Monday, October 28th, 2013
A new tamale, just in time for autumn. Cooked in a corn husk, it features wild nettles mixed into the masa, and is filled with rajas, camote (Mexican sweet potato) and a mix of jack and cheddar cheeses. It’s topped with pipian verde, a traditional pumpkin seed sauce, and garnished with cilantro and toasted pepitas. ¡Muy rico!
Saturday, October 12th, 2013
When Adam Sanders first walked through our door a year ago, I must admit that I had never heard of his small company. But from our first conversation, I knew that we would forge a great relationship. Copala distributes produce from a small collective of organic farms in the Salinas valley and Hollister area.
What is so unique about this farm collective is that all of the farmers are Mixtec, Triqui, or other ethnic minority immigrants from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Because it goes essentially unreported, most of the world is unaware that there is discrimination and violent repression waged against these ethnic minority villages in Oaxaca by the regimes in political power. Adam first became involved with this community while working as a juvenile probation officer, and upon realizing their plight, has become a tireless advocate for those seeking political asylum in the US. While a very small percentage of political asylum cases brought before a judge are successful, 100% of the immigrants that Adam has helped have been granted asylum.
Most of these immigrants were subsistence farmers back in their villages. They were already using organic farming practices because that was all that they knew. Adam saw this as an opportunity for this community to build a life here in America, doing what came naturally. All he had to do was connect the farmers with chefs and grocers who wanted their produce.
What was so exciting for me was that through Adam, I was able to ask these farmers to grow certain produce that was familiar to them in Oaxaca, but unavailable until now in the Bay Area. This last year, Adam brought seed from Mexico, and the Copala farmers started growing several heretofore unavailable chiles , herbs and greens, that have become important staples on our menu.
This past Tuesday, we had the opportunity to host Adam and one of his Triqui farmers, Francisco, for a special Oaxacan Harvest Dinner and wine pairing that highlighted produce grown on their farms. It was truly a special event for those who attended, and a thrill for Francisco to sit at the table and eat the fruits of his labor. As the days grow short and the fields are turned over, we’d would like to thank Adam and his farmers for bring fantastic produce to our table, and look forward to next year’s harvest.
Monday, September 16th, 2013
In 1808, Napolean invaded Spain and installed his brother José as king. With this shift in power, Mexico’s “criollos” (locally born people of Spanish ancestry) saw an opportunity to seek independence. In Spain’s stratified caste system, criollos were treated as second class citizens, which led to increasing discontent.
Two years later, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest spoke El Grito de la Independencia (the Cry of Independence) in the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato on September 16, 1810, marking the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence.
It took over ten years for Mexico to actually gain its independence from Spain, but since October 1825, the anniversary of “El Grito” is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day. It is a festive, celebratory day in Mexico with colorful decorations and spirited gatherings. The highlight is a huge gathering in Mexico City’s “Zocalo”, where the president delivers “El Grito” followed by fireworks and other revelry.
At Comal we will mark today’s holiday by serving our newest “plato fuerte”, roast turkey with three moles (negro, amarillo and coloradito). Hope to see you tonight to mark this occasion!
Photo (below): statue of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in front of the church in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato
Monday, September 9th, 2013
Adam Sanders started Copala Organics in 2010 in Hollister, CA. Its mission is to promote social justice by connecting fresh, high quality, mostly hand tended, family owned and worked, dry farm, organic produce from indigenous Oaxacan and other immigrant and first generation small farmers with markets and restaurants in the Bay Area through cooperative marketing and distribution.
Copala supplies Comal with a variety of hard to find, distinctly Oaxacan chiles, herbs and vegetables, many of which are grown by Francisco de Jesús López of Francisco’s Oaxacan Organic Farm.
On Tuesday, October 8th, Comal will welcome Adam and Francisco for a special dinner prepared by executive chef Matt Gandin showcasing some of these Oaxacan specialties: papalo, quintonil, costeño chiles, chilhuacle chiles, chiles de agua, verdolagas and Huicha squash. Chef Gandin’s dishes will be paired with wines drawn from Comal’s list, selected by wine director Corin Weihemuller.
This is the latest in Comal’s ongoing series of special dinners (previous events include Mexican Passover and winemaker dinners with Wind Gap, Donkey & Goat, and Arnot-Roberts) held in Comal’s private dining room, Abajo. All previous dinners have sold out in advance.
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, October 8th at 6:30 PM
PRICE: Tickets are $90 inclusive of food, wine and gratuity
RESERVATIONS: Space is limited – to purchase tickets, follow this link: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/367891
ADDRESS: Comal is located at 2020 Shattuck Avenue (at University Avenue) in Berkeley
WEBSITE & TELEPHONE: www.comalberkeley.com – 510.926.6300
Heirloom tomatoes pickled costeño chiles, requeson, verdolagas
2012 Rosé, Arnot-Roberts “Luchsinger Vineyard” Clear Lake
Local halibut crudo papalo, chile de agua salsa
2011 Napa Valley White, Matthiasson
White bean-quintonil soup
2011 Chardonnay, Le P’tit Paysan, “Jack’s Hill” Monterey County
Turkey and huicha squash tamal chilhuacle mole negro
2012 Cabernet Franc, Broc Cellars, Santa Barbara County
Oaxacan chocolate budin whipped crema
Monday, September 2nd, 2013