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Cinco de Mayo report (with pics)

Since the thread linked below had so many good ideas, including my favorite salsa of the night, Eat Nopal's Roasted Tomatillo, Garlic, Ancho & Arbol Salsa, I thought I'd report on how it turned out (and hopefully get the other CHs to report on what they brought!)


There were 16 of us and WOW what a great meal we had with everybody contributing. It really was a delicious menu, with friends also bringing wonderful Spanish wines and making margaritas to accompany this feast. Great company and great food - what more could you ask for.

Menu with linked recipes:

Picadillo empanadas with cilantro crema (crema mixed with sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, and some Penzey's Adobo seasoning).
Guacamole, chips, and 3 salsas - salsa borracha ("drunken") with guajillos, tequila, onion, and garlic ; roasted jalapeno and tomato; and Eat Nopal's Roasted Tomatillo, Garlic, Ancho & Arbol Salsa

Tequila-cured gravlax
Steak, avocado, and salsa verde tostaditas
Sauteed Shrimp in Latin Citrus Sauce
Pork, beef, and chicken tamales
Chile colorado
Slow-roasted Yucatan pork
Corn and flour tortillas/queso fresco/cilantro/crema
Chili Rellenos. Note to self: Remember to take toothpicks out BEFORE you serve it to your guests ; ). Rick Bayless http://www.recipezaar.com/56452
Mexican rice, ceviche, chicken, and machaca
Topolo Caesar salad with green chile, lime, cilantro and queso anejo - from Rick Bayless' "Mexican Kitchen
Frijoles Maneados - Refried beans with cheese and ancho chili

Chocolate Bourbon Cake with Caramel Whipped Cream http://www.chowhound.com/topics/356047
Mango and lime-curd tartlets

Along with Coronas, Spanish wine, and both classic and frozen mango margaritas, we had a good stash of reposado and añejo tequilas from our trips to Mexico, and after-dinner liqueurs. Don Julio, Herradura, Tres Generaciones, Tres Mujeres, and 4 Copas. Patron Cafe, Dobel tequila con cajeta, and Don Julio 1942.

For Boston locals - I picked up fresh-made corn tortillas and chips fried to order from the Cinco de Mayo factory in Chelsea.

I only took a couple of pics, but hopefully another 'Hound will post more.

Roasted Tomatillo, Garlic, Ancho & Arbol Salsa, Lime Curd and Mango Tartlets, and Chocolate Bourbon Cake:

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  1. That was an unforgettable party; Rubee and E are such great hosts which would be no surprise to anyone. It’s impossible to pick food or drink favorites, everything was over-the-top great. These ‘hounds don’t mess around. The mango margaritas were refreshing and not too sweet, and the classic margaritas were perfectly tart. And that was my first time trying the after-dinner Petron Café, like a tasty shot of espresso and liquor.

    We started off with Rubee’s addictive guac and salsas, with the chips that were obviously made fresh. And little empanadas with cilantro crema; the crema also went perfect with 9L & K’s incredible housemade tequila gravlax.

    I’m still thinking about how much I loved the chili rellenos, 2 big pans of them (maybe more) and tons of work for Rubee. But I won’t forget those. The pork was amazing too, seemingly innocuous at the outset, then the building heat testifying to the days-long marinade. The tamales were huge and delicious. And I loved the way everything melded with the rice on the plate, a delicious mess.

    I can’t claim credit for the shrimp, I followed exactly this recipe that I found online: http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r1...

    The desserts were amazing, too, the bourbon cake was so good, and the little lime tarts with tiny slices of mango were light and delicious.

    An awesome night, many thanks again to Rubee and E and all the 'hounds!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Niblet

      How can I get in this circle??? Wow the menu looks absolutely awesome. Should have been filmed, I would have watched this one on the Food Network.

      1. re: funholidaygirl

        I’m a relative newbie, but I met these great people when Chowhound Limster organized a dinner in Boston and graciously allowed me to join them. I understand that while one can announce a dinner on Chowhound, all arrangements have to be made off-line. I recommend it!

    2. I just can't get over how much food there was!

      Standouts for me were the expertly made gaucamole and salsas, spicy pulled pork, limey shrimp, and both desserts. Wish I'd had more of everything, but after eating a whole relleno, it was a little hard (man, those were really good too! And I only ever found one toothpick in mine....)

      The tequilas were a revelation, especially the Patron Cafe and Dobel tequila con cajeta. I think I loved the Tres Generaciones the best after all, or maybe it was the Tres Mujeres? The images are starting to blur in my head.

      Thanks to Rubee for being the consummate hostess and gourmet cook.

      1. IT WAS AWESOME!!! Standouts for me included
        - the bite-sized taquitos (or whatever the creator calls them, I'm sure he'll chime in) that were one-bit flour tortillas with carne asada and avocado OMG, I could have eaten 20 of these
        - chile colorado (even better for leftovers the next day)
        - those dang shrimp niblet brought, just addictive and I wish I could have snuck a few of these in my pocket for later :-)
        - the beans -- great flavor even without lard/manteca
        - eat nopales' salsa
        - pibil pork shoulder
        - the chips and guacamole -- freshly fried chips are a whole 'nother thing
        - mango margharitas went down way toooo easily

        But the most impressive (and time consuming) item was the chiles rellenos -- I watched our hostess fry up the last batch. They are absolutely GORGEOUS when they first come out of the oil -- puffed up and huge. I think the very fresh (Market basket?) poblanos contributed to the overall quality of the dish, but man, they were really really good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: yumyum

          How could I forget MichaelB’s appetizers…beef filet topping avocado and a hint of spiciness in tiny baked tortilla shells. I had more than my share of those.

        2. I want to add too that I'm not a dessert person, but I flipped over the two desserts. Beetlebug's bourbon cake was the BEST cake I ever had and I am not exaggerating. In fact, I'm going to go finish the last piece now that I'm thinking about it. MichaelB's tarts were fantastic. If I do order dessert out, I always lean towards a fruit dessert so those addictive treats were right up my alley. We had the leftovers for breakfast this morning. mmmmmm

          2 Replies
          1. re: Rubee

            Hey Rubee:

            Congratulations on a great party. I'm with Niblet. I live in the area and am generous of spirit. How can I join in?

            1. re: onefineleo

              Hi - I've met everyone over the years by joining the Chowhound dinners when they're posted. The last one was that fun night at the Paddock that YumYum arranged - lots of Chowhounds showed up. I've never organized one myself but, If you do, I'm in!

              I'm thinking of maybe posting about getting some hounds together for the prix-fixe lunch at L'Espalier that Joanie posted about. Interested? Or maybe enjoying a Manhattan somewhere after work? ; )

          2. Food, food, everywhere the eye turned, more food. I especially loved the chile rellenos and shrimp with the latin citrus sauce. The chile rellenos tasted delicious the next day for breakfast too. I also couldn't stop snacking on the chips, 4 salsas and the guac.

            Here is the recipe for the slow roasted yucatan pork. Three days in the marinade, 3 habeneros and 4 and a half hours in the oven, gave it an extra kick.


            1. Glad you guys enjoyed the Salsa... I can't take credit for it... it is completely "plagiarized" as it is the regional salsa of choice in Los Altos de Jalisco... the Highlands of Jalisco... where it is commonly served as an accompaniment to Grilled Skirt Steaks, Clay Pot Beans & Birrias.

              If you replace the cilantro with the regions dried herb trinity... Mexican Oregano, Thyme & Marjoram + fairly liberal use of cracked black pepper... you have an intriguing marinade for Grilled / Roasted Poultry.

              If you fry & strain the marinade... then you have the regional searing sauce used in dishes like Molcajetes (the sauced / seared melange of Meats & Vegetables served in a hot volcanic rock molcajete)

              1. I thought everything was great. Nothing to add to all the compliments..except to say I agree with them all.

                Here's the recipe for the tequila gravlax. I usually just make it with dill.


                Also put up a few pics on my flickr site...flash wasn't working properly and they didn't come out too well.."sets" are on the right side of the page.


                Eat Nopal..you may recognize the birria place in Cabo...on that set. I enjoyed your post re Cabo.

                2 Replies
                1. re: 9lives

                  It doesn't like the same Birria place... but very cool, I particularly like the fish picture... was that a Dorado (Mahi Mahi) they had filet'd up?

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    There was also a smaller birria place..sort of catty corner from that 1..nice, older women cooking..liked their birria too. I kind of alternated.

                    The Todos fish pics were smaller than dorado..sea bass was generally what they brought in...good for grilling or sauteeing.

                    I've caught dorado..ceviche or grilled and tuna..raw or grilled. I have some pics of a dorado and barracuda that I just added to the set..as well as some scenery shots.

                2. I am SO impressed w/ you Boston hounds! The menu sounds and looks terrific! Thanks for the chile rellenos recipe; I'm going to try that one. And that chocolate bourbon cake looks killer!

                  1. All the food really was great. I don't really have recipes for my contributions but I'll try my best to describe them.

                    Steak tostaditos: Flour tortilla cups - I cut out rounds of flour tortilla with a cookie cutter, then baked them in mini-muffin cups, with another, slightly smaller mini-muffin pan pressing them down so that they toast into a cup-shape. (InSANEly fiddly I know: I happen to have two slightly mismatched mini-muffin tins that makes this possible; if I didn't I'd just bake the rounds on a baking sheet and not worry about the shape so much.) The main point is to get the rounds thoroughly dried out so that they're crisp the whole way through, otherwise they'll end up chewy. I think it took about 10-15 minutes in a 350 oven.

                    Inside the cups I put little slices of ripe avocado. On top of that I put tenderloin steak that I'd rubbed with a mix of: salt, dried ancho pepper, chili powder, freshly ground cumin, a tiny pinch of cinnamon, and some black pepper. I let the meat sit in the fridge with the rub on it for a few hours, but I don't think that's necessary; it's fine to do the rub right before cooking. I dried out the surface as much as possible and seared each side on a hot pan but kept the meat pretty rare. After letting the meat rest I sliced it and put it on top of the avocado. I tried this recipe with skirt steak (my usual preference in tacos, etc.) but no matter how thinly sliced, the steak was just way too chewy for what is really a one-bite appetizer; something tender is really key here or the guests will be chewing for hours.

                    I topped these with a very small dollop of salsa verde - tomatillos, a serrano pepper, a shallot or two and a clove of garlic toasted on an ungreased cast-iron pan, then pureed in a blender with salt and a little lime juice to taste. I'd stress a *very* small dollop of salsa verde - it's by far the most aggressive component and if you use too much that's all you'll taste.

                    Mango-lime tartlets:

                    I baked rounds of sweet tart pastry, cutting them out with a cookie cutter and baking them in my trusty mini-muffin pans (which obviously got a workout for this party!). I just pressed the rounds into the pan, as long as I pressed out any air pockets they didn't puff up too much. I used Pierre Herme's recipe, which includes ground almonds, but any good shortbread pastry (I also like the one in New Joy of Cooking, or Rose Levy Berenbaum's) is fine. Don't use a flaky pastry as it won't form the crisp cookie cup that you want. I think I baked them at 350 for about 10 minutes - watch these like a hawk as they go from perfectly browned at the edges to smoking black ruins in about a minute.

                    Fill with: lime curd -- I used Rose Levy Berenbaum's recipe, although I had to add extra sugar syrup at the end as my limes were rather bitter - which I lightened to taste with a bit of heavy cream. Lime curd is SO intense a flavor that it overwhelms everything in its path; the cream helps it play better with others. I then just put in a few slices of really ripe mango - the real key here is to use a great mango - fortunately we had gorgeous Ataulfo mangoes in the market last week and I got a few and ripened them. If I didn't have those I'd use blueberries or some other lime-compatible fruit. The other key is not to use too much lime curd cream - even moderated with cream it's a stronger flavor than the mango so it's best to be sparing with the lime and generous with the mango.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MichaelB

                      Holy Smokes. I had no idea *two* mini-muffin tins were involved. Fiddly to the extreme but so nice to be treated to at a party. Especially good with a margharita in the other hand and a bunch of hounds that REALLY appreciated the work that it all took.

                    2. Thanks for your party report, Rubee. The menu sounds awesome, and the recipe links are much appreciated. How great that other chowhounds were there and added to your post. Sounds like a blast.

                      1. Sorry for my delinquent reply but it was a fantastic evening with amazing food! My faves were the guac, the chile rellenos and those mango margaritas! I brought some of the Spanish wines which I bought at the wine store on Tremont and Clarendon in the South End. The kind wine guy downstairs helped me choose and he recommended a red that for the life of me I can't remember what it was. But the white was a Las Brisas blanco from Rueda Spain which I have had before and love. It's really light and crisp with a hint of grapefruit and lemon.