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Lupe Pintos
Lupe Pinto
24 Leven Street,
0131 228 6241
Leila Arfa writes http://www.leilappetit.blogspot.com

February 2011


All sorts of imports


As you may have noticed, there's been a bit of a flurry of activity on the Mexican and Tex-Mex food front of late. In London, Thomasina Miers' Wahaca restaurant chain is ever-expanding, offering authentic Mexican street food, and here in Edinburgh we have Los Cardos and Illegal Jack's making sure we 'burghers have the best burritos'. Long before any of these places came on the scene, Lupe Pinto's pitched up in Tollcross, offering, amongst other things, every type of chilli pepper they could get their hands on.


It quickly became known as the place to buy all the ingredients you needed for a real Mexican dinner, and no commercial 'fajita kits' in sight. Owner Doug Bell has an impressive knowledge of chillies and the shop carries around twenty types of whole dried varieties in stock at any one time, as well as various other canned and pickled versions. They also have a huge selection of 'La Preferida' products such as re-fried and pinto beans, and plenty of hot sauces and tequilas to challenge los bravos!


But, it's not just Mexican foodstuffs that Lupe Pinto's stock - wandering around the packed shop is a bit like taking a round-the-world food trip in five minutes, and in terms of variety, this has to be the best of imports in the city. They also have a huge selection of Caribbean foods and spices. Jamaican jerk chicken is gaining word-of-mouth here in the UK; this dry-rub style of marinade is ideal for the BBQ but can also be made in the oven. Many family spice mix recipes are pretty closely-guarded secrets. Thankfully, Lupe Pinto's stocks several types of seasoning, and you'll even find recipes using the shop's ingredients in their book. Published last year, 'Half Canned Cooks' includes an easy-sounding recipe for jerk chicken with gungo peas and rice. The book also offers up some interesting Spanish and Oriental dishes, again using many of their specialist stocked items.


And lastly, for my indulgent (and nostalgic Canadian) side; the North American section. Here you'll find root beer, Jell-O, tooth-rottingly sweet Skippy peanut butter, the inimitable Welch's grape jelly and lots of candy. Hey, a girl can't be gourmet all the time!


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