Gerardo Lopez and Diana Hull started La Tortilleria in 2013 from a mutual desire to share traditional Mexican food, and Mexico’s rich culture, with Australia. In the early days, real Mexican food wasn’t well known in Melbourne, people were just starting to explore the cuisine, which at the time was largely misrepresented by hard-shell tacos and Tex-Mex adaptations.
Fast forward six years and La Tortilleria is extremely proud to have been a part of the Mexican explosion that Australians have lovingly embraced. Today they supply their corn tortillas and totopos (tortilla chips) to home cooks and Australia’s best restaurants; and La Tortilleria continues to serve real Mexican street food at their Kensington eatery.
Since the restaurant opened, two things have always been on the menu, tacos and chilaquiles. Tacos are probably the most well-known Mexican dish, a tortilla, juicy meat, fresh garnish and tasty salsa to be eaten with your hands, so simple and delicious. But chilaquiles? Well they just haven’t taken off the same way in Australia – yet! Loved by all in Mexico as a breakfast dish, snack or hangover cure, chilaquiles are taco’s lesser known, equally delicious, saucier cousin! Chilaquiles are totopos (tortilla chips) coated in a rich, warm salsa, mixed with fresh cheese and topped with garnish and crema; they can also be served with beans, fried eggs or stewed meats, anything goes. This is the real way Mexicans enjoy what we know as nachos. It’s comforting, delicious, great for sharing and so easy to make!
Chilaquiles: the proper Mexican ‘nachos’
Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican dish which comes from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) chīlāquilitl that means “soaked in chilli”. Chilaquiles are made from totopos (tortilla chips) coated in a tomato and chilli salsa.
Tom Ross is a photographer from coastal Victoria with a studio in Melbourne. Trained at the Victorian College of the Arts, and Massachusetts College of Art, he works with architects and storytellers and has been published internationally.