Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Chimichangas, Fajitas and even nachos all come from the simple tortilla! Calling it a necessary component to the Nacho Hippo menu might be the understatement of our history! We rely on both corn and flour tortillas for a staggering number of menu offerings. In this month’s blog, we talk about where the tortilla comes from and the impact it makes in our restaurant by appearing in 74% of the items on our menu.

Tortilla is Spanish for “small cake”.   A lot of items original to Mexico have Spanish names thanks to the conquistadors. Flour tortillas are much newer than corn tortillas. The simplest definition of the tortilla is that it is a flat bread.

Corn and flour tortillas are made in a similar manner. Using flour or cornmeal, salt, water and oil. The dough is kneaded before being rolled out into approximately a 7-inch wide circle. Typically, tortillas are cooked in a heavy skillet or cast iron over medium heat until lightly browned on each side. A tortilla press can also be used, but it isn’t necessary.

The oldest found tortillas date as far back as 10,000 years BCE. They were made from native maize (corn) and dried kernel. It was a principal food of the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican civilizations. The Aztecs ate it plain, dipped it into a chili sauce or stuffed it with meats, beans, squash and other ingredients you could easily find at marketplaces. Hernan Cortes came across tortillas in 1519. The conquistadors became very fond of the tortilla and helped to spread it around the world!

During the mid-20th century, Mexican restaurants were in high demand across the United States. With the rapid increase of restaurants and demand for tortillas forced them to be moved from handmade bakers to large production machine-based bakeries.

At Nacho Hippo we use both corn and flour tortillas to ensure the taste buds that walk in our restaurant all leave equally happy!  But which items use tortillas?

Handheld, mouthwatering and diverse. Tacos are one of the most obvious uses of tortillas. There is no shortage of options here. We feature 12 different taco options. Some of our more popular options are the Ka-Ka-Ka-Kia, a taco that features grilled steak glazed with soy garlic ginger sauce, kimchi, spicy chili sauce and sesame seeds, the Bangin’ Shrimp, a taco that features fried shrimp tossed in spicy mayo, shredded lettuce and mango pico de gallo, and the Kahuna, a taco that features shredded teriyaki chicken, pineapple salsa, crisp slaw, and spicy mayo. Regardless of which taco filling you choose; we are certain you will be happy with the tortilla option. You can choose flour tortillas or corn tortillas. If you choose corn, you get the option of soft or hard shells.

More than a mouthful to say and to eat! Quesadillas are a delicious dish that makes your tongue dance whether you are eating one or trying to say the word. They are extremely popular at Nacho Hippo and for good reason! But none of them would be possible without a Tortilla! Interested in more information about quesadillas? Check out our blog from June 2020 here.

The next option allows the tortilla to serve more as a packaging device. Our Sloppy Burritos fit as much meat, cheese, rice, beans, pico de gallo, sour cream as you can imagine into a tortilla before we cover it in queso cheese! We devoted a whole blog to our delicious Sloppy Burritos in April. Check out that blog here.

Our Carnitas are designed to make your mouth water.  We serve crispy, slow-roasted pork, seasoned black beans and yellow rice with guacamole, pico de gallo, cilantro, onion pepper jack cheese, fresh lime and you get to choose corn or flour tortillas. This pork is something you will want to write home to mom about. Want to learn more about the slow-roasted pork we serve? Check this out!

Next up: the Chimi-Chimi-Bang-Bang. Yes, it is that exciting! Similar to our Sloppy Burritos, the tortilla serves as a package for all the goodness that gets stuffed inside before we deep fry the entire thing and serve it to you hot with lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and your choice of yellow rice or black beans.

Last but certainly not least, our Hip-Jita Fajitas allow you to pile things into a corn or flour tortilla exactly how you want, every time. You choose a choice of chicken, steak, or shrimp served with sauteed peppers and onions and a side of rice and beans. We serve guacamole, pico de gallo, cilantro, onion, pepper jack, fresh lime and your choice of corn or flour tortillas on the side for you to build the perfect fajita for you every time! This is a newer item to our menu that made a huge splash in fall of 2020. We are awfully glad that it was well received by our guests!

Don’t forget the nachos! With our corn tortillas you can’t make nachos! Slice those round corn tortillas into 6 triangular pieces and throw them in the fryer for a few minutes and BOOM: warm tortilla chips! Perfect for our many nacho offerings, or as an appetizer with different types of salsas!

As you can see, tortillas are a critical component to our establishment. We find it exciting that such a simple foundation can be used in so many different and unique ways. The only question we can ask now is, what are you eating with your tortilla?