Posts Tagged ‘mexican’

Ghostboy Cantina

No sooner had Ghostboy Cantina opened, then I hear it’s about to finish up its six month lease and move to Tio’s Cerveceria, which, as you can tell by the name, started out as a Mexican themed bar. I just remember some popcorn with chilli sprinkles on it.

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun.

Lucky I just managed to fit in a visit before they shifted location.

Crispy Pumpkin Taco:

Pumpkin Taco

Kumera Quesadilla:

Kumera Quesadilla

My experience with cooking sweet potato in its grated form is that it loses its shape. Here, it wasn’t too firm or too soft and was sprinkled with dulse, a salty seaweed ‘superfood’.

Jerusalem artichoke taco:

Jerusalem artichoke taco

This had a good flavour with a topping of mung bean noodles on top. Not too salty.

Beetroot Taco ($5):

The beetroot slices were fried on the grill plate, but not charred. There were two kinds of beetroot puree (yellow & purple) smeared on the taco, and it was topped with pickled cabbage, nigella seeds, and tahini to make it creamy.

Pork Taco ($6):

Pork Taco

I think that this is a little different to the pork taco reviewed by goodliving earlier in the year. For one thing, persimmon is a winter fruit. This came with diced onion, a green chilli/coriander salsa (Salsa verde), vietnamese basil and a hot red sauce.

Between the latter two, I think I preferred the pork taco, it seemed to have more complex spices. Or perhaps I just love my chilli.

Ghostboy Cantina, until 27 June 2016
Dixon House Food Court, corner Little Hay Street and Dixon Street, Haymarket
Hours: 1200-2030

Then from 20 July 2016:
As part of Tio’s Cerveceria
4-14 Foster Street, Surry Hills 2010
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm to midnight.
Web: https://www.facebook.com/ghostboycantina/

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Fish Fillets baked Fisherman Style Tikinxic

Let’s try something from one of my recent inspiration pieces: 1000 Mexican Recipes.

asterix (*) indicates where I substituted an ingredient, mainly because it is not available in Australia.


Fish Fillets baked Fisherman Style Tikinxic
2 tablespoons Yucatan Red Seasoning Paste or purchased achiote paste*
4 pieces of 6 to 7 ounce (170-200g) firm fish fillets, approximately 3/4 inch (20mm) thick*
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 pieces of (12 inch or 30cm) banana leaf squares
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 medium red or white onion, thinly sliced
4 yellow guero chilles, seeded and thinly sliced
12 pitted green olives, sliced*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

I didn’t have the Yucatan paste, so I used chipotle chillies in adobo sauce. I only had blacka kalamata olives, so in they went. Fish-wise I used ling fillets, however the recipe recommends that you can use red snaper, grouper or mahimahi.


1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F (180 deg C). Put fish fillets on a plate, and rub all over with the paste.
2. Mix together the juices, oregano, cumin and salt, and drizzle over the fish
3. Lay a piece of foil on a flat surface and lay 1 banana leaf on top of the foil. Put a fish fillet in the centre of the banana leaf, and layer with tomato, onion, olives and chillies. Dot with butter.
4. Fold the banana leaf to enclose the fish in a package. Then fold the foil around both sides of the banana package to seal tightly so no steam escapes. Place folded side up on a baking sheet. Repeat with a second foil and then remaining banana leaf and fish.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish turns opaque but is still moist inside and just barely flakes when tested with a fork. To serve, open the packages and transfer the fish fillet to each serving plate.

This can also be served on the plate inside its banana leaf package, but warning: it can get messy! There is a lot of delicious juice that you can use with your carb of choice – like quinoa, cous cous or brown rice.

This is what the fish looked like before baking:

Fish Fillets baked Fisherman Style

Waiting, waiting, waiting, whilst the delicious aroma of chipotle chillies and fish fills my kitchen.

Ta da!

Fish Fillets baked Fisherman Style

Noms. The baking process took away some of the saltiness of the olives. It’s a fine line between a layered raw onion and overcooked fish. Gotta make sure that the onion is sliced really thinly.

Next time?

I really like this method of cooking fish in the banana leaves. This also works well when panfrying. I’m not sure how much of the “banana leaf” flavour I could pick up in the finished product, everything else was so delicious. I am happy that I can compost the cooked banana leaves afterwards. Instead of using foil + leaf, once I’ve found a more regular supply of leaves (the local Philippino shop), I used this method to double layer the leaves instead of using foil.

El loco, Excelsior

In the theme of The Norfolk pub, The Excelsior has also turned its bistro to Mexican style food. My sister suggests trying El Loco one night to compare.

It is a drizzly weeknight, and the crowd spills amiably onto the street. We manage to snare half of an outside table covered in yellow gingham style contact which reminds me of my childhood. There are bottles of red and green hot sauce of the table. the outside walls are decorated with brightly colored metal pots containing succulents and herbs.

After much deliberation, we decide to order prawn taco, chicken taco ($5 ea), the El Loco “healthy” chilli marinated tofu salad($12) and pork “torte” sandwich ($10). Most fillings that are available in a taco are also available in sandwich/burger format.
Of course our careful menu planning goes out the window when I get to the bar, and there are also quesadilla’s and a secret taco in the menu.

How could I resist?

The chicken is jettisoned, and we order a secret taco instead.

About 10 minutes later, the pulled pork sandwich arrives. The pork has been spit roasted, pulled to bits, and placed on a hamburger type bun. There’s mayo, grated cabbage, coriander and it is quite moreish. The coriander is part of the ‘picco de gallo’ sauce, but tastes very fresh and not like it has been marinating for too long.

El Loco, The Excelsior: Pork Sandwich
The secret taco arrives. It has little fried white bait, with lettuce, cabbage, coriander and a swirl of smokey chipotle chilli sauce that looks like thousand island dressing. It is served on a soft wheat tortilla. The whitebait is crunchy and the taco flavour combination goes down well.
The prawn taco is topped with a light brown sweet-ish salsa. I can’t quite place it, but I think apple is involved.
El Loco, The Excelsior: tacos

Finally: the El Loco salad. I dispute its billing as a “healthy”. It has fresh deep fried silken tofu (supposedly marinated in chilli sauce, I couldn’t find it), and skinny cut strips of tortilla. When it arrives there are gasps of amazement from other diners. The tortilla chips keep their crunch throughout the eating, and don’t taste as floury or oily as from The Norfolk. The salad also contains spring onion, strongly flavored fennel, chunks of avocado, coriander, freshly grated cheese and radish. Radish, which is normally very strong and peppery is quite sweet and hard to spot. We really liked this salad, and it comes in meateater format with a slab of minute steak.

I tried the El Loco salad again at a later date and the chilli marinade on the tofu appears to gave been replaced with Hoisin sauce which I dislike.

The secret taco changes on a weekly basis. On a later date the secret taco contains slow-cooked beef chunks and smokey chipotle chilli mayo.

All soft tacos are also available with a lettuce as an alternative.

El Loco @ The Excelsior
64 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills 2010
Mon-Tue: 12noon -11pm
Wed: 12noon – 1am
Thu – Sat: 12noon-3am
Sun:12noon – 10pm

Seating available outside until
9pm.

Izote Mexican Restaurant, Newtown

I came here at least three years ago as part of a group when Izote Mexican had just opened. I remember that time we were advised to order quickly, because another large party was booked at 8pm, and it would be better if we got our orders in before the rush. I know we tried a lot of dishes then, including tamales ($11.90), the guacamole and queseidillas. I think the owners are from Colombia.

Everything was very fresh and delicious. I look back at that dining experience with fondness.
This time, rocking up on a Wednesday night, I can easily get a table, although the longevity of this restaurant shows its popularity with the locals, as it is in the quiet part of King Street.

I order chilli verde – fried cubes of pork with a spicy green chilli sauce ($19.50). I remember this dish being a fave on my last visit too.

The serving is huge, and turns up in 10 minutes. There is a half bowl of red tomato rice, a green salad dressed in a lemony vinegarette, a small amount of salsa (understandable – I think tomatoes were very expensive this week), guacamole, some pickled jalepenos, four tortillas and of course, the bowl of chilli verde with a streak of coriander green sauce around the edge. The chilli verde has chunky, meaty bits of pork that just fall to bits when you poke it with the fork. Everything was delicious, and there was enough variety in the flavours to keep me going.

My only complaint at the time is that the tortillas don’t come served in the plastic tortilla-keep-warm thing, so by the time I made it to my fourth one, it was dry and cold.

I also got a bit overwhelmed near the end of the dish by the salty flavour of the chilli verde, so much so that I had to stop eating. Anyway I had a few pieces of pork left over for my lunch the next day.

What is more concerning though is that after I went home and I’ll tried to go to sleep, I kept waking up with what I have to say was a MSG thirst. Disappointing! It was so delicious that I don’t think MSG was necessary, or maybe it was too salty, but my body didn’t realise until much later.

Corkage is $3pp, and there is a minimum order of $20pp stated on the menu, however I wasn’t charged an extra 5c for my dish. I stuck that in the tip jar just in case.

I am in two minds. I really want to go back and try some other dishes, but am wary of the possible MSG consequences. I also want to support a Mexican food place that isn’t all Tex-Mex flavours, and has that freshness I miss from the cheap Nexican places in California.

Izote Mexican
6 King street, Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 8084 9651
From 530pm, Tuesday – Sunday.

Review: Guzman Y Gomez, Newtown

Time to take a little break from Reverb10!

I had meant to go to Izote Mexican restaurant for dinner, but they looked
full-up and I wanted a quick meal, so I went to Goman y Gomez Mexican
takeaway instead.

This mob have been here for a while, even opening up a branch at the New
Westfield Centrepoint food court. It’s kind of like a fast and furious food
Mexican takeaway, with alcohol available as a tequila slushie or as a beer.

In the USA, particularly in California, you see these Mexican food wagons
everywhere. Pulled up into parking lots, or running around providing food
for construction sites. The less than polite nickname for them is the “chuck
wagon”.

This is the first time that I’ve been to Goman y Gomez, and it was crowded
and loud!

This was the first time I have gone to Guzman, so I didn’t know what to
pick. After pondering the menu, I got a Pork chipotle burrito with
guacamole. The guacamole costs $1 extra, and you don’t get very much,
perhaps a tablespoon full. The burrito itself took about 10 minutes to
prepare and felt very very heavy. You can also get a burrito in a bowl, the
supposed “lighter” option because it doesn’t come with a tortilla.

The burrito was very tasty, but not as hot (if at all) as the menu warned.
It was heavy going – I can see why you would get the mini-B for $6.90. The
black beans were small and interesting. It is hard to get non-tinned black
beans in Australia, the recommendation when cooking Mexican is to use “Black
Turtle Beans” which are larger and coarser. The beans in the burritos appear to be a small dense bean, much like the black bean used in chinese cooking for fermentation ala “black bean paste”.

I would’ve enjoyed my time at Goman y Gomez a lot more except for that when
I went up to pick my order from the counter, someone sitting next to me
decided to take my seat. Without asking. I thought that was the height of
rudeness!

For dessert I grabbed a strawberry and balsamic gelato from Ice and
Slice. Usually gelatomassi is my haunt (I adore their peanut butter gelato),
but Ice and Slice seemed to have a few interesting flavours which I shall
have to go back and sample.

(http://www.guzmanygomez.com/)Goman Y Gomez
175 King Street, Newtown 2042
(02) 9517 1533 ‎
Monday – Saturday: 11am – 11pm
Sunday:11am – 10pm

(http://www.iceandslice.com.au/index.html)Ice and Slice Gelateria
135 King Street
Newtown, NSW 2042
Ph: (02) 9516 4595
Monday – Friday: 11am – late
Saturday – Sunday: 9am – late