NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — In celebrating the rich flavor of Hispanic culture and contributions to the City of New Orleans the United States, WGNO’s Christopher Leach and Kenny Lopez went on a food tour to a few restaurants in the city.
The city of New Orleans has a lot of Hispanic flavor. The restaurant scene has changed over the years with Hurricane Katrina and the Coronavirus pandemic. While some restaurants have closed, many new restaurants have opened in their place.
Any foodie can travel all over the world through flavor without needing a passport because of the diversity of food in New Orleans.
Casa Borrega is a wonderful place to experience authentic Mexican cuisine from the Mexico City region. Hugo Montero is the owner is proud of the food he serves. As you walk into the restaurant, the colors of Mexico vibrantly adorn every corner. Montero has worn many hats over the years and is an adept visual artist, with some of his art displayed in the restaurant. There’s live music and a bar full of a wide array of tequila.
Montero’s menu boasts much flavor, including Enchiladas de Mole Poblano. Mole is a gorgeous sauce that can take more than 20 ingredients. There are many different varieties throughout Mexico, and some contain the likes of chocolate, dried peppers and cinnamon. Every mole takes time and love to make.
“This is the number one dish in Mexico and Mexico City. I think one of the tridents in Latin culture is the food,” says Montero.
Other dishes served at Casa Borrega include tender tacos de lingua, which are beef tongue tacos with a lot of seasoning and lime.
Another restaurant is Tito’s Ceviche and Pisco, which now is comprised of two restaurants. Tito’s is owned by husband-and-wife team, Chef Juan Lock and Tatiana Lock.
The bar is filled with Pisco, a distilled white alcohol made from grapes and the menu boasts the soul of Peru. There are plenty of gorgeous cocktails made from Pisco at the restaurant. One of the favorites is Pisco Sour, with lime juice, simple syrup and egg whites.
From the mural of Machu Picchu at the restaurant location on St. Charles to the open seating and natural light, there is much to offer.
Peru has historically been bold in flavor. Some of the county’s higher elevation gave the world unique offerings. Potatoes are all over the world, but they originated in the Andes of Peru.
The menu at Tito’s Ceviche and Pisco holds Peruvian mainstays, such as plenty of types of ceviche and “Lomo Saltado,” which are beef tenderloin tips with garlic and cross-continental seasoning.
“Lomo Saltado is very popular in Peru. It’s tenderloin tips with a lot of Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and African influence. It is representative of the people of Peru,” explains Juan Lock.
The last feature restaurant is Bakery Bar. Bakery Bar uniquely pairs dessert and cocktails. The restaurant also has a world-class brunch.
Earlier this year, Chef Lydia Solano became the Executive Chef of Bakery Bar. Her heritage is Costa Rican. The restaurant hopes to spotlight more Latin flavors to its menu.
Costa Rica has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and has a wide array of vegetation and fruit. The locals there like to exclaim “Pura Vida,” which means “pure life.”
“I wanted to share this recipe for bolitas de coco because it brings back happy memories of my childhood. We would go to a park and my grandpa would buy from a coconut stand and open coconuts with a machete and as straw,” recalls Solano.
Leach and Lopez shared a Costa Rican recipe from Solano. WGNO is proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Lydia Solano’s Bolitas De Coco
Serving size: 15
- 8 tablespoons of butter
- 1 can of sweet and condensed milk
- 1 large roll of Maria’s crackers
- 2 cups of toasted coconut shavings
- 1 cup of sugar cane syrup (optional)
- 1/4 cup of milk
- Pulse Maria’s crackers in a food processer (or place crackers in-between two sheets of parchment paper and roll with a rolling pin)
- Melt butter and mix with condensed milk.
- Mix together Maria’s cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of toasted coconut shavings, sugar cane syrup and milk-butter mixture.
- Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook on low until mixture peels away from the pan.
- Let mixture cool for an hour in the fridge until solidified.
- Roll into golf-ball sized spheres and cover in coconut shavings.
- Let them rest in the fridge for two hours.