The first inkling I had of delicious possibilities for was from Patrick. Maybe you have a friend like Patrick, a discriminating diner who has knows when a restaurant is authentic, scrumptious and worth the wait.
His wife, Carolyn, delivered his kudos for Cantina Taqueria. We were looking for a good location to meet for a girls-only dinner in Buckhead. Our group was diverse, a couple of us ready to try anything, a veggie only, a gluten free foodie and lucky-for-us, a designated driver.
What a treat! All of us were able to enjoy dinner, each in our own way. The salsa rocked — full of roasted tomatoes and just the right amount of zip. We all loved the guacamole. Our GF friend was able to choose from lots of dishes, and our veggie buddy loved the Mexican pizza, packed with beautiful sautéed spinach, fresh tomatoes, black beans and a sprinkling of Queso Fresco.
Even our DD, (designated driver), loved the drink options. The intrepid among us tried a tequila flight; the margaritas were declared luscious; and the soft drinks, served with lots of crushed ice and fat wedges of citrus, are worth ordering again.
I’m ready for another Cantina rendezvous with friends. I’ve checked out the menu and know exactly what to order. Until then, I’m going to make my Black Bean Tostadas and anticipate the next visit.
Savory Black Bean Tostadas
3 TB Canola Oil, divided
1 Cup Chopped Red Onions
3 TB Minced or Grated Garlic
2 (15 Oz) Cans Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
½ Tsp Ground Cumin
½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
½ Tsp Turmeric
½ Tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 Cup Chopped Roasted Red Peppers
2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Zest and Juice of One Lime
2 Cups Finely Shredded Red Cabbage
4 Green Onions, Chopped
½ Cup Chopped Cilantro
10 Corn Tortillas
1 Cup *Cojita Mexican Cheese
¼ Cup Light Sour Cream
Quick Fresh Salsa — made by combining 2 Chopped Ripe Red Tomatoes and 1 TB Lime Juice. Add Chipotle Tabasco to taste.
Step One Cook the onions in a saute pan with 1 TB oil until soft and golden, then add the garlic, cook and stir for one minute. Add the beans to the onions and garlic, then add the cumin, paprika, turmeric and black pepper. Partially mash the beans, add the roasted peppers and set the mixture aside.
Step Two Mix the olive oil, lime juice and zest together in a bowl; add the shredded cabbage, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season the slaw to taste with salt and pepper.
Step Three Heat the remaining 2 TB of canola oil in large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is warm, add the tortillas in single layer, removing and adding as necessary. When crispy and brown, spoon some of the bean mixture onto each tortilla, top with cheese, light sour cream and quick fresh tomato salsa.
*Cotija Cheese is sometimes called “Mexican Parmesan,” because it is also a hard grating cheese, salty and delicious. at West Paces carries it, as well as most of the stores in our area.