CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 13, 2005 |
It's a matter of masa. Ask any vendor at the inaugural Los Angeles International Tamale Festival -- the difference between a moist and flavorful tamale and a tired and dry tamale is how you prepare the ground corn. Some say it's all about adding stock. Others say the key is rendered pork fat. But for most, how you enhance the masa is a guarded family secret. "Eleven herbs and spices. Just like KFC," Israel Briseno of Mom's Tamales said Saturday.
October 6, 2004 |
I dip my head under the indigo curtains that screen the doorway and take a seat at the white-blond maple counter. Sanded every night, its touch is familiar and reassuring, seductively smooth. A server hands me a steaming hot towel. I slip the paper wrapper off the chopsticks and place them on a pretty chopstick rest. Sliding my hands over the counter, I remember all the times I've sat here before -- not that many, really, but every one of them etched in my memory.
November 26, 2003 |
Really good Mexican food can turn up in unpretentious places like El Huarache Azteca 1, one of the string of small Mexican restaurants and taco trucks along York Boulevard in Highland Park. Its main attraction is the huarache, a long oval of masa shaped vaguely like the sole of a sandal. Served hot off the grill, the huaraches are dressed up like tostadas, with meat, onions, cilantro, crema and finely powdered cheese on top. The tastiest meat is pork in a terrific tangy marinade (carne adobada).
January 30, 2002 |
A few miles east of downtown Los Angeles, tucked near the Long Beach Freeway, a short stretch of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue is like an old-time Mexican settlement. It's an area where immigrants arrived long ago, a part of town where Mexican heritage thrives. It's a place where tortillas taste like tortillas should, where a bakery still makes pan dulce as it has since 1928.
March 7, 2001 |
Champurrado is hot chocolate Mexican-style, warm and comforting to drink early in the morning or late on a chilly night. What sets it apart from regular hot chocolate is the addition of corn masa as a thickener. La Azteca, a tortilleria-deli in East Los Angeles, adds masa made from whole-kernel dried corn, rather than instant masa flour. A touch of cinnamon enhances the flavor of the drink. Champurrado, $3 for 1 quart at La Azteca, 4538 Cesar E. Chavez Ave., East Los Angeles. (323) 262-5977.
January 26, 2000 |
"Son muy pocas," says Sandra Soto of Long Beach as she unloads six hefty packages of tortillas on the checkout counter of Amapola, a Mexican deli in south Los Angeles. Today, Soto says, she is buying only a few. But sometimes she'll take home 15 packages--540 tortillas, since each bag contains three dozen. This purchase is modest; 216 tortillas, a mere 13 1/2 pounds.
October 6, 1999
With eager enthusiasm I began reading your cachapa article ("The Eternal Cachapa," Sept. 29). I was quickly disappointed! I am a native Venezuelan living in this country for the past 31 years. I go to Caracas often and have never seen or tasted (for that matter) a cachapa made with "instant corn masa mix." I remember the first time I made cachapas in this country. I was recently married and did not know that the fresh corn here was so "watery." Needless to say, it was really messy.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 24, 1998 |
Ten tons. Ten tons. Based on Christmases past, that's how much masa Pepe Pena expects to sell today to thousands of customers, who line up outside his Cypress Park bakery to purchase the seasoned ground corn, an essential ingredient in making tamales. Patrons for whom tamales are a holiday tradition, including one who bought 1,000 pounds of masa, come to La Morenita from throughout Southern California.