Tacos may very well be the perfect food, but let's face it, the standard Meximerican fare can get a bit stale after a while. Taco the Town is here to highlight some of the more unusual Mexican finds in the Valley.
This week: Hibiscus Quesadillas served up by Los Sombreros
¿Como se dice?: Hibiscus flowers are a colorful and floral addition to just about any dish. Mexican food aficionados are well acquainted with jamaica, a hibiscus blossom agua fresca. It's sweet, floral, and tangy, almost like cranberry-citrus sweet tea.
Jamiaca is a great introduction to the power of this ruby red beauty, but hibiscus (or flor de jamaica) is ready for to step up as a leading ingredient. Heck, even Trader Joe's is selling sweetened, dried hibiscus buds for munching. And Los Sombreros is leading the hibiscus trend with several menu items featuring the flower like enchiladas and quesadillas.
(sink your teeth into all the spicy details after the jump)
La Comida: We tried the hibiscus quesadillas from Los Sombreros, which were packed with sautéed flor de jamaica. The quesadillas were more of a mainland Mexican dish than the cheese-packed border fare you're probably familiar with. Two quesadillas arrived flash fried and packed with hibiscus, then topped with salsa verde, cilantro, crema, and queso blanco.
El Sabor: At first glance, these quesadillas looked like any other, but after cutting into them it was clear that this wasn't your run of the mill filling. The hibiscus flowers were a rich, deep reddish-purple and offered a beautiful contrast to the bright and tangy salsa verde. The flavor also contrasted well, the hibiscus offering a slightly sweet and floral. The salsa offered a tangy flavor and the cheese added the perfect amount of salt to the dish.
Bring a bit of México to your kitchen: Hibiscus flowers can be picked up at many Mexican grocers, and as we mentioned before, lightly sweetened hibiscus flowers are starting to hit the shelves at Trader Joe's. Look for flor de jamaica, roselle, or hibiscus flowers when you're shopping and whip up a batch of hibiscus quesadillas at home.
Know of any Mexican gems in the Valley? Reveal your family secrets in the comment section.