Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Apr 19th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Ancient Maize

dining leosA pre-Colombian soup of Mesoamerican shelled corn continues to nourish and warm us centuries later

The Aztec and other ancient cultures in Mesoamerica gave us many things. For instance, the words chocolate and avocado originated in the Nahuatl language, as did pozole [poh-soh-ley].

The native, large-kernel field corn, cacahuacintle, was a sacred plant to those indigenous inhabitants. They used a process called nixtamalaztion to remove their hulls. Cooked in an alkaline solution of lime (think limestone), the hulls could be rubbed off. This process also increased the nutritive value, adding nicacin. Farther north, the same grain is known as hominy, which has its roots in the American Indian Powhattan name for corn.

Dried, it stores well, and when cooked the kernels boom like a flower and become the smooth basis for tortillas and tamales as well as the celebratory soup named pozole.

♛♛♛ 
To find pozole at Taqueria Agave, you'll have to wait for the weekend. For an order to go of the "small" size ($6.50), warmed hominy and cubes of lean pork were loaded into a quart container, and the hot broth was poured over them. Creamy, fiery red salsa, cabbage, and lime wedges were packed up for me. I also grabbed some fresh, roasted serrano chilies and pico de gallo from the condiment bar. Steaming hot, the huge, flowery kernels of corn were soft but still chewy in the meaty orange broth.

Taqueria Agave, 1836 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 325-0831. Serving cerveza. Visit taqueriaagave.com.


♛♛♛
At El Palomar, pozole is available every day, and a small bowl ($8) is still more than I can consume at a seating. There were fewer and smaller kernels of corn, and a fair amount of fresh, shaved cabbage was added in the kitchen, along with cilantro and tomato. It was prepared the traditional way, with a tender, meaty, bone-in chop of pork which, as expected, required removal of easily separable fat. I dipped the thick house-made corn tortillas into the nicely spiced broth, quenching the heat with one of El Palomar's famous margaritas.
El Palomar, 1336 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 425-7575. Full bar. Visit elpalomarcilantros.com.

♛♛♛
Leo's Taco Bar may be small, but their flavors are big. The house-made salsas range from mild to fiery to smoky. I took advantage of this buffet while crunching on thin, ultra-crisp tortilla chips. The huge bowl of pozole ($8.95) was steeped in a rich, tan broth with pieces of bay leaves and onion. Droplets of oil attracted the crimson hue of chilies. The plate of condiments included Mexican oregano, salsa fresca and thinly sliced cabbage. Huge chunks of meat had fallen off the bone-in chop, and, of course, some fat removal was in order. I especially liked dipping the tender meat in the mild, thin avocado salsa and the fresh purée of jalapeños.
Leo's Taco Bar, 1710 Brommer St., Santa Cruz, 465-1105.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?