Category Archives: American

A Hidden Gem in the Desert

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A Jazzy Meal from Down South

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Cajun cuisine is one of the most diverse types of cuisine in the world of food today. Several of its dishes are arranged like a symphony of world influence, compiled of flavors found in African, Caribbean, French and Spanish dishes. There is no better way to introduce this medley of flavors than throwing them all into one Cajun dish, and that dish, would be gumbo.

Originally from Louisiana, gumbo is a thick stew or soup, that emerged in the 1700s. Gumbo was a cheap way to make a large quantity of food at one time, using minimal amounts of meat. Since a multitude of nationalities lived together in the south, gumbo was a proactive way to share cultural differences through the food they created.

Cajun gumbo (as opposed to Creole gumbo) is heavier with French influence and is often darker and spicier. A typical Cajun gumbo is made with roux, which is a cooked wheat and flour mixture. Roux is what gives gumbo its stew-like consistency.

Upon adding any type of shellfish or meat (andouille sausage, catfish, shrimp) and vegetables (bell peppers, celery, onions) the heat factor is a necessity, and Cajun gumbo is widely known for its spicy quality. What gives this dish its heat is the liberal amounts of cayenne pepper used in each batch. A nice way to balance out the assortment of flavors and spices, is pouring the gumbo over rice.

As you may have already inferred, gumbo is a perfectly hearty meal made to serve many. So, at your next gathering, why not break out the trumpet that’s been hiding in the attic? Turn your home into its very own French Quarter and share a gumbo recipe or two with friends and family.

Bon appétit!

– Gabrielle Castillo

As Long As There is Food, There Will Be Food Trucks.

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What is it that makes eating food right from a truck so appealing?

Kogi's Jack and the Bean Burrito (kogibbq.com)

Gourmet food trucks have made their way onto the list of food fads that have transpired over decades. Their popularity has swept the nation and they have become a simple way to stop and enjoy interesting, gourmet foods with a fast food feel.

Back home in southern California, I’ve noticed the rapid growth of food trucks and food truck fairs, all featuring local trucks. The truck that arguably started it all was the Kogi Korean BBQ food truck out of Los Angeles.

Kogi is widely known for their Korean Mexican tacos (spicy pork, tofu, chicken, short rib), and is one of the first food trucks to introduce this fusion cuisine. Kogi took advantage of the rise in social media to attract visitors to their truck’s location via Twitter. Soon enough, it became customary to follow @kogibbq on Twitter, and find the truck as it would tweet its next stop.

The Lime Truck (foodnetwork.com)

This food truck craze has produced some very unique ideas for food to-go.

The Tornado Potato food truck, also out of Los Angeles, has wowed its visitors with a large, fried potato in the shape of a tornado, with various toppings.

My personal favorite is the Lime Truck, an Orange County native, just like myself. The Lime Truck has been featured on season two of the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race”, and is known for its fresh, healthy cuisine.

You can find a food truck serving anything from cupcakes to sushi nowadays, and the way I see it, this food truck fad will continue to transform the culture of the way Americans eat food.

The greatest part about this food truck fad is that it will live on forever. As long as there is food, there will be food trucks.

Enjoy!

– Gabrielle Castillo