About 8 months ago, I was looking for an opponent to have a friendly Mexican food cook-off.
We would have to use all fresh and local ingredients to prepare our meal and the patrons would decide the champion. One opponent withdrew in December and two other opponents considered it in May, but backed out. I had no choice but to declare myself the champion until I could find an opponent.
June 30th was fast-approaching and I had already arranged to cook in a restaurant in Puxi called Teotihuacan with or without an opponent. Victor, the manager, and Chef Trigo were open to the idea and I scrambled to find someone brave enough to challenge me.
This is Cathy. She teaches English, writes and performs in plays, and does stand-up comedy. During a week when she was doing all of those things, she decided to cram this cook-off into her schedule -- during the week -- to make her 3-Cheese Enchiladas.
Thus, after 8 long months, "Thrilla in Manila 2" was finally realized!
Here I am sampling a chunk of pork from my "Chili Verde."
The night before, I went to the local wet market to buy all the ingredients. I substituted green tomatoes for tomatillos and used Ortega chili look-alikes.
This is Chef Trigo who has been cooking for 24 years. He helped us plate our comida and graciously let us use his kitchen like it was our own.
The rice and beans.
Cathy, like a skilled and world-class plastic surgeon, divides up her cheesy, cheesy, cheesy enchiladas...
...while I delicately serve controlled portions of the tender, flavorful Mexican stew.
After serving 24 plates of food to our guests (teachers from school, the restaurant staff, and two patrons who had already eaten but couldn't resist the invitation to participate in this event), the silence of everyone eating kept the contenders wondering whose dish they were enjoying the most. After dinner, the two of us went outside while the judges (everyone inside) voted.
The result: 60% voted for Cathy, 60% voted for Tim.
We each drank from a salsa cup to celebrate our half of the victory.
That only means one thing: Thrilla in Manila 3!
Teotihuacan Mexican restaurant is located at 580 Yuyuan Road in Puxi, a 10-minute walk from Line 2, Jing'an Temple. Chef Trigo prepares delicious food and I really like the Chorizo Tostada as a starter. Manager Victor makes his own drinks and I highly recommend the Shaquila, a Shanghai tequila with contreau and ginger. It's a great drink when you are participating in a Mexican food cook-off in a hot kitchen!