Raised in Mexico City, but trained in NYC with stints at places such as Blue Hill and The Modern, Danny Mena began making his mark here with what was originally a pop-up: Hecho in Dumbo was a riff on the familiar "Hecho in Mexico" (made in Mexico) legend that appears on so many goods imported from that country. Now the chef at La Loncheria in Bushwick, he's an important advocate for Mexican food in the city, as well as an exciting interpreter of Mexican cuisine using local New York ingredients.
Made in Mexico, his first book, is a return to the food of his childhood, an energetic and flavorful survey of cooking from neighborhood restaurants, taco stands, cantinas and other establishments that help feed the most populous city in North America. This is a great way to see Mexican food through the eyes of someone excited to show the best his hometown has to offer. Even in seemingly familiar categories such as tacos, Mena advocates for versions that don't commonly turn up elsewhere, such as a charcoal-grilled short rib taco.
There is so much more here: salads made from wild greens; chiles rellenos made with dried chiles instead; hearty lamb stew seasoned with ginger and sesame seeds; even a flaming guave and cheese desert for an end-of-evening showstopper.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.