By Margarita Martinez | Friday, June 29, 2012
June 29, 2012
Getting ready to shoot at Merengue in Roxbury. (Patricia Alvarado/WGBH)
BOSTON — I love Merengue. I am speaking about the restaurant, not the music from which the restaurant gets its name. Don’t get me wrong. I like Merengue music and have been known to cut a rug or two to the music of Wilfrido Vargas and Elvis Crespo, but I am more of a Salsa girl myself. Perhaps it’s because I am Puerto Rican. Unlike Merengue music, which is firmly believed to be a Dominican invention, the origin of Salsa music is debated in the Caribbean and Puerto Ricans definitely argue that it is their creation. Another cultural staple whose origin is hotly contested in the Caribbean is Mofongo. Who wouldn’t want to lay claim to the delicious and very satisfying Mofongo? Almost everything you want in a meal is right there in every forkful. There is starch, protein, and definitely flavor. Growing up, my family enjoyed many of the same dishes eaten by Dominicans. We frequently had rice and beans and tostones, but Mofongo was a treat reserved for visits to lechoneras, or Puerto Rican roast pork restaurants. And this is one of the reasons I love Merengue. A visit to this Dominican restaurant means that I can have Mofongo and other delicious comfort food prepared very well. Read More
Mofongo is a fried plantain dish with controversial origins. Puerto Ricans fiercely claim they invented this delicious dish of fried, green plantains and chicharrón while Dominicans, with equal ferocity, claim it is they who were really the creators. No matter the origins, mofongo is a very popular dish in both countries and is made from fried, green plantains mashed together in a pilón (a wooden mortar and pestle) with broth, garlic, olive oil, and chicharrón (pork cracklings). This is then often filled with vegetables, chicken, or other meat to create an even richer gustatory experience.
Building on a 34-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.
Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 6:30pm on WGBH 2
Fridays at 7:30pm on WGBH 44
About the Author
Margarita Martinez Margarita grew up in the Bronx and Ossining, NY with a Puerto Rican father and a Franco-American mother. From making her first empanada as a teenager visiting Argentina to her lifelong search for authentic Mexican food in the Northeast, Margarita has always had an insatiable appetite for Latin American food. Margarita is also passionate about acting and music. She graduated from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU with a BFA in Drama.
On the Go
In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!