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Old 26-08-2004, 02:16 AM
Incontinentius Buttocks
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Default Institutional flour tortilla press-- outcome

I received the Villamex V-33 (
yesterday. Great God in boots! I had no idea Brazil charged a 100% tax
on imported machinery. I do now, though :-(. So, declared value of the
press with a replacement element and replacement switch, declared
value U.S. $842, x2, plus $250 freight. Ouch!

At first I didn't think to pre-treat the surfaces with manteca/oil,
so my first attempt to use it was a disaster. After chatting with the
sales rep, I spread some butter on both surfaces and heated them for
half an hour or so (maybe someone can explain the difference between
manteca and mantequilla to me? In Portuguese butter is called
manteiga...). Once that was done, I tried again, and wow, this thing
works great. For nearly two G's it ought to, right? Tortillas come out
nice and round, real quick, and the surface is 34cm, not 30cm as I had
thought, so a well-centered ball of dough can yield a rather
generous-sized burrito tortilla.

So including the mind-boggling tax, this is by far the most
expensive piece of equipment for my new restaurant, more even than the
custom-made Subway-style hot/cold, burrito/wrap assembly area. Since
there is a heating element inside the "lid"--the upper surface that
swings down and smashes the dough--I will have to be careful to lower
it carefully instead of slamming it down. Since I will be training my
employees to use it, I will have to make it clear that if it breaks
down we will all have to come in at 5 a.m. to roll tortillas by hand
until I manage to get the press fixed, so whoever breaks it is going
to be very unpopular.

So opening day is now just under three weeks away. Nine out of ten
people here don't even know what burritos or tortillas are, can you
believe that? They will now. I'd love to serve tacos, too, but from
the information I've picked up so far, including from Rolly's way-cool
website, corn tortillas are a LOT more complicated to make than flour
tortillas. So for now it's burritos, fajitas, and various kinds of
wraps. I've borrowed some ideas from Chipotle
(, Taco del Mar
(, and made up a number of wrap
combinations myself, including variations on a theme of peanut butter.
Peanut butter is also almost nonexistent here, so I have to grind my
own. Here's one you can try at home: Peanut butter, banana, semi-sweet
chocolate, and bacon. Taste first, then judge. If you can get dulce
de leche, try peanut butter, banana, dulce de leche, and cinnamon in a
fresh tortilla.

One thing that's going to be a bit of a challenge here is that in
Brazil, avocados are considered a "sweet" fruit, mashed up and mixed
with sugar or sweetener; never, never, never "salty". So describe
guacamole to a Brazilian, and you will get the same eew-gross reaction
that gringos (and Mexicans???) would have to avocados with sugar. So
the guacamole will have to be served on the side.

By the way, this happens to be the oyster harvesting capital of
Brazil. Anyone ever made an oyster burrito? I think I remember having
one ages ago in So. CA, but can't remember details. Maybe it was an
oyster burger...


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Old 26-08-2004, 02:47 AM
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On 25 Aug 2004 18:16:38 -0700, Incontinentius Buttocks wrote:

(maybe someone can explain the difference between manteca and
mantequilla to me? In Portuguese butter is called manteiga...)

In Spanish, manteca is lard (rarely butter), while mantequilla is
butter. And a mantequillera is a butter dish. If you're feeling
adventurous you could go here for The Manteca Story

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