We had been asked by Johnny di Loretto to suggest a good venue for a Cinco de Mayo spot on Fox 28’s Good Day Columbus. We did a show with him in the fall about taco trucks and had a lot of fun. We suggested the colorful bakery Otro Rollo on Sullivant Avenue, one of the places we discovered during our taco truck research that we have featured on alt.eats. Otro Rollo also has a taco truck, and they supply many Mexican grocery stores and taco trucks with bread and pastries.
Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday that originated in Puebla and celebrates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French. It is not a national holiday in Mexico but in the States it has become a celebration of Mexican heritage, and like St Patrick’s Day, a day for beer promotions and drinking.
When we first discussed the idea with Otro Rollo they seemed fairly nonplussed, but by the end of filming they had fully embraced their 15 minutes of fame, were taking photos of the proceedings, and had baked Johnny a special Fox 28 tres leches cake. Tres leches cake is sponge cake that is filled with fruit and cream and soaked in a mixture of three different milks (whole milk , evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk). Decorations are generally exuberant and it is popular for weddings and other celebrations.
I have been to Otro Rollo many times but I had never been behind the scenes. It was fun to spend time in the kitchen watching them making telera the bread that is used for tortas (Mexican sandwiches). Balls of dough are rolled into ovals and given a second rising. They are then rolled out and divided into three sections. We were impressed with the bakers’ speed and consistency. Otro Rollo bake an average of 500 telera a day as well as a huge array of other breads and cakes.
Also for Cinco de Mayo we had a Taco Trucks Columbus meet up at Taco Nazo. At the Rick Bayless book signing I asked Quicho if there were any Mexican foods associated with Cinco de Mayo. He offered to make some specials, including Pozole. Taco Nazo knows how to put on a good spread and when we arrived they were decked out in red, white and green. For $5 you could have pozole, Mexican flag-hued jello, cake and a beverage.
The cakes (also tres leches) were suitably festive and as usual, the work of one of Quicho’s employees, Bettina. It seemed a shame to cut them.
The pozole was fantastic. More of a stew than a soup, with plump tender hominy kernals and generous quantities of chicken and pork, it was served with chopped onion, cabbage and radishes to add as garnishes, as well as lime wedges. I tried both the red and the green and loved both. The red, made with chicken, had a mellow heat and slightly smoky. The green, made with pork and chicken, had more acidity but was very well balanced.
The evening ended with $3 house margaritas at Garcia’s on North High Street. I had not been there before but it’s a Columbus institution, having been open for over 30 years. The menu is a mix of Peruvian, Mexican and some Tex-Mex. The whole place had a surreal feel, only in part due to the 80’s karaoke.
It was a fun, but very long Cinco de Mayo. Thanks to Ray for organizing the bike ride up to Taco Nazo.