Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bringing gifts

Valeria spice merchant
 We're off to London, and we're bringing gifts from Los Angeles for our son. He is becoming an accomplished cook, and one of his Christmas gifts was a Rick Bayless cookbook on Mexican cuisine.

This weekend, we took a quick trip to the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, for an LA care package.

Assorted spices - click to"embiggen"
There are three merchants in the market that sell spices and dry goods in bulk. We visited each of them, enjoying the colorful displays. We bought three varieties of dried chiles - ancho, guajillo, and chipotle morita. They are packed in plastic bags inside yet more plastic bags, and despite that, our luggage is redolent with them!

We bought mexican chocolate and cones of piloncillo sugar.

This is mole made with sesame seeds
We bought two small tubs of pre-made mole - again, double-packed in plastic. A few tablespoons of this paste diluted with broth makes an incredibly flavorful sauce for chicken or pork in a matter of minutes. We also brought him a bottle of Tapatio hot sauce. That should be enough to bring a taste of Los Angeles to the Thames!

We couldn't bring him everything we saw, but here are some sights and tastes we enjoyed on his behalf:

Carnitas tacos from the Las Morelianos stall.

Here's the source of the carnitas - roasted pork shoulder.

Wonderful ripe vegetables, including heirloom tomatoes. Great prices, too.

A colorful display of Mexican candy.

Of course, the markets of London are said to be wonderful, too, so I'm sure we'll see a lot of beautiful displays there.

So this time tomorrow, British customs officials willing, we will be unpacking suitcases with our gifts safely stowed - the only trace will be the amazing scent of dried chiles clinging to our t-shirts and underwear!  If you are in London, and in some museum, theatre, or market you happen to pass an American looking woman who smells like smoky and essential chipotle chiles - stop and say hello to me!


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I was wondering about that...will they let you take these wonderful things on the plane?

The last few years, I've only flown with a backpack and everything goes through security. Of course, these have almost all been work trips for 3-4 days at the most.

Cloudia said...

thanks for sharing this delightful Summer excursion!

Aloha from Honolulu :)

Comfort Spiral




Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

What a beautiful market! He'll be so happy to be able to cook some Mexican food- not a lot Mexican restaurants in the old world.

I love carnitas, but I love tacos al pastor even more.