Berlin is steadily improving in the Mexican food department! When I first moved here and until recently Mexican style restaurants were clearly catering towards the German taste of all things bland and fear of anything that has spice. The complete opposite to the hot, spicy, fresh and zingy tastes of Mexican food that it is no wonder a lot of places simply serve stodgy style enchiladas baked in cheese and smothered in sour cream or nachos that are made up of cheap supermarket tortilla chips and piled high with tasteless salsa, more sour cream and the most stringy of cheese! The only thing going for these restaurants are it’s happy hour cocktails, that you need a fair few to help wash down the awful food!
And this upset me, because Berlin has enough people who do appreciate good quality Mexican food. Of course the likes of Maria Bonita and Dolores have always been going strong and Maria Bonita in particular still today offers the most juicy Carnitas tacos and homemade tortilla chips using corn tortillas with guacamole that is made up of fresh avocados and not something out of a jar. But we couldn’t keep relying on these guys which is why I was happy when Santa Maria opened up two locations. Their Tacos Tuesdays are not to be missed and best washed down with their very good Margaritas! In fact, these guys are so popular (see, there is a demand for good quality Mexican food and not the crap stuff!) that they opened up another location, Santa Cantina. Santa Cantina is a little more refined than your taco self-service street food vendor and offers a large seating area with full service. Their food is absolutely delicious! Their Beef Tongue Tacos are still the best thing I have had but as their menu changes regularly you get to try something different. The Salmon Tostados are fresh and delicious and they serve proper margaritas without resorting to cheap tequila!
I have quickly ended up falling back in love with Mexican food. A lot of my tastes and flavours are inspired from eating out and it was very easy to be put off with the sour cream swimming enchiladas out there! For me, summer is all about Mexican nights on the balcony. Totopos with Guacamole and a cold Margarita or these Quesadillas that are oozing with cheese and are so fresh and zingy tasting. I simply use grated Gouda, refried beans, jalapenos, lime juice, spring onions and chili peppers. I don’t add any oil in the pan to cook them on each side as I find that too oily.
- 6 tortilla wraps
- 1 tin refried beans
- 2 big handfuls of grated Gouda
- 3 spring onions (finely sliced)
- Small bunch fresh coriander (finely chopped)
- 2 red chillis (finely sliced)
- Jar of jalapenos (drained)
- 3 tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 1 tbspn tomato puree
- 1 tspn chilli flakes
- 1 tspn smoked paprika
- 2 avocados
- 4 cherry tomatoes (sliced)
- Juice of half a lemon
- Juice of 2 limes
- Salt/ pepper
- For the salsa: Add the tomatoes, paprika, chilli flakes, 1 spring onion to a mixing bowl. Stir in the tomato puree and mix again. Season with a bit of salt and pepper stir in the a pinch of the fresh coriander. Place in the fridge until needed.
- For the guacamole: Add the avocados, 1 red chilli, cherry tomatoes, juice of half a lime, 1 spring onion, fresh coriander to a mixing bowl. Bash and mix with a fork until you have a chunky, thick guacamole. Season with a little salt and pepper and place in the fridge until needed.
- Lay out one wrap. Spread some of the refried beans over the top of the wrap. Then sprinkle the cheese on top covering the layer of the wrap. Sprinkle a few jalapenos, spring onions, red chillis and fresh coriander over the top and squeeze of lime juice. Then place another tortilla wrap on top and press down over the edges so that the two wraps stick together.
- Repeat with the rest of the wraps.
- Heat a large frying pan. Drop a quesadilla into the pan and press down. Cook on that side for just 2-3 mins. Then carefully lift the quesadillas out of the pan onto a plate (the cooked side facing down on the plate). Put another plate on top and holding the two plates together quickly flip it over. Slide the quesadilla back into the pan and cook the other side for another 2-3 mins, pressing down gently.
- Keep warm while repeating with the rest of the quesadillas.
- Slice up using a pizza cutter and serve with the salsa and guacamole!