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It's just coffee they're drinking.
Thanks for visiting our site. Cafe Genevieve is an intimate new cafe in Merida, serving the best coffee in town. We have a collection of French presses that make coffee stronger than an espresso machine. We also serve drip coffee. We guarantee that you’ll walk out of Cafe Genevieve fully energized and talking a blue streak.
And while you’re here, try some
of our terrific light food. Bagels and lox, pastry, cheeses, cookies, all the stuff WE have been craving since we moved here.
Cafe Genevieve has a free English-language book exchange, so you can trade in your old, tired James Patterson thriller for a new JA Jance or a delicious Henning Mankell. We have non-fiction too. Bring one, take one.
If you’re coming from the USA, Canada, or other English-speaking country, please bring us a daily newspaper or news magazine – we’ll reward you with a cup of steaming caffeine. Double if you bring a New York Times.
We’re open mornings only, from eight a.m. until one p.m. You’ll find us in the Santa Ana district of downtown Merida, on Calle 51 #493, between 56th and 58th Streets. We’re in a bright yellow house.
Waiting to be seated
This magical combination of salted salmon, a unique bread, cream cheese, red onion and capers, apparently arrived in New York in the late 19th century. Eastern European Jews are responsible for this addition to the American diet.
Since there was no refrigeration and no other way to safely transport fish from other locales, salmon was packed in barrels with salt to be transported to NYC.
Here are the origins of the word “lox,” according to Wikipedia:
Below are excerpts from a story about bagels and lox by Erika Kinetz that appeared in the New York Times in 2002.
Her article is entitled, “So Pink, So New York :”
The quintessential New York brunch involves a deceptively simple triumvirate: bagel, cream cheese and lox. It is salmon that lies at the heart of this classic dish, and salmon that lies at the heart of its mystery. Those innocent pink ribbons of flesh could tell a tale of battered national pride, ecological battles, ethnic authenticity, economic flux and jousting connoisseurs, a tale that spans the globe and the centuries.
A sign behind the cool glass counter at Russ & Daughters. a Houston Street delicatessen that began life in 1905 as a pickled herring pushcart, reads, “Lox et veritas.” Both are in short supply these days.
M ark Russ Federman, the 57-year-old owner, grandson of the original Russ, pointed to a meaty, deep pink chunk of fish: lox, which in his store means the rich, brine-cured belly of a wild Pacific salmon. “That’s where it all started,” he said.
“People use lox as a general term — bagel and lox — but what is traditional and genuine lox is not smoked salmon at all,” said Mr. Federman’s daughter Niki, who also works at the shop. “It is a salmon cured in salt brine. No refrigeration needed. When people come into the store, they ask for lox, and we say, Are you sure?”
Terry Huggins, charcuterie manager at Dean & DeLuca, has not sold a piece of lox since 1990. Even at Barney Greengrass, that emporium of nostalgia, lox doesn’t sell well, and Saul Zabar himself prefers the more modern, Nova-style smoked fish. Today, most of the Sunday-morning salmon sold in New York — 2,500 pounds each week at Zabar’s alone — is not lox, but lightly salted and smoked salmon.
Countries of northern Europe have a long tradition of smoking fish to conserve salt. In fact, the word lox is derived from the German lachs, meaning salmon. Near the River Bann in Ireland lie the remains of what is thought to be a fish-drying and -smoking station dating to 2000 B.C.
American recipes using smoked salmon date to the early 19th century, when it was a pricey restaurant food. But, according to Claudia Roden, author of “The Book of Jewish Food,” there is no evidence that Eastern European Jews ate lox or smoked salmon in the shtetls. They ate copious amounts of fish, but salmon was usually too expensive.
Lox and smoked salmon became Jewish through an accident of migration. When European immigrants came to New York, they brought traditions of smoking and salting fish. But the stuff did not take off until the arrival of Eastern European Jews in the late 19th and early 20th century.
In the United States, the opening of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 connected the waters of the Pacific Northwest, which were teeming with wild salmon, with New York fishmongers. Barrels filled with hundreds of pounds of salmon interleaved with salt were transported east. The salt drew water from the flesh of the fish, creating a briny bath that preserved the salmon for up to a year without refrigeration.
A …drift from heavy salting occurred in the United States, especially after refrigeration rendered briny preservation obsolete. But salmon here was typically cured in a low-salt liquid solution, which creates a silky, chewier fish. Salmon prepared this way, much of which used to be imported from Nova Scotia and the Gaspé Peninsula, was often sold as Nova or Gaspé. Pacific salmon was often sold as Western Nova. The names stuck.
The Lower East Side’s ramshackle crush of diversity and poverty was fertile ground for culinary invention. By the early 20th century, cream cheese, lox and bagels were available in tempting proximity. One day, some anonymous genius combined them.
“Who put the triumvirate together, no one knows,” Mr. Federman said. But what is clear is that this inspired combination of immigrant Jewish foods rapidly won over mainstream palates.
At the same time, the market for lox was exploding. Eastern European immigrants would have appreciated lox both for its price — 9 cents for a quarter-pound in the 1920’s and 30’s — and for its convenience. It was easy to handle — and pareve. making it acceptable with milk or meat. It fast became a staple.
“Think about it in terms of tenements, the crowded conditions and absence of cooking facilities,” said James Shenton, professor emeritus at Columbia University, whose specialty is immigrant history. “Lox had the advantage of not requiring the effort that would have made life more complicated than it was.”
Today, New York bagels are dressed with an array of pink, red and orange strips of smoked salmon, which is typically marketed by country of origin. There are only two major classes of salmon: Atlantic, which is found throughout Northern Europe, on the Eastern Seaboard of North America, and in Chile; and Pacific, which is found in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. But you can buy smoked salmon identified as Scottish, Irish, Norwegian, Gaspé or Nova.
These geographic distinctions are increasingly obsolete. Much of the salmon at emporiums like Zabar’s, Fairway, Barney Greengrass, Russ & Daughters and Dean & DeLuca actually comes from Acme Smoked Fish. a third-generation smokehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Acme’s day begins at 4 a.m. The fish are prepared Nova style, cured in salt, water and brown sugar, before being cold-smoked on racks in a large oven. Fruitwood shavings burn in a small stove, making the 50,000-square-foot factory smell incongruously of a campfire. The salmon, whether farmed fish from Norway, Chile and the Faeroe Islands, or wild Pacific salmon from Alaska, is processed identically.
Today, almost all the smoked salmon sold in New York is grown on a farm. Zabar’s has not carried wild smoked salmon for a decade. Acme gets virtually all of the five million pounds of salmon it smokes each year from farms in Norway and Chile.
In an era of mechanized factories, fish farms and supermarkets, chances are next to zero that the salmon on your bagel ever swam with the wind. “I think people are so excited about the fact they can get good fresh farmed salmon 52 weeks of a year,” says Buzz Billik of Acme, “they don’t think about what goes into making the fish this fat and this red.”
For Mr. Federman of Russ & Daughters, salmon is also a good business. ” My grandfather came over here, and it was all poverty,” he said. “He left poverty. He came here and the streets weren’t lined with gold. It wasn’t the golden Medina. It was the Lower East Side ghetto.”
His parents met over a barrel of pickled herring and worked six days a week, twelve hours a day, so the children wouldn’t have to go home smelling like fish. Mr. Federman studied law but ended up a fishmonger.
” The ultimate Jewish irony is that I would like my kids to be here doing this,” he said. “My fish business is less fishy than most things out there. I am probably the only Jewish father who is disappointed his kid wants to be a doctor.”