MariElena and her father, Robert Dickson, have always bonded over food. “I didn’t tell my dad I wanted to go to culinary school until I was certain, because I knew he’d be all in,” she says.
MariElena Raya began her culinary career working in her dad’s restaurant, Robert’s of Charleston. She keeps busy running The Gin Joint with her husband, Joe, but makes time for family taco night.
For easy margaritas, shake tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and simple syrup with ice and strain.
To make tortillas more “bubbly,” MariElena suggests forming the dough into balls and letting them rest for 20 minutes before rolling them out into disks.
Taco night at the Raya household is a time to get creative: seasoned veggies and beef, guacamole, and pico de gallo are all fair game for filling. For a vegetarian taco, MariElena likes stuffing a tortilla with thick slices of spiced butternut squash.
Freshly made tortillas are filled with seasoned beef, squash, peppers, and guacamole.
MariElena scoops strawberry elderflower sorbet into glasses and then tops the desserts with marshmallow fluff. The sticky stuff combines well with the smooth, frozen treat.
The alcohol in the recipe keeps the sorbet from freezing rock hard, making it easy to scoop.
The Gin Joint’s MariElena Raya makes a Mexican-inspired meal with a hand from Dad