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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Ponche Navideño Mexican Christmas Punch

A very traditional part of Christmas for us is the mulled wine – there’s nothing like coming in from a frosty stroll, only to indulge in a tasty hot beverage. In Mexico, they prepare a drink called Ponche Navideño, also know as Christmas Punch.

Similarly to mulled wine, the sweet tipple contains cinnamon and citrus fruit. It also contains traditional ingredients of tejocotes (a small yellow fruit that resembles crabapples), piloncillo (raw sugar cane), sugar cane sticks, seasonal fruits include guavas, apples, pears, oranges and dry fruits, too. The punch might have different ingredients depending on the region in Mexico. You can find punch with acid fruits like oranges, Mexican sweet lime or pineapple. And as far as spices go, besides cinnamon, some cooks will also add anise star and chamomile.

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Here’s a recipe if you want to recreate the traditional Ponche Navideño yourself.

12 servings
INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 quarts of water (1 gallon)
  • 1 large piloncillo cone (12 oz) or brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 lb Tejocotes*
  • 1 1/2 Lb. guavas (about 12 guavas)
  • 1 1/2 cup apples, chopped
  • 1 cup pear, chopped
  • 3/4 cup prunes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 sugar cane sticks about 5 inch long, cut into four pieces each.
  • Rum to taste
  • * If you do not find all the ingredients like the tejocotes, you can still make this drink without them.
  • ** Other dried fruits can be used as a substitute.
  • 1. Place water in a large stockpot.
  • 2. Add the piloncillo (or brown sugar) and cinnamon to cook for about 15 minutes. If you are using fresh Tejocotes, add them with the piloncillo and cinnamon since they take longer to soften.
  • 3. Add the chopped guavas, apples, and prunes along with the rest of the ingredients like the sugar cane sticks, tamarind pods or hibiscus flowers. If you are using the canned version of the tejocotes then add them in this step.
  • 4. Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve hot in mugs, ladling some of the fruit in and adding rum to your liking.

 

Late Night Menu at El Camion!

You lucky things, you. Not only do we treat you to the best margaritas in town, the meanest tequila shots around AND the simple pleasure of being in a venue as cool as our Pink Chihuahua basement bar, BUT we are now feeding your peckish mouths until 2:30am!

No need to spill out onto the street at closing time and head towards the nearest food vendor serving whatever is left – we can actually hear your bodies thanking us. Here at El Camion, we think that late night food doesn’t have to be bad food and that great drinks and great food are meant to go together.

Tasty treats at El Camion

Introducing… our new and extended Late Nite Menu! From 11pm to 2:30am, we will be serving your favourite nibble, our crispy tortilla chips, with five different choices of salsa or with fresh guacamole. We can also whip up a quesadilla or two for you, with melted jack cheese and your choice of fillings from Chicken Tinga, Chorizo, Mushroom and Spinach and Pork Carnitas. We’ve also got the new addition of Spicy Chipotle Chicken Wings for a meaty treat to keep your hunger at bay.

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For something a little more substantial, we’ll be cooking up burritos, tacos and, as of recently, nachos way into the night with our tasty fillings and toppings, ranging from Picadillo Beef, Chicken Tinga, Pork Carnitas and Black Bean (or Portobello Mushroom for the tacos). With all of this amazing grub available for longer, the night is your oyster! Plus, if you are that way inclined (a vegetarian), we can gladly and easily make everything veggie, and it will be just as tasty.

Burritos at El Camion

The Pink Chihuahua is a members club and entry is granted to members on a first come, first served basis. If you would like to become a member, just pop in to see us on Brewer Street.

Happy munching cocktail fans!

Hold the turkey – they do things a little differently in Mexico at Christmas!

Similarly to us, the Christmas period in Mexico involve lots of eating, drinking and partying. Well, tis the season to be merry and all that. But naturally the South American culture determines a different type of cuisine. Hold the turkey and the mulled wine, because in Mexico things are done a little differently…

Ensalada de Nochebuena

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This bright salad, traditionally containing lettuce and beetroot, looks the part with its pretty festive colours. It is served on Christmas Eve for the special dinner. Ingredients very depending on the chef, and it can contain a variety of funky additions such as apple, carrot, orange, pecans, pineapple and pomegranate seeds as a garnish.

Tamales

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Tamales are cornmeal dumplings, and are very popular with Mexicans at Christmas time. They may be served on Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner. They can be made with a variety of different fillings. One of the reasons they are a holiday food is because they take a long time to prepare and so need a leisurely occasion.

Bacalao

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This dried salt-fish is commonly seen throughout Mexico as Christmas approaches. It has become a traditional part of a traditional Mexican feast, and is commonly stewed with tomatoes, capers, olives, and potatoes to make a delicious dish called Bacalao a la Vizcaina.

Pozole

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This is a hearty, sweet and sour soup prepared with pork or chicken, then seasoned with chilli and garlic, with shredded lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, avocado, coriander, and lime wedges. It is a popular choice for Christmas dinner, as well as for Mexican Independence Day.

Ponche Navideño

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The Mexican answer to mulled wine – this is a hot fruit punch made with tejocotes – Mexican Hawthorn – which look a little like apples. Other fruits such as guava can be added, as well as warming cinnamon. If a shot of rum or brandy is added then it is know as ponche con piquet – with a little alcoholic sting!

Filed under: Christmas, Food, Mexico

Christmas in Mexico at El Camion!

Christmas celebrations in Mexico kicked off yesterday on 12th December and run all the way until 6th January, so we are officially in party mode here at El Camion!

Our friends across the pond will be getting the nacimiento out of their lofts and dusting off the life-size (yes, life-size) nativity figurines, ready to recreate the manger scene in, sometimes, a whole room in their house! That kind of effort is worth toasting to.

nacimiento
We probably won’t be creating our own life-size nacimiento due to most of our space being taken up by Christmas parties (take a look at our menu – you might like what you see) but we can kind of get involved with the tradition of the posada… This where people go around knocking on doors to be let inside and they are continually turned away until they go to the last house, where they are let inside and a party ensues!

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So, what does an El Camion party look like at Christmas? Well, mostly tequila-shaped (with a tequila cabinet like ours, it would be rude not to) with lots of tasty Mexican dishes and cocktails. Our £30 Christmas menu option includes a Tommy’s Margarita upon arrival and some snackage in the form of tortilla chips and our awesome house salsa, followed by a three course feast of nachos, quesadillas, burritos, tostadas or tacos. No dry turkey in sight! We also have just two or three course options available minus the margarita.

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If you fancy partying Mexicano style this Christmas then please enquire with our team on 020 7734 7711, get us on Facebook or send us a tweet @elcamion_soho. We do have limited spaces though and at the moment earlier in the week works best for us. Just fancy a Christmas tipple? We’ve got cocktails galore in our famous Pink Chihuahua Bar. A food order is not necessary but when you see our late nite menu it might be irresistible.

Enjoy your festive party season chicos e chicas!

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Read All About It! Recent Press for El Camion

As a staple on the soho circuit for many years, we’ve had our fair share of reviews. But it seems that we are still hitting the headlines!

This month, we were featured on Best Bars as one of the UK’s best bars for debauchery. Well, it was about time someone rumbled us. Check us out along with the other 14 here:

Best Bars – The UK’s 15 Best Bars for Debauchery

 

We also managed to get ourselves into the Evening Standard, mentioned as ‘the perfect place to meet for a naughty drink’. We didn’t know we had such a reputation!

The Evening Standard – Sex Mex

 

 

If you would like to write an article or a review of El Camion or the Pink Chihuahua Bar, send us an email at info@elcamion.co.uk

 

 

Tequila and Mezcal – what’s the difference?

  1. Here at El Camion we’re famed for our varied and impressive tequila varieties, and are proud of our label as self-confessed tequila connoisseurs. But some of you seasoned drinkers may have been introduced to a little something on the market called mezcal. This is another popular Mexican drink that can be smooth, smoky, and has that wonderful punch. But what actually is the difference?
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Well, when it comes to the tequila and mezcal debate, one thing is important to know – all tequilas are mezcals. Basically a mezcal is any agave based liquor. So, what specific qualities make a drink tequila?

There are generally three differences:

1) Tequila and mezcal are produced in different states of Mexico (although there is slight overlap). Tequila is produced in five states, with Jalisco being the central hub – this is where the actual town of tequila is! Oaxaca is where most mezcal is produced.

  1. 2) To be labelled true tequila, the law states it can only be made with Blue Agave.  Mezcal can be made with as many of 30 varieties of agave, though most are made with the Agave Espadin – this is the most prevalent agave variety found in Oaxaca.
  2. 3) The production process of both spirits is very different, leading to a distinctly different flavour. Although they are harvested in the same way by jimadors, shaving off the leaves to leave the ‘pina’, after that its a different process of fermentation. Mezcal often has a more smoky flavour.

So there we are! Whether you’ve sampled mezcal before, or still haven’t given it a go – just come and ask our advice!

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