Review: Lupe Pintos

I remember eyeing it the first couple times, but being on the way to something I did not step in.

Though it advertises craft beers, Lupe Pintos has much more on offer. As someone from California who was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by diverse people and their delicious foods, moving to Scotland was a bit difficult.

I missed tacos al pastor, homemade tortillas, fresh salsa from the grocery store. Edinburgh is a global city; there are plenty of shops offering spices and produce from around the world, but I seemed unable to find a place with dried poblano chiles, salsa verde, staples of Mexican cuisine. When I found Lupe Pintos, I was relieved. Nothing could cure my homesickness quite like a green chile and black bean quesadilla. 

Lupe Pintos is a small store in Tollcross, with offerings of dried and canned chillies, salsas, black beans, fresh pico de gallo, good tortilla chips, masa, corn husks, essentially everything for your Mexican food cravings.It also carries some American staples, like corn syrup, canned pumpkin, Jif peanut butter, pickles, and A&W Rootbeer.

With spices galore, Lupe Pintos has a global array of flavours to test out in your kitchen. Some staples I would suggest to try out are the green chiles in a can, which you can get diced or whole. The flavourful, but mild, green chile are the perfect way to enhance a simple cheese quesadilla. 

Stuff the whole ones into enchiladas with black beans and salsa verde for a cheesy vegetarian meal, add the diced ones to a fajita marinade, or simply add them to your eggs. A can costs 2.25, and is worth the experimentation.

Black beans are a delicious protein that can enhance any chili. The magical combination of beans and rice will provide you with all your essential amino acids, so you can stay vegan, get loads of protein, and not have to rely on processed meatless alternatives. Black bean and corn tacos are delicious start.

The fresh counter at Lupe Pintos will sort out any gathering of friends. Their fresh salsa has the perfect kick, and their fresh guacamole is the perfect alternative to the homemade kind. Add some good tortilla chips and some of their craft beers, and you’ve got a kickin’ get together. 

Salsa verde makes for an easy, flavourful meal with chicken and rice, or as a delicious dip for your tortilla chips. Soft corn tortillas are the proper way to go for tacos, and Lupe Pinto’s has frozen packs of them that keep their fresh flavour. 

As far as drinks, their selection of craft beers is lovely and pairs nicely with a spring day in the meadows. They also have a variety of tequila brands on offer if you want something nicer than Tesco’s variety. For softies, try Jarritos, a Mexican soda which comes in a variety of flavors.

The mandarin is probably the most popular, but the pineapple, mango, and guava have all the sparkling, sugary goodness you deserve after a long day at the library. Root beer is a North American classic, which DOES NOT TASTE LIKE TOOTHPASTE YOU MONSTERS. Worth a try, I swear. 

Lupe Pinto’s has a lot of the same brands you’ll find in North America, and the importing of these goods is likely not cheap. Who knows if with Brexit that will change, but when considering this, the prices are not bad. Its a specialty shop, and definitely worth the visit even if it is just to try Takis, which knock Flaming Hot Cheetos right out of the water. 

Whether you’d like to dip your toe into some different cuisines or are missing some home flavors, Lupe Pintos is the place to try some spicy, delicious delicacies.

 

Haggis Stuffed PeppersSounds so wrong but tastes so right 

Haggis works wonders in this Mexican-inspired recipe. Filling, delicious, and great for dinner parties. Easy to replace the haggis with vegetarian haggis, ground beef, black beans, or just leave it out entirely. The recipe is easy to manipulate; the amount of spices, ingredients, and peppers all depends on you. For more servings with less peppers, cut them in half and stuff them that way

Ingredients:

3 bell peppers

1 cup rice (this will make a butt load of rice did you know how much it expands?!?!)

1 can diced green chiles

1 large white onion

Cumin (to taste)

Paprika (to taste)

Fresh chili (to taste)

Garlic (to taste)

Oregano

2 large tomatoes

1 can of corn

½ cup nopales (cactus- comes in a jar, try the spice it’s pickled in and add to taste)

Small portion of haggis 

Cheese (optional topping)

Make the rice! If you have a rice cooker, add the tomatoes, whole, into the rice cooker with the rice. If not, use the stove (or microwave) to make the rice.

Chop the tomato and add to rice just when it’s about to finish

Dice onion. Cut tops off of peppers, cut the extra bits of pepper off the tops and keep them. Fry onions, garlic, and extra bits of peppers. Make sure the onions and nice and browned. Add the spices, the corn, nopales, and green chiles and mix on low heat. When rice is done, add the vegetable mixture and stir thoroughly. Taste to see if it needs any more spices. Add in the fresh chiles if you desire. Microwave your portion of haggis you wish to include, and add it to the rice mixture. 

With your oven on at about 180 degrees, stuff the peppers with the rice mixture. Fill them to the brim. Place them in a tray so that if they fall (which is completely fine) the filling won’t spill into your oven. If desired, add some cheese on the top. Bake until the peppers are noticeably soft when poked with a fork, and when the cheese bubbles. 

Pro tip: in order to stop the rice from drying out when being baked, you can let the rice be a little runny before stuffing the peppers.

 

Image: bour3 via Flickr

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