I studied Spanish for five years in Junior High and High School.I was known as Juan Peredeth (slight Castilian accent).For some reason we stayed on verb conjugation for all of those years and never got to conversational Spanish.Forty-five years later I asked for the check in a Colombian restaurant near my home in South Florida and found out I had asked the waitress for a dance.That would have been fine with me since I love the Salsa, Merengue, Mambo and Cha Cha Cha, but I found out the owner wanted to be paid in cash.My charm offensive was ended abruptly!
During my college years, I worked as a waiter in New York City in a wonderful French restaurant, Le Orangerie (The Orange Grove).The waiters and bus boys were fed before every shift, but we never ate from the menu, nothing French was allowed.One of the sous chefs would always be assigned to prepare a meal for the help.The head chef was Swiss.Nearly all of the sous were Puerto Rican.It was at the Le Orangerie where I developed my great affection for Arroz con Pollo (chicken and rice).While it is not on tonights menu, dont shy away from this peasant meal when you see it on a restaurant menu.It is economical, and it usually is an explosion of great flavors in one simple dish.
I expect you will not have tasted most of the recommendations for this meal (comida), except for the fast, easy snacks I have suggested to go with your cocktails.While the meal is based in Mexican tradition, there are some fusion elements present to make them somewhat familiar to your palate.I also have been careful to stay away from heat as much as possible in the various dishes to please most guest palates.Many of my friends seem to have very limited taste for capsaicin and the sparkle that the heat component of the pepper brings to your eyes, tongue, throat, and sinus cavity. Where hot peppers are included be careful to trim away the seeds, stems and rib core.Those parts hold the most heat.Roasting (pan or oven) and removal of the skin further reduces the heat and raises the flavorful nature of the chili.Working with just the meat of the chili reduces the heat to a minimum impact.Remember, drink milk or eat a wad of peanut butter if you are ever overwhelmed by the heat of a pepper.The fat cuts the burn.I guess chocolate would work too.I have to try that one sometime.
You are going to love the dessert.The creamy sweet goodness highlighted by the flavoring of the toasted pine nuts will linger on your mind the morning after the big dinner.Get some good Mexican beer and wine.The Mexican wine industry got its start in the 1500s thanks to Cortez, so you should be able to find a good vintage if you try.Remember the Kahlua or Tia Maria for after dinner.Maybe a drop or two in your coffee.Enjoy!