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Posts Categorised: Food

Fancy a Quickie? El Camion can help with that…

Introducing the El Camion Quickie – a perfect opportunity to fuel up with a traditional Mexican snack, quench your thirst with a Sol, and add a spring in your step courtesy of Altos Tequila.

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Available weekdays from between 3 and 6pm, this deal is perfect for those industry bods that find themselves about to start work and, although they don’t want a full meal, would’t mind something speedy and satisfying. Or maybe you’ve just finished a shift and want to pop by to your favourite Baja Californian Cantina. For only that crumpled fiver in your pocket – or five shiny coins that you picked up as a tip – you can enjoy a freshly cooked Empanada, a chilled bottle of Sol, and a revitalising shot of Altos.

A truly fulfilling quickie for a fiver in Soho? Now that’s value!

£7.50 Lunch Deal!

Soho has got great food everywhere you turn, but for some reason come lunchtime you get overwhelmed by the choice, curl up in a ball and then beeline towards some overpriced chain sandwich shop for a sad, cellophane-wrapped carby parcel, complete with some dog-eared rocket poking out the sides.

 

THIS HAPPENS NO LONGER! WE ARE STOPPING YOU RIGHT THERE!

 

For the same price as that carby parcel with a drink, you can pick up a lunch deal from El Camion. YUMMY. We’ve got a sexy burrito for you, that comes with a side of tortilla chips and salsa. AND a soft drink.

 

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Available Monday to Thursday, 12 noon until 5pm. VIVA LA LUNCHTIME!

 

 

 

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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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!

WORLD VEGETARIAN DAY IS HERE!

Today (October 1st) marks World Vegetarian Day. That’s a chance for you guys to go MEAT FREE!

Now, before you think we’re being too hasty – we KNOW our pork carnitas are incredible. We’re aware our chicken tinga is second to none. And we’re also clued up to the fact that our carne asada has been known to make people go weak at the knees. But we do also have some DELICIOUS veggie options for you guys to try. And you know what? They also might be a bit good for you.

So, in honour of vegetarians everywhere, here’s one of our favourite and most delicious meat free options – and why it’s so good for you

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla 

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MUSHROOMS:

According to Organic Facts “The health benefits of mushrooms include relief from high cholesterol levels, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes. It also helps in weight loss, and increases the strength of your immune system.” Well then, give us double portions of these fabulous fungi!

If you want to read more about the health benefits of mushrooms, read on here: https://thrivecuisine.com/lifestyle/mushrooms/

SPINACH:

We all know what a power house of nutrients Spinach is – and this is verified by the Organic Facts guys again, as they say: “Health benefits of spinach include good eyesight, blood pressure, strengthens muscles, prevention of age-related macula degeneration (AMD), cataract, atherosclerosis and heart attack, neurological benefits, bone mineralization, anti-ulcerative, anti-cancerous property, skin protection, foetus development, protein rich for infant’s proper growth etc.” It’s advisable to consume spinach regularly apparently – better make this a regular order!

CHEESE:

The Dairy Council sing the praises of cheese… and okay, that might not be too surprising, but apparently “Cheese and milk are known to contain specific factors believed to protect against dental caries and are known as anticariogenic, in fact cheese is considered to be one of the most anticariogenic of all foods.” It also contains calcium and phosphorous which are essential to the development and maintenance of healthy teeth. In fact, snacking on cheese in between meals is thought to be great for dental health!

 

So there you go – since it’s World Vegetarian Day come grab a spinach and quesadilla now – your health depends on it! (almost)

 

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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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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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 various types of Mexican food we tried On Tour

Here at El Camion, our menu comprises of mostly cuisine from the Baja California region of Mexico. This Northern part of the country has links to the United States, and comprises of lots of fish, tacos, burritos and quesadillas, as well as fish and steak.

So it was fun to explore the other gastronomic delights of Mexican food when we went On Tour to Mexico City recently, and see the dishes that don’t make it as frequently across the seas. Here’s a little round-up of what we found:

CACTUS SALAD

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Yep, that’s right – a salad made from cactus. Actually refreshing and completely delicious. It had the texture of green beans but was much more flavoursome, and was marinated with lime juice, coriander, chilli and onion. Cactus is actually incredibly good for you, having many of the same properties and nutrients as Aloe Vera (it’s from the same genus). We also had cactus pears (very tasty), and wonderful cactus juice.

CHILAQUILES

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Chilaquiles is a traditional breakfast dish in Mexico containing, as many meals do, tortilla chips.The tortilla chips are fried until they start to soften, then placed on a plate and topped with pulled chicken and sour cream, and served with refried beans on the side. To ensure the tortillas remain crisp, the salsa is added last – in this example it is red salsa.

BLUE CORN TORTILLA QUESADILLAS 

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Quesadillas can be eaten at any time of day (we serve some very popular ones at El Camion!) but these particular varieties were eaten at breakfast. They have a variety of fillings, including mushroom, cactus and pulled pork. What makes them quesadillas is the melted cheese inside – the name comes from the Spanish word ‘Queso’, which means cheese. Blue corn (also known as Hopi maize) is a variety of flint maize grown in Mexico. It contains 20 percent more protein than white corn, and has a sweeter, nuttier taste.

TRI-COLOUR ENCHILADA

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Enchiladas, for anyone who hasn’t chowed down on our El Camion variety, is a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered in sauce, usually containing rice and a mix of meat and vegetables. This variety has three colours made from green and red salsa and black beans. The sour cream also adds to the impression of colours from the Mexican flag.

TORTILLA SOUP

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These tortillas crop up everywhere! Well, they are a staple item in Mexican food. It’s very popular to have them cut into strips and added to soup, such as this tomato variety made with chicken stock. Other additions include avocado chunks and fried onions.

 

So there you have it – a little gastronomic tour of our visit to Mexico City! If you fancy experiencing the flavours of Mexican Food yourself then come down and visit some day – and here’s a picture of our fabulous Mixed Botanas to tempt you!

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The colours of Mexico City

Here at El Camion, we’re known for being a bright and cheerful kind of establishment. We serve authentic Baja Californian cuisine, and like to bring the joys of warmer climes to Soho with our eye-popping decor.

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And a recent visit to Mexico proved beyond all doubt that this is one of the most colourful and vibrant places we’ve ever encountered.

Take the houses, casually jostling for space in Mexico City centre, right next to historical Spanish churches…

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They’re beautiful! Canary-yellow and cherry red facades, with azure blue awnings on the windows. Why can’t London be a little more cheerful?!

Then there are the famous pieces of artwork…

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This is just a small portion of the incredible mural painted by Diego Rivera, showing the history of Mexico and its people. Literally the most beautiful, intricate and colourful piece of artwork we’ve ever seen.

There are the traditional boats, also known as trajineras, which are found in Xochimilco…

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The spices in the market…

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And even the breakfasts! If we woke up to such colourful food every day, we’re sure we’d be smiling ALL THE TIME!

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Which is why we aim to bring similar happiness with the plates that we serve…

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So, if you can’t get over to Mexico yourself, just remember – we’re on hand to bring the brightness to London!