Explore Hispanic Cuisine at the HQC Cafe

National Hispanic Heritage Month, provides an opportunity to highlight, explore and show appreciation for the vast expanse of the Hispanic culture. HQC Café will offer Hispanic or Latino food each Wednesday.

Explore Hispanic Cuisine

Michael Grant, DLA Headquarters Equal Employment Opportunity Division

Celebrated annually September 15 – October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month, provides an opportunity to highlight, explore and show appreciation for the vast expanse of the Hispanic culture.  A part of that culture includes the diaspora of Hispanic cuisine. 

Where could you explore a taste of the Hispanic culture and add a little spice of variety to your workday at the McNamara Complex?  Well, the HQC Café will offer Hispanic or Latino food each Wednesday during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Outside of Hispanic Heritage Month, on any given day the HQC Café's offerings may include fajitas in soft taco shells from the grill, chimichurri (a sauce) for its meat and chicken plate dishes, and tortilla wraps in lieu of a roll for deli sandwiches. 

Would you like to spice up your fajitas?  Ask for some pico de gallo.  Literally translated as “rooster beak” this easy to make condiment is made up of chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro, chili peppers (e.g. serrano or jalapeño), a coarse salt (kosher or sea) and fresh squeezed lime juice.

Where else may you explore Hispanic cuisine besides the HQC Café? In addition to commercial, well-known eateries where you can buy a variety of dishes such as tapas, friends, family members and co-workers may be able to recommend authentic restaurants, markets, and food trucks specializing in Hispanic cuisine.  They may also share with you nearby panaderías (bakeries), taquerías (restaurants specializing in tacos and burritos), and pupuserías (places where you can purchase pupusa, stuffed tortillas).

Do you find these choices overwhelming?  Try another approach.  Seek out a venue offering particular items such as ceviche (marinated fish & or seafood), or pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken).  Another option might be parrillada de carne (typically grilled beef & pork) or parrillada de mariscos (grilled seafood).  Look for an offering from which two or more could sample if not enjoy as a main course.

If you just want a sandwich?  Search out a Cubano (a traditional Cuban sandwich). 

Is this still too much?  Then try a sopa (soup), a selection of queso (cheese), or a postre (dessert) such as a flan or custard or arroz con leche (rice with milk; rice pudding)

Or will a side dish suffice?  Yuca frita (fried cassava) or plátanos (bananas or plantains) may be just enough to satisfy your appetite.

Do you need just a quick bite?  An empanada (baked or fried stuffed pastry) is easy to eat while on the go.

Maybe you are not hungry, but thirsty?  Try a non-alcoholic jugó (juice) refresco (soft drink) (e.g. mango, papaya, guyabano or guanabano, tamarindo) or a chicha (grain or maize) beverage (bebida).

The choices are extensive, and offerings from one region or country may well differ in subtleties from another.  There is plenty to explore.  Be adventurous.  Enjoy the chance to discover new tastes and flavors.  Be sure to share your experience. 

If you find something you like or do not feel like going out, you could search for a receta (recipe).  You might try the Hispanic Kitchen or All Recipes for Latin American dishes.


Additional Resources

Colon, Bill. (n.d.). The Latino “Crossover”: Growth factor in the US food industry.

Hispanic Heritage Month. (n.d.)

Library of Congress

Hill, Kathryn. (2015, May 15). Recipe: Cuban sandwich.

López-Alt, J.K. (2013, Jun). Classic pico de gallo recipe.

MicFood®. (n.d.). The diversity oi Hispanic cuisine from Mexico to the Patagonia.

Olivera, Kimberly. (2017, Oct. 10), The rise of Latino food culture in the U.S.

Velden, Dana. (2013, Jul 26). How to make pico de gallo (salsa fresca).

Disclaimer: Inclusion of select web sites and articles does not signify nor imply the endorsement of the Defense Logistics Agency or U.S. Department of Defense.