Cantina La Martina's Cemita Festival: Coming to Kensington

Cantina La Martina's Cemita Festival

Photo: Cantina La Martina's Cemita Festival

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Cantina La Martina's Cemita FestivalPhiladelphia, PA - Chef Cantina La Martina is hosting a Cemita Festival on Sunday, August 13, th from 11 am-4 pm. Local vendors will offer festival goers various cemitas versions, including sweet options. The event will occur at 2800 D Street in Philadelphia's Kensington district.

The festival celebrates Latinos, but there will also be some surprise chefs like Kensington neighbor Chef Jacob Trinh from Caphe Roasters, who will be participating and bringing his version of a Vietnamese Cemita. Dionicio Jimenez, the chef/owner of Cantina la Martina and a recent finalist in James Beard Foundation's "Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic," will also offer a unique version of cemitas.

The event will take place in the large backyard of Cantina La Martina and is free to attend. Guests can purchase various cemitas from the vendors for $15 each. Guests can also purchase specialty drinks from Cantina La Martina throughout the event. Also, the regular menu and reservations are unavailable outside during the festival. However, Cantina la Martina's regular brunch menu is available for reservations inside.

More About Cemita's and Cheff Dionicio

Cemita is a gastronomic treasure of Puebla. The traditional ingredients are quesillo, cemita bread, and papalo. The bread 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 a butterfly's wings, 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 were always papalo. 

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