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A play on mojo de ajo. Photo by Maria Arredondo.

A play on mojo de ajo. Photo by Maria Arredondo.

I recently had one of the best dining experiences in my life– and I was inspired.

After eating at Wolvesmouth, my boyfriend, Dude, and I put together a similar dinner party in our backyard in Boyle Heights.

Dude, a daytime chef, served a five-course dinner to 40 of our closest friends and family. Simplicity and comfort was our motto for the evening. I created a playlist for the evening of melodic songs and upbeat tunes””I wanted to keep the atmosphere welcoming for interaction with one another between courses.

Dude decided on serving Mexican food”” we are Mexican after all and he loves to cook Mexican food.

Our menu included:

  • First course: ceviche with yellowtail and pineapple
  • Second course: vegetable soup with chicken broth
  • Third course: A play on Mojo de ajo, served with two shrimp in garlic sauce topped with a charred chive
  • Fourth course: Duo of chicken taco, pickled onion, jalapeno and red pepper along with cheese and a tostada with refried beans mixed with cheese and cream of corn, carnitas topped with a creamy avocado sauce
  • Dessert: Banana sorbet with graham crumbles
  • Drinks: Michelada and lemonade Tequila

All of the dishes were familiar to any Mexican household: refried beans, Mexican cheese, caldo de pollo, and of course, ceviche. It was a dinner filled with comfort foods and injected with new flavors that were new to the dish but not new to our taste buds.

As much as we remain grounded in our roots, it is always refreshing to see items that I have had in other dishes incorporated into the food that we grew up with.

This was no different that the dinners and gatherings my family and I had growing up, but I was glad to be able to host my own, with a contemporary twist.

The dinner was a success, it culminated with Dude coming out of the kitchen and thanking everyone for being there, and at the end of his speech, much to our surprise, all of our guests gave him a standing ovation.

Who would have thought that a dinner in a backyard in Boyle Heights would be received with such appreciation and excitement?

Here’s a recipe for my boyfriend’s famous Micheladas, a perfect drink for spring or summertime bbq’s:

Micheladas are a perfect drink for hot days. Photo by FLickr user calitexican/ Creative Commons

Micheladas are a perfect drink for hot days. Photo by FLickr user calitexican/ Creative Commons

Recipe for Dude’s Michelada

12 oz can of beer (preferably Modelo, Pacifico or Dos Equis)
5 oz of Spicy Clamato
A small bunch of cilantro
1 lemon
A few splashes of Tapatio hot sauce
Tajin chile powder
sea salt

Salt rim of container with salt and Tajin. Mull cilantro into container. Fill container with ice. Squeeze in half a lemon and add a few drops of Tapatio and a healthy pinch of Tajin into container with ice. Add beer and Clamato. Mix all ingredients ”“ season to taste

Maria Arredondo is a full-time working mom who always finds time to sit and have a meal with her family. Maria was born and raised in Boyle Heights, where she recently bought a home and lives with her boyfriend, two kids and her boyfriend’s sister. She calls herself an “Accidental Foodie” and loves to write.

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