Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mariachi Music and Chiles

Long long ago in Chicago lived Meson del Lago, an authentic Mexican restaurant run by my father Bill Contos. With my family's history in French restaurants it seems strange to have had a Mexican one but my family's extensive love affair with Mexican food has never puzzled me. I have it too!

Midnight. My travel companions and I arrived in the lovely town of San Miguel De Allende, Mexico. First things first: TACOS! So, our divine navigator wheeled us to the best Taco stand in town and within minutes three pork tacos with a side of grilled scallions was happily in front of me. "Salsa?" "YES please"!

During my stay in this colorful town, that felt like home, I enjoyed time with family and learned more that I ever imagined about Mexican foods. The background hummed with Mariachi music which I just adore and listen to when I am cooking at home. We were busy and the time flew buy. Activities included: soaking in the hot springs (which served margaritas), learning Aztec recipes in cooking classes, shopping for Talavera pottery, shipping the pottery home, and eating. I even ended up in a clean, speedy, emergency room. That's what a bee sting will do to me these days. May I add that my hospital visit was 1% of what I paid here in the US for the same treatment.

Okay let's get to the food. Deep fried whole pig, cut up into portions, basted with fat then chopped even smaller and soon to be placed inside a soft bolillo (roll) topped with a pickled jalapeno. Oh yeah! Or how about the homemade churros (long deep fried doughnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar) filled with chocolate sauce. One day I found the tiniest bakery selling a variety of cookies the size of a quarter, cinnamon was my favorite. Now back home with my pottery and new kitchen tools, I have been busy in the kitchen sharing what I learned with friends and family.

On April 29th the Burlington Free Press will be posting a story written by Melissa Pasanen all about me and my love for Mexican foods. The story will include two of my favorite new Mexican recipes. If you live in the Burlington area this will be easy to find in print or read it online. I have also posted a salsa recipe on my website.

News- Sign up to my facebook page chefcontos.  I have current recipes and pictures posted on my page.
Also, I will be on WCAX-TV Channel 3 on May 7th at 6:40am.
The list is long but the best way to stay current with what I am up to is go to my press/events page at

Happy Spring,

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