Hecho en Mexico

The first part of food in the Yucatan Peninsular of Mexico.
This area is strongly influenced by the indigenous Mayan people, which make up some 2 million people of the Yucatan area.

These photos are taken near the Mayan ruins of Tulum. At a little restaurant I stopped at after getting my 'caminos no carros' on.

This is the starter. Roasted chilies, and capsicums with a whole lot of garlic, crisp tortilla chips and a ringburner salsa. This had me reaching for the Dos Equis cerveza very regularly.

Mmm garlic!

The tortilla tubes with the refried bean sauce is enchiladas mole. Mm manchego cheese

The brown slab, is this thin chicken fillet with this somewhat malty sauce, complemented with a fried banana. Actually very tasty.
The dish to the left, was more of an excuse to put loads of creamy cheese inside a local pastry.

Have tried some local tipples, including a liqueur made from honey. Also tried a Mexican wine. I shall blog when appropriate.
Doctors are dripping capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their fire, directly into open wounds during some highly painful operations.

These experiments use an ultra-purified version of capsaicin to avoid infection -- and the volunteers are under anesthesia so they don't scream at the initial burn...

The hope is that bathing surgically exposed nerves in a high enough dose will numb them for weeks, so that patients suffer less pain and require fewer narcotic painkillers as they heal.

"We wanted to exploit this numbness," is how Dr. Eske Aasvang, a pain specialist in Denmark who is testing the substance, puts it.

I love the idea that the cure for blinding pain is higher doses of blinding pain.

See: The Baltimore Sun

TRICK. (Yay more pumpkins!)

OR TREAT. (Trust me one minutes listening is plenty)

OR CEREAL. (with a touch of brown sugar?)

Green Monster From the Deep: Chile Relleno

"I love music. I love women. I love gadgets. I love food." That's pretty much all it boils down to for DJ Serious, a man well known in Toronto for his impeccable musical taste and humble ways. He can rock a party, produce a neck-snapping track (see his albums Dim Sum and Cold Tea), and he knows the ins and outs of this city better than anyone else.

That's what Celine Wong wrote in this story on the RBMA site.

Since DJ Serious seems to be, um, serious about food (you have to respect someone who calls his album Dim Sum), we followed his recommendation a few weeks ago and went up to
the Peruvian restaurant called El Bodegon (537 College St.)

Forgetting his dictum to order the Bandeja, Erik went for the Argentinian steak, which turned out passably good (we also go to a Peruvian spot called El Inca near our work in Cologne for steak). The frozen margarita was undrinkable (I had such a nice un-frozen one at a Tex-Mex spot in Brooklyn, it did not occur to me that the Bodegon might come out frozen!). The ceviche was worse than average.

But the Chile Relleno (very different to the battered & fried cheesy Mexican version) was a tour de force. A roasted poblano chile stuffed with minced beef, potato & corn, and bathed in a tasty tomato sauce (derived from the Italian population of Lima, or a nod to this restaurant's location in Little Italy?)

The sweet, roasted, spicy sliminess of the roasted Poblano went perfectly with its stuffing and sauce.

I would go back there just to have this swamp-monster dish. Maybe even two.

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More Bad Food Reviewing From NZ

Once upon a time I got so sick of the NZ Herald and their appalling food reviews that I wrote a letter of complaint. It said something along the lines of...chef's and waitresses slog their guts out, for a pittance only to have you insult their craft by sending food phobic people to review their restaurants....

Needless to say I never got a reply

And it looks like the NZ Herald is at it again.....sending a person who is allergic to seafood to go and review a SEAFOOD restaurant

Go figure..."Ummm U'll heave tha steek pleause"

Great five fucking stars

Organic Priorities

A blog today on the New York Times website broke down some key organic priorities from a new book by Dr. Alan Greene (what a serendipitous name...)

"Some vegetables, like broccoli, asparagus and onions, as well as foods with peels, such as avocados, bananas and oranges, have relatively low levels [of pesticides etc.] compared to other fruits and vegetables." (Also, their crops are not so big so do not have as much of an impact on the environment)

So how do you make your organic choices count? Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, whose new book “Raising Baby Green” explains how to raise a child in an environmentally-friendly way, has identified a few “strategic” organic foods that he says can make the biggest impact on the family diet.

1. Milk: “When you choose a glass of conventional milk, you are buying into a whole chemical system of agriculture,'’ says Dr. Greene. People who switch to organic milk typically do so because they are concerned about the antibiotics, artificial hormones and pesticides used in the commercial dairy industry. One recent United States Department of Agriculture survey found certain pesticides in about 30 percent of conventional milk samples and low levels in only one organic sample. The level is relatively low compared to some other foods, but many kids consume milk in large quantities.

2. Potatoes: A simple switch to organic potatoes has the potential to have a big impact because commercially-farmed potatoes are some of the most pesticide-contaminated vegetables. A 2006 U.S.D.A. test found 81 percent of potatoes tested still contained pesticides after being washed and peeled, and the potato has one of the the highest pesticide contents of 43 fruits and vegetables tested, according to the Environmental Working Group.

3. Peanut butter: More acres are devoted to growing peanuts than any other fruits, vegetable or nut, according to the U.S.D.A. More than 99 percent of peanut farms use conventional farming practices, including the use of fungicide to treat mold, a common problem in peanut crops.

4. Ketchup and tomato paste: About 75 percent of tomato consumption is in the form of processed tomatoes, including juice, tomato paste and ketchup. Notably, recent research has shown organic ketchup has about double the antioxidants of conventional ketchup.

5. Apples: Apples are the second most commonly eaten fresh fruit, after bananas, and they are also used in the second most popular juice, after oranges, according to Dr. Greene. But apples are also one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables. The good news is that organic apples are easy to find in regular grocery stores.

Other top priorities for going organic:

Cotton: although it's not one of the biggest commercial crops it accounts for a large percentage of pesticide and insecticide use. Dr. Greene says it may be the most important crop to change, for the sake of the environment.

Beef: for the same reasons as milk, it is worth going organic for the sake of the planet...Also, corn-fed cows have more acidic stomachs which promotes E-Coli bacteria. (there have been a lot of E.Coli scares in the States recently). Dr. Greene suggests replacing conventional beef either with grass-fed organic beef, or with a variety of other plant or animal sources of protein, such as organic eggs, garbanzo beans (a huge source of plant protein around the world), quinoa (a complete protein), or organic soy.

Soy: In recent years soy has been the U.S. domestic crop found most contaminated with organophosphate pesticides. Beyond this, soy leads the way in genetic modification, with 87% of the soy planted in the U.S. genetically modified (62 million acres).
Organic soy products can be a healthy part of the agricultural system.

Corn: We all know non-organic corn is an agricultural demon. In that corn is largely an American crop, corn syrup and other corn derivatives are luckily not so wide-spread in Europe. Check all American products' labels.

Baby food: For obvious, developmental reasons!

Wine: Organic wines in one study had an average of 32% higher antioxidant 'resveratrol' levels.

Kiwi Pumpukin

Check it out: NZ Pumpkin growers try to corner the Nihon-Kabocha market ....

As far as I can tell, the site doesn't tell you what pumpkin variety it is, but it looks like Nihon-kabocha no?

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Cook 250 g pumpkin in the microwave for 40 minutes.
Cut into bite-size pieces.
Heat some oil and saute the pumpkin til it starts to get coloured and a skewer can be inserted easily.
In another small pot heat 2 tsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp sugar, and a tbsp sake. Add the pumpkin pieces, coat thoroughly and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

What is Kabocha?

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The word for pumpkin in Japan is Kabocha.

Due to the many sub-divisions of botanical types into squashes, gourds and even zucchini the story is a bit confusing. But stick with me, dear readers. In the end it all comes down to the difference between moschata and maxima, smooth and knobbly.

According to the Japanese Wikipedia,

Portuguese were the main traders with Japan in the 16th century. The Portuguese called the vegetables "Cambodia abóbora" (Cambodian pumpkin), because they had visited Cambodia before Japan, although the types of pumpkin they introduced were Central American 'Cucurbita' squash. (Cucurbita is known as the 'winter squash' family in America).

All pumpkins & squash are called Kabocha in Japan.

They advise wikipedia readers that people in the West only call orange pumpkins 'pumpkin', so the Japanese pumpkin (which is green) is referred to in America as 'kabocha squash' (and, I guess, 'Jap Pumpkin' in Oz, which makes more sense than Kabocha squash, which is sort of like saying pumpkin-pumpkin).

The sub-breed known in Japan as Japan-pumpkin (Nihon kabocha) is part of the 'Cucurbita Moschata' group of kabocha which includes butternut squash.

"It has an exceptional naturally sweet flavor, even sweeter than butternut squash. It is similar in texture and flavor to a pumpkin and a sweet potato combined together. Some can taste like a Russet potato."

"Kabocha originated on the American continental mass. Christopher Columbus found it and took it back to Europe along with tobacco, potatoes, and tomatoes. After that, the vegetable traveled around the globe and was brought to Japan from Cambodia on Portuguese ships in 1541, during the Azuchi-Momoyama period. Subsequently it became known as kabocha. That type of kabocha was the one we now call Nihon kabocha. It has a knobbly-looking skin and is a variety to which the Japan people are well accustomed."

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Another group of pumpkin or Kabocha in Japan is 'Cucurbita Maxima' (they call it 'seiyou kabocha': occidental pumpkin), which includes Buttercup pumpkin (Buttercup squash to Americans). It's the largest pumpkin commonly on offer in Japan and is widely cultivated there...

"Today many kabocha in the market are of the type called Kuri kabocha, which was created based on Seiyo kabocha [Occidental pumpkin, which includes buttercup squash] brought from America to Japan during the late Edo period. These are different to Nihon kabocha and are popular for the strong yet sweet flavor and moist, fluffy texture, which is like chestnuts. It's found in the market under such brand names as Miyako, Ebisu, Kurokawa, Akazukin, etc."

The one on the left is Nihon kabocha (Japanese pumpkin, C.Moschata), the one on the right is the common-in-Japan Seiyou kabocha (C.Maxima):
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The third category of 'kabocha' is 'Cucurbita Pepo', which includes varieties of squash, gourd and pumpkin. It includes 小型kabocha (small size pumpkin), Donguri kabocha (Acorn squash), Soumen kabocha (Spaghetti squash/spaghetti marrow). This family also includes the orange pumpkins used at Halloween, and zucchini! But zucchini are neither called kabocha in Japanese nor pumpkin in English.

The Cucurbata Pepo family came to Japan from South America by way of China, and the 'China eggplant' is also part of that family.


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In Japan the bulk of pumpkins are grown in Hokkaido: so outside of Japan, the main green and red Japanese cucurbata varieties are often known as Green Hokkaido and Red Hokkaido. Thus '北海道' (Hokkaido) can be seen as a label of origin, similar to 'Queensland Bananas'. Just keep in mind that 'Red Hokkaido' usually seems to refer to a Japanese variety of C.Maxima, whereas what the Japanese call Japan-pumpkin is C.Moschata. They're different, G.


This Australian website describes the ideal growing conditions for Japanese pumpkins in South-Eastern Australia.

It seems that in Australian terms, Japanese Pumpkin (probably the C.Moschata variety called Japanese pumpkin or Nihon-kabocha) is a sub-type of Hokkaido pumpkin, but 'Hokkaido pumpkin' can also refer to a number of other varieties, including C.Maxima.

Varieties include: Ajihei, Ajehei No. 107, Ajihei No. 331, Ajihei No. 335, Cutie, Ebisu, Emiguri, and Miyako.

Answers.com claims that Nihon-kabocha [which the Japanese wikipedia says is a sub-species of Cucurbata Moschata] is "a member of the species Cucurbita maxima, along with the Hubbard and Butternut squashes."
I think they got confused, since Butternut actually belongs to Moschata, and Buttercup to Maxima.

The photo below of a smooth orange pumpkin comes from a site where it was labelled as "Cucurbita maxima 'Uchiki Kuri'/Orange Hokkaido."

When you're cooking Japanese recipes, just remember that what most Japanese recipes use is the green 'Japan Pumpkin' (C.Moschata), knobbly and sweet, which can be substituted with butternut squash. The other main type of pumpkin (seiyou) also bred in Japan is the C.Maxima and tastes somewhat different, but is also commonly used in Japanese cooking. In the west these will most commonly be labelled hokkaido red or hokkaido green (if the skin is smooth), though there are many sub-varieties.

And if anyone tells you anything different, they're wrong, John.

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Japanese pumpkin with pumpkin pudding inside:

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Try grilling your Japanese pumpkin stuffed with 'sea chicken' (canned tuna) and cheese:

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I guess Maytel's 'Jap pumpkin' could be any one of a number of crossbred-in-Hokkaido Japanese varieties of the South American originating Curcubata family... although if it was going to be called a Japanese pumpkin in Japan, it would need to be knobbly and dark green and heavy and have dense sweet orange flesh...
You'd have to see the skin to know I guess!

Like David Byrne sang "It could be black, it could be white, I could be wrong, I could be right"

An interesting point about the ripening process:

"When kabocha is just harvested, it is still growing. So, unlike other vegetables and fruits, freshness isn't as important. It should be fully matured first, in order to become flavorful. First, kabocha is ripened in a warm place (77°F for 13 days, during which some of the starch converts to carbohydrate content). Then it's transferred to a cool place (50°F and stored for about a month in order to increase its carbohydrate content). In this way the just-harvested, dry, bland-tasting kabocha is transformed into smooth, sweet kabocha. Fully ripened, succulent kabocha will have reddish-yellow flesh and a hard skin with a dry, corky stem. It is heavier than it looks. It reaches the peak of ripeness about 1.5~3 months after it's harvested."

Now that you know the difference, you can tell straight away that this is not a Nihon-kabocha:

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Excerpts from this week's Lynn Yaeger column in the Village Voice:

"I walk past the windows of Toys "R" Us and am treated to the nauseating sight of the Disney Enchanted Talking Kitchen. It seems that this item, which is being ministered to on the box by a pair of miniature fairy princesses, offers an oven that lights up and chats. (But what does it say? "Read Susan Faludi"?)"

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"Since I'm no fun at all, I have been worrying about sexual stereotyping in costumes—so many sluts versus superheroes, vixens versus vampires. Is it just me, or are buxom lassies and virile jerks pretty much the order of the day? Are they being worn, at least in some cases, without the sufficient dollop of irony?

There's a Harajuku girl ensemble that looks disconcertingly like what I have on —but my nerves are calmed by the outfits greeting me at every turn: life-size [Marshmellow]Peeps, Wheaties boxes, infant-size M&Ms (at least food is gender-blind)."

Taco costume:

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Wholesome banana jazz-dancer:

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You can never be a sour grapes wearing this fun costume!:

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Is it a boy or a girl? Neither, it's a marshmellow:

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Pumpkin dog:

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Krispy Kream.jpg

Krispy Kreme's at the airport!

sorry about the bad photo, I'm making do with a camera phone

Aye Japango

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When local hip hop authority Celine Wong told me she knew the best small sushi spot and that she couldn't tell me where until she trusted me better, I admit, I was skeptical. When it comes to sushi I'm very hard to please. But when Celine decided she trusted me enough not to leak the secret out and ruin the steal on the raw fish, I was pretty impressed in the end. We asked the server for the freshest stuff on the menu and feasted on fresh hamachi, toro, aji (sardine), butterfish and more. Definitely not cheap (delicious uni was 8 dollars for two pieces), but very conveniant in the centre of town and nice unpretentious atmosphere. There are a couple of other sushi spots I read about on Chowhound: I take Chowhound recommendations with a grain of salt, but I figure if Toronto can be this much up to scratch, those other spots might be gold too. So will try to check them before leaving. After all, average sushi might be the pits but good sushi is pure heaven. Thanks, Celine Wong. I promise not to tell anyone.

Soft, fresh dead fish on rice like little sleeping puppies (hamachi, toro, aji (sardine), butterfish):

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Spicy scallop maki, very hot from Rayu oil:

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Dragon roll with eel and avocado:

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122 Elizabeth St
Toronto, Ontario
Ph: 416 599 5557
Open Monday thru Saturday, 11.30 am - 10.30 pm

Read Celine Wong's interview with Canada's premier hip hop artist Kardinal Offishall at the event K-jam is working at in Toronto.

Oh, Canada

My sister's husband is Canadian, and on their recent trip to Canada she wrote me about the foods which they particularly enjoyed feasting on.

"Breakfast pitas (a wholegrains, fruit and cinnamon pita bread, best toasted with honey or jam), poutine (Quebec speciality- hot chips, melted cheese curds and gravy), perogies (a Ukranian dumpling filled with cheese and mash, and fried with onions and bacon, and served with sour cream), beaver tails (kind of a hot pastry oval covered in sugar and lemon), Doritos (the perfect junk food spicey corn chip), Montreal bagels (chewy like no other), pickled eggplant (spicy and salty and sort of chewy crunchy, usually eaten in a bagel sandwich), wild blueberries (tiny and tasty, and best eaten seconds after picking from an island in the lake, only reachable by canoe)."

We're coming up to our 5th week in Toronto, and we only ate a couple of things on that list. The breakfast pitas are indeed dope, while the poutine was pretty good but undoubtedly better in Quebec.

Still, Toronto is a city of many cultures and thus the list of foods one could or should try is very long.

The airport in Toronto is rather grey and shabby, and one's first impression upon being downtown is of a city that continually knocks down and rebuilds, so that the Financial district and the more conservative (east) end of Queen West is peppered with Gap, Zara, HMV and countless shiny new fusion restaurants with names like 'Spring Roll'. Very 'New World'. But interesting in that it has all the towering buildings and wide avenues of a huge city, but lacks the underlying anxiety of big cities in the States.

As Torsten Schmidt put it: "it's certainly a mash-up of post-colonial, imperial, British-empire city, you get a lot of that, and then definitely it's a city on the North American continent. And a lot of those elements are juxtaposed and funnily... can you say "inter-diced?" And this whole thing about the grid system, you think you've got it all worked out, and then sneakily those grids sometimes change lanes, and you're like, hang on we were just here...but now we're over there.

But what I can't put my finger on is... obviously the quality of life is pretty high here. And it seems like the whole multicultural thing is true - every city with over 500 inhabitants claims to be multicultural because they've got a kebab stand and a Chinese take-away - but you do really see a nice, diverse mix of people here. And they all seem to get along, at least on the surface level. There's no underlying tension like, say, in London. But that can be a good thing as well. Toronto seems very middle-class, very safe, and it's like you're at school. You know the really pretty girl with the really nice haircut and the nice clothes - is this really the girl you'd like to ask to dance? I hope that in the next few weeks we're gonna find the moles and the freckles and a bit of cross-eyedness."

The story of Toronto is largely one of immigrants, and it's when you venture into the culturally-infused neighbourhoods that you find the quirks you were looking for, as well as the quaint little stores that are more than fifty years old. With the largest number of foreign-language speaking residents of any city besides Miami (don't ask me how they figured that out), the West Indian and Portuguese communities have had a particularly big influence on the cultural development of the city, and there are quite a few streets devoted to Chinatown, Little India, Greektown, Little Italy, Koreatown, and Cabbagetown (home of original Irish settlers) too.

So what dishes are specially typical of Toronto then? As part of the event we're working at in Toronto, some local writers made "A Jaywalker's Guide to Toronto". In the "Snack Attack" section, Graham Duncan wrote "If Toronto had a signature dish, it must be the Italian sandwich."

I haven't been able to find any explanation online of why exactly this must be so (Graham says it's basically because the Italian community here was the largest influx of sandwich-creating immigrants), nor could I find any tales of why the Italian Canadian sandwich involves breaded, deep-fried cutlets of veal, beef or chicken, hot & spicy tomato sauce and a chilli or roasted green capsicum or two on a soft kaiser roll. (Somewhat different to the typical Italian American sandwich, which looks more like your regular Subway fare on a split baguette).

We got ours (a chicken one) from San Francesco on Clinton St in Little Italy, which also sells Italian pear nectar at a very reasonable price. It was good, but very junk foody. Fat pieces of fried chicken. Tasty sauce, almost but not quite unbearably spicy. Certainly not the most delicious thing we've eaten in Toronto, but I can imagine that if you grew up eating them they'd be a nice comfort food...
The best thing was the location, a quiet corner of Little Italy, with crickets singing in the trees and the glow of Bitondo's pizzeria across the street and Italian people pulling up in cars for their takeaways. (Bitondo's, despite the authentic mobster-looking staff, is not so good: the sausage tastes faintly of fennel but the pizza is thick and ungainly).

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Samuel Jackson Beer

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Eat locally, and sustainably, try squirrel

Or don't

Sins of the Fleisch

Fleischwurst platter from the MayPaul

While Gutfeeling's own Maytel has broken the bonds of Bangkok into the welcoming arms of my hometown Melbourne, I've seamlessly slipped into her place in Thailand and have been abusing the Chef privileges. Witness: above fleischwurst platter. Count those mustards.

The Thai-German meat connection scares me. Two disparate cultures coming together to make sausages generally ends in disaster rather than deliciousness. I'm not sure what it is about Bangkok that makes it work, but I suspect that it is a man named Otto Duffner. Otto arrived in Bangkok in 1981 at the behest of the Boonroad Brewery where he worked in their bierhaus before branching out into his own brewery/bakery/butchery store in 1984. Since then, he's been churning out the above wurst and bread at Bei Otto of exemplary quality.

Red Hook, bridge, chorus

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Walk straight down Clinton St from Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, past Italian gardens with religious statues and under the Queens-Brooklyn expressway, and you're in Red Hook, a whole different ball game.

Soccer, busted up buildings, trees, grass, and amazing Latin American food throughout summer.

Approaching the food vendors:

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Quite surprising that so many people I've met who live in Brooklyn have not been to the Red Hook Ballfields...and the ones who have, act real surprised that we went there. Surely, something this good can't be a secret, when it's been there for ten years and it gets press like this article in the NY Times, which came with a tantalising accompanying video, effusing that "there is no better street food scene in all of New York", and "it’s the kind of experience that reminds you why you live in New York."

Also, Nina Lalli wrote in this 2005 article in the Village Voice about how Chowhound.com bloggers were "plotzing" over the Central American/Mexican/South American food. She explained, "(For non-Yiddish speakers, to plotz means to explode, crack, or burst). "Louise", who had written up the original report (which fellow 'hound Bob Martinez called "the definitive post on the ball fields"), replied with a confirmation: "Totally plotz-worthy.""

It was the nicest way to spend a hot few hours, chilling on the grass, eating snacks, while cute kids run around. The crowd was mostly Latino/Latina, with a few Brooklyn-dwelling palanga/pakeha families with the occasional adopted Chinese baby.
Just a few meters up the road is this big pool which was already drained since we came in early autumn, but apparently is lively throughout summer and kids have to wear white tee shirts to avoid gang skirmishes over colour affiliations.

If you go there, the article by Peter Meehan in the NY Times gives a very good directive of what to sample, going from right to left along the stalls.

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The Ecuadorian-Chilean ceviche-mixto was the best I've ever had, heavy on lime juice, spring onions, cilantro, & red onions. I would ask for two servings of hot sauce. Love those roasted corn kernels.

Some of the young guys who'd been playing soccer ordered something similar but hot, that looked really good too: I guess it was the Ence Bollado.

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The Baleadas from Ms Carcamo at the next stall (and the cinnamon 'Horchata' rice milk with unrefined sugar) were delicious. That was actually my favourite thing – so good I forgot to take a picture unfortunately. Just-made wheat tortillas folded around a smear of beans and a sprinkling of grated cheese, very simple, soft and tasty, and not greasy. Peter Meehan writes, "Ms. Carcamo left Honduras for Brooklyn more than 20 years ago and has been turning out these baleadas, which might be most expediently described as Honduran tacos, at the Red Hook ball fields for more than a decade. Away from the sun and soccer, on weekdays and through the winter, she runs Honduras Maya, her restaurant on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope." Watch the NY Times video to see more. It was a shame that there was a ridiculous queue for the pupusa stand next door (and a camera crew filming them too), whereas the Baleadas were sadly neglected, with hardly any customers. Hang in there, Carcamo crew.

Making baleadas:

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The Salvadoran-style pupusa (we had pork and cheese but if I went again I'd get jalapeno and cheese) was yummy & fresh but definitely greasy and junky.
Here is Nina Lalli's description: "Masa (meaning 'dough') is made from corn kernels dried by fire or in the sun, which are boiled and ground to a thick paste. It can also be dried to make flour, which just needs a little water to form tamales, tortillas, etc. Foodies generally become hysterical when they see the real thing, and with good reason. A freshly made tortilla is more than just a vehicle for its filling—it is crisp on the outside, but thick, soft inside, hot, and tasting truly of corn. I devoured a pork and cheese-filled pupusa, which is flattened into a fat pancake and cooked on a griddle until the cheese is melted and oozes out when cut with the side of a fork. For perfect contrast, it is served with a heap of pickled cabbage."

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Actually the fried plantain with crema (like runny sour cream) from the pupusa stall was even more memorable. Plantains, where have you been all my life?

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The charcoal-cooked corn (elotes) was tasty, dredged in mayo, chilli, lime and crumbled Cotija cheese (we make these at home sometimes, using parmesan, since hearing about the version at Cafe Habana in Nolita a couple years ago). I would recommend to hold the mayo though: it overwhelms the other flavours a little too much and is too rich for my taste.

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For dessert we had the rest of the Horchata and a bag of chopped mango to which we were given the option of adding chilli or salt. There were piles of fruits and mango hedgehogs on sticks. The whole area was hot from the sun and smoky from all the cooking.

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Cooling off:

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Beware of Chowhounds:

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The Red Hook food vendors are there Saturdays and Sundays from May through October. The atmosphere and food are SO good, if I lived locally I'd go every weekend for sure. Next time I want to try the Mexican Huaraches and the chicken tamales.
Hello meat pizza my old friend....I've come to be with you again

I took a walk up Sydney Road today and found myself gravitating towards A1 Bakery's meat pizza...its somewhat of a Melbourne ritual for me, whenever I return I always seem to find my way to A1 for thier ground lamb with chili and lemon on lebanese bread and a spinach triangle....it was, like all good things, exactly as I remembered it




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