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 November 24, 2007
Mexican Pizza

Italian pizza became a popular American dish following World War II. By the 1950s, several restaurants began to serve “Mexican pizza.” Matt’s El Rancho (established 1952 in Austin) still serves Mexican pizza and calls it “An El Rancho original!” In 1953, San Antonio newspapers reported “Mexican pizza” being served at Weyman’s Italian Restaurant and Rafaelo’s Italian Restaurant, both at 1200 Austin Highway.

The recipes for Mexican pizza vary, but Matt’s uses a flour tortilla topped with ranchero sauce, Monterey jack cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, and onions, serve with a guacamole salad. Ground beef is often (but not always) added.


Wikipedia: Mexican pizza
Mexican pizza is a pizza-like dish with toppings typical of Mexican cuisine such as beans and jalapeños. Mexican pizzas can also be made from quesadillas after tomato sauce and toppings have been added. These are called ‘pizzadillas’ but it should be noted that it is not an original Mexican creation. 

Cooks.com
MEXICAN PIZZA
Basic pizza dough
1 lb. hot sausage, not in casing
1 lb. grated monterey jack cheese
1 lb. grated cheddar or colby cheese
6 oz. can jalapeno peppers
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 1/2 c. Mexican salsa (tomato and chili sauce)
3 tbsp. olive oil

For one 13 inch deep dish pizza, brown hot sausage (drained) and taco seasoning together. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out the dough to form a circle slightly larger than pizza pan. Press dough to sides of pan; cut off excess dough that hangs over rim. Brush with olive oil. Combine the cheese and spread two thirds of mixture over the dough. Distribute the jalapeno peppers over the cheese and then hot sausage over the peppers. Next spread the salsa as evenly as possible over the entire pizza, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Matt’s El Rancho (Austin, TX)
Mexican Pizza
An El Rancho original! Crispy flour tortilla topped with Ranchero or Green Sauce, Monterey jack cheese, Sour Cream, Jalapeños and Onions. Served with a Guacamole Salad.’
Shrimp..................11.50
Beef or Chicken.......7.96

Taco Bell
MEXICAN PIZZA
Two crisp pizza shells filled with seasoned ground beef, hearty beans and then topped with pizza sauce, a blend of three cheeses — cheddar, pepperjack and mozzarella, melted to perfection, and topped with diced ripe tomatoes. 

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Mexican pizza, pizza made with Mexican-style ingredients, such as chilli powder, beans, etc.
1968 Chicago Tribune 30 Aug. II. 12/3 *Mexican pizza..1 package frozen or refrigerated ready mixed dough..2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce..1/2 teaspoon each: oregano, chili powder [etc.].
1978 Sunset June 170 Mexican pizza..bean and cheese, with taco sauce, sour cream.
1999 Texas Monthly Nov. 106/4 The Mexican pizza with chiles, sausage, black olives, and tomato sauce on a crisp flour tortilla is quite tasty.

25 April 1953, San Antonio (TX) Express, pg. 5, col. 4:
In Italy, the art of fine cooking is equalled only by the art of fine hospitality, and the two meet nightly over the tables at San Antonio’s famous Italian Restaurant, Weyman’s, where the cooking is worldly and gloriously flavorsome and where everything’s prepared with exquisite care. Naturally, the Italians love their Pizza Pie, and Weyman’s is notable for its sly originality in concocting this tasty dish. Mr. Weyman himself created the idea of Mexican Pizza Pie. He starts with a fin masa, or flour, creates a flaky, light crust, then adds a topping of spicy tamales, various bits of meats, imported Italian plum tomatoes, delectible jalapenos, and luscious Mozzerella cheese. It’s brought to the table a complete pie to serve four, priced at a mere 85c. Also, there’s the regular 10-inche Italian pizza, 75c, the salami, anchovy or mushroom pizza for $1.00—at Weyman’s Italian Restaurant, 1200 Austin Highway.

10 July 1953, San Antonio (TX) Light, pg. 15, col. 1:
When I feel myself hungering for the finest in Italian dishes, I make a fast bee-line for that cozy little rendezvous on the Austin Highway, Rafaelo’s. Such is the place where I steered my accomplice last Tuesday night and while he ordered the Cabrito Dinner and I had the Mexican Pizza, we halved each order between us in true Italian style and then, after feasting in this grand manner, were lucky enough to meet thechef at Rafaelo’s who was, at the moment of our entering into his kingdom, creating a mammoth pot of spaghetti. (...) Try it—especially at Rafaelo’s Italian Restaurant, 1200 block on the Austin highway.

3 July 1956, Aiken (SC) Standard and Review, pg. 4, col. 7:
RAMBLIN’ ALMANAC
July 3rd—The first Mexican pizza was introduced to the United States by a Frenchman a decade ago.

29 October 1957, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “For Taste Thrill, Try Giusti’s Genuine Pizza” pg. 18, col. 5:
Giusti’s features regular, anchovi, pepperoni, mushroom, and combination pizzas. A new addition to the menus is the Mexican pizza, which has that hearty cold weather flavor which Texans enjoy. 

29 October 1959, Van Nuys (CA) News, pg. 2C, col. 5:
A round of continuous entertainment, Mexican pizza and other Spanish foods plus awarding of prizes.

3 June 1960, San Mateo (CA) Times, “Mexican Pizza Next For Horky’s Restaurant,” pg. 21, col. 1:
FRANK “HORKY” SCHY is on the verge of perfecting a Mexican pizza. If this happens, the local pizza market is due for a surprise. Frank got the idea on his recent trip across the border.

29 September 1961, Van Nuys (CA) Valley News, pg. 24A, col. 7:
Opening soon on the site of the former Sasha’s in Northridge is JoJo’s, specializing in marinated steaks, Mexican pizza and south-of-the-border delicacies. 

15 January 1965, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section 1, pg. 11 ad:
CRYSTAL ROOM
5116 Greenville Avenue
(...)
STEAKS
SHISHKEBAB
MEXICAN PIZZA
ITALIAN PIZZA
(...)
THE FIRST ORIGINAL MEXICAN PIZZA HOUSE

10 April 1965, Gallup (NM) Daily Independent, pg. 3, col. 1 ad:
Dairy Star DRIVE IN
REALLY DIFFERENT
MEXICAN PIZZA
Like an Enchilada on a Pizza Crust

14 June 1965, San Antonio (TX) Light, pg. 15, col. 1 ad:
Popular El Matador Restaurateur Jim Moore, who is so conscientious about preparation of his Mexican food, has come up with the idea of a “Mexican Pizza.”

22 July 1965, Long Beach (CA) Independent, pg. 69? ad:
Even though we agree that most people think of Pizza as being distinctly Italian-American, we think you’ll understand why our recipe of the week bears the name MEXICAN PIZZA PIE! Though it resembles a pizza in appearance, this delicious summer dish is baked in a cornmeal crust and is filled with a flavorful Mexican meat filling, topped with cheddar cheese and sliced olives. 
(Lucky stores—ed.)

25 May 1966, Port Arthur (TX) News, “Put Chilies And Cheese In Pizzole,” pg. 21, col. 8:
Classic flavors of Mexico—mild cheese, green chilies, and sausage—are captured here and baked on a thin crust to give us “Pizzole,” or “Mexican pizza.”
(...)
PIZZOLE
1 pkg. refrigerator biscuits
8 oz. bulk pork sausage
1 cup pizza flavor catsup
1/2 teasp. chili powder
2 1/2 Tablesp. green chilies, finely chopped
8 oz. shredded pizza cheese

Pat out biscuits to form crust in 14-inch pizza pan. Bake in 400 degree oven for 2 minutes. Remove and press crust down lightly to make it compact. Meanwhile, brown sausage lightly in fry pan and pour off excess fat. Mix pizza flavor catsup with chili powder and finely chopped green chilies. Spread over crust and top with shredded cheese; then place sausage on cheese. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

30 August 1968, Chicago (IL) Tribune section 2, pg. 12:
MEXICAN PIZZA
(Two 10 or 12-inch pizzas)
1 package frozen or refrigerated ready mixed dough for french bread
1 1/2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can (7 ounces) luncheon meat, diced or mashed
1 small onion, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon each: oregano, chili powder
1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely shredded mozarella cheese
1/2 cup sliced pepperoni
2 tablespoons anchovies
1/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced green and ripe pitted olives

Divide dough in half. Roll out between two pieces of waxed paper to size of pizza pans, 10 or 12 inches in diameter. Lightly butter pizza pans and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place rounds of rolled out dough on each. Mix tomato paste, tomato sauce, luncheon meat, onion, garlic, oregano, and chili powder. Divide and spread on rounds of dough. Cover each with mozarella cheese and cheddar cheese and then add half of remaining ingredients to each (or divide as desired).  Bake on lowest rack of oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cut in wedges and serve hot.

25 March 1969, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section C, pg. 7 ad:
MEXICAN PIZZA!!!?
One whiff—one mouth-watering taste—and it’s an instant snack favorite! Hearty flavor...ranchero sauce, peppers and cheese. Something new and different—with a kick to it! (Jalapeno lovers know what we mean.) Great with beer or Sangria.
(Illegible, but appears to read “Treat’s Restaurants”—ed.)

27 January 1970, Albuquerque (NM) Tribune, pg. B2:
MEXICAN PIZZA TURNOVER
3/4 cup chopped green chiles
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 package sausage and cheese pizza
16-ounce package natural mozzarella cheese, sliced in strips

Combine vegetable and pizza sauce, simmer 10 minutes. Prepare dough as directed on package. press out on a greased baking sheet to form a 10X14 inch rectangle. Spread sauce mixture lengthwise over half of dough. Top with herb spice mix and grated parmesan cheese (in package) and half of cheese strips. Fold dough over sauce mixture and seal edges.

Slash top at intervals. Bake at 425 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. Top with remaining cheese strips and green chile strips and return to oven until cheese melts. Makes six servings.

6 December 1971, Billings (MT) Gazette, pg. 31?, col. 2 ad:
Totino
MEXICAN STYLE PIZZA
16 oz. ea. 49c

March 1974, Gourmetpg. 100, col. 1:
Q: At El Rancho No. 1 in Austin, Texas, I enjoyed a dish called Mexican
pizza.  Could you get the recipe for me?
SANDRA BAKER
CARROLLTON, TEXAS

A: A happy blend of culinary traditions is this
Mexican Pizza El Rancho No. 1
Make the pizza dough: Into a bowl sift together 3 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon each of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center and stir in 3/4 cup milk combined with 2 eggs. Combine the mixture well and form it into a ball.  Let the dough rest, covered, for at least 15 minutes.

Make a meat topping: In a skillet saute 1 pound ground round steak in 1/2 stick or 1/4 cup butter for 5 minutes. Add 1 stalk of celery, 1 small green pepper, 1 tomato, and 1/2 onion, all diced, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute the mixture for 15 minutes, or until the meat and vegetables are cooked.  Keep the mixture warm.

Make El Rancho sauce: In a blender put 1 stalk of celery, 1 small green pepper, 1 tomato, 1/2 onion, and 2 garlic cloves, all chopped, 1 tablespoon tomato sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon each of oregano and ground cuminseed and blend the mixture until it is smooth. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan, add 1 3/4 cups chicken stock (January 1974) or chicken broth, and bring the mixture to a boil.  Stir in 2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/4 cup chicken stock, add salt and pepper to taste, and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. Keep the sauce warm.

Divide the dough into 6 pieces.  Roll out 1 of the pieces into an 8-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Fry the round in hot deep oil (360 degrees F), turning it once, until it is golden. Transfer the round to paper towels to drain. Continue to roll out and fry the remaining dough in the same manner. Arrange the rounds on an ovenproof platter and top them with a layer of the meat mixture and the sauce.  Sprinkle each round with 2 tablespoons grated Monterey Jack cheese and 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese and top it with 1 teaspoon sour cream. Heat the pizzas in a
preheated slow oven (300 degrees F) for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the pizzas are hot. Garnish each pizza with a thinly sliced onion ring, a green olive, and sliced jalapeno chili peppers.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, November 24, 2007 • Permalink