An El Tejate Experience

Last month’s Anthony Bourdain show at the Escondido Center for the Arts was the perfect chance to catch a pre-show meal at El Tejate, a Oaxacan restaurant whose owners also operate a food stall at the nearby Escondido Swap Meet. Inside the brightly painted restaurant, the friendly chef-owner prepares traditional specialties from the state of Oaxaca, including spicy mole rojo, mellow mole negro and excellent tlayudas, a snack food that consists of thin, platter-size rounds of crisp tortilla smeared with a delicious black bean puree and topped with Oaxacan cheese, which has a string cheese-like texture, and either beef, chorizo or chicken. An optional, recommended garnish would be a sprinkling of tangy chapulines, grasshoppers (pictured at left) that are griddled with lemon juice and salt until slightly crunchy. The bugs make ideal beer snacks, so it’s convenient that Holiday Wine Cellar, one of the area’s best beer stores, is located just a few blocks west of the restaurant. An alternate but no less tasty beverage is their horchata con tuna; here, the freshly made rice drink is gussied up with additions of prickly pear puree and finely chopped pecans and cantaloupe.

Never Too Cheesy

Crickets, Cheese and a Chef Showdown

Every Wednesday starting October 6,

Extraordinary Desserts

in Little Italy will offer an all-you-can-sample Cheese Bar from 4 to 7 p.m. For $12, you can eat all you like from an assortment of up to ten cheeses; selections could include Humboldt Fog, a creamy goat cheese, Cashel Blue from Ireland and a sheep’s milk cheese whose rind is rubbed with balsamic vinegar called Pecorino Ginepro. Breads, crackers, fruit and Extraordinary Desserts’ signature spreads, from chutneys, jams and honeys, will also be served. Twenty wines will be available in half-glass portions, with a focus on small production wines that are sustainable, organic or biodynamic. If beer’s your beverage of choice with cheese, their weeknight happy hour menu also features a deal on a craft beer, and if you haven’t had your fill from cheese, there are specials on half-paninis and grilled cheese sandwiches. 1430 Union Street in Little Italy.

Chef Showdown

Two teams of local chefs will square off in a live cooking competition to benefit the Center for Community Solutions, a local non-profit dedicated to ending sexual assault and domestic violence through a range of prevention and intervention services. The Chef Showdown, which is in its sixth year, will be held on Thursday, October 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the NTC Promenade at Legacy Plaza in Point Loma. The competitors include chefs from El Vitral, Cucina Urbana, Cosmopolitan, Harney Sushi and more; commentary will be provided by Bernard Guillas from the Marine Room and Sam the Cooking Guy. Guests will sample food and cocktails from participating restaurants, among them are Avenue 5, Searsucker, Barrio Star and the Grant Grill. Tickets are $125 and funds raised will go to support the CCS’ programs and services. Call for details at (858) 272-5777 or visit the website to purchase tickets.

 

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