Monday, January 29, 2007

There is an emerging Latino neighborhood in St Louis. Along Cherokee Street several restaurants, bakeries, groceries, and one butcher shop have opened. I am writing a story to be published in April about the foods to be found, so I have made a couple trips gathering information. Today I ate at a Honduran restaurant. While it was similar to more mainstream Mexican food, there were nuances which make it a singular cuisine on its own. They make an unique slaw that is a bright magenta color (the chef told me it comes from a brick colored powder that he disolves in vinegar to make the slaw dressing-he gave me a sample to try at home) , some things were garnished with a tangy mustard sauce as well as sparkling fresh pico de gallo, fried plantains accompanied many dishes-the way french fries are used in this country-and of course lots of fresh lime juice and cilantro.

I sampled some empanadas, tostados, burritos, and a beef stew. The poor waitress had to get the chef because I was asking so many questions and she did not have a terrific command of the Queen's English-so to speak-nor I a command of the Queen's Spanish. I found the food to be bright and appealing. Unfortunately none of the tamales-and there were 3 or 4 to choose from-were available. The chef explained he only makes them on Wednesdays and often they sell out before the next wednesday. The food all had excellent flavors, the only disappointment was that the beef stew was a bit fatty, so as long as you don't mind "eating around" some fat it was delicious.

I came away with a new obsession with Latin sodas. I had a banana soda (tastes like Vess Creme soda) and orange soda with lunch, and later went to "Torito's Supermercado", located in an old Woolworth's store to purchase pineapple, lime, orange, and banana. They are very sweet, sort of like drinking fizzy Kool-Aid. Chalk it up to getting in touch with my "inner child".


wheresmymind said...

Fizzy Kool-Aid sounds great!

Kevin said...

In Mexico, there isn't 'beef stew' per se. It's called carne guisada, which literally means 'meat with sauce'. This dish is a mainstay in the hispanic culture, and is much like gravy (tomato sauce) is to Italians in that every family has their own (but always delicious)variation. They are quite simple, at least ours is. Obviously from your experience, you can realize one of the differences is the type of meat used. We always use trimmed and tenderized round steak, so the fat part is not an issue for us. Add some onion, tomato, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and masa to thicken.

Later cuz,