Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Street Food of Mexico

     Hugo Ortega's Street Food of Mexico (Bright Sky Press, $34.95) is a dream come true for anyone who has eaten street food in Mexico and wants to either relive those thrilling moments or cook some of those delicacies at home.
     I remember buying tacos made from fresh tortillas and green chiles stuffed with pork bits (who knows exactly!) from a vendor on the zocalo in Oaxaca. I remember the cocktail de mariscos from a seafood shop in Salina Cruz. This book brings back all that flavor, flavor, flavor!
     Hugo Ortega and his brother Ruben are both Mexican-born chefs who run Hugo's restaurant in Texas. Hugo was a finalist for a James Beard Award in 2012. The more than 100 recipes are clearly written and easy to follow.
     For instance, Taquitos al pastor, or slow-roasted pork taquitos, makes the intimidating sight of Mexican gyros easy to accomplish at home. (Taquitos are just small tacos, not the fried things found in may faux Mexican restaurants). The ingredients are not that difficult to find anymore; achiote paste, guajillo peppers, plus orange juice, whole cumin seeds, dried thyme and the rest are easily blended into a marinade for pork shoulder, also not that hard to find anymore.  
     Recipes for antojitos, tacos, salsas, tortas, ceviches y cocteles and more are surrounded by photographs that bring back the sounds, the smells and the sights of street food in Mexican towns and cities. Photographs by Penny de los Santos, a contributor to Saveur and National Geographic.
     If you love to cook and eat Mexican food, this book is a must.

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