Friday, August 1st, 2014
Many of us who live in the East Bay have stepped outside in the morning to find wild turkeys hanging out in our front yard. Turkeys are native to North America, not only were they an important food source for the Native American tribes, but also for the indigenous peoples of Mexico. While many consider chicken mole to be a quintessential Mexican dish, the truth is, chickens did not exist in Mexico until introduced by the Spanish after the conquest. In Oaxaca, for thousands of years, “guajolote” or wild turkey, was the traditional protein to be served with mole negro, and it continues to be served today as special dish on festive occasions such as Christmas.
I have always felt that turkey is an under-appreciated meat in American restaurant culture. Other than our yearly Thanksgiving dinner, it rarely is served other than as a sandwich filling. Perhaps it is because it is a larger bird, many chefs find it difficult to create a dish that is appropriately proportional for an individual diner, but with a menu that emphasizes sharing with our “platos fuertes” section, I saw a perfect opportunity to get turkey on the menu. My thought process was to both keep things traditionally Mexican by serving our roasted turkey with a trio of our moles, while accompanying the main dish with a Mexican spin on a traditionally American vegetable: collard greens, braised with bacon, habanero chiles and lime. Of course, as do all of our “platos fuertes”, it also comes with rice, black beans and tortillas.
It has been really fun to see this dish that germinated from a simple idea develop a cult following among our guests, earning a regular spot in our daily rotating menu. I just hope that the plump Tom that was giving me the evil eye this morning from my front lawn isn’t plotting his revenge.
Monday, June 30th, 2014
Due to its subtropical climate, much of the produce of Oaxaca is available year round. However, here in Northern California many of the vegetables that are associated with Oaxacan cooking are available during our summer season. It is now that the local markets are exploding with a wide variety of summer squash, and to celebrate, we at Comal are debuting a new seasonal tlayuda with black bean puree, queso Oaxaca, and grilled Summer squash with their blossoms.
Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
Spicy Watermelon Salad
Green Beans with Pepita-Chile Arbol Salsa
Monday, May 19th, 2014
During the early golden age of Hollywood, Tijuana was a playground for the rich and famous. Only a four-hour drive, but across the border and a world away from the spotlight of the burgeoning paparazzi, Hollywood’s finest felt free to indulge in their insatiable appetites for tequila, illicit drugs and prostitution. It was the original Sin City, and just like modern Las Vegas, where there was money to be spent, the finest chefs followed.
Out of this environment was born the Caesar Salad. According to legend, after a particularly busy night of dinner service, some friends stopped by chef Caesar Cardini’s restaurant late night looking for a bite to eat. Having very little left in the pantry to choose from, he threw together a salad from what he had on hand; romaine lettuce, eggs, Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce (made with anchovies), olive oil, garlic, and croutons. And so a legendary salad was born. Of course the Caesar Salad is closely associated with Italian-American cuisine, but Mexico can lay claim to its invention.
Tonight, we will be rolling out a fun riff on a Caesar: Bitter Greens with lemon-anchovy vinaigrette, Manchego cheese, sieved egg and toasted almonds.
Monday, May 5th, 2014
As if Cinco de Mayo weren’t enough reason to come to Comal this evening, a new taco will be making its first appearance. Introducing ancho chile-braised beef brisket with carrot, raisin and habanero slaw, perfect for washing down with a margarita!