Authentic Mexican food is more than just something you eat — it is something you experience.
April 6, 2023
When they invaded the Aztec Empire in the 15th Century, Spanish conquistadores were also amazed by the food. Montezuma dined on platters of duck, venison, rabbit and fruit, along with cauldrons of frothed chocolate and stacks of corn tortillas. According to scholar Jeffrey M. Pilcher, the colonists feared adopting too much of this diet, lest they become "Indians" too.
Corn was especially disparaged: the clergy deemed it "pagan." But over the centuries, the food Spaniards brought over on their ships from Europe — cows, pigs, wheat, olive oil, wine, spices, and more — coalesced with Native ingredients and techniques to form a mestizo (literally “mixed blood”) cuisine that was further enhanced by enslaved Africans and immigrants from Asia and Central Europe.
Traditional Mexican cuisine is so much more than authentic dishes and spices; it’s a vibrant, lovingly preserved, cultural heritage. Handcrafted recipes passed down for generations. Planting and harvesting native ingredients such as corn and chile peppers in “floating garden” chinampas. Manually grinding grain for tortillas on stone and mortar. Traditional Mexican cuisine embraces an entire heritage of culture dedicated to maintaining Mexico’s indigenous customs and cultural traditions.
Chef Jacob Mendoza takes the cultural importance of the food of his homeland to heart, creating a loving and heart-felt culinary tradition to the next level. His kitchen is part of a culinary movement, inside and outside Mexico, to finally vanquish the rice-and-beans stereotype and to celebrate its vast and sophisticated cuisine.
Shining a spotlight on locally-sourced ingredients like pumpkin, peppers, cheese, and chocolate, Chef Jacob Mendoza has created a Friday night culinary journey of some of the finest classic Mexican dishes brought to a new level of taste. The night begins with traditional sopes and tamales, allowing the diner to awaken their palette with fresh, eye-opening ingredients. The main courses, mole almendrado and birria de borrego, bring the diner to the fullest and most memorable reaches of the Mexican flavor palette. Finishing the evening with a deftly graceful trio of fried dumplings, chocolate tamal, and traditional Mexican capirotada, Mendoza brings a comprehensive and progressive Mexican dining experience to a close.
Pardon us if we grow moist-eyed and slightly mystical, but there is something about Mexican cooking that is akin to the essence of life. Join Chef Jacob Mendoza every Friday night as he takes us on a culinary journey of traditional Mexican food, from tamales to mole, birria to postre.
If music is the food of love, play on. Learn more about Papaya Playa Project’s inspired, eclectic, and progressive dining options here.