Welcome to the Los Portales blog featuring monthly posts about Mexican food and culture! Have a question you'd like us to answer on our blog? Please contact us!

Salsa is not just for chips!

Do you ever find yourself wondering what to do with that leftover salsa from your Los Portales to go order? Or maybe you have a couple almost empty jars of that store brand or commercial salsa in your fridge (it's ok, we know you cheat on us sometimes). Don't throw it out! We have a few ideas for you to make use of every yummy drop of salsa in your fridge.

1. Like to grill out? Mix softened butter with leftover salsa and chill in fridge. When grilling, add a pat of your new "compound butter" onto steak or pork chops.

2. Thin out leftover salsa with lime juice and olive oil, then use it to marinade your choice of meat.

3. Watching your weight? Salsa makes a great low-calorie dressing on your salad

4. Add a little bit of salsa and sour cream with a fried egg to your morning grits for a little kick!

5. Add salsa to cooked rice to make an easy, short cut Mexican style rice

6. Make a Mexican pizza! Use salsa instead of tomato sauce, add your choice of meat, jalepenos, shredded cheese and finish with a dallop of sour cream on each slice after baking.

7. Making deviled eggs for your next BBQ or picnic? Add a little salsa to the egg yolk mixture to spice it up a little! A slice of pickled jalepeno on each egg adds a nice finishing touch

8. Add salsa to scrambled eggs, hashbrowns or omelettes for a Mexican flavored breakfast

9. Take your macaroni and cheese to the next level with a scoop of salsa and sour cream

10. Mexican style jalepeno poppers: Slice jalepenos in half lengthwise, remove seeds. Mix cream cheese and salsa, scoop into each jalepeno half. Wrap in bacon. BAke in oven for 20 min at 400, or grill!

11. Mexican egg rolls: Mix any cooked meat, salsa, black beans, corn, cheese, green chiles. Roll a scoop into store bought egg roll wrappers. Pan or deep fry until golden brown. Mix salsa and sour cream for a cool and spicy dip.

These ideas have you hungry? Give us a call and get a container of our delicious made from scratch salsa "to-go", take it home and go salsa crazy!

What was Cinco De Mayo really about?

Now that you're fully recovered from the party, you may have been wondering, what exactly was I celebrating?? It's not Mexican Independence Day! Mexico's Independence Day is Sept. 16, which is a national holiday. On that day in 1810, a priest named Miguel Hidalgo implored Mexico to revolt against Spain, leading to the War for Independence, which ended in 1821.

Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates an underdog victory over France in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. The victory strengthened the Mexican forces — but it didn't last long, since France later occupied Mexico for a few years. Regardless, Cinco de Mayo continued to be celebrated in Puebla and by Mexican-Americans north of the border.

You can actually thank large beer manufactuers like Corona and Modelo for the fun 5th of May celebration in the United States. In the early 1960s, many Mexican-American activists involved in the country’s growing civil rights movement celebrated the May 5th as a source of pride. Almost 20 years later, in 1989, an ad campaign by an importer of beers like Modelo and Corona was created around the day. At first the campaign was targeted toward Latinos but eventually broadened with print and TV ads.

Cinco de Mayo has now become a day to celebrate Mexican culture, food and music, while spending time with friends and family. We thank you for choosing Los Portales to enjoy a day of celebration and fun on Cinco de Mayo!

What is a molcajete? (mole-ka-heh-tay)

Have you seen us serving food in a small stone bowl at Los Portales? That's a molcajete! A molcajete is a stone tool, the traditional Mexican version of the mortal and pestle, used for grinding various food products.

When you crush certain spices or veggies in a molcajete, you can generate much more flavor!

Try making a traditional red or green salsa in a molcajete, you'll really be able to taste the difference. Flavors are brighter stronger when combined this way. You can find a molcajete on Amazon for around $25. Then impress your friends and family with this recipe in your new molcajete!

Next time you visit us at Los Portales, try our Molcajete menu item, delicious meats and vegetables served in the stone mixing bowl.

Buy a molcajete on Amazon
Red Salsa recipe using a molcajete

Queso Fresco vs. Queso Dip (kay-so)

What is queso fresco? Queso fresco translates to "fresh cheese", it is a firm, fresh white cheese and is the most widely used cheese in Mexican cooking. It is mild, tangy and a little salty.

It is easy to crumble and you have probably seen it crumbled on tamales or enchiladas. Although it softens, it does not melt. It is not the cheese used to make cheese dip! So how do we make cheese dip?

Believe it or not, Mexican white "queso" is made with American cheese and half and half or milk! You can add jalepenos, chorizo, ground beef or anything else to make it your own.

At Los Portales we make our cheese dip from scratch which is why it's so smooth and creamy. We can't share our super secret hush hush recipe with you (unless you marry into the family!), but we've found a similar one you can make at home.

Easy Mexican white cheese dip recipe