When you immigrate to a new country, you leave a part of your heart behind. The smells, sounds, flavors and individuals that peopled your youth echo in your heart as cherished memories.

Some of my earliest memories of Mexican food are in Idaho, sitting on my neighbor Lupe's kitchen counter with the warm, moist smell of air born flour and melted butter dripping out of a hot, rolled up homemade tortilla straight from the comal.

When I was a teenager, it was sitting in the shade of a beachside palapa in mainland Mexico, sunburnt and sore after hours surfing an empty left pointbreak. It was my first proper surf trip with my dad and we sat in flimsy patio chairs half buried in the sand at a table with a plastic red checkered tablecloth that flapped in the light onshore. He wrestled with langostinos as I tucked into a huge crate of tiny, impossibly sweet mangoes that dripped down my face into my salt crusted rashguard.

In college in California, it was Raul's chicken and rice burritos in the parking lot between classes and weekend road trips across the border with my girlfriends to chase waves down the length of the Baja Peninsula. Night after uncomfortable night with the three of us sleeping in the back of my car, washing campfire smoke and hangovers away with early morning paddles and mid morning carne asada slathered in chile from the roadside stand at K38, La Fonda, Santo Tomas, Scorpion Bay or wherever else we happened to find ourselves.

These memories and the flavors that revive them are even more special to me now that they are far away - in time and geography.

What I hope to serve now are little love letters to my country - momentary tributes to my history and my home.

Heart with Wings