Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration!

Posted on Updated on

Our Lady of Guadalupe (also known as La Virgen de Guadalupe), Madrecita (dear mother) to many Mexicanos & Latinos is celebrated December 12. Throughout the Twin Cities, communities, churches, and even some schools celebrate this holiday.

Amazingly enough, here in St. Paul, MN, some of my earliest cultural Mexican experiences were at Our Lady of Guadalupe church in St. Paul, MN located on the “Westside”.  I was raised Catholic, and of the Mexican Catholic traditions, I most embrace is the celebration of la Virgen de Guadalupe.  I am AMAZED and moved beyond words of the love that our culture has for ‘la Virgencita”.  As a young girl at church on this date many years ago, I remember seeing people crawling upright on their knees down the entire aisle from back of the church to the front altar (at least 50’), and without anyone explaining to me why they were doing this, I was moved to tears!  And so, the following year, my friend and I also decided to go at 5am for the ‘serenata’ (serenade with mariachi to la Virgencita), and crawl the aisle on our knees, a memory I hold dearly.

Later I learned that it’s a sacrifice & plead to La Virgencita to intercede for the believers prayers to God.  All across Mexico in churches & villages people offer up a variety of personal sacrifices ranging from fasting, knee crawling, and short to very long pilgrimages.  Ever since then in some way, I always celebrate La Virgencita, for me, it’s partially for religious beliefs, but mostly, a very endearing appreciation of this beautiful cultural experience.

Our Lady of Guadalupe church in St.Paul(as well as other churches in Twin Cities) is flooded increasingly with Mexicano & Latino believers every year for this celebration. The celebrations commence about midnight December 11 with a variety of musicians, traditional dancers(dancing to Tonantzin), roses & candles galore, rosary praying, reenactments, prayer, and even families giving away hot specialty drinks like Atole, Chocolate and Tamales.

At both of our El Burrito Mercado locations we are stocked with the accustomed candles & roses, and altars are set up so that employees & community believers can set roses and candles for her.  At our St. Paul store on December 12 from 11am-12pm there will be mariachi, complimentary pan dulce(sweet bread) and coffee.


A fairly accurate description of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe & Juan Diego:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Guadalupe


Las Posadas Traditions

Posted on

For nine celebration-filled days (novena) before Christmas, December 16 – 24,  people all across Mexico celebrate Las Posadas with processions, candles, lanterns and food. Sometimes a boy and a girl dress up as Mary and Joseph, and in some villages neighbors will alternate serving meals to one another.  In the US many churches, communities, and schools now also practices this tradition.  Tamales are the traditionally served during Las Posadas, often enjoyed with Ponche Navideno, a hot fruity punch.  

El Burrito Mercado sells ponche & tamales daily during the holidays, in our Restaurant Bar we sell “Ponche con Piquete” (hot punch ‘spiked’ with tequila).

Growing the Brand

Posted on Updated on

In 2004 at El Burrito Mercado we began producing and packaging authentic Mexican foods to be  sold under the brand name of El Burrito Mercado. The product’s quality is held to the high standards of the Silva family assuring an authentic Mexican experience.

We continue to develop our products with careful attention to ingredients, preparation and packaging assuring “La Experiencia Mexicana” (The Mexican Experience).

As Director of Marketing I am responsible for the development of our retail marketing strategy.  I am also accountable for building strategies focused on growth across market segments.

I accomplish these goals in many ways:

  • One way was by brokering a deal with the Midtown Global Market. Just like our flagship store, this new Pop-Up style El Burrito Mercado has a grocery store component, as well as Mexican cuisine, gifts, and housewares for sale. Our classic enchiladas and burritos are served from a cafeteria-style restaurant.
  • Another way I accomplished this goal was before Cinco de Mayo we acquired a liquor license from the city of St. Paul. so our patrons could enjoy a margarita with their gorditas or enchiladas.We held a Grand Opening with a margarita garden in our parking lot on May 4 and 5. We served tequilas and a few other liquors and cocktails.I also held an event to show off the new bar and offer a sneak peek of our margaritas. The entire event, which included a market tour, a salsa-making demonstration, dinner and a margarita, costs $40.

The response we recieved from our patron was priceless. If you want to build your brand try being as authentic as possible.


Create Your Own Opportunites

Posted on Updated on

According to the U.S. Census bureau over 250,000 people of hispanic decent live in Minnesota that’s around 4.9 percent of Minnesota’s population. I think more than half of them have been to El Burrito Mercado at least once.

El Burrito Mercado, is a Traditional Mexican Market and family business located here in Saint Paul, Minnesota and it is a home away from home for many, hispanics specifically  Mexican’s.  Our mission is to deliver the La Experencia Mexicana (The Mexican Experience) Our market is big with lots of aisles filled with traditional Mexican goods.

It also has a comfortable atmosphere,  our staff is friendly and we have plenty of  regulars, from business lunch meetings for two to families of ten. So how did our local Latino market–that got its start in a tiny St. Paul market–get our Salsas and tamales on the shelves of 126 SuperTarget stores across the nation?

We popped up on Minneapolis-based Target Corp.‘s radar screen because we offer Traditional Mexican products and we have built a strong  relationship with the local Hispanic community.

My parents opened El Burrito Mercado in 1979, and it has become a Twin Cities Latino Landmark.  Our authentic cuisine and has has won awards and played host to national and international dignitaries like Vice President Dick Cheney and Mexican President Vicente Fox.

As an entrepreneur it is important to remain authentic in all you do. By remaining true to your clients your clients will remain true to you.


How El Burrito Mercado Got Started

Posted on Updated on

It all started in 1979 in a tiny store front that only offered dry Mexican groceries and tortillas.  We had one cash register, and a van that my father would use on weekends to go to Chicago to pick up merchandise.My parents struggled to get their first loan, they had faith they worked hard and with support from Latino community professionals, they were able to obtain their first loan to begin their mercado (market). Both my parents worked other jobs in the start up phase of the business taking turns covering at the market and taking us with them on the weekends.

happy owner of a restaurant

Tomas Silva

My Father comes from a very humble ‘rancho’ or town where he spent most of his life in poverty  under very poor conditions. As the oldest of three siblings he took on the responsibility  of putting food on the table to help his mother, and began working at a very young age.

My Father taught me :

  • You must work hard in order to be successful
  • You can overcome any obstacle in life
  • Be grateful everyday for the blessings you have.

As  my father  grew older, he found out he had a knack for creating authentic Mexican foods ; he sold tamales, roasted corn, esquite (cooked corn kernels), among other things.

What I admire most about my father is that he taught himself  how to create, manage and sell his products he is quite the entrepreneur!
My father was the first in Minnesota to introduce a corn roaster at festivals. He prepared them Mexican style and he they were a hit. He now has three corn roasters which are busy all summer at festivals and events such as Grand Ol Days, Lumber Jack Days, Taste of MN, Cinco de Mayo, and of course every weekend outside the business! For information on Tomas bringing the corn roaster to your event, please contact Tomas Jr, tomas@elburritomercado.com
restaurant manager woman at work place

Maria Silva

My mom migrated to the United States with her family when she was 10yr old. She is one of the youngest of nine. As a young woman while her siblings worked as migrant workers in beet fields in Minnesota and Colorado. My mom would baby sit and care for her nieces and nephews.  She watched her mother and older sisters create authentic mexican recipies and, she found she really had a passion for cooking.

My mother began experimenting in the kitchen, she would take any cookbooks she could get her hands on! My mother also attended Mechanical School of Arts High School where she says one of her favorite classes was home economics. My mom overcame distinct obstacles and endured racism, discrimination,  and poverty, but her perseverance kept her moving ahead.

Mom oversees the quality of the food at El Burrito Mercado, and is an advisor for the management team. Mom makes regular trips to Mexico for purchases of the Mexican fine art and folk art which you will find all over El Burrito Mercado.

During her free time, she spends time with her seven grandchildren, and  nurtures her Victorian gardens. Mom also volunteers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church where she is an active member.

What Are Sugar Skulls?

Posted on Updated on

What are Sugar Skulls?
Sugar skulls are  skull-shaped sugar. Traditional Sugar Skulls  are made from a granulated white sugar mixture that is pressed into special skull molds. The sugar mixture is allowed to dry and then the Sugar skull is decorated with icing, feathers, colored foil and more. While the ingredients of Sugar Skulls are edible they are generally used for decorative purposes. However some small sugar skulls that are made with basic icing are intended to be consumed.

How are Sugar Skulls used during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) today?
Sugar Skulls are often used to decorate the ofrendas on Dia de los Muertos which is November 1st and 2nd.

Smaller skulls are placed on the ofrenda on November 1st to represent the children who have deceased.

On November 2nd they are replaced by larger, more ornate skulls which represent the adults.

These decorative skulls have the name of the deceased on the forehead and are decorated with stripes, dots and swirls of icing to enhance the features of the skulls.

These designs are usually very brightly colored and sort of whimsical, not morbid or scary. Feathers, beads or colored foil can be “glued” on with the icing to create really decorative skulls.

Sugar skull given for the Day of the Dead. The...
Sugar skull given for the Day of the Dead. They’re also made with chocolate and amaranto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At El Burrito Mercado  we sell small, edible skulls to be eaten during the holiday these Sugar Skulls are made by various artists who sculpt, paint or create beautiful skulls to be used as decorations, jewelry and more.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pan de Muertos Recipe

Posted on Updated on

This bread has a sweet flavor and is used on the altars of deceased loved ones during “Day of the Dead” festivities.  You will also make the bone-like shapes that decorate the top of the loaf and place them before baking.

While fresh Pan de Muerto is always soft and delicious, you can also get pre-made Pan de Muerto made by the Mexican bakery  at El Burrito Mercado.

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 packets dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons whole anise seed
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Glaze (see below)


Bring all ingredients to room temperature (except for the water which should be very warm) before beginning.
  • In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, anise, salt and 1/2 cup of the flour.
  • In a seperate bowl combine the eggs and the water.
  • Add the egg/water mixture to the first mixture and add in another 1/2 cup of the flour.
  • Add in the yeast and another 1/2 cup of flour.
  • Continue to add the flour 1 cup at a time until a dough forms.
  • Knead on a floured surface for about 1 minute.
  • Cover with a slightly damp dishcloth and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Bring out dough and punch it down.
  • Remove about 1/4 of it and use it to make bone shapes to drape across the loaf (see below.)
  • Or divide the dough into smaller pieces to create other bone shapes. Let the shaped dough rise for 1 more hour.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes for smaller loaves and up to 45 minutes for larger loaves.

GLAZES(After glaze is applied you may decorate with additional colored sugar.)

  • Bring to a boil- 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup fresh orange juice. Brush on bread and then sift some additional sugar over the top.
  • Mix 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate and 1/3 cup sugar with 2 egg whites. Brush on bread during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Bring to a boil- 1/4 cup piloncillo, 1/4 cup sugar, 2/3 cup cranberry juice and 2 tablespoons orange zest. Brush on bread after bread has cooled.

BONES The most common bone decorations are very simple.

  • Sometimes it’s just a matter of forming ball shapes and pressing them into the loaf in a line.
  • You could also take a piece of dough, roll it into a long cylinder and place a ball at each end.
  • You can get much more detailed if you like, but even a little “knobby” looking loaf will get the idea across.

Recipe by Chelsea Kenyon

Enhanced by Zemanta