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Monthly Archives: September 2015

El Camion Busts Some Mexican Food Myths!

We’ve already enlightened our loyal fans regarding many popular stories and legends surrounding Mexican food – such as Little Donkeys (burritos) and the origin of the taco. So today we’re focusing our keen eye on a few more myths and facts that you might not have realised whilst chowing down on your enchilada. Don’t say we never teach you anything!

So, get your head around these facts:

Refried Beans:

These are beans that have been fried twice, right? Wrong! Next time you order this yummy side dish then keep in mind the name is all down to a mistranslation. The Spanish name is frijoles refritos – beans that are cooked in water and then fried afterwards. Rather than ‘retired’, ‘refrito‘ means ‘well fried’. They’re a pretty old dish too – recipes date back to the 1800s!

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Chimichangas, Burritos and Enchiladas:

Confused about the differences between the Mexican food staples of enchiladas, burritos and enchiladas? Well, an enchilada is baked, while a burrito is only wrapped. As for a chimichanga – this is simply a burrito that has been fried.

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  • Tacos:

So how did tacos get big in the US? Allegedly, a group of women known as The Chilli Queens would sell them out of carts, and with the arrival of the new railroad, more and more tourists crossed their paths. They loved the easy-to-grab concept of the food, as well as the Mexican origin, and soon exploded on the foodie scene. This was hugely enhanced by the emergence of Taco Bell, which became one of the most popular Tex-Mex outlets.

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Spotlight On: Tequila Herradura

Tequila Herradura is pretty special. It’s an ultra premium 100% agave tequila from Casa Herradura, which is one of Mexico’s oldest and most renowned tequila producers. Made in a traditional 19th century Hacienda in Amatitán, Jalisco, everything about Herradura encompasses the historical craftsmanship of tequila, from using the most mature blue agave to being fermented naturally with wild yeast.

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There are three main tequilas in the Herradura range – Silver, Reposado and Añejo – as well as a few more super duper deluxe tequilas that would be perfect to bring out on a big occasion, like you might do with a fine wine. THAT’S how to be impressive.

But the ones that we are most likely to be drinking are the three aforementioned.

Herradura Silver is the youngest, being aged for a total of 45 days in American White Oak barrels. Its light straw colour and smooth taste has gained Herradura a reputation for being one of the finest tequilas in the world.

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Not only do Herradura do a spankingly good Reposado; they actually created the Reposado category in 1974. BOOM. Reposado tequilas are required by law to be aged for two months, but Herradura Reposado ages in the barrels for eleven months, giving the tequila a beautiful deep copper colour. Lovely jubbly.

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Herradura Añejo, introduced by Casa Herradura in 1962, matures in the barrel for 25 months. 25!! This is more than double the one-year ageing requirement for a tequila to be considered an Añejo by Mexico law. This ageing gives it a lovely deep amber colour and a complex, spicy taste.

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We hope you are lucky enough to try Tequila Herradura – it really is for the tequila aficionado.

It’s Mexican Independence Day!

Hola! Today is Mexican Independence Day! Of course, this means muchos celebrating in the only way we know how – eating, drinking and dancing!

 

We’ve got two amazing food specials on today; the first of which being Crispy Baja Prawn Tostadas. For just £9, we will set alight your tastebuds with big, fat and juicy grilled king prawns served on crispy tortilla shells with black beans and all the fixings.

 

Our second special is Filete de Frio Res for £15.50. Mouthwatering rare beef tenderloin is served chilled with chipotle mayonnaise, a peppery salad and spiced creamed black beans. Man o man!

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And we couldn’t forget about a special Mexican Independence Day drink. We’ll be serving a cocktail which is based on a traditional Independence Day punch, consisting of Olmeca Altos Blanco Tequila, cinnamon, apple, guava, pomegranate and lime juices, garnished with edible flowers. Get your hands on a glass of Independence Ponche for just £7.

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Finally – the dancing! The brilliant Cash Cows shall be doing a Mexican Independence themed set, so expect sombreros, guitars, and a helluva good time.

Olé!

CALLING ALL FASHIONISTAS – here’s a cocktail for London Fashion Week

Cocktails and fashion go hand in hand – they’re both stylish, glamorous, and more often than not try to outdo each other on the crazy presentation.

So it only makes sense that we have some sort of offer available for all those in the Fash Pack who will be trotting around Soho in their high heels and crazy headwear – after all, this year London Fashion Week 15 is being held in the Brewer Street car park no less – a mere stone’s throw from our door!

We thought about it, and decided there really could be no better cocktail than the classic Espresso Martini. After all, it was invented by El Camion bartender Dick Bradsell when, some time ago, a model came in and asked for a drink that was going to ‘wake me up, and then f**k me up’. Since then, this boozy, caffeinated libation has been keeping drinkers alert (and then getting them sozzled), and is a firm favourite.

So our London Fashion Week cocktail is going to be an Espresso Martini made with Absolut vodka. We’re going to be selling them for £7 during the week and then we’ll be having a party on Friday, where we’ll be selling them for merely £5 to anyone with a London Fashion Week pass. To tempt you a little more, here’s a picture of our very own Matt modelling the Absolut Espresso…
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So, whether you need waking up, f***ing up, or both – bring your London Fashion Week pass and we’ll see you for drinkies!

IT’S NEARLY MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Next Wednesday – September 16th – signals a very important date in the Mexican calendar. It is, after all, MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Now, there will no doubt be a few people thinking ‘hang on, wasn’t that back in May?’, but as we explained in a previous post, Cinco de Mayo is a very different thing.

Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16th as, on this date back in 1810, the ‘Cry of Dolores’ (Grito de Dolores) was sounded from the small town of Dolores in Mexico.  This event marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence, where a priest named Hidalgo revolted against the Spanish Colonial Government.  Despite this, Mexico’s independence would not be effectively declared from Spain until September 28, 1821 – a decade later. This would become the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire.

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In foodie terms, the world also recognises this day as National Guacamole Day (well, why not?) So if you’re in Soho, then do pop in for a dose of the green stuff – and we’ll keep you updated on what offers we plan.

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A cocktail to go with your cheesy nachos?!

We were recently featured on the Mail Online in an article about the best cocktails to go with your guilty pleasure eats. Not that we endorse crappy food (we only serve the good stuff) but we do endorse cheese on pretty much everything, and Bea can whip up a cocktail to go with anything.

As Bea says in the article, quite rightly, ‘Everyone likes a spicy nacho’ – but the trick is drinking something to complement that spice.

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We announced our new cocktail, The Chilipinarita in a recent blog post here. Made with pineapple juice, pineapple syrup, lime juice, two pineapple wedges, a red chilli – and of course two shots of blanco tequila, it is the perfect blend to enhance the spice, while the acid from the pineapple tempers it.

Bea says: ‘The sweet notes in the pineapple juice balances the savoury nachos and the citrus stops the dairy from the beautifully stringy cheese and the sour cream from resting in your stomach. The tequila needs no explanation. It’s frikken agave nectar from the gods.’

Bea is seldom wrong. Read the full article here.

 

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Spotlight On: Calle 23 Tequila

Calle 23’s slogan is ‘Tequila makes us smarter. So, drink smart.’ We couldn’t agree more, Calle 23!

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Calle 23 is one of the fine tequilas in our tequila cabinet and it’s a great one at that. Created by French-born Sophie Decobecq through a passion for Mexico and 100% agave spirits, Calle 23 took three years to perfect and at that eureka moment, Sophie pointed to the street sign across from them and named the tequila after it. Thence, Calle 23 was born!

Sophie specifically picked the Highlands region of Jalisco to harvest the agaves due to the fruity and spicy character of them, which lends itself beautifully to the spirit. By combining a high altitude with a hot climate and some heavy rains, the plant expresses great level of sugars, which are definitely present in the finished product.

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For the purists among us, the Tequila Blanco should hit the spot, providing a true taste of the 100% agave flavour. It is herbaceous and citrusy, with hints of Granny Smith apples in the lingering finish. But for those who prefer an aged tequila, try the Reposado or Anejo, which are aged in old American Whiskey bottles for 8 and 16 months respectively. More about Calle 23 Reposado in an earlier blog of ours here.

Enjoy, tequila lovers!

So what’s all this about a Burrito?

Ah, burritos. We love them. You love them. Everyone who has tried an El Camion burrito loves them, because they’re so darned tasty. Whether tender Yucatan Beef, juicy Pork Carnitas, some healthy and fresh Grilled Fish or the ever popular Chicken Tinga, they are one of the most popular items on the menu. There’s even a chance to Make Them Wet… mmm.

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So what is the history of this magnificent parcel of wrapped heaven? Well, El Camion is here to tell you.

We’re fine purveyors of Baja Californian cuisine, which is from the area closer to America. But for those in the more southern part of the country, or any Spanish speakers, the name might bring a bit of confusion. Because, in Spanish, ‘Burro’ means donkey, and ‘Burrito’ means little donkey.

Why? Because the first burritos contained donkey meat… *Jokes!* No, that’s not it at all. But the real reason is shrouded in mystery. The most popular story, which is probably not entirely true, is that Juan Mendez, a man from Chihuahua in Mexico, would cart around his food supplies using a donkey. To keep the morsels warm he would wrap them up in a flour tortilla. So the name apparently comes from the fact the food was delivered and sold with the help of a donkey cart.

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But still, it is unlikely Juan Mendez actually created the burrito. This dish became popular in the early twentieth century around the time of the Mexican Revolution, but the Diccionario de Mexicanismos has an entry for the burrito as early as 1895. it describes the burrito as “A rolled tortilla with meat or other ingredients inside, called ‘coçito’ in Yucatán and ‘taco’ in the city of Cuernavaca and in Mexico City.”

Another theory is that burritos are named after little asses because the wrapped goodies look a little like donkey’s ears, or bedrolls that would have been carried by donkeys. But one thing is for certain – El Camion makes a mean one, and they are definitely worth a trip to experience!

 

The So Soho Cocktail Scene

We are in an area of London that is steeped in cocktail history (‘steeped’ is probably a good word; ‘pickled’ could also have been used in its place). At every corner, bartenders conspired, bars were frequented and drinks were invented. The scene has changed over the years, but it is still here, and so are the remnants of what made it.

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In the 80s and 90s, Soho was the pioneer in changing the UK cocktail scene and famous party animals like Boy George, members of Spandau Ballet and Simon Le Bon would zig-zag across the streets, lipstick smeared across cheeks, martini glasses in-hand. It was in Soho Brasserie, on Old Compton Street, in the late 1980s, that Dick invented the Espresso Martini. Other famous creations from the ‘King of Cocktails’ include the Bramble, the Russian Spring Punch and, of course, the Pink Chihuahua (so good we named our bar after it). The founder of LAB, Douglas Ankrah, which is still going strong on Old Compton Steet, created the Porn Star Martini, which is now known the world over.

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Cocktail creativity in Soho is still peaking, and a new generation of bartenders are entering competitions and achieving international critical acclaim for making great drinks. LAB, Milk & Honey, Experimental Cocktail Club, Mark’s Bar at Hix and our very own Pink Chihuahua at El Camion are among the awesome places to go in Soho to get an excellent cocktail. With a line-up like that, we think it’s going to be a pretty great weekend.

Spotlight On: Tequila Ocho

With Tequila and Mezcal Fest just around the corner, you might have guessed that we’d have tequila on the brain. The festival has received great support from several high-profile figures in the drinks industry, and one of its ambassadors is Tomas Estes, the co-creator of Tequila Ocho.

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Tomas Estes loves tequila. And he is the kind of guy you want co-creating a tequila because you know it’s going to be good. Estes knows everything about tequila – where it’s from, how it’s made, how the agave is grown, who the farmers are – and his passion has done a lot to raise awareness of the exploitation in commercial tequila production.

So, as you would probably imagine, his love and passion for tequila has pretty much been bottled in Tequila Ocho. His partnership with Carlos Camarena, a third generation Tequilero, has combined tradition and heritage with innovation and modern thinking.

Tequila Ocho is made slowly in an artisanal way. The result is an agave-rich, earthy, complex spirit that has its own distinct aroma and character. It is definitely NOT for shooting – in fact, it opens up in the glass, the same way a fine wine does.

So, why Ocho? Well, you may or may not know that ‘ocho’ is ‘eight’ in Spanish – and with the amount of times this number came up in the process of its production is pretty spooky.

Taken from the Tequila Ocho website:

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Naturally, we serve Ocho at El Camion, so give it a go next time you’re in!