Rare Mexican Herbs?
Does anyone know where to get Hoja Santa in the Bay Area? Have found dried but can't manage to find the fresh.
This is where I really miss "Eat Nopal" and "Kare Raisu" - they knew where to get really good Mexican food and food products - I learned about the Roseland district of Santa Rosa from them. There's a market there, I think Lola's - that carries all kinds of unusual Mexican veggies and herbs, both fresh and dried that I don't believe you'll find anywhere else. I believe I saw Hoja Santa leaves there - dried in cellophane bags (but this was a couple of years ago....)
I've been in both stores but I think the one on Dutton might have a better selection of fresh veggies. The other store is newer and bigger.
re: Robert Lauriston
The key words are "well-stocked Mexican supernarket" - Redwood City has many well-stocked Mexican supermarkets but I honestly don't recall seeing fresh hoja santa leaves which I believe is what the OP was looking for...
Actually, I don't even recall seeing dried and I even checked a few of the larger stores after this original post.
re: Robert Lauriston
I'll differ with you there. Yes, 90% of supermercado inventory may be the same, but it's the 10% that differentiates them from each other and gives each a competitive niche.
Here's a note from Eat Nopal:
"I was notified that there is a thread on Chowhound Bay Area seeking fresh Hoja
Santa leaves. If anybody wants them they are currently not in season but will
be back in the early spring through late fall... when they are in season they
can be purchased at both Lola's locations as well as Rancho Mendoza.
Even better the people who grow them locally are Ortiz Bros. Farm.. that is the
Oaxacan lady with the pretty flowers & vegetables at the Santa Rosa Saturday
market (and other markets as well)... they grow a lot of the rare produce sold
at Lola's as well to the Oaxacan-ish restaurant in Healdsburg... they don't sell
the leaves at the farmer's market but I got my potted plant from them..
Hoja Santa is pretty hardy & will take over your yard if happy.. keep it in a
Ortiz Brothers sells at the Healdsburg and Santa Rosa farmers markets or you can go directly to the farm on fridays.
Edited: Wanted to mention that there's a Lola's in Healdsburg now. It's a much smaller store than the two in Santa Rosa, located in the former Anstead's space on the south end of town.
Grow your own? I once saw plants for sale at Sloat Nursery in San Francisco, and a quick web search turns up some nurseries that will ship. It's supposed to do well in containers.
I'd like to revive this conversation if possible. I'm aware of the questionable legality, but I've seen betel leaf (paan) for sale in the states, and that has the same offending chemical and is, to my knowledge, more carcinogenic than hoja santa. In addition, several people report eating hoja santa at area restaurants.
Unfortunately, the aromatic component itself is the carcinogen. I'm okay with this, as I plan to put one leaf in a big pot of stew. I've chewed paan before in Pakistan, and while I wouldn't make a habit of it, I'm fine with the risk.
In addition, I'm curious if anyone has ever tried substituting betel leaf for hoja santa. I've tasted both, but in such radically different preparations that I can't figure out if it is a good substitution.