Clearly we here at Plato Putas love eating out, but there’s one thing better than eating at any restaurant, street stall, diner or counter. And that’s being invited into someone’s house for a homemade meal. Friend and foodie extraordinaire Tara recently held a Mexican fiesta at her new apartment. She slaved all day in her kitchen making four sauces from scratch (incredibly fresh salsa, guacamole, chicken marinade and avocado sauce) and prepping for our feast of Chicken and Bean Tostadas.

Tara is an accomplished writer and journalist who now lives in Toronto, and she owns more cookbooks than anyone else I know. At the age of 14 she started working at a Mexican restaurant in Vancouver called Topanga Cafe (2904 West 4th Ave.) where she learned to make these tostadas.

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A tostada is like an open-faced taco that starts off with a corn tortilla that’s slathered in bean sauce, salsa and topped with pan-fried chicken pieces.

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The whole things is covered in shredded cheddar cheese then inserted into a hot oven. This softens the tortilla, makes the cheese melt and in some spots it gets deliciously crispy. Right before serving it’s topped with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, more cheese, olives and drizzled with avocado sauce.

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This was my first tostada and I’d describe it as several layers of well-balanced yummy goodness. The bottom part is hot and gooey which contrasts well with the fresh, crispy ingredients on top. Obviously the meal was fantastic, the company was thoroughly entertaining and our host was both gracious and highly skilled. And the best part of this homemade meal (besides the chocolate cupcakes for dessert), was being sent home with a tupperware container of fresh salsa.

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