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Steve’s Gastronomic Homepage is hands-down the finest food blog in the El Paso area (OK, that’s not saying much since he pretty much owns the space, we just eat in it). But besides, it’s about a thousand times better than you know who posting you know what at the El Paso Times. Steve has posted his “Best Of” for El Paso dining in 2008.
It seems he’s in Oklahoma much of the time these days, but his local reviews still ring true for this year, in my opinion.
Tacos Santa Cecilia, check.
Los Jarrones, check.
Carnitas Queretaro, check.
Little Diner, check.
Moon Star and Moon Day, check.
True Thai, check.
India Palace, check.
Hello Pizza, check.
Bella Sera, check.
State Line (ribs), check.
I’d go a little different with a few places. I like Pho Tre Bien for pho; and I like Frisco’s better than Roscoe’s because of the better dining room (I’ve heard some rumors about how Frisco’s started, but don’t really care once I dig into a cheeseburger basket).
Sadly, as Steve thought, Edelweiss is closed. The dining room was horrible, but geez, the food was excellent; take it from a long-time Germany resident. I’d like to hire that cook to move into my house. Well, maybe not, because I’d rather hire whoever is running the spit at Tacos Santa Cecilia.
Now I gotta check out Cafe Mayapan.
You ought to check out Steve’s El Paso restaurant reviews; they are remarkably complete, with a rating system, lots of photos, and none of that high-falutin’ language about “triumphs” and so on that is used by you know who posting you know what at the El Paso Times. This 2008 roundup is better, for that matter, than the Times’ vote early, vote often, “Best of the Border” extravaganza, even though yours truly benefited from it (no, we didn’t vote for ourselves, mainly because since we can’t afford to hire the spit guy from Santa Cecilia, we certainly can’t afford to hire a Java guru who would allow us to out-vote and beat Jay Koester and Roy “Mr Multimedia” or better, “Blog-H8TR Blogger” Ortega. Or for that matter, don’cha know, that triumph of a you know who posting you know what about El Paso dining at the El Paso Times).
Well, at least, Steve’s 2008 review really is a triumph. The El Paso Times ought to hire him.
Because, you know, I can’t afford to.
The Old Prospector rode his mule into El Paso Saturday and parked it at a water trough. Then he parked himself in a beer trough next door and proceeded to order a chelada from Rosa. Rosa had worked at her cantina for years, slowly building up a clientele of outlaws, scofflaws and the Law, but left for a better gig after that darn song came out.
What the Old Prospector ordered was a chelada — not a michelada, not a Clamada, not a michelada rosa, or any other kind of nada chelada. It consisted of a Negro Modela, the juice of two key limes, and salt on the rim of a glass imported, for no special reason, from Spain. It was simple and the Prospector liked his mixed-beer drinks simple, just like his mule. Just like his thoughts, for that matter. He couldn’t spell Worcestershire if he’d been born and raised there.
As the Prospector sat eyeing the goings-on that were going on down Santa Fe Street, he spied the evil Felina, carrying a case of beer. He squinted his good eye, certain that she was up to no good. Sure enough, he saw her enter the Camino Real Hotel, the most magnificent temporary abode this side of the Franklin Mountains, as well as the other side of the Franklin Mountians.
His curiosity piqued, the Prospector wandered out of New Rosa’s to the Camino Real. He made his way past Nuevo Yuppistas yakking on cell phones, past Chiquitas showing off their donuts, and stepped sideways to avoid a tattooed newlywed couple moving from a white Hummersine towards marital bliss and a ninety-year mortgage on their Fear Eastside McMansion. Finding the bar easily enough, the Prospector saw Felina drop the case with the bartender. He recoiled in horror. Big Brew was back in town, and Felina was its henchwoman. She’d been carrying a case of “Chill” beer, a Miller brand that does what lazy people don’t want to do: makes a sort of chelada ready-mixed, for the taste-bud-constrained Gringo on the go.
Gathering himself, the Prospector made his way back to Nuevo Rosa’s, and ordered another simple, old-fashioned chelada. Times were moving too fast these days. The next thing you know, they’d be building three-story buildings downtown. After a time, the Prospector got his mule and headed back into the hills. The sun was going down along the western mesa past the Rio Bravo in New Mexico, and temperatures would shortly plummet into the low 90s. The mule didn’t take to cold weather, and the Prospector was glad to be going back to his home.
The Adventurous Eater lays out the basic distinction between a chelada and a michelada. Her recipes for each are simple and effective. I’d go for one whole key lime, or one-and-a-half, as that’s the kind of lime that’s so plentiful and cheap on the Border.
Hedonia prefers the Worcestershire Sauce addition in a michelada, and links to some other -/chelada blog posts.
Beer (& More) in Food provides a history of the michelada and notes the arrival of big breweries to this tasty drink. Sigh. “Superpremium light beer,” indeed.
Appelation Beer writes that an agency for Corona is responding to the Miller “Chill” (chelada) product with recipes for three variants. I like the coarse salt idea, but am not sure whether my large crystals of gray Spanish sea salt are appropriate.
Chow goes for the Worcestershire sauce in a michelada, but the prep time of five minutes is too long, unless Chow is nursing a hangover. One of the commenters writes of substituting grapefruit juice for lime juice. That could work, especially since this recipe calls for 1/4 cup (!) of lime juice.
Finally, On the House lets us know of his enjoyment of -/chelada style brews and informs us of something there’s little likelihood of seeing on the border: Budweiser’s Clamatolada, I guess you’d call it.
OK, yesterday we hit 105 in the desert and it became time to think about cooling summer drinks. Alcohol-based drinks, of course. You’ve all had your mixed beer drinks, like a Radler (beer and lemonade) or a Diesel (beer and Coca-Cola, better for cold weather, actually). There is also a Mexican corollary to these European delights: The michelada.
Recipes vary by region and taste. Some prefer a “light” colored beer, like Corona or Tecate, and some want a full-taste beer, like Nego Modelo.
I’ve posted a few variations below, culled from Ted Stevens’ Intartubes. An old desert rat will need to taste and refine. Your standard for this tried-and-true refresher is solicited: all recipes will be posted here.
1 bottleÂ Beer
1 tspÂ Salt
2 ozÂ Tequila
Juice of 2 lemons
Add lemon juice to 4 ice cubes in a beer mug. Add salt and stir to blend. Add tequila and again, stir to blend. Fill with corona and serve.
12 ounces beer, preferably a dark Mexican beer like Negra Modelo
1/2 lime, preferably a Key limeâ€¨
2 dashes Worcestershire sauceâ€¨
1 dash soy sauceâ€¨
1 dash Tabasco sauceâ€¨
1 pinch black pepperâ€¨
1 dash Maggi seasoning, optionalâ€¨
Squeeze the juice from the lime and reserve. Salt the rim of a highball glass by rubbing it with the lime and dipping it in coarse salt. Fill with ice.â€¨Add lime juice, Worcestershire, soy sauce, Tabasco, pepper and Maggi, if desired.â€¨Pour in beer, stir and serve, adding more beer as you sip.
12 oz. Mexican Beer, non-dark, (Negro Modelo or Corona)
2 dashes of Jugo Sazonador (Maggi) “This is the key to a REAL Michelada”
2 dashes of premium Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins)
2 dashes Tabasco brand hot sauce (add more if you like it spicy)
juice from 2 non-yellow key limes (Very important)
Mix all the ingredients except the beer into a beer glass, stir well, and add a few ice cubes. Rimming the glass with celery salt is optional, but adds to authenticity.
1 limeâ€¨Hot sauce (Chicagoist used Cholula for this recipe)â€¨Salt and pepperâ€¨Chile powder or other seasoningsâ€¨Ice
Chill a glass. Rim it with salt. Add spices and ice. Pour the beer in. Stir lightly to mix ingredients.
The michelada was not unpleasant. It had some medium heat on the palate and we particularly liked the way the lime and hot sauce complemented each other. Then again we like spicy things- foods, music, women. Our miscue with this beverage is that we used Bohemia as the base beer. Bohemia is one of a handful of Mexican beers with character and flavor. The spices we added completely masked the flavor of the beer. Michelada spices are made specifically for flavorless beer like Corona.
1 Bottle of Beer, preferably a Negro Modelo
4 drops of Tabasco Sauce
1/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Dashes of Salt and Ground Pepper
Juice of 1 Lime wedge
Combine above ingredients except beer in a glass, and pour beer to top.Â Serve with wedge of lime in a salted glass.
1 ice cold Mexican beer: Corona or Negra Modela for example
2 tablespoons of course salt
1 tablespoon of chili powder
2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1-2 dashes of your favorite hot sauce
1 dash of soy sauce
1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
Lime wedge for garnish
Mix together the salt and chili powder on a small plate. Rim a beer glass with a little lime juice and then dip in the salt and chili mixture to cover the top of the glass.
Fill mug with ice (yes, ice in a beer is popular in Mexico and other parts of Latin America).
Add lime juice, hot sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and a pinch of black pepper.
Slowly pour in beer. The salt on the rim will cause the beer to foam up, so be careful while adding beer.