El Sol Restaurant


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510-260-0163
101 Park Place
Richmond, California 94801

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Mexican cuisine
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_cuisine

Mexican cuisine is a style of food which is primarily a fusion of indigenous Mesoamerican cooking with European, especially Spanish, cooking developed after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. The basic staples remain the native corn, beans and chili peppers but the Spanish introduced a large number of other foods, the most important of which were meat from domesticated animals (beef, pork, chicken, goat and sheep), dairy products (especially cheese) and various herbs and spices.

Mexican cuisine is complex, as complex as any of the great cuisines in the world such as those of China, France and Turkey. It is created mostly with ingredients native to Mexico as well as those brought over by the Spanish conquistadors, with some new influences since then. Native ingredients include tomatoes, squashes, avocados, cocoa and vanilla, as well as ingredients not generally used in other cuisines such as various edible flowers, vegetables such as huauzontle and papaloquelite or small criollo avocados, whose skin is edible. European contributions include pork, chicken, beef, cheese, various herbs and spices and some fruits. Tropical fruits such as guava, prickly pear, sapote, mangoes, bananas, pineapple and cherimoya (custard apple) are popular, especially in the center and south of the country. It has been debated how much Mexican food is still indigenous and how much is European. However, the basis of the diet is still corn and beans with chili pepper as a seasoning as they are complimentary foods.

Mexican street food
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_cuisine

Mexican street food is one of the most varied parts of the cuisine. It can include tacos, quesadillas, pambazos, tamales, huaraches and food not suitable to cook at home including barbacoa, carnitas and since many homes in Mexico do not have ovens, roasted chicken. One attraction of street food in Mexico is the satisfaction of hunger or craving without all the social and emotional connotation of eating at home, although longtime customers can have something of a friendship/familial relationship with a chosen vendor. The best known of Mexico’s street food is the taco, whose origin is based on the pre Hispanic custom of picking up other foods with tortillas as utensils were not used. The origin of the word is in dispute, with some saying it is derived from Nahuatl and others from various Spanish phrases. Tacos are not eaten as the main meal; they are generally eaten before midday or late in the evening. Just about any other foodstuff can be wrapped in a tortilla and in Mexico it varies from rice, to meat (plain or in sauce) to vegetables and cheese. Preferred fillings vary from place to place with pork generally found more often in the center and south, beef in the north, seafood along the coasts and chicken in most of the country.


Tortas being prepared in Oaxaca
Another popular street food, especially in Mexico City and the surrounding area is the torta. It consists of a roll of some type, stuffed with several ingredients. This has its origins in the 19th century, when the French introduced a number of new kinds of bread. The torta began by splitting the roll and adding beans. Today, refried beans can be still be found on many kinds of tortas. In Mexico City, the most common roll used for tortas is called telera, a relatively flat roll with two splits on the upper surface. In Puebla, the preferred bread is called a cemita, as is the sandwich. In both areas, the bread is stuffed with various fillings, especially if it is a hot sandwich, with beans, cream (mayonnaise is rare) and some kind of hot chili pepper.
In the 20th century, U.S. influence has been strong. One example of this is the appearance of the hot dog, but prepared Mexican style. They are usually boiled then wrapped in bacon and fried. They are served in the usual bun, but the condiments are usually some combination of tomatoes, onions and chili peppers.