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CHRISTMAS POSADA TRADITIONS IN MEXICO

YES – Christmas is most definitely here. The lights of Soho are twinkling, Brewer Street is soaked with the boozy scent of mulled wine, and we’re far enough from the chaos of Oxford Street to feel slightly smug that we’re not being trampled by gift-hungry shoppers.

However, while the entire of December seems like an excuse for Brits to binge-each mince pies, wear novelty jumpers and pop Prosecco at random opportunities, in Mexico it’s a little more structured.

This is because, over in this part of Latin America, Christmas is celebrated from December 16th to Christmas Eve.

During these nine days, children perform Posada processions. The word Posada is Spanish for Inn or Lodging, and there are nine different posadas, one for each day, and they celebrate the part of the Christmas story where Mary and Joseph are looking for somewhere to stay.

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On each night, a different house holds the Posada party. Until they reach this house, the children go on a procession throughout the neighbourhood, calling on friends and neighbours and singing to them – the song is basically Mary and Joseph asking for room at the inn. The houses are decorated with evergreens, moss and paper lanterns, while the children hold candles and a board, complete with painted clay figures of Joseph, and Mary riding on a donkey. At each house the procession is told there is no room, until finally they reach the correct house and are welcomed in! What follows is a good old knees up, with singing, food, games, fireworks and a piñata.

Christmas Eve is known as ‘Noche Buena’. At the very final Posada, shepherds and a manger are put on to the board. When the last Posada house has finally been reached, a baby Jesus is put into the manger. Families have a main Christmas meal and then go to Midnight Mass – this is known as ‘Misa de Gallo’ (Mass of the Rooster). Afterwards there are loads of fireworks to see in Christmas Day celebrations!

 

 

 

Green Enchilada Sauce?!

That’s right – GREEN enchilada sauce. We’ve started doing it. Why? Well, if you’ve ever been to Mexico City, enchiladas with green sauce is probably what you’ll be munching on.

Enchiladas with green sauce is the traditional way to serve enchiladas and originates from the time of the Aztecs, way before the Spanish conquest. Today’s recipes for green enchilada sauce probably originate from the Mexican region of Xochimilco.

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What makes it green? Well, the primary ingredient is tomatillo – a bright green tomato-ey looking thing, but much smaller and presented in a leafy husk. They are no good raw, but cooked they are fresh-tasting, herbaceous, aromatic, with a hint of lime. Other green ingredients include green peppers, jalapeños and coriander.

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What does it taste like? The result is a mild, fresh taste that lifts any heavy and spicy meat dishes. Thats why it goes so well with enchiladas – especially ones with a pork filling.

We recently tried it on our Thanksgiving turkey enchiladas and it tasted HAMAZING.

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Stuff We’ve Got Goin’ On

We can almost hear the sleigh bells ringing! The temperature has dropped, the nights are at their darkest – tis most definitely the season for all things food, for all things drink and for all things PARTY.

What’s been going on with us? Well, we’ve just been celebrating Thanksgiving in honour of our old muckers from across the pond and our chef created a special dish of Turkey Enchiladas: strips of marinated turkey wrapped in our thin tortillas, slathered in traditional green enchilada sauce and served with puréed black beans – yum! It might just have to last longer than Thanksgiving did…

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Watch out for more special dishes as Christmas approaches. Chef is feeling creative AND festive so expect some mouthwatering offerings starring turkey, cranberries, rich spices and warming treats.

And it’s not just the kitchen getting into the spirit of things! The bar team are currently working on a Christmas cocktail to make merry with. They’re a talented and competitive bunch so no doubt there will be an in-house cocktail competition to see who’s creation is the most palatable come Yuletide. Got some ideas? Send them our way!

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We’ve also got some awesome new tequilas and mezcals in, including Tequila Cabeza and San Cosme mezcal, so if you’re looking for a tipple to warm you from the inside, just ask our team what they recommend!

 

Membership at the Pink Chihuahua!

We all know what the hottest ticket in town is – everyone wants to get their greasy mitts on one. But we don’t give them to just anyone, and that’s why anyone who’s anyone really wants one and sometimes can’t get one… We’re talking about a Pink Chihuahua Membership card, obvs!

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Our legendary little basement bar on Brewer Street, The Pink Chihuahua, has seen many, many things. It’s seen the King of Cocktails, Dick Bradsell, shake up his crazy concoctions and create new ones for the cocktail history books, it’s seen the bartenders of Soho convene after hours and lose track of time one too many times and it’s seen many a birthday group dance on tables to The Cash Cows until the dawn. It’s a special little place.

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Here’s the rub. We’ve got to keep it special. We can’t let any Tom, Dick or Harriet in – not until we get to know them, of course. The Pink Chihuahua also only has a capacity of 50 people, so there’s that too. So, we ask that if you’d like to become a member of The Pink Chihuahua (we’d LOVE you to become a member) please fill in the application form online and we’ll invite you in to say hey, how’s it going? We’ll then issue you with a membership card, which you may use to sign in one other person. If it’s more than that, they’ll have to become members too! If you’ve got a special occasion coming up and would like to book a table for a group of you, please email us at info@elcamion.co.uk.

You can apply to become a member here.

Remember, it is an application only.

We hope you can join us for Pink Chihuahua fun soon!

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Spotlight on – Negra Modelo

Although we are obviously famous for our cocktail prowess, we also have a selection of fabulous beers that we’ve carefully selected. After all, there’s something undeniably unbeatable about chowing down on an enchilada washed down with an ice cold bottle of beer. And one of the very popular choices is Negra Modelo.

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Negra Modelo was created in 1925, when the brewmasters created a delicious Munich Dunkel (dark) style lager by slow roasting caramel malts, a technique that makes the brewing process last twice as long as other beers. Using the finest hops and exceptional yeast varieties, they created this delicious drink that perfectly complements food.

It comes from the Grupo Modelo brewery, and its full name is Cerveza Negra Modelo. The word “modelo” means “model” or “example” in Spanish. “Negra” means “black” or “dark” and modifies “cerveza.” It’s ideal when drunk alongside spicy dishes, or with corn based treats such as nachos and tacos. Not tried it yet? make sure to add it to your order next time you visit!

Take an El Camion Selfie!

Our aim is to give you guys a good time – whether you’re cramming your face with a burrito upstairs in our Baja Californian Cantina, or sipping on Espresso Martini Cocktails in our basement bar, The Pink Chihuahua. So it gives us no better pleasure than seeing you all enjoying yourself. Which is why we LOVE a selfie – especially when you tag us @Elcamionsoho on Instagram. And, what’s more, our favourite each week will win two free Pink Chihuahua cocktails! Here’s a selection of the ones we’ve collected recently…

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Friend love from @thenewhenrik – either they’re excited to go in or they’ve just had a wonderful time with us!

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@danielcshalom bringing the style with some margaritas – and of course the wall of ladies behind!

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We’re all about the birthday fun – and were thrilled at @beth_beatrice501 posting this candle-glowing piccie

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A great place for the gang – @jessiceeee13 shows how she celebrates Mexican Fridays with friends

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Standing out from the crowd – vibrant food and even brighter clothing from @saflow and friends

Weird places to drink great tequila

Who knew that in Disney World’s educational Epcot Theme Park in Orlando Florida lies one of America’s best tequila bars? Hmm, shooting tequila in a theme park for kids… is that wrong??

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Wrong or not (definitely not) La Cava Del Tequila in the Mexican Pavillion, as crass as it might sound, has been deemed as a fantastic tequila haunt by agave fans the world over! It has over 100 tequilas on offer and a pretty decent selection of mezcals too.

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Decorated with original Mexican artifacts, you can pretend you’re in a traditional hacienda whilst snacking on salsa, queso, and guacamole eats and working your way through the impressive speciality margarita menu. We don’t know about you but we’re pretty curious about the Avocado Margarita…

So, the moral of the story is – wherever you are in the world, there’s got to be some great tequila nearby. And what a find this is – especially if you’re ever stuck on a trip with kids at Disney World. ‘Go and play, kids… Uncle Tom will be waiting right here. All day.’

God bless you, Walt, for having a penchant for tequila.

 

Spotlight On: Don Fulano Tequila

With its sleek bottle and contemporary logo design, Don Fulano Tequila stands out on any back bar. But is definitely not just a pretty face. Don Fulano is classy stuff – pure, 100% agave, 100% natural tequila with no additives or chemicals added.

 

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There is a whole range of Don Fulano tequilas – from Blanco right through to Imperial, but what they do exquisitely well is ageing – so if you can try the Anejo, do! Ageing is one of their greatest passions and they know everything about the barrels before selecting them. Don Fulano uses a combination of new and used French limousine oak barrels to rest in – and the used ones are a selection of ex-cognac, armagnac and sherry, so rather than a wood-heavy taste, the aged tequilas have notes of maple, black cherry, roasted coffee, vanilla, dark chocolate, cloves and nuts, among many others.

It would be such a waste to shoot Don Fulano tequila. Yes, be that person that sits at the bar and smells it and swirls it around the glass like a fine wine! You’ll notice that the Anejo, rather than being woody and sweet, is present, spicy with a fudgy chocolate depth to it. Nectar from the gods!

Like the strange, greedy girl in the Galaxy advert, enjoy with closed eyes and a secret.

It’s gettin’ hot in here!

You’ve seen our Wall Of Fire, right? Our hot sauce collection lining our wall is a pepperhead’s dream, but if you don’t know your peppers from your padres then it might be a little overwhelming.

Get to know our sauces!

The ones we always have anytime you come in are Valentina and Cholula. Valentina is the number one, best-selling hot sauce in Mexico – the one that started it all. It’s a classic and you need to try this before you try anything else. As they say, if you don’t know where you’ve been, how do you know where you’re going? And Cholula, fondly referred to as ‘The Flavourful Fire’ is a staple on any Mexican restaurant table in America, used by pretty much everybody.

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We always have at least one El Yucateco – the red or green. Right now we also have the ‘Black Label Reserve’, which is black. It’s a dark, smoky habanero hot sauce with a mild heat level. Got to be tried!

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We also have a changing hot sauce special. At the moment, it’s Kan Kun Mexican Habanero. This is a vegan, gluten-free, additive-free, nut-free hot sauce made with 100% natural ingredients. Some hot sauces add chemicals to make them hotter or enhance the flavour, but not this one. It’s 85% pure Habanero chilli for extreme heat lovers.

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Turn up the heat with us at El Camion!

Now stocking Tequila Cabeza!

We are extremely happy campers to welcome a new fantastic tequila on board – say hola to Tequila Cabeza!

Since launching in 2012 with The 86 Co., Cabeza has had an awesome response from the industry. The Ultimate Spirits Challenge awarded it 93 points and deemed it ‘excellent, highly recommended’, Diffords Guide gave it 5 out of 5 stars, Spirits Review judged it 9 out of 10 and Beverage Tasting Institute presented it with a Gold Award, with an ‘exceptional’ 93 points. Cabeza is definitely something to be excited about!

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What’s the background?

The making of Tequila Cabeza is a real family-run operation. The Vivanco family have been cultivating agave in the Los Altos region of Jalisco for five generations and have been making tequila now for three. All the agave used in Tequila Cabeza comes from their land and they handle every part of production, which is still overseen by Falicio Vivanco, the head of the family, who is now in his eighties.

What does it taste like?

The 86 Co. were searching for a tequila that truly tasted of agave and worked with the Vivanco family to craft the ideal taste that they were after.

Tequila Cabeza tasting notes:

‘On the nose there is a bouquet of highland agave that captures both the earthiness and the honey of the agave while adding complex layers of green vegetables and a nice dose of minerality. More of the green vegetables, earthiness and some green pepper enter softly on the palate at the start before you are hit with a robust and earthy agave bomb on the mid-palate that comes with a dash of light citrus on the sides of the palate. It is medium to full- bodied with a velvety mouth feel and finishes with a light bitter citrus, more cooked agave flavours and black pepper. This Tequila is all about earthy cooked & raw agave flavours.’

Ultimate Spirits Challenge described the tasting notes as:

‘Toasted seeds and spices such as coriander seeds, with a lovely fruity temperament. An easy, soft and fruit driven tequila that is light in body and character.’

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Sounds DELISH.

Enjoy this exceptional tequila now at El Camion and way, way into the night downstairs in The Pink Chihuahua bar.