How I Became A Food Writer - I get the inevitable career question a lot. Why did you become a food writer? How do you become a food writer? For those who have asked me this in IRL, I p...
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
Monday-Friday(morning 'til early afternoon), best items go fast
Colonia Roma Sur