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ISO: Good Queso Cotija

ISO: Good Queso Cotija
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  • ISO: Good Queso Cotija

    Post #1 - July 23rd, 2020, 7:41 am
    Post #1 - July 23rd, 2020, 7:41 am Post #1 - July 23rd, 2020, 7:41 am
    LTH,
    With elotes season upon us, I am in search of the best commercially available queso cotija. It can take me a month or two to run through a pouch of the grated stuff and I have no idea which brand I currently have stocked in my fridge (stored in a 1/2 qt deli.) Whatever it is, it is not great, it's a little sour and a little musty (it tasted that way out of the bag.)

    Any brand recs? I generally trust Supremo though I recall their cotija is a bit bland. Looking for salty & a bit of funk. Like all cheese, I imagine that buying a wedge is the way to go, but there's also something integral about the granular texture of the commercially- grated for elotes/esquites.

    Thanks!
  • Post #2 - July 23rd, 2020, 8:49 am
    Post #2 - July 23rd, 2020, 8:49 am Post #2 - July 23rd, 2020, 8:49 am
    For a commonly available cotija, El Mexicano is a good one. Since I looked through the American Cheese Society 2019 winners I've been paying more attention to this brand. Marquez Brothers International, who markets El Mexicano, really dominated the Mexican style cheeses. Their cotija took third place. I think El Mexicano's fresh cheeses are even better. Try their Cremosa, Casero or Panela.

    It might be worth visiting a Mexican cheese shop. I can recommend Cremeria La Ordeña (3 locations now) and Cremeria Santa Maria. If you go to Santa Maria's Swap-O-Rama location you can get an excellent guajolota while you're there.
  • Post #3 - July 23rd, 2020, 8:55 am
    Post #3 - July 23rd, 2020, 8:55 am Post #3 - July 23rd, 2020, 8:55 am
    [Edit: My brain is working well this morning if I suggest the same thing as Rene G, who just beat me to the suggestion]

    About the only thing I know for sure about Mexican cheese is when someone is taking my picture and says "smile" I smile and scream Queso Fundido. :) That said, I'm loaded up on Queso Oaxaca as I've been on a quesadilla kick lately, so that makes me an internet expert on all types of Mexican cheese. ;)

    Gary, you idiot, do you have a helpful point?

    Yes, my suggestion is go to one of the Cremeria La Ordena, a fantastic specialty shop, and let help you choose. Products are tip-top and, though there is often a language barrier, they are helpful.

    In recent years I've only been to the Lawrence location, but any one should do fine. Lots of good stuff there, chorizo, crema, multiple mole offered for tasting, excellent chili oil type hot sauce/Salsa Diabla and loads of dried beans, for a start.

    Cremeria La Ordena, count me a Fan!

    Cremeria La Ordena 2
    872-208-5581
    3810 W Lawrence Ave
    Chicago, IL 60625

    Cremeria La Ordena 3
    3234 W 26th St
    Chicago, IL 60623
    773-823-1336

    Cremeria La Ordena
    5954 S Pulaski Rd
    Chicago, IL 60629
    773-284-8300
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - July 23rd, 2020, 6:24 pm
    Post #4 - July 23rd, 2020, 6:24 pm Post #4 - July 23rd, 2020, 6:24 pm
    Cremeria La Ordena is a gem, isn't it a GNR? I've been to the Pulaski shop (maybe even with you, Rene G?) and Lawrence. They are my chapulines plug.

    I've never bought cotija from their case, but I know it would be next level. Perhaps if I ever resume working in the city again, I will properly educate myself.

    For my elotes/esquites purposes though– I have a hunch that the eloteros might not employ the most artisanal cheese to go with that slathering of Parkay. And as I said, there's something about the granulated texture of the stuff in the bag that feels right.

    I'll check out El Mexicano, thanks for the tip!
  • Post #5 - July 23rd, 2020, 8:19 pm
    Post #5 - July 23rd, 2020, 8:19 pm Post #5 - July 23rd, 2020, 8:19 pm
    Just a note: the grated stuff keeps well in the freezer. I've never seen any freezer burn or ice accumulation, it's kept its flavor.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #6 - July 23rd, 2020, 9:14 pm
    Post #6 - July 23rd, 2020, 9:14 pm Post #6 - July 23rd, 2020, 9:14 pm
    Hi,

    This morning when this popped up, I looked to see if there was another thread related to Cotija. I then looked for other mentions, though none of them named any brand.

    For whatever it matters, buddyroadhouse highlighted the cotija bought at Aldi for good taste and cheapest price around. At least when he wrote it, it was available in bricks or already grated.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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