Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

A hole in the wall …

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For the last few months, I have been living in the beautiful city of San Diego. Having spent 12 years in Bay Area, the air here feel fresher, the sky bluer and the sight of the beaches makes me crave a beach bum lifesytle. But it still a little cool to go beach bumming. So instead, I eat…

In fact, this one is about driving all the way to Los Angeles and back with the sole purpose of eating at Antojitos Carmen. And why? It is Jonathan Gold’s description of huarache de huitlacoche – ” … too hot to touch but too compelling not to … … with hell-hot habanero salsa Antojitos Carmen calls El Chamuco, the devil, for its ability to infiltrate your soul. The huarache will make you suffer, first through its physical heat, then through the heat of El Chamuco, then through the jet-black fungus that will paint your teeth the color of charcoal before it oozes down to stain your favorite shirt…”

Antojitos Carmen in Los Angeles

Huarache de huitlacoche


And the old fav, taco.

Huitlacoche, or corn smut, is a corn disease, a fungus that usually replaces the normal kernels of the cobs with large, distorted tumors analogous to mushrooms. Etymology has something to do with “excrement”. But believe you me (and Gold), it is delicious. It is oozy, mushroom-y, and black. Who can say no to naturally black food? One more color to celebrate on the plate.

Huarache, is an oblong fried bread, gordita is a stuffed fried bread and taco is the common tortilla. Mexican cuisine like Indian cuisine has a variety of breads, made from corn in this case, that while seemingly small variations of each other in theory are vastly distinct  in spirit. In Indian cuisine, we have bature, the fried raised bread, puri, the fried puffy bread, naan, the baked risen bread and then the roti, the tortilla. You can sometimes mix and match the curries with the breads but there are typical pairings like chole-bature. Now, I don’t see why huitlacoche can’t be had on taco. But perhaps it isn’t done.

Gold is poetic about fiery sauces. My enthusiasm for heat is somewhat tempered, particularly after the Jitlada incident. In the case of huarache, as well as the gordita, the salsas do add the much needed flavor. So go ahead, add some normal salsa and then add a sliver of El Chamuco to your plate, perhaps a dash more if it is a hot summer afternoon.

Written by Som

June 2, 2012 at 10:30 pm

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