An Ode to Tortillas
There’s nothing better than home cookin’, because home cookin’ means housemade ingredients. And housemade ingredients mean good food. As the years have progressed, we’ve become increasingly self-sufficient in our food sourcing. With our One Mile Farm, we are able to supply the restaurant with beef, poultry, mutton, honey, and eggs (and possibly pork in the not-too-distant future). We make our dressings, sauces, mayo, salsas, bread, pizza dough, tortillas and more. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The back of the restaurant is bustling with life early every morning as the prep cooks work hard to prepare for the day’s demands.
Since there’s so much food to talk about, it’d be best to start with one item: tortillas. A tortilla’s simplicity may make it an odd thing to boast about, but it’s important to start at the foundation of food. What better foundation than corn and flour tortillas? Our head chef, Eric Bell, thinks the same thing: tortillas should be simple. Store bought varieties can have dozens of ingredients. Ingredients, that when read aloud, would perhaps cause one to question their reading comprehension level. The list is filled with legal catch phrases like, “natural flavors” and “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” creating mystery and ambiguity for what’s really in there. Tortillas should not be complex. There shouldn’t be more than three or four ingredients. So we simplified.
Our corn tortillas use White Masa corn, and the flour tortillas use a low-gluten flour from Pendleton Flour Mills, in Pendleton, Oregon. The few ingredients we use provide a stark contrast to the tortillas available in stores. Masa and water for corn tortillas, and flour, salt, water, and olive oil for flour tortillas. That’s it. They’re hand pressed in a tortillera and cooked on a flat top grill called a plancha. When making chips and fried tortillas, we purchase GMO free, blue corn tortillas and use rice oil to cook them.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect about the tortillas is the creator behind them. The entirety of our corn and flour tortillas are made by one of our prep cooks, Luisa Binzha (pictured right). She’s been working at Standing Stone for over three years, and when she came onto the scene she brought her tortilla-making skills with her. Luisa has made tortillas since she was a child, she says, attributing her skills to her mother. Every morning she works, Luisa takes about three hours to make tortillas, producing over 300 tortillas per hour. She makes 1,000 a day, four to five days a week, four weeks a month and twelve months a year. The math comes out to roughly 4,500 tortillas week, 18,000 a month, or 216,000 tortillas a year. Holy grass-fed beef, batman, that’s a lot!
It’s all part of our drive to make our food more sustainable, more delicious, and more local. What could be more local than an in-house tortilla chef? We started with our tortillas three years ago, and it doesn’t stop there. There are so many things we make in house, and so many more we’d like to make here. Luisa has made over half a million tortillas in her three years here – it’s mind boggling really. We’re so happy to have her here, providing her own flair to a staple in a large variety of our food. Next time you eat tacos, a burrito or chips at Standing Stone, you’ll know it’s a Luisa Binzha variety. Tell your server, “I’ll have the Luisa special, please,” and devour some delicious (yet simple) homemade tortillas.