Friday, January 28, 2011

Dining at the Community Eatery for Social Development,Mexico City: Brother Can You Spare Ten Pesos?Mexico City's Rather Tasty Proposal

Community eateries are all over Mexico City, serving the various neighborhoods of Mexico's largest city. They serve a style of dining that would be very recognizable in the US, comida economica, or economic food-these are the combo plate and other proteins-served-with-rice-and-beans style restaurants found all over America.

Comida economica is a notch below in price from comida corrida, the three course dining found in Mexico City's small home style restaurants, which consists of a soup, a dry soup, and a main course with an agua fresca, or an agua de sabor(flavored water)and even a small complimentary dessert, like a homemade flan.In comida economica, it all comes on the same plate, except the soup, of course, and beans are common to add substance, and to compliment the simpler main courses offered in comida economica like steak with ranchero sauce, or pork in adobo marinade.

While checking out one of my favorite taco stands on Mercado San Juan's famed street food restaurant row, calle Lopez, I noticed a long line forming next door. "$10 MXP for a complete meal?", I thought.I wandered in to have a look around when I was asked why I had a camera there. I explained that I make online reports for a page in Los Angeles, and that I thought this was such a great deal, $10 pesos for a whole meal.That's about 87 cents here in the U.S.

The kitchen captain when on to explain that this community eatery was subsidized by the local government, free of influence by Mexico's two main political parties, the PRI, and PAN, to make sure those living in poverty had acccess to proper nutrition."They are all over the different neighborhoods", he said, with a stern but friendly demeanor. "You can take pictures as long as they are about sharing with people about this program, but really, you should eat something." "Have a seat!", he commanded.

Part of me was thinking about the limited real estate available in my tum-ta-tum-tums, and all the stops I had on my plate that day, but good manners and the chance for human interaction always prevail.OK, I'm in!

The crowd consisted of familes, and the elderly, and smiles were evident all around, the look of contentment from an approachable nobility, to be able to dine out and have home cooking. In the US, the needs of the poor and struggling families are mostly met by affordable fast food, the only way you can feed familes for under a dollar, or from the dollar menus.The indignities of having to eat fast food, food you know to be unhealthy, lacking in substance, purely chemical in nature, are seen in the languid and blank stares.

The captain and his crew dashed around large pots and pans, everything cooked from scratch.I took a seat at a communal table and immediately was greeted by all my table mates."Buenas tardes, bienvenidos", Good afternoon, welcome, from an older women with an adorable shake.

I thought of just asking for a taste, but kept quiet and engaged in conversation with my new friends.I even got the comida corrida experience here, each dish was plated separately, which adds labor and operational costs. With comida corrida, there's more dish washing and service.

The agua de sabor was orange Tang, the only thing here not made in house. But, it tasted just like my grandmother's kitchen here in the US, Folger's crystals for my grandfather, and Tang or Nestle's Strawberry Quick for my sister and I.

The happy diners at this community eatery were treated to a homemade sopa de fideos, pasta soup.The powerful scent of fideos cooking on the stove is one of those conventions understood by all Mexicans. Great fideos can make me forget the most rare or exotic offerings.

Well cooked rice and beans to provide carbohydrates and protein to these weary capitalanos.

The main course was al pastor, marinated pork cooked home style, in a pan. Along with bright cilantro and chopped onions, and tortillas that were made to order, oh yes, the kitchen even had a tortilla making station, this turned out to be fantastic lunch.I was told it was on the house, but I paid my $10MXP, and thanked them for allowing me to dine with them.

But,not before a little dessert, the ever popular palanquetas, Mexican peanut brittle found all over the various snack stands throughout D.F.

During hard times, the umbrage caused by not being able to fend for yourself, your family, find work, or meet your basic needs is often forgotten. This isn't just a meal for those having a rough patch, but a restoration of pride, just as important in moving forward.

For the local governments, the subsidy is not a great burden, taking into account that many comida economicas, and comida corridas operate in the $20-$35 MXP price range in Mexico City for more complicated cuisine. I think this a model for what we should be doing in the US instead of giving tremendous tax breaks for fast food chains, and the latest news is that our fast food chains will now be raising there prices.Ufffff! Viva Mexico.

Community Eatery for Social Development
Puente Paredo between Calle Lopez and Arandas
Near the Mercado San Juan
Mexico City

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Villa Ahumada,Chihuahua:A Quesadilla and Burrito Oasis on the Cd.Juarez-Chihuahua Highway

Ah, the luxuries afforded a musician on the road.The Southwest flight to El Paso, the border crossing, and then the five hour schlep to the city of Chihuahua, the state capitol of Chihuahua. Of course, there weren't any direct flights to Chihuahua, right? Impossible!

Then, the busted radiator. "I have a cousin who's going to bring a replacement radiator," says our driver. We wait. One of the guys is getting nervous."I don't like being here in Ciudad Juarez, man, it's fucking crazy over here," he mumbled, eyes shifting to and fro.He's from Chihuahua, but me, I just don't worry about those kinds of things.Beer,food,chicks,tequila....

My cynical predictions almost always coming true."We're going to catch the bus to Chihuahua," said with an all too familiar sigh. I had suggested this about two and a half hours ago. "If they can't send another vehicle, let's catch the bus!" No one listens. I don't like idle time in Mexico, too many good eats and drinks awaiting, and all I could think of was the scent of flowing cheese stabbing the air, just down the road in Villa Ahumada. Villa Ahumada is a cheese huffers wet dream.

I passed out on the luxury Chihuahuenses bus line and came to while we were stopped somewhere along quesadilla row in Villa Ahumada, the smoked village. I gulped a startled breath and began to stumble out of the bus when the driver passed me and said with a smile,"we're leaving." "Nooo,how much time do I have?", I gestured. "Vamanos," he commanded,"we will stop farther down the road." He would be taking us to his account, the place that all bus drivers and cab drivers strike deals with. Do not listen to your taxi drivers and bus drivers unless they're off duty. They get kick backs for bringing customers to hotels, bars,restaurants, strip clubs, and even quesadilla stands.

Villa Ahumada is famous for their quesadillas.They resemble the American style quesadilla in every way, but on a superficial level. They're flour tortillas folded in half and filled with cheese. The difference is that the tortillas are made from scratch, not store bought, and the cheese is Chihuahuan asadero, a soft white cheese first made by the Mennonites of Chihuahua. Unlike the processed cheese used in American quesadillas, the asadero doesn't leech any oil, and gets nice and creamy. It has a low melting temperature, so no need for grating. Two whole round slices of asadero are placed on the tortilla atop a comal, and in minutes, a delicious northern quesadilla. The cheese has a mild tang, with an attractive flavor of fresh cow's milk cheese. These aren't served with guacamole, none is needed.

They can be ordered sencillo, just cheese, con guisado, with a stew, or you can get burritos, a handmade tortilla with a guisado. The typical guisados are deshebrada, shredded meat in a suace,picadillo,ground meat with vegetables,chicharron in a red or green sauce,rajas con queso, poblano strips with cheese,machaca,dried meat,beans and cheese, mole, eggs and chorizo, or even weenies. The ultimate is the montado, a burrito with asadero, a guisado of your choosing, and a thin chile relleno. There is also a burrito filled with a chile relleno and refried beans, this is referred to as a chile relleno in Chihuahua, or burrito de chile relleno.

We passed all the miles of quesadilla stalls as I peered helplessly from the windows of the bus. It's quite a sight to see, stall after stall, all making quesadillas and burritos, the smell of burning cheese soaking up the night air. When I thought all was lost we ended up at a truck stop style restaurant, Los Arbolitos.

The nice ladies at Los Arbolitos do a great job.The guisados are all very tasty, and I no longered felt gipped by our bus driver.

You can even get asadero, jocoque(cultered cream), queso mennonita(Mennonite cheese), or other local cheeses to go.

I went with a quesadilla con guisado. First, the melting of asadero, more exciting than the Super Bowl,well, for me anyway.

Then, the guisado. Hmmmmm......

A quesadilla of deshebrada roja and a chicharron rojo topped with a trio of salsas. These stellar quesadillas washed away my moans and groans, and the guisados were of the best kind, slowly cooked, savory, and rich.

Ordering quesadillas for most of us here in the states is SO mundane,but this isn't the case in Northern Mexico. From the the south of Mexico, quesadillas are fried or grilled masa turnovers filled with guisados, and in the north the quesadilla lies in the dominion of the flour tortilla stuffed with artisanal cheese made by Mennonites. These quesadillas are a smokin' good time.

Sated and rested, it was off to the city of Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua for a show, where I met a small town beauty queen with big dreams, too big for Cuauhtemoc.

On the way back to Ciudad Juarez, we stopped at one of the many rows of stalls in Villa Ahumada before crossing the border and catching that flight from El Paso to LAX. Villa Ahumada is an hour and a half outside Ciudad Juarez on highway 45 as you make the five hour trek to Chihuahua.

Touts from the various stands run out to wave in drivers from the highway, directing you to their stalls.

In the back, the quesadilla specialists do their thing. Out front, the burrito and chile relleno carts await your orders.The burritos in the northern states are thin, and are a member of the taco family. They're just a tortilla wrapped around a guisado, no other ingredients.What we call burritos in the US aren't the same all.

The asadero stand is minimal,just sliced cheese and handmade flour tortillas.

The quesadilla sencilla. This is a Chihuahuan quesadilla in its purest form, no salsas, just tortilla and asadero cheese.The flavor is more than surprising. You might find yourself scanning the tables and stands for salsas, guacamole, or just about anything to put on these naked foods, but just one taste and...perfection.

From the burrito cart I ordered the burrito de chile relleno. A roasted, and battered Anaheim chile spackled with refried beans.A reversal of fortune where a chile relleno becomes the filling. "Take that!", says cheese to chili.

But the montado takes the prize here.The mounted burrito! This is a tortilla with asadero cheese, a guisado, here I chose machaca, and a chile relleno.

Even with all these goodies wrapped in the lightly flavored tortilla, the burrito remains thin.Store bought tortillas impart strange flavors to burritos, sometimes even a pancake-like flavor, but flour tortillas made from scratch, and rolled into their rounded form are a different prospect all together. This is the flavor of my grandmother's Aguascalientes kitchen. In Sinaloa the flour tortillas are more larded, in Sonora they are thin and more boldly flavored, but in Chihuahua, flour tortillas are more dry and milky white, with a natural taste of flour.These are the tacos of Chihuahua, the burrito, or burro.

These quesadillas and burritos de guisados of the northern states of Mexico are just as valid and representative of Mexican culinary heritage as their southern counterparts. Anyone who'd propose otherwise is merely being obtuse.

Yes, there is a quesadilla village in Mexico, an amusement park for cheese lovers. The asaderos in Villa Ahumada are the reason families love to make this trip. It's the cheese.....and burritos! For the burrito obsessed in Los Angeles and other parts of the US, I believe a visit here might elicit a tear. It's the realization that your favorite Mexican-American foods actually have tangible roots in Mexico, but here you can experience the pinnacle of burrito and quesadilla attainment.

Driver, take me to Villa Ahumada!

Villa Ahumada, Chihuahua

Various stalls, restaurants and carts
Located on the Juarez-Chihuahua highway 45
Los Abolitos
Truck stop on the edge of Villa Ahumada heading on to Chihuahua

Morton's The Steakhouse Woodland Hills Presents Puff on the Patio,Thursday January 27

Morton's The Steakhouse Woodland Hills is hosting a cigar event,"Puff on the Patio", on Thursday, January 27 at 6:30 pm. Guests will enjoy four courses of Morton's signature cuisine, fine cigars provided by Fat Stogies along with cocktails, wines, and scotch pairings enjoyed in the restaurant's patio.

The event cost is $115 per guest inclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations are a must and can be made by contacting the restaurant's Sales & Marketing Manager Ashlea Gross (818)-703-7272, or by e-mail

Nothing like a classic American steakhouse and a quality smoke among friends to extend the pleasures of a delicious evening.Save a little port for your cigar. See you on the patio.

The tasting

First Course:
Mini Crab Cake BLT's accompanied with a BLT Martini

Second Course: Center Cut Iceberg accompanied by a Vesper Martini

Main Course: Choice of Cajun Ribeye Steak or Double Cut Filet Mignon, served with Sautéed Garlic Green Beans & Garlic Mashed Potatoes, accompanied with a glass of Opaque Petite Verdot

Dessert: Double Chocolate Mousse accompanied with a glass of Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Tawny Port

Puff on the Patio
Thursday, January 27 @6:30PM
Morton's the Steakhouse Woodland Hills
6250 Canoga Ave.
Woodland Hills,CA 91367.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dine LA Restaurant Week Fall 2011,January 23-28 and January 30-February 4

Tuesday night was the kick off party for this Fall's Dine LA Restaurant Week. Starting this Sunday, January 23rd, participating restaurants will be offering three-course lunches and dinners at bargain prices. Lunches are available for $16, $22, and $28, and dinners for $26, $34, and $44.

This is a chance to fall in love again with that restaurant you haven't been to in years, try a place that's been lingering on your list of places to go for some time, or to take the plunge into the latest hotspots.

Evan Kleiman(pictured left) was present at the Sofitel Tuesday night to meet and greet. Her Los Angeles institution, Angeli Caffe will be serving lunch and dinner at $16 and $26 respectively.

The Two Hotter than Ever Tamales, Mary Sue Millikin and Susan Feniger(middle L-R), were also on hand with three restaurants in Dine LA, Border Grill Santa Monica and the new Border Grill Downtown between the pair, and Susan's solo act, Susan Feniger's Street. Both Border Grills are in the $16/$26 slot, and Street's Dine LA menu falls in the middle price category, $22 for lunch and $34 for dinner.

Haru Kishi(pictured right), the new executive chef for Chaya Brasserie in Beverly Hills was all smiles at the star chef-studded event, eager to show off his newly revamped Euro-Asian menu. Chaya Brasserie also will be plating three courses in the middle ground, $22 for lunch and $34 for dinner.

Other tips!
Recommended in the $16/$26 category are Starry Kitchen, Loteria Grill, and the new Mas Malo restaurant.

Recommended in the $22/$34 category are Eva Restaurant, Ford's Filling Station, Geisha House, Fraiche in Culver City, Il Fornaio in Beverly Hills, Waterloo and City, and Zucca.

Recommended in the $28/$44 category are Fogo de Chao!!Oh, do this. Also, Drago Centro, Spago, The Foundry on Melrose, and the Bazaar. Why not hit one of the steakhouses like Morton's or Ruth's Criss?

Dine LA is about celebrating the greatest restaurant city in the US. If you haven't been out lately, know's the time.

For more information and reservations, click here.

Dine LA Restaurant Week
January 23-28, and January 30-February 4, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Closed:Tacos de Guisado Pati,Mexico City: Contempo Street Food Stylings From a Taco de Guisado Institute

Update: This stand has closed due to Pati moving back to her home state

On the other side of town in Mexico's capitol, the street food choices are fewer, but none the less interesting. Colonia Roma Sur has some great street food,bordering the trendy neighborhood of Condesa.A couple of stands in the areas do some very creative and contemporary tacos de guisado,tacos of stews.

At Ricos Tacos de Guisado de Pati, you'll encounter convention and the unconventional.

Pati comes from Veracruz and has been on Av. Tlaxcala near the Chilpancingo metro station for about 17 years. She has 24 years making tacos de guisado in Mexico City. In addition to her tacos, she also makes enchiladas, flautas, and quesadillas. Although you are here for the tacos de guisado, nothing at this stand should be overlooked, it's all fantastic.

Last month, I stopped by for lunch and spotted her quesadilla de pancita, beef stomach stuffed into a fried tortilla, topped with lettuce, tomato, onions and queso blanco, white cheese.

I strongly suggest that you indulge in some of Pati's black beans. They are right alongside the salsas and are on the house. The beans have so many herbal virtues, and when they settle on your plate, a lush and fatty skin forms on the top begging for your attention.

The innards reveal a lovely guisado of stomach and vegetables. This is a perfect bite, so many pleasing textures and flavors, another dish of offal ready for the unwilling masses.

But the breakfast and lunch crowd are here for the tacos.

As in many traditional taco de guisado stands, Pati has a bunch of cazuelas stacked on her comal, and on each other. The guisados at these stands are prepared at home or in a commissary. That big pot of rice you will always find at a tacos de guisado stand is the glue that keeps it all on the tortilla.

This is perhaps the most common guisado in Mexico City, arroz con huevo.You may say,"rice with hard-boiled eggs....who wants that?" "Boring!" Oh no, my friend. There's a reason these are so popular. If the rice is delicious, the combination of the two comfort foods is unbeatable.

With a bit of Pati's masterfully crafted salsas, this taco is complete. Pati has pico de gallo, sometimes a chipotle salsa, a green salsa made with the more flavorful cuaresmeño, practically identical to the jalapeño, or a salsa of fresh chile de arbol.

Another typical stew is the chile relleno. These are soft, fluffy and expertly cooked, offered in a taco or on a plate.

Plump taco de chicharron is cooked al dente here, with more skin to sauce. This is an exceptional version of this ubiquitous stew, with a stronger pork skin quality that most others.

The taco de tortita de carne is another regular taco on the guisado scene. Various torts of meats and vegetables with egg, in this instance ground beef, are found all over Mexico City. Pati has a spinach as well as a a chicken tort I believe, but it all depends on the day and the whim of the cook.

The espinaca con crema is one of those tacos that says anything goes in the world of tacos de guisado. If it's good, then it belongs on a tortilla.

Creamed spinach, rice, and some spice? It's not a Mexican recipe, but Pati can cook anything and makes it taste great.

My all time favorite taco at Pati's is her taco de nopal con huevo. We're talking cactus strips in a tomato sauce with some fried eggs floating in the sauce. You get a fried egg on your taco, a contemporary version of the usual egg and cactus scramble. This stand has a flair for cooking.

When the yolk runs onto the rice, heavenly flavors abound.

If you ask for Tacos de Guisados de Pati, you'll only get blank stares. Her stand doesn't have an official name, outside the sign that says Ricos Tacos de Guisado, which is just saying what they have, really. And, yes,they are rico!But if you ask, "por donde estan los tacos de chile en nogada," you might get a little more help from the locals. It's not every stand that has these.

These are mini chiles en nogada done with chiles cuaresmeños in a taco. The nogada, walnut sauce, and picadillo(ground meat, nuts, and fruit)filling are lovingly crafted and completely lack any ruse. Mexico's celebrated national symbol of gastronomic achievement in the form of a humble street guisado, I love it. It's wild to think that these tacos are less than a dollar each.

Pati makes these street delicacies year round, not adhering to the seasonal character of chiles en nogada. With the pomegranate seeds, all of the elements of a taco are present, no need for condiments here.

Mexico City is the taco de guisado capitol of the universe, and one could even devote a lifetime to documenting the varieties in Mexico City alone, without success. For the taco lover, a visit to Pati's stand is an essential stop. It's the past,present, and future of Mexico's street food culture.

Ricos Tacos de Guisado de Pati
Tlaxcala between Chilpancingo and Tuxpan, across from the IMSS(Tlaxcala,159)
around the block from the Chilpancingo metro station
Colonia Roma Sur
Mexico City
Monday-Friday(morning 'til early afternoon), best items go fast
Colonia Roma Sur

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tacos de Canasta,Watts,CA-Sweaty Tacos with a Salvadorian Twist

Tacos de canasta are still so rare in Los Angeles that you gotta pull over anytime you see the sign. Consider it a civic duty. These basket tacos, given their name by the way they are traditional steamed, in a basket, tacos wrapped in a towel on the way to the stand. There are many names for these throughout Mexico: tacos al vapor(steamed), tacos sudados(sweaty), tacos mineros(miners), and tacos de canasta(basket) as they are most commonly known. In Baja they are called tacos varios(various).

When I came across Aida's stand on Alameda St. between E.110th and E.111th in Watts, I didn't exactly find what I was looking for. Watts has become a hotbed on Latino street food due to the increasing Mexican and Central-American presence. Aida is from El Salvador where there are no tacos, except at a Mexican restaurant, nor are there tacos de canasta.

But Aida's husband is Mexican, from Michoacan, and the recipes for the tacos come from his family.

In addition to some salsas out on her table is a tub of fresh curtido, the Salvadorian pickled cabbage that is a standard topping for pupusas. Aida's curtido is outstanding, not the overly vinegary kind that's been sitting on a table all day at many of the Salvadorian restaurants we see, but crisp and clean. She said it was to put on the tacos. OK!

Her red and green salsas were nice, solid, at this point I was quite interested in this new Mexican and Salvadorian taco de canasta combo.

A local Mexicana came by and displayed her take on these tacos. In Michoacan, enchiladas resemble red stained tacos de canasta covered by shredded lettuce,pickled vegetables and white cheese. So, she completely covered her tacos with curtido and then smothered the plate with salsa. I don't know if Aida will stay in business if that woman comes back.

The tacos themselves were pretty good. The bean and cheese was the best, followed by a potato and chorizo. The chorizo taco isn't usually a filling for these kinds of tacos, and was the typical store bought variety here, which isn't worth getting.

But the steaming is on the mark. Another restaurant in Highland Park claims tacos de canasta but just splashes the tacos in some grease to give it that sweaty feel. Aida's are naturally steamed.

Mexican-Salvadorian restaurants are common in the MacArthur Park area, but this is something different.

Tacos de Canasta
Alameda St. between E.110th and E. 111th
in front of Mercado Tires #2 on the west side of the street
weekends only,mornings till early afternoon

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pinot Days This Saturday, January 15

Santa Barbara County, Pinot Noir country

This Saturday!! The 2nd Annual Pinot Days Southern California, January 15, 2011,Barker Hangar,Santa Monica.Tickets on Sale Now,click here to purchase.
12PM-2PM VIP Access
2PM-6PM General Admission

Grand Festival - Saturday's Grand Tasting will showcase over 90 phenomenal producers of pinot noir. Consumers will be able to sample up to 300 pinots from every important domestic pinot noir region, from the Russian River Valley to Oregon, Carneros to the Santa Lucia Highlands, the Anderson Valley to the Sonoma Coast. Local specialty food purveyors will serve delectables that pair well with pinot. Click here for more information.

General Admission is only $60
VIP Regional Tours and Early Access $100

Pinot Days
Saturday January,15,2011
Barker Hangar
Santa Monica,CA
12PM-2PM VIP Access
2PM-6PM General Admission

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No Name Carnitas Stand in Mexico City: Mexico City Style Carnitas, The Other White Meat Stars of Mexico

The carnitas in Mexico City will knock you out. They're common around the metro stops around the city in the morning. In Mexico's capitol, the pork is fried in lard inside of a stainless steel cazo, a large kettle. Cuts vary from stand to stand, but head to tail frying is the norm. Shoulder, ribs, shank, lips, tongue, tripe, uterus, kindey, liver, skin, mixed, hog's maw, and more. In other regions, carnitas are purchased from carnitas shops to go, here in Mexico City they are served on the street for tacos.

Way too early in the morning after a day of metroing, eating, drinking, and walking 'til the wee hours, my friend Josh and I hit the Mercado San Juan looking for one of my favorite taquerias. Mexico City will kick your ass, wear you out. Josh Lurie of Food GPS was visiting DF for the first time and we had full days planned, but when it comes to street food in Mexico City, never fear, there's always a plan B.

My guy didn't show that morning so we started to head over to Arcos de Belen and walk to the Mercado Merced, checking out the bounty of eats along the way, but these carnitas were looking like the way to start the festivities .

This unnamed stand at the corner of Dr. Valenzuela and Arcos de Belen near the Mercado San Juan has been on the street for 20 years. It's a four man operation, two cooks to work the cazo, a taquero to make the tacos, and a cashier. This is important,carnitas are a serious affair! The taquero is your typical gunslinger, fast with deadly accuracy, the cashier tends to customers and keeps the cooks hands away from our filthy money. The guys running the cazo? They just insure us to dine on perfectly cooked pork parts, still retaining a bit of pinkish color with lardened offal and tender meat.

Perhaps a bit of lovely skin? Skin is as much a textural sensation as it is flavorful.

Hog's maw, voluptuous, soft, and wrinkly, is pretty in pink.

A gathering of shank and tripe, can we get both? Yes you can. Surtida, or mixed is the way to go to get all the parts thrown in. This varies from taco to taco depending on what's near the taquero, or is preferred by the taquero. The wonders of the surtida are in the range of bites, and notes.

Chamorro, or shank is a Mexico City favorite.

The salsas also reflect the city's style. A red salsa of fresh chile de arbol, non-existant in Los Angeles, and a green salsa of the more fruity cuaresmeño, identical to the jalapeño, but delivers more body. Followed by pickled onions with hellish habanero and and a colorful pico de gallo.

Tongue with a pico de gallo perfectly supple with a dense pork flavor.

On the left, some excellent shoulder, one of the more challenging cuts to deliver moist, was quite a bite. These guys know how to fry some carnitas. The buche might have been the standout of me that morning. (pictured on the right). So clean and attractive, a fine piece of offal. It's everything carnitas should be, full of that natural pork flavor, but with a righteous mouth feel. Essential to what great carnitas are about is the texture that traditional cooking imparts.

This isn't the best carnitas stand in DF, but just another nameless, faceless band of craftsman on some corner in reasonably the greatest ongoing street food tradition on the face of the planet.

Unnamed Carnitas Stand
Dr.Valenzuela/Arcos de Belen
near the Mercado San Juan
Mexico City