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Posts Tagged ‘cheap eats’

GROUND ZERO MEXICAN STREET CORN

HE’s DA MAN! Senor Elote…the Street Corn Guy!

GROUND ZERO MEXICAN STREET CORN

Originally Published the Week of April 15, 2022 in Western Outdoor Publications

Food trends come and go.  The newest tastiest thing that seems to pervade every menu in some way, shape or form.  The come.  They go.  Some stick around.  Some don’t.

         Fried mozzarella cheese sticks

         Sushi and Hawaiian Poke

         Deep-fried ice cream

         Garlic truffle fries

         Dim sum

         Ramen

         Spam

         Fried Calamari

         Everyone has them in places you wouldn’t normally expect it.  French restaurants putting their own spin on raw fish.  Asian eateries with fried cheese sticks in spicy ponzu sauce and even Spam dishes.  Mexican cantinas with nacho fries.

         Many of these things aren’t “new” per se.  They were just “discovered” by the culinary world and blew up everywhere.

         For instance, I remember eating cold raw fish and marinated fish as a kid in Hawaii.  With cold rice too! 

It wasn’t “gourmet” back then.   It was cold because we didn’t have propane for cooking.  Couldn’t cook!

Just the way it was.  We used lots of soy sauce to flavor everything!

         Years ago, our restaurant in La Paz was the first and only place that served Hawaiian-style poke…fresh chunks of fish marinated and served cold with soy, ginger, sugar, sesame and minced onions. 

         Now, I’ve lost count of the restaurants that serve some variation of it in our city.  Oh well.  I guess imitation is the best form of flattery.

         And, now, the hot new things seems to be “Mexican Street Corn.”  I saw it everywhere the last 3 months travelling in the U.S.  From Texas to Washington State and Wyoming to California.  Menus in diners in roadside truck stops as well as  menus in fine eateries in big cities. 

         I can’t say I blame ‘em.  Not everyone might like fried cheese, or raw fish or garlic on anything. But, it’s a rare person that doesn’t like sweet hot corn.

         In La Paz, where we live, it’s a go-to snack late at night.  A big order can be a whole meal.  And it’s cheap.  If I were still a college kid, instead of all that ramen I ate, I could very well get by with a big cup hot of Mexican street corn.

         Most of the guys in our local neighborhood ride “bike carts” to sell their “Elote.” (corn).  The Elotero’s bike cart is usually a jimmied-together reverse tricycle with one big wheel in the back and two forward supporting a platform and often an awning.

         These eloteros usually come out as it gets dark and set up on a street corner somewhere.  Lines can form quickly. 

         For the more popular carts, it’s not unusual for lines to remain well into the night.  Just like as kids we would hit Jack-in-the-Box or Denny’s after a night partying, a big cup of steaming sweet corn is perfect before heading home.

         Step up and tell the elotero if you want a big cup or small cup. 

         He’ll grab a Styrofoam cup and ladle in some hot kernels from the big pot or basin on his bike.  He fills it about ½ up.

         Then, some thick white Mexican crema.  Mexico’s version of sour cream.

         Then a squirt of Valentina salsa similar to tangy Tobasco.

         Then more corn on top of that.

         Top it with more cream.  Another squirt of Valentina. 

Then a sprinkle of chili powder.  Then a spoonful of salty cotija cheese.  Very much like sprinkling parmesan on your pasta.

Esquites-1

Layer after layer of yumminess.

         He hands you a spoon and a napkin and off you go with your Mexican street corn goodness!  The newer places will also have a squirt of lime juice as well before you head off.

         Many times, you just stand on the street corner with everyone else or sit on the curb.  Or lean on a light pole and start spooning up the tasty concoction.   

         A big cup is maybe 2 bucks at the most.  Often cheaper.  That spare change in your pocket is enough to buy a filling meal of this good stuff.  It’s a deal.  Back in my early days, when all I had WAS pocket change, a cup-o-corn carried me through as my dinner!

         Next time you’re in Baja and wandering back to your hotel room and see the guy on the bike cart with a big vat and an “ELOTE DELICIOSO” sign lettered across it, step up for the original street treat.

That’s my story!

Jonathan

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Jonathan has been writing the Baja Column for Western Outdoor News since 2004.  He lives in La Paz with his best fishing buddy and wife, Jilly, where they run their Tailhunter Sportfishing Fleet for almost 30 years as well as their Tailhunter Sea Level Restaurant on the La Paz waterfront Malecon.  If you’re in town, stop and say hi!)

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Jonathan Roldan’s
Tailhunter Sportfishing
www.tailhunter.com

 

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8030 La Mesa Blvd. #178, La Mesa CA  91942

 

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When your life finally flashes before your eyes, you will have only moments to regret all the things in life you never had the courage to try.”

 

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