Thank La Gloria

Occasionally when I visit San Antonio, I am there for such a short time that I don’t always get my taco fix.  Thankfully, I can now rest assured that I will get my fill of tacos knowing that La Gloria Ice House just opened a restaurant right in the airport. 

You can search the States over looking for great cochinita pibil, and surprisingly enough, you will find it in the San Antonio International Airport.  Don’t know what cochinita pibil is?  Well, pull up a chair.  A traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatan Peninsula, cochinita pibil is one of my favorite dishes that Hubby and I discovered on a road trip around the Yucatan one summer in 1999 (was that really 14 years ago?).  The preparation includes marinating pork shoulder (butt roast) in achiote paste (ground annatto seeds), orange juice and lime juice.  Cochinita means baby pig, so traditionally it called for the roasting of a whole suckling (marinated) pig, wrapped in banana leaves and buried in a pit with a fire in the bottom.  The Mayan word for pibil means buried.  I have included a more contemporary recipe at the end of this post that doesn’t include having to find baby pigs or digging large holes in your backyard.  Whichever preparation you choose, you will become hooked.      

Wash this puppy down with a prickly pear margarita and you will be set for your flight

Colorful painting adorn the walls

I even love the chairs

To be sure, if you have the time in San Antonio, definitely visit La Gloria’s original spot in the old Pearl Brewery at 100 East Grayson.  It’s great to go with a large group, as the restaurant serves small plates, and half the fun is trying as many dishes as possible.  

I am crazy busy spending time in the wee hours of the night sorting through our photos from our fabulous trip to Guadalajara and environs.  In the meantime, I hope to pique your interest with a couple photos from our week in Mexico that I posted on Instagram…

El Jimador

La Iglesia de Tequila

The Danza de los Voladores in Tlaquepaque

Cochinita Pibil

For the dish:
3-4 pounds pork shoulder (butt roast), cut into pieces
1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup lime juice (about 4-5 limes), or 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 three ounce package of achiote paste, available in Latin markets *** 
2 tablespoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For pickled salsa:
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1-2 habanero peppers, thinly sliced (use kitchen gloves while doing this!)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano

Combine the juices, salt, achiote, oregano and cinnamon in a blender and puree.  Add mixture to pork and marinate overnight in the refrigerator in a non-reactive container (glass, stainless steel or plastic).  
The next day, preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Using a deep pot, (I use a Le Creuset Dutch oven), line it with a double layer of heavy-duty foil.  Pour in the pork and marinade, and cover tightly with more foil and the lid.  Braise for about 3 hours.  When pork is tender (it should fall apart with a fork), remove from heat.  Shred the meat with two forks, remove excess fat, and season with salt, if necessary.
Meanwhile, prepare the pickled onions by combining the thinly sliced onions, peppers, vinegar and oregano.  Serve the shredded cochinita pibil over corn tortillas with the salsa.  Buen provecho!      

*** There is no substitute for achioteAchiote is the Nahuatl word for the shrub that is the source of a fruit, from which the annatto seeds are extracted.  Another idea for the paste is to rub directly on fish, poultry or meat. 

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