A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 06, 2008
Gringa (tacos al pastor; salsa gringa)

A “gringa” is a female “gringo,” a nickname for an Anglo. The “gringa” taco began probably as El Fogoncito (Mexico City) states on its website. (See below.) Two American women ordered tacos al pastor in a white flour tortilla, a dish that El Fogoncito called “Gringa” in the early 1970s.

“Salsa gringa” is served at some Tex-Mex places and indicates a mild salsa. The origin of this name is unknown; El Fogoncito does not claim the salsa.


Wiktionary
Spanish
Noun
gringa f. (plural gringas)
1. Feminine form of gringo.
2. (Mexico) a type of taco

Wikipedia: Gringo
Gringo (feminine, gringa) is a term in the Spanish and Portuguese languages used in some countries of Latin America and Europe to refer to foreigners from different cultures, particularly English-speakers, and especially from the United States, although too from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries, including in some cases other countries of Latin America itself.
(...)
Other uses
In the context of Mexican cuisine, a gringa is a flour tortilla taco of spiced pork (carne al pastor) with cheese (mostly Manchego, Chihuahua or oaxaca cheese). The combination is heated on the comal until piping hot and then served with a choice of salsa. The flour tortilla is white, with brown spots, similar to white skin with freckles.

In the 1950s in Mexico, the 50 Mexican pesos bill was called ojo de gringa ("gringa’s eye") because it was blue.

Mexican Food Glossary
Gringa - Pastor taco made with a flour tortilla.

Urban Dictionary
GRINGA
A “Gringa” is a class of Mexican ‘Taco’ (food). Is a “tortilla” of flour with bistek or any another class of meat (carnaza, “al pastor”, tripa, lengua, etc) and a lot of cheese of “adobera” with coriander and onion stung. they are done with ‘tortilla’ of corn too. Here in Jalisco is very common to eat “Gringas”.
Hey Rafa yo quiero dos gringas de bistek y una gringa de “al pastor”
Hey Rafa I want two gringas with bistek and one gringa “al pastor”

by Mariana Plascencia Campos Zapopan Jalisco Dec 16, 2006

El Fogoncito - History/Gringa History
The tacos success coincided with the coming of the best athletes coming from all over the world, at the middle of 1968, to celebrate in our country the Olympic Games, and also with a general sense of modernity influencing all kind of activities in the country, when the exchange rate was of $12.50 Mexican pesos per dollar.

That renovation climate developed even further the popular Mexican gastronomy to innovate the traditional dishes. As a result, during those years the tacos al pastor were served through the southern part of Mexico city and specially in Ave. Revolucion, where in August of 1968 opened the first Taqueria called El Fogoncito, managed by Mrs. Martha Avalos Rocha.

It was a family business, where they served at that time the not to well known tacos al pastor. The small business in not time at all became successful, because the owner knew how to make a difference, with a seal of high quality and good service conquering the preference of her neighbors and pedestrians. Very soon the El Fogoncito adopted a peculiar style in the preparation of their dishes, having a difference with respect to the other taquerias in the zone and very soon the business capacity from four tables was not enough to serve so many clients.

Two years later in 1970, the second El Fogoncito taqueria was opened, in Leibinitz Street in the Colonia Anzures, back from the famous hotel Camino Real. This business was smaller than the one in Av. Revolucion; with no serving tables and capacity for only four standing persons. However very soon they discovered that they could compete with any other food business in the zone.

It was in this small place where the Gringas were invented in an original manner. Most of the clients were students and two American girls, Sharon Smith and Jennifer Anderson who used to eat the tacos al pastor but did not quite identified the difference between corn and flour tortilla always preferred the white ones that were used for quesadillas having their tacos with meat and cheese in a white tortilla.

The customers began to request the same as « the gringas» which means as the American girls and as this was a daily repetition they finally named the new combination as Gringas. At the beginning El Fogoncito did nothing to patent the new combination and name and when decided to do so it was not possible as it was of public dominion but everybody in the food business knows its origins and the true story.

ALO Dallas (TX)
GRINGAS
menonita cheese and choice of meat
ribeye & wild mushrooms
2 grilled flour of 3 corn tortillas
chicken, grilled onions, spinach, goat cheese
flour tortillas only
shrimp
3 corn tortillas

Picante Mexican Grill (Cambridge, MA)
SALSAS
Pico de Gallo - a fresh mixture of tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, & cilantro, marinated in lime.
Chipotle - This tomato & onion salsa is smokey & medium hot with the wonderful flavor of chipotle chili.
Salsa Gringa - Our mild mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions, and lime.
SuperPicante - Our red HOT salsa.
Zanahorias (en Escabeche) - California-style jalapeno pickled carrots and onions...very traditional.

Ahora Mexican Cuisine (Ottawa, Canada)
TACO
Soft corn tortillas filled with salsa gringa, cheese, avocado, chicken or steak

5 February 1986, Daily News (Los Angeles, CA):
At La Salsa in Van Nuys the bluish-toned taco (soft taco azul, $2.25) made with blue corn ... fairly hot salsas mexicana and verde, and mild salsa gringa.

15 March 1996, New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM), Pasa Tiempo, pg. 49, col. 2:
Next came the Plato de los Tres Amigos ($6.95). It was the most expensive item on the menu, but it offered us a good chance to sample such items as a Taco al Pastor, a Chorizo Taco and one Gringa taco which came served with lettuce, tomato and a choice of Charro beans or Fideo (Mexican pasta, which was served in a soup). 

Google Groups: soc.culture.mexican
Newsgroups: soc.culture.mexican
From: “Kristina & Ricardo”
Date: 1998/09/25
Subject: Gringa

Gringa: Taco of wheat tortillas with “pastor"-style pork meat and cheese. At any taco place in Mexico City, if you are too “gringo” to have a meal of “tacos al pastor”, you can order a dish of “gringa”.

August 2003, Toronto Life:
NEW Mexicato
Latin pop, mariachi figurines and kitschy Mexican paraphernalia (yup, that includes sombreros) greet you at this taqueria, which promises “a real Mexican experience.” The Gringa ($6.99) and the Tinga ($7.99) stand out among the usual suspects (burritos and enchiladas). The former stuffs grilled shaved pork (pastor), cheese, and pineapple chunks (a genuine Mexican touch) into a flour tortilla; the latter boasts shredded chicken in chipotle sauce. Both dishes are authenticated by the presence of yellow rice and refried beans.

Austin360.com
Taco Sabroso
Serving food even a governor will love
By Dale Rice
American-Statesman Restaurant Critic
Thursday, December 25, 2003
(...)
Its pastor is a delicious version of the traditional sliced pork. However, it doesn’t have the sweetness imparted by the heavy pineapple flavoring used by many Mexican restaurants. The pork gets its distinct taste from marinating in garlic, onion, paprika and achiote.

It’s delicious in taco form ($1.75) served with cilantro and onions or as a “gringa” ($2) with the addition of melted cheese. 

5 May 2004, New York (NY) Times, “Food Stuff” by Florence Fabricant, pg. F2:
This week, for Cinco de Mayo and until the end of the month, Mr. Medina, the chef at Zocalo, 174 East 82nd Street, is making authentic tacos al pastor ("shepherds’ tacos") swiped with serious red sauce, tomatillo salsa and a shower of fresh cilantro and onion. A tad less authentic, but no less delicious, are his gringas al pastor: melted Goudalike Chihuahua cheese and avocado in a big flour tortillas. The tacos al paste are $8 for two, with a side of crispy Chihuahua cheese rolls called chicharones de queso; the gringa al pastor is $8.

Houston (TX) Press
Top Tacos
Mexican “tacos de trompo” are getting hard to find because the Health Department says they’re illegal
By Robb Walsh
Published: September 21, 2006
(...)
In three visits to Taqueria Monterrey, the best things I ate all included meat from the trompo. The tacos de trompo were tops, if you’ll excuse the pun. The gringa, a taco made with trompo meat on a flour tortilla garnished with melted cheese and avocado, was also a more delicate approach to the spicy pork.

December 2006, Texas Monthly, “The Greatest Tacos Ever Sold” by Patricia Sharpe:
8. Carne Asada Gringa
Taquitos El Güero | San Antonio
Who says you need hundreds of thousands of dollars to open a restaurant? You can start one with a concrete slab, a canvas carport roof, some recycled fast-food tables, and a trailer. Taquitos El Güero, otherwise known as “that taco truck on Commerce,” has further spiffed itself up with banners and Christmas lights. In the tiny kitchen excellent basic tacos emerge from the griddle on either fine flour tortillas or mini corn tortillas. They are all juicy and appealing, but choose the carne asada gringa, translated loosely as “Americanized.” Filled with grilled beef that has been chopped and assertively seasoned, it’s capped with melted white cheese on a warm flour tortilla. A dollop of sour cream comes on the side. If the weather cooperates, there’s no more agreeable, and less pretentious, outdoor dining, as you watch the traffic zip by and listen to soulful Mexican ballads on the radio. 3016 W. Commerce, 210-431- 5468. Open Tue--Thur 1--midnight, Fri & Sat 1--12:30. Closed Sun & Mon.

¡Viva México!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
First night out on the town!
(...)
We danced at Theberna for about 3 hours, and then Ashley wanted to leave and get some food. So Ashley, her boyfriend Arturo, Arturo´s friend, and I went to a taco called La Gringa. Tacos are open-air restaurants that are only open at night, and they stay open until about 5:30 in the morning. “Gringa” or “gringo” are the terms that Mexicans use to refer to a woman or man from the U.S. It´s not entirely derrogatory, but its not entirely friendly either - it depends on how they use it. Anyways, we all had the famous “gringa” dish, which is essentially incredibly fatty meat (pork or beef), pinaeapple, and salsa on a tortilla.

Uh oh, Peter’s thinking again...
Friday, January 18, 2008
Goin’ with the flow
(...)
When I went to Fast Taco a couple of weeks ago with my co-worker Rob, he called me over to the salsa bar. “Um, does ‘gringo’ mean anything other than what I think it does?” he asked. “What?” “Look,” he said, and he pointed to the salsa in front of him. “Salsa gringa,” the top line of a little display said. Below it, they translated for us: “Mild.” Sure enough, it was just pieces of tomato. As a gringo who enjoys spicy food (especially my Aunt Lynn’s spicy chicken casserole thing), I was offended by that translation.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, February 06, 2008 • Permalink