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

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