain called the cherimoya "the most delicious fruit known to men". The creamy texture of the flesh gives the fruit its secondary name, custard apple.
    Wikipedia: Cherimoya.

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  • Salsa Verde

    Tomatillo Salsa Verde, is a delicious Mexican green salsa made with roasted tomatillos, chile peppers, lime juice, cilantro, and onion. Today we highlight several ways to make it including Don Day's favorite salsa verde recipe. We also have Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa Verde and green salsa guacamole style without avocado.

    Tomatillo Salsa Verde
    As a kid I always thought that green salsa was made from green tomatoes, but actually it is made with a distant relative of a tomato from Mexico, the naturally tart tomatillo (pronounced “toe-mah-TEE-yo”). A tomatillo looks like a little green tomato covered with a husk, and is more closely related to gooseberry than it is to tomato.

    Salsa verde is really easy to make from scratch, all you need are tomatillos, onion, jalapeño, lime, and cilantro.

    To make the salsa verde, you will need to cook the tomatillos, which you can do by either boiling them, broiling them in the oven, or pan roasting them. All three approaches are quick and easy, though with broiling or pan roasting, you get added flavor from the searing of the tomatillos.
    Simply Recipes Tomatillo Salsa Verde.

    I’m embarrassed to dance the salsa. But I can make it.
    Don Day doesn’t dance, unless he’s had a few drinks. Don Day doesn’t cook, no matter how many drinks he’s had. Because Don Day’s Wife doesn’t allow him to cook. In fact, Don Day is staunchly discouraged from ever entering the kitchen. Well that is until there are dishes…and especially when those dishes are covered with dried egg yolk.

    So Don Day in SMA rarely shares recipes and, if I do, they are almost always Don Day’s Wife’s recipes. Or, most often, her tweaking of other chefs’ recipes.

    But the focus of today’s blog post is a recipe. A recipe for something that, after the tortilla, may be the absolute most consumed item in Mexican restaurants and in Mexican homes. And it’s my recipe or, at least, my adaptation of a few other much more talented people’s recipes.

    Continue reading at Don Day: I’m embarrassed to dance the salsa. But I can make it. More #DonDay.

    Mexican Salsa Verde - Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

    Your salsa will be delicious, fresh and so much better than the salty jarred varieties. I can guarantee that much. That’s the beauty of simple recipes made with fresh, natural ingredients—they’re inevitably awesome. ...

    Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes with husks, but they aren’t tomatoes—they’re cousins. I’ve had an easy time finding them at grocery stores lately. I tried making this salsa with raw tomatillos, but they’re borderline sour. Roasting them really brings out their best side.

    Some roasted tomatillo salsas I’ve tried taste too roasted or smoky, but not this one. You can also control just how roasted those tomatillos get when you roast them yourself. I think it turned out just right with the times specified in the recipe below.
    Cookie and Kate Homemade Salsa Verde.

    Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa Verde
    Scoop avocado flesh into a blender and add lettuce, chile, onion, garlic, tomatillos, and cilantro and blend until smooth; season with salt.
    bon appetít Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa Verde.

    Faux Avocado Salsa | Creamy Green Salsa | Falso Guacamole Salsa
    Has it happened to you that you go to a taqueria and one of the richest sauces they have is an intense green with creamy texture and flavored with guacamole?

    The other day I went to a taquería and when the waiter asked, if everything was fine? I told him that avocado sauce was my favorite. The waiter looked surprised and told me, the sauce does not have an avocado although it has the flavor, the texture and the color.
    Green salsa guacamole style WITHOUT avocado, taqueria trick!

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  • Happy National Avocado Day

    Avocado Day: Chipotle, other chains giving away free guac Wednesday despite higher cost
    While wholesale avocado prices have come down nearly $20 for a 25-pound box after an early July spike, the popular fruit still costs 80% more than this time last year, said David Magaña, vice president and senior analyst at Rabobank based in Fresno, California.

    Some restaurants have started charging more for guacamole or taking avocados off the menu. Faux guacamole recipes made from calabacitas, a small Mexican squash, have been circulating on social media.

    But despite the higher prices, National Avocado Day, held annually on July 31, hasn't been cancelled.
    Avocado Day: Chipotle, other chains giving away free guac Wednesday despite higher cost

    When it comes to eating avocados, you cannot go without mentioning guacamole. On Super Bowl Sunday, more than eight million pounds are consumed. On Cinco de Mayo, that number grows to 14 million.

    When you live in San Miguel de Allende, escaping guacamole is even more of a task. There’s hardly ever a cocktail party to which it’s not invited. Some Mexican restaurants place it on the table as a free appetizer. And everyone’s guacamole is praised as, absolutely, the very best guacamole to ever grace a table or a tongue. So I could only share Don Day’s Wife’s recipe as potentially the world’s second best which would be dangerous to my future existence. Instead, I’ll share with you the recipe of the person who, deservedly, is more famous than anyone anywhere for Mexican food, chef Rick Bayless. I will say that the most important part of Rick’s recipe is the garlic which, unfortunately, is left out of many other recipes. ...
    Don Day: Learning to love avocados.
    More #DonDay.

    Rick Bayless: Simple Guacamole
    Rick Bayless: A Master Class In Guacamoles

    Alton Brown's The Guac (with cumin).

    Diana Kennedy’s muy bueno guacamole recipe: Authentic Guacamole Recipe.

    Will you celebrate the made up holiday National Avocado Day with some genuine guacamole? What's your favorite guacamole recipe?

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  • Chicken a la King

    Don Day Once a king, always a king

    ... I liked just about everyone’s version of Chicken à la King. And I desperately wanted to taste it again. ... I had to smooth-talk my personal chef into creating my long lost pleasure.

    “Honey, did you like Chicken à la King?” ...

    I brought home coral colored lilies the next day for Don Day’s Wife. Stage two in the seduction would be the emailing of a possible recipe. But which one?

    Don Day Once a king, always a king. More #DonDay.

    Chicken a la king is made up of chicken breast cooked in a luscious cream sauce, and flavored with fresh mushrooms and bell peppers. You can serve it over rice, pasta, or crusty bread. You can also use it as a filling for homemade empanadas!

    Yummy Chicken a la King.

    This easy chicken a la king is the perfect way to use up some leftover chicken while at the same time making an incredibly good tasting dinner.

    Cooking Perfected Creamy Easy Chicken a la King.

    Chicken a la King is an old fashioned recipe popular in the 1960s made with chicken, colored bell peppers, and mushrooms in a cream sherry sauce.

    The recipe began appearing in cookbooks and magazines into the 1970s.

    This gourmet dish was served in many fine restaurants.

    Old Fashioned Recipes Chicken a la King.

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  • Huitlacoche the Mexican truffle

    The culinary applications are myriad; the smoky, earthy flavor makes a good accompaniment to fat in cheese and meats like chorizo. It can be sautéed simply with onions, epazote (a cilantro-like herb), and chilies, and the resulting inky mixture enriches everything from tacos to tamales to omelets. Most commonly, it is folded into a quesadilla with melted cheese and topped with salsas. Huitlacoche quesadillas are available all over central and southern Mexico from the griddles of street carts, restaurants, and municipal markets.

    In recent years, due to Mexican immigration and epicurean demand (as well as clever rebranding—some menus describe it as “Mexican truffles”), huitlacoche has become widely available in its native home and abroad. Its status as a much sought-after delicacy remains a testament to the culinary ingenuity of the Aztecs: A scourge on their staple crop was also a blessing in disguise.

    Huitlacoche The Mexican fungal delicacy that makes corn taste like a mushroom.

    Despite its unattractive appearance, the Huitlacoche has been consumed from the cultures that inhabited Mesoamerica to the current indigenous and Mexican peasants for being easy to find and cook, although it is said that its use Culinary was more marked from the twentieth century. In rainy season in Mexico, between July and September it is common to find it in tianguis and popular markets.

    The Mexican truffle has a name, it's called huitlacoche (sp)

    A simple Mexican-style succotash can be made from chorizo, onions, garlic, serrano peppers, huitlacoche, and shrimp with salsa taquera. The mild, earthy flavors of the huitlacoche blend nicely with the fats of the chorizo and bond to mellow out the heat from the peppers and salsa.

    Another Mayan favorite on the Riviera Maya (Cancun to Tulum ) is to add huitlacoche to omelettes. Once again, its earthy flavors bond with the fats that cook the eggs to mellow the flavors into a truffle-like taste.

    An important thing to note about huitlacoche is that the blueish color transforms into the recognizable black color only with heat. Any dish with huitlacoche must include a slow simmer of the fungus until it becomes black which also removes most of the starch of the corn and what is left is a black oily paste.

    Wikipedia: Corn Smut

    Mexican truffle? You’ve never heard of it? Well, neither had Don Day until about ten years ago. Mexican truffle is one of the names it’s known by. To North American corn growers who are afraid of it infecting their plants, it’s mostly known as smut. And to Mexicans, who appreciate it’s delightful flavor, it’s a delicacy known as huitlacoche. ...

    Because I’ve always enjoyed smut, Don Day should have known he would be very fond of huitlacoche.

    Don Day: There’s a fungus among us. In San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. More #DonDay.

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  • Beyond Meat. Beyond expectations.

    Don Day: A lot of people like dogs and cats. A few people like hamsters and budgies. I like cows and pigs.

    You see I am a carnivore. No make that a capital C and bold Carnivore. I tolerate plants in my diet. I even enjoy a few plants in my diet. But the food I get all in a tizzy about almost always includes some form of animal protein.

    I think I was born and raised that way. Almost every kid was in my days. We adored potatoes. We appreciated peas and beans and corn and carrots. But the rest we dreaded seeing on our dinner plates. There I would sit, elbows off the table of course, listening to mom’s lectures about how lucky we were to have ration coupons (yes, I’m that old), how thousands of starving African or Asian children would be very happy to eat my greens, and how I wasn’t going out to play until my plate was squeaky clean. I’m not sure what my record longest holdout time was but it was at least an hour, probably two, staring at those turnips, kale, brussels sprouts or rapini before my dad would say, in his broadest Scots accent, “I think it’s time we let the wee wain play some footie with the other lads”.

    Continue reading at Don Day in SMA Beyond Meat. Beyond expectations. More #DonDay.

    Plant-Based Meat: A Long-Awaited Industry Tipping Point Has Finally Arrived
    Plant-based meat is on the move: A report released Tuesday shows that retail sales across the industry are growing even faster than regular meat.

    The emergent food trend of plant-based alternatives to animal products, exemplified by the likes of Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat products, has grown five times faster than the food industry as a whole, the report finds.

    “This is not a bubble or a fad,” Caroline Bushnell, associate director for the Good Food Institute, a non-profit think tank that lobbies for meat-based alternatives and which wrote the report, tells Inverse. “It’s a real change in consumer behavior.

    Plant-Based Meat: A Long-Awaited Industry Tipping Point Has Finally Arrived

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  • Hey Mango. Mango Mexicano.

    "I don’t think I’d ever had a mango until I was in my thirties and visited my parents in Florida. Bright yellow mangos, amber rum, rosy red cranberry juice and a turquoise Hamilton Beach blender created the cocktail de jour of the senior set and it only took an evening for me to decide that getting older was getting better."


    To continue reading, including the recipe for Grammie’s Mango Salsa, visit Don Day's blog at Hey Mango. Mango Mexicano. More #DonDay.

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  • La Ruta de la Milpa. The route to fine Mexican flavors.

    Don Day’s Wife and I had dinner with Jorge Córcega recently. Jorge is the executive chef and co-owner of new San Miguel de Allende restaurant, La Ruta de la Milpa, and he’s one of the biggest champions I’ve ever met of the ingredients that traditionally are used in Mexican cuisine. His menu pays tribute to the native flora and fauna of Mexico and, in particular, honors examples of the fruit and vegetables that have not strayed far in form from what grew in this country a thousand years ago.

    More from Don Day at La Ruta de la Milpa. The route to fine Mexican flavors.

    More #DonDay.
  • In pursuit of the tastiest tomatillos.

    Call them the Rodney Dangerfield of Mexican fruit. Apart from their frequent appearance in salsas verdes, I rarely see tomatillos being used in Mexico. And, outside of Mexico, I rarely see them at all.

    I think that’s a shame. For if you want a little sour in any dish, tomatillos come with a bonus, a hint of sweet that makes the overall taste extraordinary.

    There are other fruits that have that balance. I have fond memories of gooseberries from when I was a kid. I remember, right after twisting my face into a prune, I would have this little sugar rush. And loved it.
    Don Day

    More at Don Day's Blog In pursuit of the tastiest tomatillos. More #DonDay.

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