Monday, January 20, 2014

The Easiest Great Local Food To Add To Your Life; Lily's Tortillas Make Any Number Of Meals

Corn tortillas and Mi Canton hard white cheese
The easiest way to add great local food to your life is to stop for the fresh corn tortillas at Lily's Mexican Market in Columbia.

Lily's is just off Rte 175 on Dobbin Road.  It's a small market with Latin baked goods, staples, basic produce and even a butcher.  But the far right section is a taqueria with pretty great tacos and a tortilla machine that stamps out warm tortillas most days.

Fresh corn tortillas have way more flavor than anything you can buy in a supermarket.  A plastic bag holds several dozen, and they'll make any number of meals for you -- from the simplest tacos to the most-ornate dishes from Rick Bayless' Everyday Mexican.  It's an easy stop -- especially if you go to the Wegmans around the corner on McGaw Road -- and a cheap way to eat something authentic and delicious.

Fast quesadilla with everything from Lily's
For New Year's Eve, I brought a bag to a friend's house to complement the chili that he had cooked.  I used my own bag to make a hearty quesadilla with almost zero work.

Heat some Goya's refried black beans.  Grate some Mi Canton hard white cheese from Lily's fridge.  Chop some cilantro, an avocado, and jalapeƱo peppers.  Then layer them between the corn tortillas.  I use three tortillas, and I brush a tiny bit of corn oil on the outer tortillas.  Then I heat the quesadillas in a cast-iron pan until the cheese melts and the tortillas crisp.

I have been eating variations all month.  Crisp tortillas and that white cheese make almost anything taste delicious. I actually made quesadillas one afternoon by oiling two tortillas, then filling them with mashed roasted butternut squash, the white cheese, and some chopped jalapeƱos.  Simple, crazy, but delicious.

Lily's is really a place that you should check out if you want to explore food.  The tortillas, Latin cheeses and canned goods give you a guaranteed delicious dinner, and I always recommend a taco lunch.  But you should also check out the baked goods, the cool Latin sodas, and all the beans, salsas, pickled vegetables, and other ingredients.  

I recommend trying the fresh cactus in the produce cooler because you can make awesome tacos, and I know there are great things to buy from the butcher.  I just don't know meat, and my Spanish isn't good enough to explore a subject where I don't know vocabulary.  I can see that they sell chorizo, lamb, beef, fajita meat, and other cuts.  I'd love any advice if you buy from Lily's or some other Latin butcher.  Check out all my posts about Lily's.  If you go, you can also check out the used books and vinyl at Second Edition Books down the row.

1 comment:

James Hovey said...

Great timing...
This past Friday I had spent a few hours at the MVA Express. It was a long hard fought battle as I had to listen to angry MD drivers complain about crowds and endure the 20 second eye exam. Just as I exited the MVA a peripheral light blinked (common side effect from the eye test) and I noticed Lilly's Market to my right. In my opinion the Taco Lunch is the best deal in Columbia. They even have the beef tongue option which was my favorite taco from the original Azul menu which has since been removed. Fast, friendly service and fantastic tacos!