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. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

Recent entries:
“Civil engineering implies the existence of criminal engineering” (4/23)
“Dungeness crab implies the existence of Dragoness crab” (4/23)
“If you don’t understand why the Electoral College exists, you’re the reason” (4/23)
Angertainment (anger+ entertainment) (4/23)
“Everything you see on TV is a scripted performance with the purpose of shaping your world view…” (4/23)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Entry from February 05, 2008
Botana (Botana Platter/Botanas Platter; Botana Plate/Botanas Plate)

Botanas (also called “antojitos”) are appetizers or snacks. A “botana platter” or “botanas platter” (also called a “botana plate” or “botanas plate”) is a combination of several appetizers, usually served before the meal but sometimes being a meal in itself.
“Botanas” became popular in Texas from the 1950s.
Glossary - Mexican food recipes, cooking terms
Botana Snacks or appetizers, often taken with drinks in a bar or before a meal.
Mexican Cooking Terminology
Botana—An appetizer usually served with drinks.
Yucatan Today - Botanas
Local tradition has it that when an ice-cold beer is served, it is accompanied by several dishes of snacks. Typically, four or five plates are served for every beer. These extra goodies are known as botanas (bow-tah-nahs) and include such things as refried beans with tortilla chips, macaroni in a tomato sauce, cucumbers in lemon, beets with lemon and cilantro, pigs knuckles and ears, pureed pumpkin seed silqipec, empanadas, ceviche, cocktail hotdogs, mini chaya (like spinach) burgers, mini quibis, hummus, and labne. The list is really endless and varies by the day, the restaurant and the cook’s mood.
Mi Tierra (San Antonio, TX)
Botana Platter
An assortment of miniature Flautitas de Pollo, Cheese Quesadillas and Chalupitas de Picadillo, served with Guacamole and Sour Cream.
Los Lupes Mexican Restaurants (TX)
Beef and cheese quesadillas, stuffed jalapenos, chicken flautas, beef nachos, queso dip, guacamole and sour cream on side.
Casa Rio (San Antonio, TX)
BOTANAS PLATTER Flautas, Stuffed Jalapenos, and Our Special Rio Pollo Poppers served with guacamole, sour cream and Pico de Gallo
Guero’s Mexican Grill (Austin, TX)
Botanas Platter  18.99
Four Texas tacos, four bombas, four taquitos and four quesadillas. Served with queso and quacamole.
Botanas Half Platter  9.99
Two Texas tacos, two bombas, two taquitos and two quesadillas.  Served with queso and guacamole.
El Charrito (Brownsville, TX)
Botana Plate Grilled beef or chicken fajita strips, nachos, quesadillas & salad 2 PERSON 12.50
Mattito’s (Dallas, TX)
Botanas Platter (for 4-6) Beef fajita nachos, chicken fajita quesadillas, tamales, beef and chicken flautas, chile con queso and guacamole. $14.99
El Chico (TX and various locations)
Top Shelf Botanas Platter
A selection of your favorite appetizers including beef nachos, taquitos, chicken quesadillas, stuffed jalapenos, mini chicken chimichanga and chili con queso.
Botanas Platter
A selection of our favorite appetizers including crispy beef taquitos, spinach quesadillas, spicy beef quesadillas, guacamole and chili con queso.
8 July 1952, Brownsville (TX) Herald, pg. 5, col. 3:
The “botana” is a fine old Mexican institution. It’s all right to go to Matamores on Saturday if you don’t stay for the second floor show. 
12 November 1952, Brownsville (TX) Herald, pg. 2, col. 8 ad:
(Marimba Club—ed.)
25 May 1957, El Paso (TX) Herald-Post, pg. 7, col. 1 ad:
BOTANA Served 4 $1.50
(Pepe’s Bar & Cafe—ed.)
Google Books
Eating in Mexico
by Amando Farga
Mexican Restaurant
Pg. 111:
... and there developed a great variety of miniature dishes which are known as botanas, tapas, or abrebocas, that were served as appetizers. 
27 September 1967, Pasadena (CA) Topics, pg. 12, col. 5 ad:
Meaning “Hors d’Oeuvres,” are delightful while sipping your “Margarita” cocktail. Don’t miss ordering the “Gourmets delight.’ This place contains: marinated shrimp, taquitos, quesadillas, guacamole and tostaditos. This is only a prelude to a culinary delight upon ordering your dinner.
10 October 1975, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section B, col. 6:
(Pedro’s Restaurant—ed.)
8 August 1984, New York (NY) Times, “And if You Want Texas Fare” by Marian Burros, pg. C6:
Fresh and crisply fried flautitas stuffed with shrimp and served with an avocado-sour cream dip and assorted botana—a mixture of tamalitos (little tamales) and combinations of tortillas chips, cheese, meats, salsa picante and tomatoes—are wonderful starters.
28 August 1986, Chicago (IL) Daily Herald, “For that last fling of the summer, a botanas party may be just the thing” by Deborah Hartz, section 6, pg. 1, col. 1:
The word botanas means “appetizers,” but it’s also Mexican slang for a person who is fun to be with, said Aida Gabilondo, author of Mexican Family Cooking (Fawcett, $19.95).
So a botanas party is an appropriate celebration for Labor Day, the last big weekend of summer. 
21 August 1987, Dallas (TX) Morning News:
A better indication is the botanas platter ($6.50), a lavish appetizer assortment for two or more that encompasses nachos, flautas, quesadillas, tacos, ...
27 November 1987, Dallas (TX) Morning News:
Although listed as an appetizer for two, the botanas platter ($6.95) could have been lunch for two.
Houston (TX) Chronicle
20 August 1988, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “Garza Restaurant Queen of South Texas” by Claudia Feldman, Houston section, pg. 1:
Soon Garza’s children were contributing to her store of recipes and marketing ideas. One menu item she called Tila’s Botana Platter for Four. It featured fajitas, complete with fixings and side dishes, and it cost $4.
Today Tila’s Platter still is enormously popular, but it sells for $21.95.
2 October 1992, Dallas (TX) Morning News:
More to my liking was the Botanas platter ($7.95), which featured a greatest-hits lineup of Tex-Mex appetizers: chicken fajita nachos, beef nachos, ...
Houston (TX) Chronicle
12 August 1994, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “Doneraki” restaurant review, Weekend Preview, pg. 8:
The appetizer to order is the botana mixta ($8.95), which goes far beyond standard Tex-Mex fare. This platter includes crispy chicken flautas, fajita quesadillas, avocado slices and an astonishingly delicious fried Chihuahua white cheese.
The Tex-Mex Cookbook
by Robb Walsh
New York, NY: Broadway Books
Pg. 2:
In Mexico and much of Texas, botanas means appetizers and a botanas platter is a sampler plate. But in Lower Rio Grande Valley Tex-Mex restaurants, a “botanas platter” is something altogether different and exceedingly popular. It’s a huge pile of tostadas and nachos topped with fajita meat and guacamole, served with tortillas and salsas on the side. The communal platter feeds several people.
Google Books
Insiders’ Guide to San Antonio
by Paris Pemeneter and John Bigley
Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot
Pg. 88 (A Tex-Mex Primer):

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Tuesday, February 05, 2008 • Permalink

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.