A Mexican medley of flavors

March 18, 2011 7:18:30 PM PDT
La Flor Bakery and Cafe sits just below the 7 train on a corner in Woodside. Flowers adorn the windows, ceramic tiles on the walls, and inside Chef Ortega stirs a medley of flavors.

"It's a fusion of Mexican ingredients," said owner and chef, Vico Ortega.

Ortega came to the states from Puebla, Mexico when he was 21 and got into cooking. He opened La Flor in 2001.

"I always say it's easier to play with someone else's money. I really love food and that's what it is," said Ortega.

Ortega makes all the baked goods, from the breakfast items like sticky buns to the cakes for dessert. There is a wide range of lighter fare such as salads and soups.

"The food is fantastic and the salads are fabulous," said one restaurant goer.

Of course, there are dishes that are more heavily Mexican, like his famous quesadilla. Ortega uses a tortillera to press his mesa corn dough, pops them right on the griddle along with shrimp and roasted peppers. One tortilla is layered with hacha cheese the other gets mashed potatoes, shrimp, and peppers. The tortillas are layered, sprinkled with queso anejo, topped with red chili and a jalapeno and avocado sauce.

The recipe is below. For more about the restaurant, please visit laflorrestaurant.com


Shrimp Quesadilla

For filling:


1/4 cup mashed potatoes
½ roasted red pepper (seeded, peeled and sliced into strips)
½ roasted jalapeno (seeded, peeled and sliced into strips)
4 jumbo shrimp
3 oz oxaca cheese


On griddle, cook the shrimp and layer with the peppers, once warm layer one cooked tortilla (see below) with cheese, layer the other one with mashed potato, shrimp and peppers. After 30 seconds warming on griddle, place cheese tortilla on top of the shrimp tortilla, cheese side down.

For tortilla:


1 cup maseca (corn flour) also called masa harina
½ cup cold water


1. Mix and knead the two well and let sit for an hour in the refrigerator
2. Pinch off a golf-ball sized piece of masa and roll it into a ball
3. Set the masa on a piece of wax paper in the tortilla press; cover with another piece of plastic (or roll out with rolling pin if you don't have tortillera press)
4. Press the masa
Transfer the tortilla to a hot, dry skillet
5. Cook for about 30 seconds on one side; gently flip



2 oz queso anejo
1 oz crema Mexicana
Red chile sauce (see below)
Avocado jalapeno sauce (see below)


Spread creama on top of the quesadilla, then sprinkle the queso anejo over that. In a pretty pattern finish topping with red chile sauce and avocado jalapeno sauce

Red chile sauce:


¼ tsp garlic
5 dried chile costeno
1 dried chile de arbol
2 green tomatillo (boiled)
1 ½ cup water

Directions: Puree ingredients into sauce.

Jalapeno avocado sauce:


3 jalapenos (boiled)
1 oz chopped Spanish onion
1 oz cilantro
1 cup water
1 whole avocado (pitted and mashed)


Puree all ingredients into a sauce