There is something very interesting about Mexican food that makes me yearn for it every time i savor a plate of Nachos or use Guacamole as a dip for my sandwiches and wraps.
Guacamole (click for recipe) has almost become an “always available” dip at my place and is as much a part of our daily meals as the “mint-coriander chutney” (click for recipe). I usually wonder that how much i was missing in my food life before i came to Montreal 🙂
To me, Mexican cuisine is similar to Indian cuisine in many ways. There is a vast similarity in the way both the countries use their spices and many dishes revolve around using lentils/beans and flat breads made of all purpose flour, corn flour or wheat flour. I personally love many of the Mexican foods and i find it as colorful and full of flavor as the Indian Cuisine.
During one of our “after supper” strolls, me and my husband discovered this one cute, small Mexican restaurant near our home. We were obviously very delighted and eager to try some of the cuisines there. To our delight, we found out that this Mexican eatery was infact vegetarian and offered vegan options as well. We made a plan for a visit here for our next day’s supper.
As we entered, my eyes sparkled with the look of the place. Simple clean interiors with earthern colors for walls, this little restaurant had a very rustic and personal touch to it which felt very inviting and friendly to me. The walls had this ochre and rustic red colors on them and had buddha painted on one of the walls, done in a way to make the place look a bit old and rested. There were blackboards with fresh chalk in crude hand writings for menu placed on one wall. This and combination of other finer details made it’s appeal kind of folk-rural and authentic to my senses. It made my hopes of having a authentic Mexican cuisine experience come alive !!
The Menu consisted of various things to choose from : Burritos, Quesadillas, Polentas & Nachos to some other kinds like Lasagne, Burgers and Quiches. Since i really was interested to get a real taste of Mexican foods, we ordered a Quesadilla and a plate of Nachos.
Quesadilla is a flour/corn tortilla (flat bread like chapati) filled with a savory mixture containing cheese, other ingredients, and/or vegetable & usually then folded in half to form a half-moon shape.
Our dish of Quesadilla was a little different from this explanation in terms of the presentation. The Quesadilla was made of Flour tortilla and the filling contained ratatouille (in layman terms :sauteed assorted vegetables in tomato and onion sauce), avocado & mozzarella cheese. It was served with a side dish of green herb salad and cilantro sauteed rice. The presentation was beautiful and almost like a color palette having a mix of bright and subtle shades. Our appetite grew by double just seeing the looks of the dish.
The Quesadilla had intense smoky flavor from the ratatouille and had cheese oozing out with very single bite. It was delicious! The Salad worked out really well in balancing out the flavors and the rice, though very light and only sauteed in cilantro, gave this dish a completeness.
But the real winner for us were the Nachos. They were a step ahead in presentation and tasted amazing !
Nachos are basically Tortilla (usually corn) chips which is served as a snack or full meal along with Salsa. Some recipes and preparation also calls for Guacamole and sour cream as accompanied dips.
I have tried Nachos before at various places (though not authentic) and the way it is usually presented is very different. Usually when you order Nachos, it comes in a huge plate/pan with carefully spread of tortilla chips around in a circular formation, usually with melted mozzarella cheese and olives on top and dips accompanied.
Nachos here came on a wooden board (almost resembled a chopping board). Unlike a neat spread of tortilla chips, here we had a huge mountain stack of tortilla chips carefully piled. It was loaded with melted mozzarella and had black beans, green peppers, green onion, tomato, chopped avocado and a generous helping of sour cream and salsa. Not only did the dish looked tempting but the entire composition was almost picturesque. I for one, kept looking at it in amazement for one whole minute. It was something so unexpected – chaos of that kind looked beautiful for this dish. To me that was highly artistic and went really well with the rustic theme of the boutique restaurant. Also, the presentation really complimented the snacky feel of the dish. I believe that presentation is an important component of food and that it should reflect and convey the food’s nature attached with it.
We really enjoyed both the dishes and i am in complete awe of this place. I think i have found the “home for nachos” for our family.
My first experience of Authentic Mexican Cuisine was really pleasing and i am sure i would be experimenting with Mexican food more often at home now. So far i have tried making the Churros (Mexican doughnuts) (click for recipe) and Guacamole (click for recipe) and have been happy to have added that to my food vocabulary.
Stay tuned and keep reading for more Mexican delights coming from the kitchen lab of Divine Spice Box !