Pambazos in Mexico City: The Street Food Sandwich To Rule Them All

As soon as I got to Mexico City, I stopped at my friend Edwin’s house. His name on facebook is Edwin “Beerman” so you can only imagine what was to follow shortly thereafter for the rest of the evening.

leon shot
Leon: Mexico’s “Munich Style” Dark Beer

Several innumerable oversized caguamas later, the Mexican beer munchies came a knockin’. Luckily, Doña Loreto, colonia Ahuizotla’s resident nocturnal Pambazonera was located down his street.

doña

She doesn’t even start setting up until 9 PM but there were already people lining up waiting for her shimmering flat top to heat up.

the pambazo scene

She specializes in quesadillas and pambazos, sencillas (as is) or tricked out with a fat scoop of her homemade guisados.

pambazo opened

I opted to order mine with slivered sautéed champiñones (mushrooms) in addition to the traditional stuffing of Mexican chorizo spiked, fried mashed potatoes. I was lightly drooling as I patiently waited for the red-chile-sauce drenched telera roll’s edges to crisp up.

Fortunately, I was beer goggling it sick and didn’t think twice about the amount of creamy, unrefined lard she must have spooned over it, on both sides of the halved pieces of bread of course.

Around maybe seven eternal minutes later, the fried sandwich was finally ready. A pambazo is a unique individual in the pantheon of Mexican street food. Some people describe it, as a “Mexican French Dip” but that isn’t quite politically correct for this day and age, it certainly deserves much more respect than that. A pambazo is a proud sandwich transsexual who wished it were born an enchilada and damned it will be if it lets gastronomy norms get in the way of that.

Who’s to say it has to be tortilla and not a piece of bread that has to be drenched in red chile and griddled in order for it to be stuffed with cheese or potatoes? Hell, let it do whatever it wants. If it wants to have multiple toppings, so be it! Salty, crumbly cotija cheese, thinly shredded crisp iceberg lettuce and thick Mexican crema? Si se puede! Especially, if it’s still soft and moist on the inside while the edges are golden brown and crisp.

pambazo full body
Equality for all!

*Pambazos can be found pretty much everywhere tacos roam in Mexico City

A Moment for Marquesitas: A Southern Mexican Street Food Dessert Favorite

If it’s a summer night and you are in downtown Merida, a “Marquesita” will most likely be in your near future. The pedal-powered street dessert hawkers are basically in every corner of the Zocalo and central tourist district. No, they aren’t swordsmith’s crafting metal as they push down on their blue-flamed, huge waffle-machine like cast-iron griddle set up with all their might, they are just making Marquesitas.

marquesito griddle

The traditional filling is actually a base of shredded “Bola de Queso” or Edam cheese with whatever else you’d like. The older couple who were in front of us asked for theirs with peanut butter and the zesty cheese, while the lady behind me ordered hers with the cheese and smothered with cajeta de cabra envinada (Mexican goat’s milk caramel flavored with red wine).
Marquesitas

If the smell of toasted sugar and vanilla doesn’t lure you in, the curious Indian dosa-like funnel shape of it will. The French have crepes, the Italian have pizelles, the Indonesian have Teram Bulan and well, this is like a combination of all those but better. A sweet version of a paper dosa? Err, even more crispy and fragile than that, it is almost like a freshly made pirouette cookie even. Especially when prepared with creamy nutella and lechera like I did when I got mine in Merida.

marquesita in action

You might also luck out if the local feria is in town; I caught one at the Feria de Playa during my stay in Playa del Carmen too. The ingredients to stuff it with were more varied there. Nonetheless, I got mine with nutella and sliced banana. As if it wasn’t going to taste bad, haha. Whatever stuff’s your Marquesa with…its all good. Just make sure you eat it with your arms extended because the filling tends to leak from the bottom. Or you can just eat it like a sword-swallower like I did.

marquesita money shot
Marquesita in 3D!

Huaracheria “El Huarache Veloz” (Mercado Ahuitzotla, Mexico City)

We touched ground at a little past midnight on Monday night. My dad had proposed sleeping at the airport until sunrise to go to Don Aurelio’s. “Ya va estar dormido” he contested, he didn’t want to be rude. Surprisingly, I convinced him to at least buy a phone card and try calling the guy to see if he was still awake. He was, we took a taxi, arrived and slept in beds actually. It was nice.

The next morning I woke up feeling weak and famished. My dinner the night before was a pack of roasted seaweed I packed as a snack, a complimentary shot of Cuervo aboard the airplane, and a banana with a ripe Mexican guava at Aurelio’s pad. But before I was to go hunt for streetfood. I had to go say wassup to Edwin “Beerman”, a friend I had made in the previous years of coming here. His mom has an estetica (hair salon) and I went in for a haircut three years ago…I’ve been friend’s with his family ever since.

Fortunately, Edwin and his mom hadn’t eaten lunch yet so she closed shop and invited me out for some huaraches. We walked down to el Mercado where these type of tasty eats–along with many other delicious others–gathered usually.

menuage
El Huarache Veloz Menu

Located on the corner space of the Mercado was an exclusive, little Huaracheria where the locals came to eat. They only sold huaraches, with whatever fresh topping ingredients they could get their hands on for that day. Today, they had salchicha (cut up grilled-wieners), bisteck (beef sirloin), Quesillo (Oaxacan unpasteurized string cheese), ham and fried scrambled egg. Along with the minimalist Sencilla, that is, only topped with only crumbly, salty wet cotija cheese and salsa of your liking, that is it.

The huaraches came about five minutes after ordering. I settled for the egg one since I never had seen that topping on a huarache before. Beerman went for the salchicha and sencilla.

huaraches

Huaraches can be found just about anywhere in this city. It is probably the most typical Antojito and makes a satisfying, quick wholesome lunch or dinner. Though, these huaraches were not the oversize, sloppy East LA ones I had been raised with. These were delicate thinner corn cakes, about 1/3 the size at least, golden-brown and crispy all around not just around the edges. They were stuffed with a scant layer of black bean puree, showered with a moderate portion of a salty, moist cotija cheese and then splashed with controlled amounts of tart-tomattilo green salsa and a Morita chile red salsa. Finally, it was crowned with a fluffy two-egg scramble.

huevo huarache
Fried Eggs riding a Huarache at El Huarache Veloz

I inhaled mine almost immediately and tasted some of beerman’s. I wanted to order one more but if its one thing I learned on these Mexico City trips it is to be frugal. Mexico-only treats loom everywhere in this part of city and I knew that Edwin and I had a lot of catching up to do for the rest of the evening. Meaning, many, many caguamas and Pambazo’s were in my near future…

edwin munching
Edwin Beerman Munching

Mercado Ahuizotla
Naucalpan, Estado De Mexico, 53000
Naucalpan De Juarez Centro

…Just A Couple Of Upcoming Ways To Carpe Diem In L.A Through Food

On the quickness!

Here are just a couple of ways to go out and enjoy our beautiful city during the next few days 🙂

Food GPS Progressive Eating Tour of Beverly Boulevard
(This Sunday 3PM July 25th; $45 Per Person; 4 Restaurants)

Food-GPS-Beverly-Boulevard-Walking-Tour

Join the Food GPS himself on a progressive walking tour as he “spotlights four great restaurants located on (or just off) Beverly Boulevard. Eva, BLD, MILK and The Golden State as each chef-owner will introduce a plate, treat or drink.”

Buy your bargain tickets for this event at Amuse L.A.

For Questions contact Josh Lurie at joshua@foodgps.com

Street Food Series At Angeli Caffe (Ricky’s Fish Tacos)
(This Monday July 26th, 6 to 10 PM; Fish and Shrimp Tacos For $3 Each; Beer Will Be Sold)

rickys fish taco champion
Ricky’s Fish Taco: Deemed The Best In L.A

In an effort “to help spread the news that street food is a good thing, and is a vital part of LA’s restaurant community and culture”, Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet L.A (fellow L.A Mexican food blood brother and my all around mentor) will be partnering up with Evan Kleiman (of the radio show Good Food and Angeli owner) to do a series of street food pop ups “to bring traditional street food closer to the West Side and Mid-City areas.” It should be known that Ricky’s Fish Taco was deemed the best fish taco in Los Angeles by the Taco Task Force of Los Angeles.

Support the Cause(s)!!!

Judging At The 2010 Los Angeles Vendy Awards

line 'em up
Line “Em Up!

Last Saturday marked the battle of the greasiest, as both worlds of L.A street food duked it out for the title of the first annual Los Angeles Vendy Awards. The coveted event has become a cult favorite in the East Coast, where more than 660 New Yorkers gathered for it last year to eat street foods of all kinds.

The event was held in the nicas (and day street food) capital of Los Angeles: Macarthur Park. And I could not had thought of a better place.

vendy front

It was to be The Grilled Cheese Truck, India Jones Truck, The Hot Dog Kings, Ninas Food, Bigmista’s Barbecue and Tacos El Galuzo Truck duking it out for the Vendy Gold.

grilled cheez duo
Grilled Cheese Truck: Keepin’ It Cheezay

delectable franky and paratha
India Jones: Representin’ That Indian Spice And Swoon

The Hot Dog King
Hot Dog Kings: Bacon Wrapped And Guacamole Topped…Ayy Guey!

ninas pambazitos
Nina’s Food: Griddling Up D.F Deliciuosness

big mistas bbq
Bigmistas Barbecue: Smokin’ Up A Little Somethin’, Somethin’

bland ass tacos
Tacos El Galuzo: Taco’s Are A Way Of Life

I was lucky enough to be among the few judges at this historic event, along with Street Gourmet L.A, John Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal Restaurant and the one and only Evan Kleiman of Good Food. Along with the smoooooth Emceeing of Jeff Miller of Thrillist.

bill, john and jeff working hard

But it was one taste that prevailed amongst all of us: Nina’s Quesadillas and Pambasos. It was an instant unanimous decision.

judging sheets
No Need For Judging Sheets

nina this ones for ya
Nina, This One’s For You!

The FoodBuzz Festival: Day 1 Pit Stop (Titas Pupuseria)

It seemed like forever ago I was scrambling around to scan in my signature and email it over to them before the deadline but it was time!

The Foodbuzz festival! Meaning…FOODBLOGGER ROAD TRIP!

the guys

It was to be Mattatouille, The Kung Food Panda and I, squeezed into the Food GPS mobile–an Acura RSX for five hours straight…

It was not long before we stopped for our first pit stop while speeding along the sunburnt asphalt of the I-5 North: Titas Pupuseria, a Pupusa truck?

Titas Pupuseria

A new potential post or a habituated Double-Double? It was Pupusa time!

menu
Menu wasn’t half bad, offering a couple of other cool Salvodorean options

Of course, we all opted for its national dish.

loroco
Loroco: A flower bud used as a herb. The flavor is really light and subtle, just a vaguely faint tarragon-like taste.

Each order took around ten minutes to make, then I saw why and did not mind the wait. Each turnover had a guaranteed part of the cheese that would be purposely oozed out and left to be turned into a small crispy piece of golden goodness.

The pickled, shredded cabbage slaw known as Curtido also was a step above others I’ve had around town. Matt and I agreed that it was not too different than a form of Kimchi.

A surprisingly delectable find in the land of franchise driven “T.A” travelers centers.

Next stop…San Francisco!

Titas Pupuseria
20617 Tracey Ave.
Buttonwillow, CA
93206

The Rise of L.A. Food Trucks: A Walking Gastro Tour with Javier Cabral

big bad truck
Big, Bad Trucks

…Still don’t know how I came up with that title but YES that is my name and that will be the tour I will be guiding at this upcoming Downtown Los Angeles Artwalk

A guerilla revolution in the Los Angeles food scene has been slowly taking place in the streets and driveways of our brick and mortar habituated restaurant culture: Concept Food Trucks (Mobile Cuisine). Taco trucks are one thing but gourmet food trucks? The hugely acclaimed “Korean Taco” slinging Kogi Taco Truck unofficially started it…but that was only the beginning. Join me as I guide you through South Indian Dosa’s, vintage horror movie themed plant based hot dogs, handmade D.I.Y ice cream sandwiches and many, many more. This will be a walking tour, but don’t worry; there will be plenty of refueling points along the way…

The event takes place on the second Thursday of every month and this upcoming one happens to be it!

If you guys haven’t been before, this is a must-do if you live anywhere within the L.A locale, like an all out block party oozing–sometimes literally–with unexampled
performance art and upwards of 10,000 modish Angelenos that are out, loud and boisterously about.

downtown art walk

Artlessly, no other event in L.A attracts as many trucks as the Downtown Art Walk, let’s see what we hunt down that night…

Some most likely appearances:

Marked 5 (Japanese/American Fusion Burgers)

Coolhaus (Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches w/ edible wrappers)

The Franken Stand (Vintage Horror Movie Themed Plant Based Hot Dogs)

Nom Nom Truck (Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwiches)

The Dosa Truck (South Indian Dosas)

Border Grill Truck (Gourmet Tacos, Tamales, Churro Bites)

Fishlips (Sushi and Rolls)

DSC04198
The Witch: Full sail Ale cooked Tofu dog with customizable toppings from The Franken Stand

coolhaus ice cream sandwich
Vanilla Bean on Ginger w/ edible wrapper: D.I.Y Ice Cream Sandwiches from Coolhaus