The Benefits of Dining Local 

Dining or purchasing food at local restaurants and businesses in your neighborhood and town can be a great way to support local businesses. But eating local doesn’t just help your local business, it offers many benefits to you and your local community as well. Here are a few reasons to eat local.  

Improve the Local Economy  
For every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the city. But only $43 remains in town if you spend $100 at a national chain.  

Local restaurant owners are also more likely to support the local economy as well, shopping for supplies locally and patronizing other local businesses. The money they spend with local farmers and growers also stays in the community and helps grow the economy even further.  

Create more local jobs  
Local businesses create the majority of economic growth, employing more than 78 million Americans, and creating more than 2/3 of jobs in the private sector. Most new jobs are created by small local businesses.   

It’s good for the Environment
Dining locally helps support the environment. Purchasing locally grown foods helps maintain farmland and green space in your community. Eating locally means you also eat seasonally, meaning that your food was picked at the peak of ripeness rather than being harvested early and shipped a long distance.   

Locally Grown Food is Healthier  
When you dine local, there are fewer steps between you and your food’s source. That means you (or the local chef) will know where your food comes from & who grew it, how it was grown & harvested, and how it was brought to market. Locally grown food is also higher in nutrients, due to the shorter distance between harvest and your local café.   

Build a Stronger Community 
Locally owned businesses often host events for local groups and support local schools and teams. By dining locally, you’re helping support these events and groups as well, and contributing to building a stronger local community.   

Dining locally is one of the best things you can do to help boost your local economy and maintain the uniqueness of your city or town. Make sure your next meal, café, or food purchase is from a local business and help foster that sense of community.   

Come dine with us and support San Antonio’s commerce and community.   

What is Michelada?

To the uninitiated, a Michelada looks like a cross between a Margarita and a Bloody Mary with beer as an added bonus. But in reality, a Michelada is so much more than a Bloody Mary with a beer chaser (or vice versa). And while it may be debatable whether a Michelada can cure a hangover, this refreshing drink is ideal for quenching your thirst.

What Is a Michelada?
A Michelada is the Mexican version of American “red beer.” The Mexican drink is a mixture of beer, lime juice, assorted sauces, spices and peppers. It is served chilled in a salt-rimmed glass. Variations of the Michelada can be found across Mexico and throughout Latin America.

The Origin(s) of the Michelada
The Michelada has two different origin stories. One version credits Michel Ésper, who was a frequent patron of Club Deportivo Potosino in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Supposedly, Ésper routinely requested his beer to be prepared with lime, salt and ice. He asked for the drink to be served with a straw in a special cup called a “chabela” and named the drink after the glass. Other patrons began asking for the same drink, calling it “Michel’s Lemonade.” Over time, the name shortened to Michelada, and sauces were added to the concoction. Today’s Michelada contains the same ingredients as a chelada, but with added ice and chili powder on the rim of the glass.

The second version claims that the name Michelada is a portmanteau of the phrase “mi chela helada.” In Mexico, the word chela is a slang term for beer. Helada means cold, and mi means mine. Therefore, the entire phrase “mi chela helada” translates into “my cold beer.”

The Basic Michelada Recipe and Its Variations
The basic Michelada recipe is pretty simple: beer, seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and a picante sauce such as Cholula®. The drink is served over ice in a glass with a salted rim. However, variations of the Michelada exist across Latin America. Popular Michelada variations substitute tomato juice, Clamato® (a commercial mixture of clam broth and tomato concentrate and spices) or other juices such as mango or tamarind, but all versions of the drink include beer and are served chilled in a glass rimmed with salt.

If you have a thirst for beer with a twist, come to 210 Ceviche. We can serve up your favorite beer as a Michelada with a snack or just as a refreshing change of pace.

Calientitos – Our Favorite Mexican Holiday Drink

The holidays are a time of celebration, and Mexico has a lot of her own December food and drink traditions. As the weather turns a bit cooler and the Posadas and Christmas fiestas begin, one of the favorite festive beverages of choice is a calientito – a little hot drink. Also called Ponche Navideño, this warm drink is popular in Mexico throughout the Christmas season, and it’s definitely not a holiday celebration without it.

Ponche is a warm Mexican Christmas Fruit Punch, made with a blend of fruits, cinnamon, clove, sugarcane, and piloncillo, that have been heated on the stove and allowed to meld. It reminds me of my childhood, when my abuela would have it simmering in the kitchen during family Christmas celebrations. Many adults even add in brandy, whiskey, or tequila, making it Ponche con Piquete (punch with a sting), while the kids always like to dig into the cups to get the sweet fruit that has been steeped in the punch to give it its flavor.

Caleintitos are served at any festive Mexican occasion during the Christmas holidays, similar to how Americans enjoy egg nog. We want to help you celebrate the holidays by sharing our Ponche Navideña recipe with you.

Ponche Navideña 

1 gallon water
2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
5 long tamarind pods, husks removed, and seeded
8 ounces whole tejocotes or crab apples
6 large guavas, peeled and diced
2 medium red apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 medium pear, peeled, cored, and diced
2 (4-inch) sugar cane sticks, peeled and diced
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup raisins
1 medium orange, sliced
8 ounces chopped piloncillo, or 1 cup packed dark brown sugar

Place the water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, tamarind pods, and tejocotes or crab apples in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the tejocotes are soft, about 10 minutes.

Remove the tejocotes or crab apples from the pot with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, peel, trim the ends, halve, and remove the seeds. Return the apple halves to the pot. 

Add the guavas, apples, pear, sugarcane, prunes, raisins, orange, and piloncillo. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and cloves. 

To serve, ladle the punch into coffee cups or mugs, making sure each cup gets some chunks of fruit. If desired, add 1 ounce of brandy or tequila to each cup.

Visit us at 210 Ceviche this season for your favorite Mexican cuisine. 

Our Favorite Mexican Holiday Foods

Every place has its favorite foods for the holidays, and Mexico is no different. With so many celebrations with family, friends, and neighbors, food has always played a huge part in Mexico’s traditions. Here are a few of our favorite traditional foods for holiday celebrations.

Tamales

Tamales have a long history throughout Mesoamerica dating back thousands of years. This very portable food was eaten by the Olmec and Toltec, and later by the Aztec and Maya. Corn has always been an important crop in Mexico, and tamales have a strong tradition as a food for special occasions, often representing life or rebirth. Made with a dough of masa (corn meal) filled with meats, cheeses, vegetables, and salsas (depending on your preferences), and then wrapped in a corn husk and steamed, these savory or sweet packets are the perfect meal or snack at any time of the day. It is one of the most famous Mexican dishes in the world.

Because the preparation of tamales is so time-intensive, it’s quite popular to make it for special occasions or to serve it at special family celebrations. During the Christmas season, It’s quite common to have a party starting early on the morning of December 24th, where many of your family and friends come together to help prepare the tamales for all to enjoy that night (La Noche Buena) for the holiday celebrations.

Chiles en Nogada

Chiles en Nogada is one of the most famous special dishes of Mexico, and is usually served during the Nogada (the walnut season). It’s also a popular festive dish at Christmas. Chiles en Nogada is a traditional dish made with Poblano peppers, stuffed with what is called picadillo – a blend of ground meat mixed with dried fruits and nuts to give the dish sweetness. The chile is then covered in a white walnut sauce (the nogada part of the dish) and topped off with pomegranate seeds for a bit of red. This gives the dish the green, white, and red of the Mexican flag.

This dish was originally created in Puebla in 1821, by nuns who were hosting the visiting Mexican Army General Austin de Iturbide. He had just signed the Treaty of Cordoba, giving Mexico its independence. He was passing through Puebla on his way back to Mexico City, and the nuns and residents of the town presented this as a dish to honor him and Mexico’s independence from Spain. He became President of the Regency and was eventually renamed Augustin I, Constitutional Emperor of Mexico.

Chiles en Nogada has always been considered a Royal treat, and many restaurants today still serve it with great fanfare. Arnie Ortega, owner of 210 Ceviche, has experienced this “Royal Treatment” when he has visited Mexico and ordered this at a restaurant. Before the dish was served, the waiter changed the tablecloth to a black cloth, & laid out special table décor and gold silverware for the meal to be served with. It is truly a dish fit for royalty. Because it is often served on special occasions, it is also a popular food at fiestas and family celebrations during the Christmas holidays as well.

We hope you have enjoyed learning a bit more about our Mexican traditions. Come visit us this season at 210 Ceviche!