Flavors for every palate

    Veggie huarache. Photo by Jessika Cesilia Perez.

    The huarache is a beloved Mexican dish known for its delicious and hearty composition. This culinary delight is crafted from masa dough, a traditional corn dough used in many Mexican dishes. The preparation involves shaping the masa into an oblong form, and a distinctive feature is the placement of smashed pinto beans in the center of the dough.

    Once the foundation is set, the huarache undergoes a flavorful transformation through the frying process. The result is a crispy exterior that contrasts with the tender masa and savory beans within. What follows is a symphony of toppings that elevate the huarache to a gastronomic masterpiece.

    The toppings vary, offering a medley of tastes and textures. A generous drizzling of green or red salsa adds a spicy kick, while onions contribute a sharp and crunchy element. Chunks of potato provide a starchy component, complementing the masa base. Fresh cilantro adds a burst of herbal freshness to the mix.

    To make the huarache a complete and satisfying meal, a variety of proteins can be incorporated. Options range from the classic choice of ground beef to more adventurous selections like tongue, offering a diverse range of flavors for every palate.

    The finishing touch to this culinary creation is a generous sprinkling of queso fresco, a crumbly and mild Mexican cheese. The queso fresco adds a creamy and rich layer to the huarache, rounding off the dish with a delightful balance of flavors.

    “Jugamos con los sabores (We play around with the favors),” El Huarache’s new owner Jose De La explained alongside his brother, Francisco Perez, who co-owns the Oaxacan restaurant. “No es receta de abuela, no es receta de mama. Es receta de mi hermano y yo. (This isn’t your grandmother’s recipe or mom’s (recipe). It’s my brother’s and mine.)”

    The outdoor covered patio was in no hurry to dry, but the small interior proved cozy. While waiting for my order, the brassy music coming from the kitchen could be heard to have the live Spanish accompaniment.

    I ordered what I thought was a regular, mango flavored lemonade but it still proved to be refreshing and not overly sweet. What looked and tasted like shaved, frozen mango was dispensed on top of the slushy drink making for a tastier whipped cream substitute. The ‘Don Juan’ lemonade slushies are unique to El Huarache. Growing up, strawberry was De La’s favorite flavor.

    Perez shared an item from their ‘secret’ menu: the pambazo. “Es una tortilla enchilada roja con papa y chorizo. Llena de queso mexicano y salsa verde al lado. (It’s a red tortilla with potatoes and chorizo, filled with Mexican cheese and green salsa on the side.)”

    The brothers take pride in their unique offerings and educating patrons who may be trying something new. A common question the restaurant receives is regarding their nopales ingredient. They take the time to explain what they are and how they are cooked.

    My vegetarian huarache had cactus (nopales), pineapple, peppers, and crumbly cheese atop beans, of course. The fried, doughy base was fresh, crispy, and soft. The dish looked large, but I ate it all.

    The brothers hint at future business ventures including a clothing store. For now, you gotta try a huarache.

    El Huarache is located at 517 Butternut Dr, Holland.

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