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 01, 2008
Antojitos ("little whims” or Mexican appetizers/snacks)

Antojitos (Spanish for “little whims” or “little cravings") are usually fried snacks containing masa, such as tostadas, tacos, tamales, and quesadillas. The term “antojitos” is Mexican, but it has gradually been used in Mexican restaurants and a few Tex-Mex restaurants in the United States.

“Antojitos” has been cited in American newspapers since at least 1937. “Botanas” is another name for “antojitos,” and many American restaurants serve a botana platter (or botanas platter).


Chefs.com
Mexican Antojitos
By Claudia Alarcón
Just as Spain has tapas and the Middle East has mezze, Mexico has antojitos. Perhaps the most difficult group of dishes to explain in all of Mexican cuisine, antojitos are best described as small dishes that are meant to be consumed informally, either from street vendors at lunchtime, in cantinas with drinks before dinner, or at home or in the street as late night snacks.

Antojitos, meaning something close to little cravings, are generally made from corn dough and fried, but there are of course- exceptions. For instance, to make a proper sincronizada or gringa wheat flour tortillas are the standard, and tortas require those marvelous French-style Mexican crusty rolls called bolillos or teleras. Some antojitos can be soups such as pozole, or even chiles jalapeños stuffed with a variety of fillings. 

Glossary of Terms - Chef Central
antojitos Mexican for little whims or appetizers, commonly a flour tort filled with cheese and other ingredients, rolled and sliced.

Taste of Texas: Appetizers
Antojitos (ahn-toh-HEE-tohs) are Mexico’s version of tapas/appetizers. Many of the dishes considered entrees are actually antojitos. Tamales, quesdillas, tacos, burritos, guacamole and tostados, to name a few, can be served as antojitos.

18 February 1937, Helena (MT) Daily Independent, “Texans Cook Mexican Dishes” by Mrs. Gaynor Maddox, pg. 8, col. 1:
Blanche McNeil, Virginian, married a Texas newspaper man. Edna McNeil is her sister-in-law, and the two women wrote a book about hot tamales.

They call it “First Foods of America.” There a tortilla on nearly every page, authentic inspirations to enchiladas, tamales (the genuine Mexican tamale is not so hot as ill-advised Americans think), little whimsical dishes, ad the authors call them, known to the Mexicans as antojitos, and a wealth of other recipes which will confound the American school of whipped cream cookery.

12 December 1937, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Food and Drink in Mexico,” section 5, pg. 4:
To go along with the meat course there will be some antojitos, little side dishes to taste, perhaps elote con calabazo, corn with squash, or torta de elote, corn patties, potatoes, garnaches, little fried cakes covered in meat paste, or vedalagas con chorizo, a truly native dish.

31 December 1953, New York (NY) Times, “News of Food” by Faith Corrigan, pg. 12:
All of these tortilla-based foods are known to the Mexican as “antojitos,” which is translated as a little sudden, capricious but overwhelming desire.

30 November 1966, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section A, pg. 18:
The Antojitos Autenticos de Mexico, or Mexican gourmet bar, will serve such delicacies as cabrito (barbecued young goat), tamale balls, chile relleno (stuffed semi-dried peppers), shrimp, barbecued ribs and turkey mole.

24 December 1966, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Tolbert’s Texas” by Frank X. Tolbert, section D, pg. 1:
The sub-title of comida de fiesta, a 6-course, 14-item dinner, is “antojitos autenticos de Mexico” or authentic whimsies of Mexico.

15 December 1969, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section A, pg. 21 ad:
ANTOJITOS: Tacos, Tamales, Poncho and lot of Happiness
CONQUISTADOR BALLROOM
MARRIOTT MOTOR HOTEL

9 December 1971, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section E, pg. 5:
Antojitos, or little snacks, favorites of our neighbors to the south, make nippy hors d’oeuvres that set a novel theme for a party.

29 July 1984, New York (NY) Times, “Appetizers wit ha Bite” by Craig Claiborne with Pierre Franey, pg. SM48:
We discussed this recently with our friend Zarela Martinez, an inspired and imaginative cook who spent her formative years in Mexico and Texas. “Cooking,” she says, “has been a hobby in my home for generations, and there were always antojitos, which is to say appetizers, on the table in one form or another.”

7 September 1984, New York (NY) Times, “Rosa Mexicano” restaurant review by Marian Burros, pg. C14:
If there is nothing compelling among the appetizers and soups, skip over to the antojitos (little cravings), where sincronizados, a combination of ham, cheese and a faintly spicy red chili sauce are sandwiched between two tortillas and then sauteed until the mild cheese oozes appealingly all over the plate.

Google Books
Texas Home Cooking
by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison
Boston, MA: Harvard Common Press
1993
Pg. 75:
In Mexican cooking, dishes such as tacos, tamales, and enchiladas are called antojitos. Literally “a little whim,” the term can refer to appetizers at a meal or to typical native foods popular as street snacks. Tradtional Mexicans seldom, if ever, eat the equivalent of a Tex-Mex combination plate, that is, a full dinner of antijitos. As Maria A. de Carbia said in the American edition of her Mexican cookbook (edited by Neiman Marcus chef Helen Corbitt), if you served a meal like that in her country the dessert of choice would be bicarbonate of soda.

Texas Monthly (June 1999)
Tila’s Antojitos
Tila’s, Houston.
by Patricia Sharpe
In Mexico appetizers are called antojitos, or whimsies. Tila Hidalgo Leach, the owner of Tila’s in Houston, has drawn on her childhood in Mexico City to create a trio of these savory starters. The first two are classic street food—buttery roasted ears of corn and cool strips of cucumber and jícama, all sprinkled with salt and red chile powder. The third—hot-sweet quesadillas of melted Brie, pear, and minced jalapeño sandwiched between flour tortillas—is an original creation with continental roots.

Google Books
The New Food Lover’s Companion
by Sharon Tyler Herbst
Barron’s Educational Series
2001
Pg. 18:
antijitos [ahn-toh-HEE-tohs] In Mexico, the word antojitos ("little whims") refers to what Americans call APPETIZERS.

Houston (TX) Press
On a Whim
Tex-Mex adventures
By Robb Walsh
Published: January 25, 2001
(...)
When visitors from other parts of the country ask for Mexican food, I take them somewhere like Ninfa’s on Navigation for margaritas and fajitas. But when visitors from Austin or San Antonio ask for Mexican food, I take them to Gorditas Aguascalientes. The kitchen here specializes in antojitos, which is rare for a restaurant outside of Mexico.
(...)
Antojito means “little whim” in Spanish—the idea being that they are snacks, little treats not to be taken seriously. Originally the term antojito described all the quick-fried masa snacks sold in Mexican mercados, including some larger items like tacos, quesadillas, tostadas and enchiladas. But in the United States and Mexico, a few antojitos, like enchiladas, have evolved into something more substantial, like a plate lunch. 

1 March 2002, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Tortilla Glossary” by Judy Hevrdejs:
Antojitos: Dictionaries translate these as “little whimsies.” At the table, it usually means snacks, ranging from tacos to quesadillas.

Mexico Cooks!
March 19, 2007
Antojitos: Little Whims
From Baja California and Nuevo León on the northern border to Oaxaca and Chiapas in the south, from Veracruz on the east coast to Nayarit on the west, Mexico loves to eat. Here in Mexico, there’s nothing more common on any menu than antojitos mexicanos: literally, “little Mexican whims.”

Mexicans get hungry at all hours, and it’s not entirely about physical need. Seductive aromas, exciting presentations on the plate and the crunchy sounds of chewing entice them to the ‘little whims’. From the hand-lettered banner at the smallest street stand to the menu of the most elegant of restaurants, antojitos mexicanos are a staple on almost any Mexican bill of fare.

Most Mexican restaurants in the United States specialize in only one aspect of Mexican cooking—antojitos mexicanos. These are the corn and tortilla-based specialties that include the enchiladas, tacos, tamales, quesadillas, and tostadas that all evolved directly from original indigenous cooking. In Mexico today, these corn-based antojitos mexicanos are popular with rich and poor alike.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, February 01, 2008 • Permalink