Domingo en Monterrey - Heritage Meets Modern Organic Mexican
Taking a Sunday ride to the ranch outside of Monterrey was more than a day with family for Ruben, it was a journey of exploration in food and tradition. The terrain winds through rushing waters and bumpy roads to a remote ranch set within the mountains of Monterrey. The ranch is tucked away in a landscape of mountain ranges, vast views with ranging cattle, horses, and chickens.
The casita at the ranch is unassuming, small with just enough room to gather in the kitchen. Outside the open fire grill is the smoky setting of story-telling, laughter, and a canvas for a beautiful meal. The chiles are prepped inside. Ancho chiles set in a warm pot of broth with chopped onion, garlic, cumin, and sweet paprika are worked with a molcajete into a simple, yet complex paste. This paste is the smokey, slightly sweet glaze added to the meat charring on the grill. Mama Elva presses masa into rounds for tortillas and Jorge preps the michelada's, a beer with tomato juice. Corn is placed on the grill. When ready, the flank steak is rolled into hot tortillas with fresh lime, cilantro, onions and a handful of cotija cheese. Abuelita Emma brings pots of ranchero pinto beans with garlic, cumin and onion and Mexican rice. Simple dishes with intense flavor. The family gathers, the stories flow, and the meal, as always, is the heart of the table.
Ruben often reflects on these moments and how they shaped his desire to bring his heritage to a modern, organic Mexican food he created in his version of the empanada filled with organic meats, authentic Mexican chiles, and fresh vegetables.
Platitos "little bites" are traditional in every region of Mexico - the empanada is the canvas that wraps the story, the art, and the flavors of generations of cooking into a modern grab and go meal.
Founder/Chef Ruben is a Creative Director with an award-winning career at creative powerhouses Disney, Live Nation, Warner Brothers and innovative digital agencies. As an entrepreneur, his latest endeavor, The Empanada Shop, takes him to his kitchen in the heart of the Southbay, Los Angeles. Here his passion for food collides with his love in the creative design space and his roots for the good food he grew up making with his family.