On Sunday, August 13th, Cantina La Martina is hosting a Cemita Festival from 11am to 4pm. The event will feature local vendors each selling a different version of a cemita including a sweet option. Most of the participants are Latino vendors plus there will be a few surprise chefs such as Kensington neighbor Chef Jacob Trinh of Cáphê Roasters who will be participating with his own interpretation of a Vietnamese cemita. Chef/Owner Dionicio Jimenez of Cantina La Martina, who was recently a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic,” will have his own version of a cemita available as well.
Cemita is a gastronomic treasure of Puebla. The traditional ingredients are quesillo, cemita bread, and papalo. The bread that is used for the cemita has a very ancient origin since it was introduced by the conquerors and over time they were enriched in their shapes, flavors, and techniques by the French. A particular characteristic of the bread used for the cemita is the sourdough taste and sesame seeds. Papalo, an aromatic pre-Hispanic herb with leaves shaped like the wings of a butterfly, is the traditional herb in cemitas. The name comes from the Nahuatl papalotl which means butterfly.
One of Chef Dionicio’s favorite snacks upon arriving in his beloved state of Puebla is to stop at one of the roadside stands on the way to San Mateo Ozolco and enjoy a good cemita de arabe and a cold Pacifico beer. Cemitas brings back childhood memories of traveling to the Cholula market accompanied by his parents to exchange food for the household and enjoying a traditional cemita while they were there. Chef Dionicio fondly remembers that the predominant aromas of the different food markets was always papalo.
Admission to the event is free, but guests are encouraged to bring cash to buy cemitas from the vendors. Cemitas will all cost $15 each. Cantina La Martina has an ATM on site if needed. Vendors will be keeping 100% of their profits.
Specialty drinks from Cantina La Martina will be available for purchase throughout the event. Entertainment will be provided.
The event is taking place outside in Cantina La Martina’s large backyard.
During the event, reservations will not be available outside and the regular menu will not be available outside. Reservations are available inside for the regular Cantina La Martina brunch menu.
Cantina La Martina is located at 2800 D Street in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood.
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